2016-07-03

News Review: ICANN56, RZMA & .COM, WS2, IANA Transition, $NAME

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

•  ICANN56 policy forum meeting was in Helsinki this past week. For more, including the CENTR report and GAC Communique, read: ICANN56 Helsinki, ICANN Policy Forum, June 27-30, Info & Links | DomainMondo.com.

 In the IANA stewardship transition, after a long, unexplained delay, ICANN published for review the RZMA (Root Zone Maintainer Agreement) between ICANN and Verisign, and published for public comment the .COM registry agreement amendment. For more read: ICANN Finally Publishes Verisign .COM Extension Agreement & RZMA | DomainMondo.com.

•  WS2 Timeline: at ICANN56 during a CCWG-Accountability session, the following timeline was presented for ICANN Accountability Work Stream 2 (WS2):
CCWG-Accountability Work Stream 2 (WS2) Proposed Timeline (source: ICANN56 session, June 26, 2016)
WS2 topics include: ICANN jurisdiction, human rights, diversity, IRP "Phase Two" (carry-over from WS1), Ombudsman, Guidelines on Good Faith Conduct in Participating in Board Removal Discussions, SO/AC accountability, ICANN staff accountability, Transparency, and Reviewing the CEP (as set forth in Section 4.3). For more go to WS2 - Enhancing ICANN Accountability Home | ICANN.org. The goal is to complete WS2 work by June 2017, and within budget ($8.8 million budget FY17). ICANN management and the ICANN community mismanaged "control of costs" in WS1 and the IANA transition planning during FY15 and FY16, with total reported expenses exceeding $28 million dollars. Now the ICANN Board has proposed "cost controls" upon the ICANN community for WS2. For more information read: Proposed Cost Control Mechanisms for Transition and Accountability Work in FY17 (pdf) and  News Review [12Jun]: IANA Transition Has Already Cost ICANN Over $28 Million | DomainMondo.com.

• U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte on Monday, June 27, 2016, wrote to Larry Strickling, NTIA, raising concerns including the IANA transition may be premature, unconstitutional, or illegal, and requested a response from NTIA by July 22. Read more at IANA Transition Premature say Grassley & Goodlatte in Letter to NTIA | DomainMondo.com.

•  NTIA's Larry Strickling responded to US Senator Marco Rubio by letter on June 27, 2016 (pdf) telling him that a delay of the U.S. government's handoff of some of the internet's technical functions is "unnecessary" and would have implications for the "credibility of the United States in the global community" but acknowledged that if all the transition work is not complete, NTIA can extend its contract.

•  Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton endorsed the IANA transition on June 27th in her Initiative on Technology & Innovation. While Republicans in Congress have raised concerns including whether the IANA transition is premature, unconstitutional or illegal (see above), Presidential candidate Donald Trump's position is yet unknown, although the Trump campaign's legal counsel is Jones Day, the same law firm that represents ICANN. Read more at Hillary Clinton Endorses Obama's IANA Stewardship Transition, Reaction | DomainMondo.com.

Federal regulation of Internet coming, warn FCC, FEC commissioners: "Pai and Goodman cited political correctness campaigns by Democrats as a threat. Both also said their agencies are becoming politicized and the liberals are using their power to push regulations that impact business and conservative outlets and voices."--WashingtonExaminer.com

  Replace ICANN? China, Russia sign joint statement ... | Xinhuanet.com [Google translation from the statement]: "We maintain that all countries have the right to equal participation in Internet governance, in accordance with national law ... We propose the establishment of a multilateral, democratic and transparent system of Internet governance, support for the United Nations to play an important role in establishing the international aspects of Internet governance mechanisms." (emphasis added)

  Where Is China’s Internet Headed? | ChinaFile.com: "... In Xu Lin (Lu’s successor as Internet Czar), Xi Jinping has appointed someone he knows, he trusts, and he has worked with—someone who will make Internet policy even tighter and tougher ... The upcoming Wuzhen Internet Summit in November will be a chance for China to focus more on how to govern the Internet and to seek global allies. U.S. or European observers often forget that China is not alone in its fear of a free Internet ..."

