08 May 2016

News Review: ICANN, IANA, AFRICA, WSIS, XYZ, Chinese Speculators

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Domain Mondo's review of the past week and look ahead [pdf here]:

• At ICANN not much happened this week as all the head honchos were partying in Geneva, Switzerland, at WSIS Forum 2016 (see further below). Comments close this week on two issues:
 In the IANA stewardship transition, there have been no new developments reported by ICANN or its "Community." The new ICANN bylaws posted for comment are the subject of considerable discussion on the various email lists of various stakeholder groups, CCWG-Accountability, CWG-Stewardship (Names), and ICG (IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group). One very important constituent body, the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), has already filed its formal comment to the proposed bylaws:
".... It is the IAB's firm belief that given the time remaining to successfully conclude the transition process in 2016, the only option is for the implementation process to remain faithful to the ICG and CCWG-Accountability proposals. We reiterate our recommendation that sections 1.1(d)(ii)(B)-(E) be deleted from the final Bylaws, and that section 1.1(d)(ii)(F) be amended such that it applies only to renewals of agreements described in section 1.1(d)(ii)(A)."
From early indications, other constituent groups within ICANN may be filing comments as well. Note that anyone may file a comment. Comments close 21 May 2016 23:59 UTC. See also: ICANN Posts Draft of New Bylaws For Public Comment Until May 21 | DomainMondo.com.

•  Speaking of bylaws, ICANN is presenting an "ICANN's Bylaws Amendment Process Webinar" on 9 May 2016 at 23:00 UTC for 60 minutes. Details here (pdf).

•  In DotConnectAfrica [DCA] Trust vs ICANN and ZACRICANN has withdrawn its Motion to Dismiss (pdf) "in view of the Court's order on DCA's Motion for Preliminary Injuction" (which DCA won), and Defendant ZACR has now filed its own Motion to Dismiss (pdf) set for hearing on May 31, 2016, at 9:00 am in the U.S. District Court at Los Angeles. See also: News Review: dotAFRICA, Public Interest, Judge Holds ICANN Accountable | DomainMondo.com.

• WSIS Forum 2016 concluded Friday in Geneva, Switzerland. To view the archived videos visit this link: https://www.itu.int/net4/wsis/forum/2016/Media/RP/Webcast/Archived/. If you ever try to remotely participate or observe any UN or UN agency "forum" like WSIS or other ITU events, you will likely find the official website is awkward to navigate and very difficult to find the sessions you are interested in viewing. WSIS Forum 2016 was no exception. Example: good luck trying to find the link above to the archived videos anywhere on the official WSIS website. The good news is that you missed nothing, nothing of substance happened at WSIS 2016. If still interested, you can find good summary reports of each session here: WSIS Forum 2016 | DigitalWatch.

•  Such a Deal! Namecheap.com is offering .XYZ domain names for only 44 cents through May 17, 2016. I once owned (as registrant) a .XYZ domain name. It was the only new gTLD domain name I have ever had in my portfolio. Network Solutions gave it to me for free (I didn't even ask for it, it was just added to my account). It was an exact match of a .COM domain name I then had at Network Solutions. I actually built a website on the .XYZ domain name as an 'experiment.' A year later (June, 2015), Network Solutions wanted almost $40 to renew the registration for 1 year. I called them up. At that point, everyone I talked to at Network Solutions had 'soured' on .XYZ, and wouldn't budge on the renewal fee. I actually would have renewed it had they been reasonable. I then contacted my two preferred reputable Domain Name Registars to see if I could transfer in the .XYZ domain name. One was neither offering .XYZ registrations nor accepting .XYZ transfers at that time. The other offered .XYZ registrations but was not accepting .XYZ transfers. I dropped the .XYZ domain name and have never looked back. My personal portfolio plan is to eventually eliminate everything but .COM domain names from the portfolio. Stick with the gold standard, it makes things so much easier.

