News Review Postscript

Markets & Stocks 2020 Apr 1: S&P 500, Dow & NASDAQ Comp all close -4.4%.

Mar 31: US stocks closed down, ending the first quarter of 2020 and Q1 market selloff triggered by the global COVID-19 pandemic. The S&P 500 (SPX), -1.6%, a -20% quarterly decline. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP), -1.0%, a quarterly drop of about -14%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA or Dow), -1.8%, a Q1 drop of -23.2%, its largest quarterly decline since the fourth quarter of 1987.
COVID-19: is the 'war' against the coronavirus worse than the disease?  Billions of people negatively impacted, trillions of dollars of damage to the global economy--
"... I am deeply concerned that the social, economic and public health consequences of this near total meltdown of normal life — schools and businesses closed, gatherings banned — will be long lasting and calamitous, possibly graver than the direct toll of the virus itself. The stock market will bounce back in time, but many businesses never will. The unemployment, impoverishment and despair likely to result will be public health scourges of the first order .... The path we are on may well lead to uncontained viral contagion and monumental collateral damage to our society and economy. A more surgical approach is what we need."--David L. Katz, MD, March 20, 2020, Opinion in the New York Times. Dr. Katz is the founding director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center. [emphasis added]
CDC.gov | WHO.int | Research | Dashboard | google.com/covid19/ | coronavirus.gov

Both .ORG & .COM are existential issues for ICANN and its role in internet governance:

.COM Update Mar 27, 2020: ICANN Approves .COM Registry Agreement Amendment and Proposed Binding Letter of Intent between ICANN and Verisign: "... ICANN org is not a competition authority or price regulator. We have long-deferred to the U.S. Government Department of Commerce (DOC) and Department of Justice for the regulation of pricing for .COM registry services, as per the Cooperative Agreement between Verisign and the DOC ..."--ICANN President & CEO Goran Marby

Editor's .COM comment re: ICANN Proposal (Amendment No. 3 & LOI); Public Comment Period closed 14 Feb 2020 23:59 UTC.  More info here. See also the comment by Attorney Arif Hyder Ali (via DNW) and thousands of other comments opposing the ICANN proposal

Verisign & Trump? | mashable.com and Verisign's Letter to ICANN and Verisign 10K filed with the SEC on February 14, 2020, including this chart
Source: VeriSign, Inc. 10K. Does this look like a corporation that needs annual increases in .COM registration and renewal fees allowed by the U.S. government (Dept. of Commerce-NTIA) and the industry-captured monopoly 'internet coordinator' ICANN, a California nonprofit 'Public Benefit Corporation'? Verisign derives most of its income as sole monopoly Trustee and operator of the .COM registry. See also: What ICANN should do if it does not want to be a "price regulator." 

.WEB Afilias IRP Feb 12NU DOTCO, LLC and VeriSign, Inc. (the Amici) are allowed to participate as amici in the IRP. More info here.

.ORG #SaveDotOrg - 2020 Mar 18 Letter: ICANN Should Reject the Proposed Transfer of the .ORG Registry--US Senators Warren, Wyden, Blumenthal, Markey & US Representative Eshoo.

Mar 18: PIR Agrees to ICANN Extension — KeyPointsAbout.org: "we have agreed to an ICANN [.ORG] deadline extension to April 20th."

Mar 12: .ORG & Private PICs (as proposed by Ethos Capital & PIR)--ill-conceived private PICs were first allowed by ICANN Org in connection with its 2012 expansion of new gTLDs, "a fiasco on so many levels"--
 The Sad Story of Private Public Interest Commitments (PICs)

Feb 21 ICANN-PIR Letter agreement extending deadline, to March 20, 2020 for ICANN to provide or withhold consent to PIR's proposed change of control. See also Feb 24 letter from Internet Society to ICANN.

Feb 19 ICANN Letter to PIR (additional questions & requests for information).

Feb 14: ICANN-PIR Letter agreement re: 29 February 2020 deadline for ICANN to provide or withhold consent to PIR’s proposed change of control.

Feb 13: ICANN Sends Questions to Internet Society and Letter from ICANN Counsel to PIR Counsel re: scope of ICANN's review.

