Buy This Book
Date: Friday June 14 2002, @05:10AM
Topic: The Big Picture

Buy this book. Buy a few extra copies, and send them to your national government officials responsible for ICANN policy.

There was a time when if you wanted to give someone a book that explained what was going on with domain names, you gave them the Domain Name Handbook, and pointed them to the excellent companion web site. But that was published in 1998, half an eternity in Internet years. And it was before ICANN. And lots of the people who make decisions won't look stuff up on web sites.

Well, now ICANNWatch editor and former ICANN DNSO Names Council member Milton Mueller has written Ruling the Root: Internet Governance and the Taming of Cyberspace. In addition to a good, concise, explanation of the basics of the DNS, it provides the best single history of the politics of the DNS wars to be found between hard covers. Even veterans of the DNS wars will find it useful to explain the bits they missed, and as the key reference work.

I should emphasize that for all that it's published by an academic press, and has chapters cut up into geeky sections, this is a very readable book. It has its author's engaging voice. You will not be bored.

Political science mavens and international relations theorists will also appreciate the academic angle, which emerges most strongly in the concluding chapters. There Milton categorizes ICANN as a "resource-based international regulatory regime." Personally, I've never been sure how much regime theory adds to our understanding of the ICANN mess; ICANN seems increasingly like a good old fashioned grab. Milton Mueller has some useful things to say, though, about how ICANN is unique, especially in the fundamental informality of the key international arrangements. (We'll see how long that lasts, between the EU and the ITU. Of course, formalization would just support one of the main ideas in this book, that ICANN is basically a regulatory regime like the regime that controls radio spectrum.)

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Re: Buy This Book
by fnord ( on Friday June 14 2002, @07:21AM (#7176)
User #2810 Info
This has nothing to do with the book itself, which I really look forward to reading, but about Does the Amazon link contain an affiliate code so that ICANNWatch or Milton or someone gets the 5 to 15% referral fee? I haven't created any such links recently and Amazon often changes their URL affil code so I can't be sure just from looking at it. I ask because:

1. Whether one uses an affiliate link or a straight link, the price of the book to the purchaser is the same. The difference is that Amazon makes 5 to 15% less on the purchase (which they presumably consider money well spent as they have done this for most of their existence, in fact they were granted a controversial patent on it), and the affiliate referrer receives that money instead.

2. For anyone following such an affiliate referral link who then continues to browse Amazon and purchases lawn furniture or whatever Amazon is selling these days, the affiliate referrer also receives 5 to 15% of the sale price of those subsequent purchases, again at no additional cost to the purchaser.

3. Because there is no additional cost to the purchaser I see nothing wrong with ICANNWatch doing this to help fund its operational costs, or to help defray the cost of adding additional features. In fact I'd suggest an additional sidebar (hey, congrats on being named Political Site of the Day) to the right or left on the home page linking to relevant books such as Ruling the Root, Ellen Rony's Domain Name Handbook (which remains very relevant), and other books I, and no doubt others, could suggest. Along those lines, perhaps a PayPal link could be prominently provided for those who appreciate ICANNWatch and would like to make a donation to support its operations.

4. If ICANNWatch already has an Amazon affiliate relationship, or if/when it gets one, I'd appreciate the proper URL code being displayed somewhere as I've linked from here to Amazon in the past and may again in future and would prefer to use an affil link that benefits ICANNWatch. I hasten to add that my previous links to Amazon were straight links, I didn't use my own affil codes.

And I found this strange, under More Buying Choices in the Amazon upper right sidebar for Ruling the Root, one is given the option of:

3 new: from $29.99
1 used: from $32.62

Is the used one autographed by the author to justify its increased price? :) -g

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Re: Buy This Book
by Jon_Weinberg on Friday June 14 2002, @08:08AM (#7177)
User #16 Info |
Read's review. (They like it. A lot.)
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Buy this book here
by lextext on Friday June 14 2002, @08:09AM (#7178)
User #6 Info |
If IW doesn't have an Amazon affiliate account, you can always buy the book through mine. :-) -- Bret
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  • 1 reply beneath your current threshold.
Indeed: Buy it!
by alexander on Friday June 14 2002, @08:39AM (#7180)
User #22 Info |
Never mind the affiliate account -- buy the book! ;) "Ruling the Root" is telling a fascinating story: How did "the root" evolve, how did especially the name space become a valuable resource and how did the fight over this resource lead to institutional innovation aka ICANN? This story is told in a very readable and occasionally very funny way (see e.g. footnote 17 of chapter 11). But it's not only history, it also discusses possible future developments (and it's also interesting from a theoretical point of view, even though I put this in parantheses in order not to scare anyone off...)

One of the reasons why I recommend "Ruling the Root" wholeheartedly is mentioned in the Salon review: Milton "documents and explains this process of evolution in absorbing detail, without raising his voice or lapsing into outrage." If you just want whining about ICANN, buy something else. This one helps you to arrive at your own conclusions.

Many thanks to Milton for this excellent book!

(For fellow Germans who want to order the book online: It seems that neither the affiliates nor nor the affiliates carry it. You have to go to [].)
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