Speaking of domain names, it's no secret that Chinese speculators, Chinese cybersquatters (trademark infringers), and Chinese cybercriminals, have registered over 50% of all new gTLD domain names to date (note: more intelligent and wealthier Chinese have invested heavily in .COM domain names). So what does the future hold for all those Chinese new gTLD domain name registrations? One new gTLD domain industry insider says:
"As the number of new domains added to the pool keeps growing faster than the number of real people looking to create a website, it is only a matter of time before reality catches up with the Chinese investors and the bubble bursts."--Francesco Cetraro, Head of Registry Operations for .CLOUD, writing in DomainNameWire.com May 6, 2016.
•  Missed noting this last week--Wall Street Journal readers are still upset with ICANN Chairman Steve Crocker's op-ed: WSJ Letters to the Editor: Why Change an Internet Regime That Works? - WSJ: "The only “risk” Mr. Crocker cites from “maintaining the status quo” is that other governments “may try to move control to organizations like the United Nations.” Don’t they already? ... Nowhere does Mr. Crocker explain how ceding U.S. stewardship 'will allow online innovation and productivity to continue to thrive'—nowhere!"

•  This week in tech: 
  • Unicorn bubble bursts? Venture capitalist, Bill Gurley, in a 5,500-word essay on his blog, AboveTheCrowd.com, writes:“All Unicorn participants—founders, company employees, venture investors and their limited partners (LPs)—are seeing their fortunes put at risk from the very nature of the Unicorn phenomenon itself ...” What went wrong? Gurley identifies the following: 1. Emotional biases2. “Dirty deals;” 3. Inscrutable financials; and last, but not least, 4. Too much money - “The reason we are all in this mess is because of the excessive amounts of capital that have poured into the VC-backed startup market. More money will not solve any of these problems—it will only contribute to them.”
  • Don't Cry for Marissa--Yahoo's Marissa Mayer gets $55M to leave | CNBC.com"The CEO of the embattled online news site, currently trying to sell itself, is entitled to severance benefits valued at $54.9 million in case she is terminated without cause"--not bad considering the stock lost a third of its value in 2015. See also Yahoo's $8 Billion Black Hole | Bloomberg.com: "Mayer’s struggles at Yahoo also underscore that in the Valley there are winners and smoking craters—but very few middle-of-the-road successes. Venture capitalists generally discourage their startups from becoming modestly profitable enterprises; they fund them until they blow up—one way or the other. The result of this system is a labor market that’s extremely fluid. As soon as a company’s growth slows, the best and brightest start looking for the exits."

•  Earnings Season ends this week on Domain Mondo's Earnings Calendar with Rightside $NAME reporting Tuesday, May 10, after market close. Thereafter, an upcoming post on Domain Mondo will include a scorecard on the Q1 2016 earnings season.