Feb 4: ICANN denies ASO inspection request re: .ORG.

California Government Code § 12588: "The Attorney General may investigate transactions and relationships of corporations and trustees subject to this article for the purpose of ascertaining whether or not the purposes of the corporation or trust are being carried out in accordance with the terms and provisions of the articles of incorporation or other instrument. The Attorney General may require any agent, trustee, fiduciary, beneficiary, institution, association, or corporation, or other person to appear, at a named time and place, in the county designated by the Attorney General, where the person resides or is found, to give information under oath and to produce books, memoranda, papers, documents of title, and evidence of assets, liabilities, receipts, or disbursements in the possession or control of the person ordered to appear." 
California Government Code § 12598 "(a) The primary responsibility for supervising charitable trusts in California, for ensuring compliance with trusts and articles of incorporation, and for protection of assets held by charitable trusts and public benefit corporations, resides in the Attorney General. The Attorney General has broad powers under common law and California statutory law to carry out these charitable trust enforcement responsibilities ..." [emphasis added]
California Attorney General Opens Investigation:

Screenshot of Investigation Letter to ICANN from the California Attorney General (CA-AGO) re: Proposed Sale of PIR to Ethos Capital
2020 Jan 30: ICANN announces it received an investigation letter from the California Attorney General (CA-AGO) [pdf] dated Jan 23, 2020, regarding .ORG Change of Control and further, PIR has been requested to extend to April 20, 2020, the deadline for ICANN to approve "the change of control" (see ICANN letter to PIR (pdf) Jan 30, 2020). The CA-AGO's "investigation" letter to ICANN contains 35 questions for ICANN to answer, and also states that "additional documents and information may be requested." UPDATE Jan 31 ICANN response (pdf).

Read also: The Shaky Future of .org Domains  | The New York Times: "in a statement to The Financial Times, ICANN said it “does not have authority over the proposed acquisition,” a claim that is patently false."

Editor's note:  Lying & deceit are part of corrupt ICANN's corporate & organizational culture, so embedded within ICANN culture that ICANN is beyond reform and incapable of protecting the global public interest re: .ORG or any other gTLD. See also:
.Org: ICANN's Betrayals and its Opportunity to Act Now in the Public Interest | circleid.com
Jan 24, 2020: SaveDotOrg Protest at ICANN headquarters12025 Waterfront Dr., Los Angeles.

21 Jan 2020: The billion-dollar battle over .org registry ownership intensifies and The .ORG Sale Fiasco: "the organizations [ICANN and Internet Society] charged with protecting the internet from malign influence have completely lost their way."

17 January 2020: The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and Public Interest Registry (PIR) agree (pdf) to a 30-day extension of ICANN's time to review PIR's submissions, to 17 February 2020. Also, ICANN will be requesting further information from PIR.

Read also NASCO Letter re: .ORG 17 Jan 2020 (pdf), excerpt: ".... We are concerned about the implications of the conversion of PIR to a for-profit LLC ("PIR LLC") controlled by Ethos Capital and undisclosed minority investors. As a charitable nonprofit, PIR has been a regulated entity subject to federal and state oversight of its charitable assets, governance and tax-exempt status. This conversion would remove these important layers of transparency and accountability. Further, in maintaining the '.org' registry, PIR has historically been obligated to act in furtherance of its charitable mission (i.e., serving the public interest online through operating and managing the '.org' domain) ... For-profit control over the '.org' registry would shift PIR's objective from offering a public benefit to one focused on deriving the greatest amount of profit from its subscribers. PIR would have an interest, indeed an obligation, to maximize profits for its members. We have significant concerns about how domain price increases and availability may affect charitable organizations that rely on their domain and inhibit access to new entrants .... we respectfully urge you to consider these concerns and allow appropriate time for regulatory authorities to review the impact of this proposed transaction." [emphasis added]

