ICANN staff has only one supporter--Intellectual Property Constituency (IPC)--the trademark lobbyist (a/k/a stakeholder) organization within ICANN whose President, Trademark Attorney Greg Shatan, filed the lone comment "supporting" ICANN staff's attempt to apply new gTLDs' URS provisions in the renewal of incumbent gTLDs registry agreements. Even the ICANN Business Constituency (BC) filed an "opposition" comment, stating, in part:
"... our concern is that a unilateral decision by ICANN contractual staff to take the new gTLD registry agreement as the starting point for renewal RAs for legacy gTLDs has the effect of transforming the PDDRP and the URS into de facto Consensus Policies without following the procedures laid out in ICANN’s Bylaws for their creation. The fact that these RPMs are present in all three proposed renewal RAs referenced in this letter reinforces that conclusion..." (emphasis added)In Domain Mondo's opinion, the unilateral actions taken by ICANN staff in recent months raise legitimate questions as to whether Intellectual Property stakeholders may be exercising undue influence over ICANN officers and staff--how else to explain: (1) ICANN staff's attempt to bypass policy-making procedures and bylaw requirements (see BC comment above) and apply the URS in three incumbent gTLD RAs--.TRAVEL, .CAT, .PRO--as well as (2) ICANN officers and staff's attempt to throw under the bus dotSUCKS Registry Operator Vox Populi without any finding of breach of the Registry Agreement or other wrongdoing, but just because the IPC sent ICANN one letter? Why didn't ICANN just respond by telling the IPC to file a complaint with the FTC or OCA? If the IPC (or any special interest stakeholder group within ICANN) says "jump," do ICANN officers and staff only ask "how high?" The entire world saw what the US Federal Trade Commission and Canada's OCA thought of the whole ICANN dotSUCKS fiasco.
To be clear, this has nothing to do with the merits of the various positions taken by the IPC, some of which Domain Mondo happens to agree with, e.g., who is in favor of exorbitant or extortionate domain name registration pricing schemes? Certainly not domain name registrants! No, this is about integrity of process, transparency, accountability.
- Is this any way to run a global multi-stakeholder organization that claims it is ready to be "free of US government oversight"?
- Doesn't the global multi-stakeholder community deserve better performance from ICANN staff and officers than indicated above?
In most organizations the rot starts at the top. "Accountability," is a word ICANN loves to preach, but rarely practices. And, unfortunately, the ICANN Board of Directors has allowed ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade to laden ICANN with his personal "cronies" in most top positions--a burden for the next ICANN CEO to deal with, along with ICANN's out-of-control spending, including lavish salaries and benefits. The ICANN Board needs to start holding ICANN staff and officers accountable by asking some direct questions of ICANN Global Domains Division President Akram Atallah. If the Board can't get straight answers and reasonable explanations by those in leadership positions, then perhaps the Board needs to start taking action by telling Akram Atallah (or others) to follow, or precede, "his buddy" Fadi Chehade "out the door." That's called real "accountability."
For additional background, see on Domain Mondo:
- ICANN Staff Report OVERDUE on Proposed Renewal of .TRAVEL Registry
- Most Comments OPPOSE ICANN Extending URS Policy to dotTRAVEL
- ICANN is NOT a new gTLDs Marketing Agency: ICANN 53 Review, Part 3
- The dot SUCKS Conundrum: ICANN, FTC, OCA, New gTLD Domains
- What Caused ICANN President and CEO Fadi Chehadé To Quit?
- The REAL Domain Hogs: ICANN Officers, Staff, Lavish Pay, Benefits, Accountability Risks Institutionalized