•  Five most popular posts this past week on DomainMondo.com (# of pageviews Sun-Sat):
 Other Reading Recommendations (some with a tease of content or my commentary):
  1. #Clueless in DC & NYC--The NYTimes.com mea culpa--The Republican Horse Race Is Over, and Journalism [Media, Establishment, Elitists from Wall Street to DC] Lost | NYTimes.com"Wrong, wrong, wrong — to the very end, we got it wrong [about Trump]." And to add insult to injury, "more recently — as in Tuesday — the data journalist Nate Silver, who founded the FiveThirtyEight.com website, gave Hillary Clinton90 percent chance of beating Bernie Sanders in Indiana. Mr. Sanders won by a comfortable margin of about five percentage points ... Every election cycle brings questionable news coverage ... But this season has been truly spectacular in its failings ..." Domain Mondo's advice? Get out of your bubble--it's nothing but an echo chamber--and start really listening. See also Why the media will lift Trump up and tear Clinton down | Vox.com. Also note that at the Sohn Conference this past week, Jeff Gundlach, 'King' of the bond market, said "Trump's going to win in November." Gundlach also said a Trump administration would likely include more government spending [fiscal stimulus], which is exactly what most economists and financiers say is needed to get us out of our current slow-growth economy.
  2. Is the Art Market a Leading Indicator? Bloomberg.com: "...“It’s a contraction in every sense,” said Todd Levin, director of Levin Art Group, who advises collectors. “There’s a wait and see approach. No one wants to catch a falling knife.”... Global art sales fell 7 percent last year to $63.8 billion, led by a slowdown in Asia ... The auction houses are competing for consignments amid falling oil prices, underperforming hedge funds and greater scrutiny of the art market. Governments in China, Europe and the U.S. are looking into the ways major art collections are used to hide ill-gotten wealth and avoid taxes. “The art market follows the 1 percent,” said James Chanos, an art collector and founder of Kynikos Associates LP. “Whether it’s the 1 percent in Brazil, Russia, China or America. Let’s face it: It hasn’t been a good year for the 1 percent.”..."
  3. Warranties and Representations on Purchasing Domain Names: What are they Worth? | CircleID.com: "There is no algorithm to check the USPTO database for corresponding trademarks. Is this the kind of adequate search called for by mVisible Technologies or does it fall short, and falling short is evidence of bad faith registration and bad faith use?"
  4. Go long INTC? Intel Made A Tactical Retreat On Smartphones | SeekingAlpha.com"Next-generation phones can work with laptop shells and standalone monitors. Intel's x86 processor IP is the only chip versatile enough to run any operating system ... ARM-based Android handsets that run Remix OS could become the next standard for productivity-focused phones ... SoFIA/Broxton were bad bets that needed to be folded. By doing so, Intel gets to use more money in defending its 90%-plus share in x86 server chips..." but also read Intel Starts To Face Reality | SeekingAlpha.com and Moore’s Law Running Out of Room, Tech Looks for a Successor | NYTimes.com.
  5. Google Winning the Old Fashioned Way: Inside Google's push to shape the rules of the driverless road | reuters.com: "Google has built a leading position - thanks not just to its tech expertise, but also its persistent lobbying."
  6. If Current Chatter About iPhone 7 Is True, Apple Shareholders Could Be In For A Lot More Pain | Forbes.com See also Apple’s Losing Streak Is Nearing Historic Levels - Bloomberg.com: "So far in 2016, Apple Inc. is the dog of the Dow." and Apple's Software Culture Is Hurting Its Future | SeekingAlpha.com"Apple should make larger, more daring acquisitions here, e.g. Slack. Ideally, they should be device-independent, i.e., web-based services that can be used both from Apple devices, integrating into the ecosystem, as well as from non-device owners ..." and Why Apple Won't Give Us Real Numbers | SeekingAlpha.com"Apple Pay introduced friction to a consumer who didn't have any problems paying for things in a store ..." More reason to worry if you are an $AAPL fan--see How Android gets to 100% market share | TechCrunch.com.
  7. China Freedom of the Press 2016 | freedomhouse.org See also Online censorship: A new flank in the US-China trade wars? | lowyinterpreter.org and WhatsApp, Used by 100 Million Brazilians, Was Shut Down Nationwide [Brazil] Today by a Single Judge | TheIntercept.com
  8. Less is MoreInvestors Join Buffett Slamming Hedge Fund Fees ... | Bloombeg.com: "Chris Ailman, chief investment officer for the $187 billion California State Teachers’ Retirement System, told Bloomberg Television that the two-and-twenty fee model is "broken" and “off the table” ...“Reducing your fees is your best return on capital ... So we focus very much on costs in every single asset class" ... Warren Buffett said that investors would be better off backing U.S. businesses through low-cost funds and ditching expensive money managers. Consultants steer investors to these managers who together have underperformed what you could get “sitting on your rear end” in index funds, he said on Saturday at the Berkshire Hathaway Inc. annual meeting." See also Hedge Fund Managers Lose Their Swagger | Bloomberg.com and Fund Fees Predict Future Success or Failure | Morningstar.com.
  9. ICANN vs. the Federal Reserve | CircleID.com"What's really going on here, is the powers that be are about to grant a perpetual franchise of control over who is who, and what is what, on the Internet. It's similar to the transfer of authority over the money supply by the U.S. Congress to the Federal Reserve. Except in ICANN's case, once the transfer is done, there will be no way to undo it." 
  10. Amen Brother!: “We’re saying what we actually think, not what we think people want to hear”--blogs.cfainstitute.org quoting Josh Brown, TheReformedBroker.com, a financial blog.
Have a great week!

-- John Poole, Editor, Domain Mondo




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