The Question ICANN may be too inept or corrupt to ask & get answered: 
"How do you [Ethos Capital et al] reconcile your proposal for 10% per annum compounded price increases — doubling the price of .ORG domain names every seven (7.2) years — with the following:
"The policy for the operation of the .org registry required inter alia that (i) the registry be “operated for the benefit of the worldwide community of organizations, groups, and individuals engaged in noncommercial communication via the Internet”, (ii) responsibility for the .org administration be “delegated to a non-profit organization that has widespread support from and acts on behalf of that community”, and (iii) registry fee charged to accredited registrars be “as low as feasible consistent with the maintenance of good quality service”. The DNSO’s policy on the reassignment and administration of the .ORG registry has never been amended nor revoked." — Namecheap reconsideration p. 9 citing ICANN, Report of the Dot Org Task Force Adopted by the DNSO Names Council 17 January 2002 and accepted as guidance by the ICANN Board on 14 March 2002."

"Glad to co-chair with Jack Ma #WuzhenSummit multistakeholder advisory committee"--Fadi Chehade, ICANN President & CEO, Dec 18, 2015, at China's World Internet Conference a/k/a Wuzhen Summit, "a vehicle for the Chinese [Communist] Party-state’s policy agenda."

How China Will Take Over the Internet with help from ICANN UPDATE: In re: .ORG (pdf), excerpt:
".... Under the facts presented, Ethos Capital, the Internet Society, and PIRegistry, are, in effect, asking ICANN to approve a "novation" ... If approved, not only will unlimited .ORG price increases occur, but eventually, every valuable gTLD will be owned by a state-owned, funded or controlled enterprise of China -- China will just "buy" .COM, .NET, .ORG, .WEB, etc., and thereby control the internet -- no private equity firm, and few publicly owned companies (certainly NOT Verisign), can match the financial resources of Chinese SOEs." 
Comment published:
"... When did ICANN overturn RFC 1591 and the continuous position of the United States, historical steward of the DNS from the time of its creation, that TLDs are global public resources, NOT the property of ICANN (successor to IANA) nor ANY registry operator .... While it may be the intent of corrupt or inept ICANN leadership, past or present, to facilitate the largest theft of global public resources in history, please cite where and when the ‘shift in positioning’ was formally approved as formal ICANN policy to negate RFC 1591 both as to new gTLDs and legacy gTLDs, and who at ICANN claims to have sanctioned it on behalf of the global internet community as being in the “global public interest.”
"The slow rot in those organizations – ICANN and ISOC [Internet Society] key among them – have been apparent for years but its clearest indication is in the fact that they have all but abandoned a commitment to transparency."--Kieren McCarthy | theregister.co.uk.
  • Further below: Editor's Letter to ICANN et al re: .ORG & Ethos Capital; Sordid Backstory of ICANN, Ethos Capital, and .ORG; Namecheap & EFF Rebuttals, and more. See also #SaveDotOrg  and Editor's comment here. Also noteOn 27 December 2019, the Number Resource Organization (NRO), acting as the Address Supporting Organization (ASO), submitted correspondence to ICANN regarding the Internet Society’s proposed transfer of ownership of PIR, the .org registry, to Ethos Capital: "... The NRO has reviewed recent events surrounding the proposal by ISOC to transfer the ownership of PIR, the .org Registry, to Ethos Capital. While we do not normally engage in policy matters related to the DNS, we consider ICANN’s handling of this proposal to be an important Internet governance decision, with bearing on the community’s trust in ICANN, and the legitimacy of the ICANN model ... the ASO seeks to inspect any ICANN records which pertain to or provide relevant insight to the process by which ICANN will consider (and potentially approve) the assignment of the .org Registry Agreement, including the process by which input from the affected community will be obtained prior to ICANN’s consideration and potential approval of the assignment.”
28 Dec 2019: Just when you think it can't get any worse, ICANN yet again shows itself "too corrupt or inept"-- read the particulars (pdf), excerpt:
Dec 28, 2019: New Year's Wish: Please, Someone, Anyone, perhaps the California State Attorney General, End ICANN's Existence.
News Review Postscript: Most Read (week ending July 6, 2019), on DomainMondo.com: 
#1 News Review | ICANN65 Recap, Regulatory Capture at ICANN "ICANN65 was a rather more dreadful ICANN meeting than usual, perhaps due to a confluence of factors demonstrating how incompetent, corrupt, and unfit ICANN is ..."

