2014-12-17

ICANN, Dysfunctional, Sick Organizational Culture, Warped Values

ICANN Never Cleans Up Its Own Messes, It Just Creates More--

The story about an egregious UDRP case is hardly unique, but it is illuminating about how ICANN operates and fails, time and time again, in its mission, policy-making, implementation, coordination, and oversight roles. You can read the dismal details and how broken ICANN's UDRP policy (and its implementation) is at the first link above, but this is all "typical ICANN stuff" which most knowledgeable domain name registrants have come to expect from ICANN and the SIPs (Self-important People) on ICANN's Board of Directors, as well as some members of the "stakeholder" groups. You know, those people who have the time and resources to fly around the world for multiple meetings every year, staying in luxury hotels, often paid for by ICANN (from domain name registrant fees)--just to meet and make more bad policies, which are then poorly implemented by ICANN  and third-party contractors, with no oversight nor follow-up by ICANN's Board, staff, or stakeholder groups. Any wonder why ICANN is commonly referred to as ICANT?

And of course, there is no domain name registrants stakeholder group within ICANN, which is yet another reason ICANN is held in such low regard by so many domain name registrants. Instead, we get new gTLD policy and implementation by people who do not know what they are doing, who have limited understanding and experience "buying, owning, developing, managing, and selling" domain names, even from an average registrant's perspective, and ICANN know-it-alls who rely on information and "expert opinions" from self-interested, profit-seeking stakeholders or contractors or consultants, who are paid by ICANN to give the information and opinions the stakeholder groups or staff or Directors want, to justify ICANN's next bad policy-making action and implementation, all of which is used to justify the exorbitant salaries, expenses, and budget of ICANN. It never ends. For just a few examples of the systemic dysfunctions within ICANN, see:
And then we have the lack of honesty, accountability and transparency, the "cover-ups," the "secrets" that must never be disclosed, as indicators of a very sick organizational culture with warped values. Of course, I am not the first to notice all of this. For example, Kieren McCarthy, a former ICANN staffer, has written about this, multiple times, in recent years, see: My analysis of the broken ICANN culture | Kieren McCarthy [dotcom] and The case study that could kill ICANN | .Nxt | Internet policy and governance. Meanwhile bumbling NTIA bureaucrats at the US Department of Commerce have chosen to maintain a state of denial about all of this, although two years ago they said ICANN was unfit to be granted the IANA contract:
Ethics Fight Over Domain Names Intensifies - March 18, 2012 - NYTimes.com: "... the United States government is also dissatisfied with ICANN. The Commerce Department said it had canceled a request for proposals to run the so-called Internet Assigned Numbers Authority [IANA] because none of the bids met its requirements..."
And then there is dysfunctional ICANN mission drift--one would think with the on-going roll-out (and concurrent problems) of the largest expansion of the domain name system in history, as well as the multiple on-going processes concerning ICANN accountability and the IANA transition, that the ICANN CEO would have more than enough on his plate, but no, he has been spending his time (and hundreds of thousands of dollars from ICANN's budget) trying to "force" or "beg" the global internet community to join his ill-conceived, top-down, unwanted, unneeded idea for another global internet organization--the so-called NETmundial Initiative (not to be confused with the original NETmundial Conference held in Brazil--The Register: "ICANN has been criticized for its efforts to control conversations over internet governance while at the same time claiming to be open. The creation of the NetMundial conference earlier this year and its sister astroturf * organization, 1Net, was bankrolled by ICANN. It then used its clout to controversially change a key recommendation of the conference at the last minute. Some months after that conference, ICANN was again criticized when it announced out of the blue that it was partnering with the World Economic Forum to create the namesake "NetMundial Initiative"."). *“Astroturfing” is the practice of hiring a third­ party group to advocate for an issue, falsely giving the impression that the effort is a “grassroots,” bottom­up initiative [source: Strategy Panel: ICANN’s Role in the Internet Governance Ecosystem (pdf)--see footnote 109]. I kindly suggest to Fadi Chehade that he "call the whole charade off" and start "taking care of business" at ICANN.

I further suggest that at the next ICANN meeting (and perhaps thereafter), every attendee when checking in, be required to complete a poll and the results be recorded and published, with the second question sorted by category (as either "domain name registrant" or "not a domain name registrant"):

1. Are you currently a domain name registrant? Yes / No

2. Please answer this question: Why are you here? [Please be honest, your answer will be recorded, not your name.] Answer:

Acceptable answers might include: "I like to travel and stay in nice hotels, and ICANN is paying for my flight, hotel, and per diem expenses, to be here" or "I am (or my employer is) an ICANN contractor and I am here to 'game the system,' keep the money flowing, and increase profits." Those are just two honest answers out of many possible answers--someone could make a game out of this--The ICANN Game.

-- John Poole, Editor, Domain Mondo



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