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    Highlights of the ICANNWatch Archive
    (June 1999 - March 2001)

    This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
    Republican Senators Express Concern Over Renewall of ICANN Contracts With DoC | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 27 comments | Search Discussion
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    Re: My own take
    by lextext on Friday August 02 2002, @10:16AM (#8325)
    User #6 Info | http://www.lextext.com
    I don't disagree. But the Senators would put the cart before the horse. If the goal is to remove ICANN from having a role in registry-level pricing, then the first step is to open the market widely for increased registry-level competition. Verisign would push this in a different direction though: artificially constrain the number of registry operators and allow those few who are allowed to enter the market to do whatever they will. You've got to undo the first wrong before you undo the second.

    -- Bret
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: My own take
    by Anonymous on Saturday August 03 2002, @01:56PM (#8350)
    I agree that letting VRSN do things like WLS in the current climate will be harmful to competition in the registrar market. But let's not lose sight of why that is: because competition in the registry market is stifled by ICANN.

    A discussion of this problem may also need to consider why the new registries haven't been more successful, particularly those positioned as gTLDs. If the answer was "more registries" in quite the simple fashion we assume, wouldn't they be larger and more widely used?

    There's something peculiar about the fact that this debate hasn't changed with the entry of new gTLDs. Verisign is still trying to gain and hold more power over .com users, .com is still by far the largest TLD, and we still hear that the problem with the domain name registration market is that there aren't more registries. Why is it that the new ones -- the first added in many years, technically and economically prepared to take serious aim at Verisign and .com-- haven't proven more of a factor?

    One can argue that:
    1. ICANN screwed up the process so egregiously that new gTLD registries aren't commercially credible.
    2. New registries weren't really the answer and the pent-up demand for alternatives isn't what we thought.
    3. There's plenty of pent-up demand but running a registry is harder than previously thought for some business or technical reason.

    But it's hard to see why if three more gTLDs isn't shifting the TLD market significantly, 30 or 300 or 3000 would. Indeed, classic economics demonstrates why they won't....and so does any study of the registrar market: too many competitors is as far from an economic equilibrium as too few. (Further reading on the origins of the current meltdown in the telecom field is also recommended.)

    The assertion that more TLDs, more registries, and more entries in the root zone file are the answer is demonstrably false. The question then becomes, what else does it take?

    (As a sidenote, it's perhaps important to point out that the justification for ICANN "exercising price regulatory powers at all" is that the US DoC told them to. They're now stuck with it-- after all it would hardly have been fair not to sign up new registries to contracts much like the ones Verisign had entered into. The DoC probably made a mistake in this; they should not have dragged the entire community in to cover up their inability to figure out how to get a grip on their contractor.)
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]

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