#2 Tech Review 1) Why Jony Ive Chose To Leave Apple, 2) Big Tech & Profits

#3 Android or iOS, Why Smartphones Aren't Exciting Anymore (video)

Signing off for now, thank you.

-- John Poole, Editor  Domain Mondo 

feedback & comments via twitter @DomainMondo

Dec 9, 2019 ICANN blog post re: .ORG, Internet Society, Ethos Capital, PIR.

Nov 24, 2019 Editor's letter to ICANN Board et al (pdf) re: .ORG and the sale of Public Interest Registry (PIR) to Ethos Capital. See also my comment here: "... it is now clear the parties involved, including Ethos Capital, ISOC, and ICANN, have a complete misunderstanding of the legal principles involved, and the Internet Society is attempting to "sell" something it doesn't own, i.e., the TLD .ORG. Caveat Emptor!"
Domain Mondo: Sordid Backstory of ICANN, Ethos Capital, and .ORGSee also   #SaveDotOrg.
Nov 27, 2019: Town Hall Meeting on .ORG at IGF 2019: "... ICANN board members Becky Burr and Chris Disspain ... explained the process they go through when ownership of a registry changes. They acknowledged that section 7.5 of the ORG Registry Agreement gives them a role in the transfer of control and that the process associated with that is already happening. They can ask questions of ISOC trustees and PIR about the sale and exchange information. There is no fixed 30-day limit on these exchanges, rather a rolling 30 day limit on each round of questions and responses. Board members acknowledged ICANN’s ability to attach conditions to the recognition of Ethos Capital as the new operator of .ORG. Board member Leon Sanchez was also in attendance ..."

Nov 18, 2019 Namecheap Rebuttal to ICANN Board (pdf) re: .ORG and .INFO price caps.  Excerpt" ... ICANN’s reliance upon Professor  Carlton’s 2009 analysis is misguided because it is an opinion not based upon evidence or facts, but relies upon outdated and incomplete assumptions. Second, ICANN claims that the Base RA was developed through the ICANN policy process, however there is no evidence to suggest that those participants intended or considered the Base RA to apply to legacy TLDs ..." More here.

Nov 19, 2019 EFF Rebuttal to ICANN Board (pdf) excerpt: "... sale of PIR to a private equity firm ... heightens the need for you to spend more time and discussion on the .ORG contract renewal challenges ..." More here.

Nov 15, 2019 ICA Letter to ICANN re: Ethos Capital & .ORG (pdf).

Nov 13, 2019: Ethos Capital, led by former ABRY Partners Managing Partner, buys .ORG registry.
The interesting connection between the .ORG deal and ICANN -- "Former ICANN CEO Fadi ChehadĂ© appears to have a connection to the latest big deal in the domain name industry." -- And they named their company Ethos. Give me a break! 
"... moral bankruptcy ... Especially in combination with the recent removal of price caps for .org domains."

Nov 10, 2019: ICANN66 Wrap (pdf): "... UAM: Domain Name Registrants Look Forward to Suing ICANN under GDPR ... Every Antitrust & Competition Authority in the World Should Be Investigating ICANN & its gTLDs ..." [more here].
Internet Society received $48.7 million in 2018via its affiliate PIR, .ORG Registry Operator (pdf).

Oct 9, 2019, email from a reader: "John, I've been following your comments on the CCT review team – and I’m shocked more people are not paying attention.  Your words are spot on and its extremely troubling. I also spent hours and hours going through DomainMondo.com – wow!! You are right on so many different areas. Are you planning on making a comment here as well?  As a follow up?"

Editor's response: 
Thank you for your email and kind comments. As you may know, I have already commented at various times during the CCT process, see this (pdf). Accordingly, I see no point in commenting further on either the ICANN Board's decision, or ICANN org's "path" concerning the Board's decision re: the CCT recommendations. 
I have pretty much 'given up' on ICANN and its "commenting process" which appears to be as much a public charade as ICANN's claims concerning "competition, consumer trust, and consumer choice." ICANN has failed the global internet community and does not operate in the global public interest. Because of the IANA transition, we, the global internet community, have no effective remedy, at present, to reform or replace ICANN, or its misguided policies and practices.

