2016-07-17

News Review: ICANN Secretly Colludes With New gTLD Registry Operators

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Domain Mondo's review and look ahead [pdf], starting with a macro view:
US (NYSE & NASDAQ) benchmark index S&P500 UP 2.29%, and
UK (London Stock Exchange) index FTSE100 UP 5.22% since Brexit vote on June 23
"... the arguments for big short-run damage from Brexit look quite weak ... Indeed, the rebound in British stocks, which are now above pre-Brexit levels, is already causing some backlash against conventional economists and their Chicken Little warnings. Sorry, people, sloppy thinking is always a vice, no matter what cause it’s used for." -- Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize-winning economist, June 30, 2016, NYTimes.com
 FEATURE: ICANN Secretly Colludes With New gTLD Registry Operators
"ICANN has always been and will continue to be subject to antitrust laws" --Larry Strickling, NTIA, July 14, 2016,  ICANN, NTIA, IANA Transition, Fundamental Problems, the Macro View | DomainMondo.com
On July 12, 2016, I emailed ICANN, asking several questions about the Proposed Amendments to Base New gTLD Registry Agreement, public comments to which now close 20 Jul 2016 at 23:59 UTC (extended from 13 July 2016).

In last week's News Review I noted:
"If you are a domain name registrant (particularly a new gTLD domain name registrant), read the comments already submitted by George Kirikos here and here, and submit your own comment by the deadline. All comments submitted may be read on the comments forum. Also note that ICANN said it would hold a webinar in June on the proposed amendments, but that turned out to be just another broken promise by the dysfunctional ICANN, confirming once again, that for ICANN, domain name registrants are just a resource for exploitation in the form of gTLD name registration and renewal fees, as well as exploitation by ICANN's contracted parties (gTLD registry operators and registrars). Always remember that ICANN leadership (former ICANN President & CEO Fadi Chehade, and his crony, ICANN Global Domains Division President Akram Atallah), referred to new gTLD registry operators as the true "customers" and "partners" of ICANN. Caveat Emptor." 
Below are excerpts from the questions I emailed (italics) and the responses I received from ICANN's Cyrus Namazi, together with my note follow-up comments:

Questions:
On 31 May 2016, Cyrus Namazi, ICANN Vice President, Domain Name Services & Industry Engagement, Global Domains Division, wrote a blog post on the ICANN.org website titled "Amending the New gTLD Registry Agreement" https://www.icann.org/news/blog/amending-the-new-gtld-registry-agreement stating:
"After nearly 18 months of discussions, the revisions proposed by the RySG that ICANN agreed to have been made available to the community for comment today ... ICANN plans to hold a webinar in June 2016 to review the proposed changes in detail and provide an opportunity for community members to ask questions. Stay tuned for an announcement with more information."
1. When and where was the ICANN webinar in "June 2016" held to "review the proposed changes in detail and provide an opportunity for community members to ask questions"?

2. What is the URL of the webpage where notice of the webinar, including its date and time and means of attending, was given to the ICANN community, or the global internet community of domain name registrants (who are directly and detrimentally impacted and affected by the proposal), which Mr. Namazi indicates was negotiated in secret ("discussions") over a period of eighteen (18) months, between ICANN and ICANN's Registries Stakeholder Group (RySG), representing ICANN's contracted parties which are each granted exclusive worldwide monopolies by ICANN (itself a soon-to-be "unregulated global monopoly")?

ICANN response: ICANN hosted a webinar using Adobe Connect titled, “Amending the New gTLD Registry Agreement” on 14 June 2016 at 16:00 UTC.  The webinar was publicized via direct email, sent  9 June 2016, to new gTLD applicants and gTLD registries subject to the amendment process. 

My note: In other words, domain name registrants are not part of the "ICANN community" and were not invited, received no notice, and were not allowed to attend ICANN's webinar to "review the proposed changes in detail" nor given an opportunity "to ask questions."

Question:
9. Is it the policy or customary practice of ICANN that domain name registrants, and their interests, are to have no representation in "negotiations" or "discussions" concerning material changes to Registry Agreements which directly and detrimentally impact or affect domain name registrants worldwide?