 In the new gTLD .AFRICA litigation pending in U.S. District Court at Los Angeles, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal (interlocutory appeal of the preliminary injunction Order enjoining ICANN from delegating .AFRICA), dismissed party defendant ZACR has also filed an appeal, and ICANN amended its notice of appeal to include the District Court's Order denying ICANN's motion to reconsider. ICANN filed its opening brief June 29. Read more at ICANN and Dot AFRICA: Dismissed Party ZACR Files Notice of Appeal | DomainMondo.com.

 The Chairman’s Blog: The ICANN Ombudsman | ICANN.org"The role of the ICANN Ombudsman ... is currently being examined in Work Stream 2 (WS2) of the CCWG-Accountability ... after five years as ICANN’s Ombudsman, Chris LaHatte’s contract comes to an end on 27 July 2016. Pending the conclusion of the community work, Herb Waye, the current Adjunct Ombudsman, will assume the role of Ombudsman, starting 28 July 2016 ... "

NETmundial Initiative dead and gone? Former ICANN President & CEO Fadi Chehade's  personal vanity project--the so-called NETmundial Initiative--has apparently died and been buried without so much as a proper funeral. A meeting was supposed to occur June 8, 2016, but didn't happen. The website and Twitter account are still standing but appear to have been abandoned. Besides being a complete waste of ICANN resources, money and staff time, as well as outside ICANN's mission and scope, the project now serves as a good example to the ICANN community of dysfunctional leadership (former ICANN President & CEO), enabled by weak, inept corporate governance (ICANN Board of Directors). For background read NETmundial Initiative, WEF and ICANN Withdrawal, Consequences | DomainMondo.com (Feb 26, 2016).

• Who Really Cares About New gTLDs? | circleid.com by trademark, domain name, and internet lawyer Doug Isenberg: "... Many of the new registrations are speculative, defensive or infringing — none of which seems to be sustainable ... Ultimately, it seems as if a relatively small number of the now 1,000+ new gTLDs are likely to gain much traction ..."

Dot GAY UpdateBlog Update: BGC's Comments on Recent Reconsideration Request | ICANN.org"Earlier this week ICANN's Board Governance Committee (BGC) recommended that the ICANN Board deny a Reconsideration Request from dotgay LLC, in which it objected to emails to authors of letters of support having been sent by an administrator at the Community Priority Evaluation (CPE) provider rather than an evaluator ... Four applicants for .GAY remain in contention (including dotgay LLC), and we look forward to the award of the .GAY TLD in the near future ..."

• June 30, 2016, marked the end of ICANN's FY2016 (ending June 30, 2016), but if past performance is any indicator, ICANN's financial disclosures to the "global multistakeholder community" as required by ICANN 's articles, bylaws, or applicable law, will be delayed, even beyond their "due date(s)." For more, including the ICANN FY2017 budget (ending June 30, 2017), go here: https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/governance/current-en.

•  Comments close this coming week at ICANN on:
1. Draft Restated Articles of Incorporation Close 6 Jul 2016 23:59 UTC
2. Draft Root Zone Evolution Review Committee (RZERC) Charter Close 10 Jul 2016 23:59 UTC

•  Verisign reported a domain name base as of  June 30, 2016127,424,320 .COM domain names; and 15,780,421 .NET domain names; for a total of 143,204,741 (.COM + .NET ). Note that Verisign reported, as of December. 31, 2015, a domain name base of registered domain names in .COM of 124 million names, and in .NET 15.8 million names. Therefore, net growth in registered .COM domain names over the past six months equals approximately 3.4 million names, while net growth in.NET domain names has been flat.

See alsoVerisign: Time To Make Some Real Money | SeekingAlpha.com: "... VeriSign is a long-term play - its shares aren't for those looking to make a quick buck ... The company continues to see increases in revenue and cash flow on the back of its strong competitive advantages and business model. It's not every day you find businesses with a great moat like VeriSign trading at a reasonable valuation ... Notable shareholders: Berkshire Hathaway, Paul Singer, Ron Baron, Joel Greenblatt ..." and Active Equities to Watch in the Technology Sector | MarketWatch.com: "[VeriSign] stock finished Thursday's session 2.33% higher at $86.46 with a total volume of 979,071 shares traded. Over the last one month and the previous one year, the Company's shares have advanced 1.26% and 36.59%, respectively. The stock is trading above its 50-day and 200-day moving averages by 1.23% and 4.24%, respectively. VeriSign's stock traded at a PE ratio of 29.03 and has a Relative Strength Index (RSI) of 54.51."