However, I encourage you, and others so inclined [notwithstanding the above], to submit your own comments to ICANN on this and any other matter. If DomainMondo.com aids in providing reference sources which you find helpful, so much the better.
  • Domain Mondo Archive below (on mobile go to "web version");
Selected comments to ICANN from the Editor:
Also note: "... there are some very disturbing things about the new .ORG Registry Agreement contract. The problems relate to the role of community policy development vs. bilateral contract in the governance of the domain name system. It appears that ICANN’s contracting process provides ICANN and its contracting parties a way to completely bypass ICANN’s policy development process. As such, it undermines the whole purpose of having ICANN in the first place .... It gives the lie to ICANN’s continued claim that it fosters bottom up multistakeholder consensus policies. It provides for an end run around fundamental bylaw constraints, such as the one prohibiting ICANN from regulating content. This is a troublesome loophole in ICANN’s contractual model of governance, and board members and GNSO representatives need to do something about it. As for the community, we need to put Verisign on notice. We will not allow the same thing to happen to the .COM contract ... a coalition with antitrust agencies concerned about market power and monopoly pricing and civil society free speech advocates would be powerful, and litigation inevitable if they try the same trick again."--Dr. Milton Mueller, The real problem with the new .ORG contract | internetgovernance.org (emphasis added);
and The Case for Regulatory Capture at ICANN | ReviewSignal.com;
and ICANN Fails the Internet Community, allows an unlimited non profit tax | ReviewSignal.com;
and  Namecheap, Inc. 12 Jul 2019 Reconsideration Request (pdf) re: ICANN’s decision to renew the registry agreement for .ORG and .INFO without the historic price caps.  Follow the proceeding here;
Read also How the battle over domain prices could drastically change the web | mashable.com: "... [ICANN] just opened the door to monopolies charging whatever they want for registering a web address. Ironically, the U.S. government formed ICANN in 1998 to prevent a monopoly ..."
and  Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) 30 July 2019 Reconsideration Request (pdf) re: .ORG registry agreement renewal, including incorporation of the URS and "explicit permission from ICANN for PIR to 'at its election, implement additional protections of the legal rights of third parties' unilaterally and without further consultation with existing .org registrants or the ICANN community." Follow the proceeding here, including this letter from EFF (pdf), excerpt:
"... The Ombudsman’s Evaluation misstates EFF’s positions and reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the issues. The Committee should disregard the Ombudsman’s Evaluation and recommend to the Board that EFF’s Request for Reconsideration be granted ..." 
Read also: Opening the Door for Censorship: New Trademark Enforcement Mechanisms Added for Top-Level Domains | eff.org.
and  "... it is troubling to see ICANN dismissing comments because they were collected via an organized campaign, since it essentially closes off the comment space to anyone other than ICANN insiders. This defeats the purpose of having public comments ...  If ICANN does not take this duty seriously, people will naturally start to question why it should be entrusted with this role."--Michael Karanicolas, Wikimedia Fellow at Yale Law School, Sep 14, 2019 (emphasis added).
and letter to ICANN Ombudsman (pdf) from Internet Commerce Association, Sep 12, 2019. [Editor's note: even the ICANN Ombudsman is incompetent, an Inept Apologist for a 'Corrupt' & 'Captured' ICANN.]
"ICANN fatally flawed"
ICANN65, EPDP, AMAZON, New gTLDs, Regulatory Capture at ICANN
Trademarks (.BRAND) gTLDs were a MISTAKE (read 2)b. at that link),
an extortion racket, see .PING testimony. Follow .AMAZON reconsideration here and here. Update: "We consider this [new gTLD .AMAZON] decision illegal and unjust expropriation of our culture, tradition, history and image before the world."--ACTO letter moreira-to-marby-14jan20-en.pdf
"Let’s face it, the Internet is a utility and so are the corporations who control it .... Technology needs to be regulated"--Alan Patricof.
Ill-Conceived & Corrupt New gTLDs: Win $50 Million By Losing New gTLD Auctions
"Signing off for now ..."
"To create something that's genuinely new, you have to start again and I think with great intent, you disconnect from the past."--Jony Ive
Native + Non-Native Speakers

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