ICANN response: "Regarding your questions about the negotiations, ICANN was represented by its lawyers and a cross-functional team of staff members from its Global Domains Division, Contractual Compliance department, and Office of the Chief Technology Officer. Registries were represented by a working group appointed by the Registries Stakeholder Group, as specified in the base New gTLD Registry Agreement. Meetings took place about once per month and were conducted both telephonically and in-person at ICANN meetings."

My note: In other words, ICANN, the California corporation, had representation, as did new gTLD Registry Operators. Domain name registrants were not represented, although they are directly and detrimentally affected and impacted by the proposed amendments, and suffer from the continuing incompetence and hostility of ICANN management and staff towards domain name registrants. As noted last week, for ICANN, domain name registrants are just a resource to be exploited, financially and otherwise. For registrants, here is a resource for private antitrust actions--[http://www.antitrustinstitute.org/content/private-enforcement-antitrust-law-united-states-handbook]--yes, in the USA, unlike most of the world, private antitrust actions are allowed and encouraged. Also check out this introduction to "cartels and collusion." At this rate, some plaintiff antitrust law firms are going to get rich off arrogant ICANN and its new gTLD "partners," after September 30, 2016. And I'm sure Jones Day will gladly defend ICANN, to its last dollar! 

Comments also close this coming week at ICANN on Reference Label Generation Rulesets (LGRs) for the Second Level: Close Date 18 Jul 2016 23:59 UTC.

•  "Over 50% of [new gTLDs] will be operating at a loss for the next year"--New Top Level Domain Industry First Half 2016 Analysis & Insights (Infographic) | circleid.com.

•   90-day Root Zone Management System "Parallel Testing" Period Ends Successfully [6 July 2016] | ICANN.org"The authorization process step performed by NTIA will be removed upon the successful completion of the IANA Stewardship Transition, currently projected for 30 September 2016. Until then, the authoritative root zone file will continue to be produced by the production RZMS that contains the authorization step performed by NTIA."

•  Five most popular posts (# of pageviews Sun-Sat) this week on DomainMondo.com:
Most Domain Mondo readers this past week (top 3 countries): U.S.; Germany; France.

 Other Reading Recommendations:
  1. Keep calm and Brexit on: History suggests leaving Europe is great for Britain — Quartz | qz.com: " Do you think it reasonable that the United States should have to become a member of the EU and adopt all the EU laws and regulations in order to have free trade with it? Or, alternatively, that the EU should become a state of the United States?"
  2. Algorithms are noise-free. People are not.”--Daniel Kahneman’s Strategy for How Your Firm Can Think Smarter | knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu: "... human beings are unknowingly hamstrung by overconfidence, limited attention, cognitive biases and other psychological factors which inevitably cause errors in judgment. These factors affect everything from how we invest in stocks, to how we respond to marketing offers, to how we choose which sandwich to buy for lunch. “We’re fundamentally over-confident in the sense that we jump to conclusions — and to complete, coherent stories — to create interpretations,” said Kahneman. “So we misunderstand situations, spontaneously and automatically. And that’s very difficult to control.”  Furthermore, he said, much of human error is not even attributable to a systematic cause, but to noise.” “When people think about error, we tend to think about biases…. But in fact, a lot of the errors that people make is simply noise, in the sense that it’s random, unpredictable, it cannot be explained.”
  3. Keep an Eye on the [US$] Dollar: It’s More Important than Ever | WolfStreet.com: "... In a world where the debt of several major economic powers is trading at negative yields (you actually have to pay to hold German and Japanese government debt, for example), the dollar offers at least some return for those looking for a safe haven for their capital. That makes it an even better “fear indicator” than usual, and movement in the dollar is therefore likely to have an exaggerated effect on oil, where global demand is more important than local conditions..."
  4. Geopolitical WatchChina's claims over South China Sea rejected by Hague Tribunal | Shanghaiist.com
  5. Dinosaur WatchMicrosoft: Windows 10 won't hit 1 billion devices by mid-2018 | ZDNet.com"Since April 2015, the bottom has fallen out of the Windows Phone market, with Microsoft officials conceding that Windows Phone isn't much of a focus for Microsoft in calendar 2016."
Keep up with U.S. Election 2016 coverage, including the Trumpvention in Cleveland this coming week, on Domain Mondo's election page.

-- John Poole, Editor, Domain Mondo

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