Brexit: read Brexit Postscript: FTSE100 Roars, Theresa May, Sword in Hand, Next PM? | DomainMondo.com.

$Name in Play? follow-up: Rightside shares (NASDAQ: NAME] moved UP 15.45% this past week, closing Friday at $10.61. $NAME has not traded this high since 2014, its first year of trading following the spin-off from Demand Media, and the current run was losing steam by the end of the week. Unless there is further news from Donuts or Rightside management or other(s)Caveat Emptor [see Disclaimer].

*$NAME UPDATE July 5, 2016Rightside® Board of Directors Rejects Donuts' Unsolicited Proposal--"Proposal Substantially Undervalues Rightside's Registry Business and is Not in the Best Interest of Shareholders"--$NAME (NASDAQ: NAME) shares UP July 5, 1:43 PM EDT at $10.75 USD +0.14 (1.32%).

•  Earnings Season: June 30th marked the end of the second quarter of 2016 (Q2 2016) so publicly traded companies will be reporting their Q2 2016 financial results over the next few weeks. Domain Mondo coverage will include 12 technology and domain name industry stocks:
  • Alibaba BABA
  • Alphabet GOOG
  • Amazon AMZN
  • Apple AAPL
  • Facebook FB
  • GoDaddy GDDY
  • Neustar NSR
  • Rightside NAME 
  • Twitter TWTR
  • Verisign VRSN
  • Web.com WEB
  • Yahoo YHOO
Scheduled release dates for earning results and webcasts will be posted on the stock links page.

•  Five most popular posts (# of pageviews Sun-Sat) this week on DomainMondo.com:
 Other Reading Recommendations:
  1. Jurisdiction: The Taboo Topic at ICANN | The Centre for Internet and Society | cis-india.org"The "IANA Transition" that is currently underway is a sham since it doesn't address the most important question: that of jurisdiction. This article explores why the issue of jurisdiction is the most important question, and why it remains unaddressed ..."
  2. Is ICANN “Jurisdiction Shopping”? | Lexology.com: "... where ICANN is formed – and therefore the general jurisdiction under which ICANN operates – has far reaching implications. This is especially so for individuals and corporations who are used to ICANN operating under predictable United States law, with all of its due process and human rights protections and appeal mechanisms. However, that could all be changing. At least one member of WS2 bluntly suggested that the WS2 group is “jurisdiction shopping.”..."
  3. Last August But Still RelevantTransparency and Accountability in the ICANN Structure | ALAC | ICANN.org by Garth Bruen (last modified on Aug 21, 2015):  ... compliance is under the direction of ICANN domain business. This is a serious problem. The attached memo explains the situation and provides some suggestions for remedying the issue in order to ensure true accountability of ICANN especially as the IANA transition moves forward. As we consider IANA Transition work in the context of accountability and transparency to the stakeholder community I would encourage all to review the current structure of ICANN’s compliance functions. What ICANN has at the moment is an inherent conflict of interest in the management of compliance ..."
  4. Wise Chinese Domainer AdviceIs it really a domain upgrade? | coreile.com"... In this internet age, a good domain name is paramount. A short, exact matching domain name on .com is the best choice because it requires the least effort for customers to remember both your brand name and where to find you on the internet ..."
  5. Cybersquatting complaints against .COM domains are dropping | DomainNameWire.com
  6. But maybe you don't need a domain nameChina Digital Consumer Study 2016 | ChinaInternetWatch.comWeChat [app] online shoppers to double in 2016
  7. So Hey You Should Stop Using Texts for Two-Factor Authentication | WIRED.com"... Twitter, like other services that store your sensitive data, may soon be offering a second-factor option other than the rickety telephone line that SMS represents. And security-conscious users should take it."
  8. Death & TaxesGoogle offices in Spain raided in tax investigation | telegraph.co.uk.
  9. Attention Apple $AAPL InvestorsEverybody Already Hates iPhone 7, So Prepare To Buy Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) | SeekingAlpha.com by Scott Tzu: "We think the iPhone 7 is going to flop with sales and in the media, and we think peak hatred for this phone is going to create an extraordinary buying opportunity in the high $80's, prior to the iPhone 8 narrative beginning ..."
To those in the USA, have a happy 4th of July, and to all, have a great week!

-- John Poole, Editor, Domain Mondo


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