2016-08-28

News Review: Fear Campaigns; Dot Registry Challenges ICANN Monopoly

Domain Mondo's review and look ahead [pdf], starting first with the macro view, the big picture, after cutting through all the noise, which is also this week's first feature:

Feature Fear Campaigns: EU referendum vote for Brexit 'would spark year-long recession' | BBC.com May 24, 2016. Sound familiar? Citigroup: A Trump Victory in November Could Cause a Global Recession | Bloomberg.com August 25, 2016.

Reality check: While no one knows who will win the U.S. Presidential election (as of August 27, the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times "Daybreak" tracking poll shows Clinton and Trump virtually tied 44.6%-43.3%), any "expert" opinion that a Trump victory, or a Clinton victory, will cause a "global recession" should be treated as conjecture, hyperbole, bias, or just plain old hysterics. Legendary investor Warren Buffett, who endorsed Hillary Clinton, doesn't think that: Warren Buffett on Trump Presidency: We'll Be Fine | Fortune.com"Predicted the country, the economy and his company would continue to grow."  A Trump victory would most likely lead to a surge in economic prosperity according to billionaire bond investor Jeffrey Gundlach, who has not endorsed Trump nor said whether he would vote for him, but has predicted Trump will win:
Not only will Donald Trump win the November election, but his victory will propel U.S. economic growth higher. Trump will fuel a debt-driven increase in government spending, which will push GDP growth to levels reminiscent of the Ronald Reagan era. Trump will move ahead in the polls, despite criticism from the media, and as Trump’s inauguration approaches, the market will rally “for reasons people won’t understand." --Gundlach: Trump Will Be an Economic Success | AdvisorPerspectives.com
Even staunch Clinton supporter, and Nobel Prize-winning economist, Paul Krugman, agrees that Trump Is Right on Economics | Paul Krugman Op-Ed in The New York Times. And in fairness to the Citigroup "expert" source of the Bloomberg story first cited above, the headline is misleading. If you read the story all the way to the end, the source states that there could be a boost to the economy under either a Trump or Clinton administration.

None of this is meant to suggest voting for either Trump or Clinton (frankly, at this point I have grave reservations about both candidates), but I am pointing out that "fear" is a human emotion exploited by politicians, media, pundits, and hucksters (e.g., FUD, FOMO). Caveat Emptor!

And what about that Brexit Project Fear campaign waged, unsuccessfully, by the Remain camp? Well, besides Remain leaders David Cameron and George Osborne losing their jobs as Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer, respectively, the UK economy has not collapsed into recession either. Pro-Remain establishment media, e.g., the Financial Times (FT.com), are now beginning to eat crow:


Brexit apocalypse? No. The FT.com's economics reporter Emily Cadman and Lex writer Giles Wilkes take the temperature of the post-Brexit referendum economy. Video published August 25, 2016. See also: Pro-Remain billionaire Sir Martin Sorrell changes his tune on Brexit and calls on Theresa May to get us out of the EU as soon as possible | TheSun.co.uk.

Chart: FTSE 100 UP 7.89% since Brexit Vote on June 23rd
FTSE 100 UP 7.89% since Brexit Vote on June 23rd
The London Stock Exchange benchmark indexes: FTSE 100 up +7.89% since Brexit vote (see chart above) and FTSE 250  up +3.45% since the Brexit vote on June 23rd. Meanwhile the German DAX is ahead only 3.22%, and the French CAC40 (-0.54%) is still in negative territory, since June 23rd.

No one can "know" what the long-term impact of Brexit will be, on either the UK or EU, until the details are "known" of a post-Brexit UK-EU trade agreement, as well as other UK non-EU trade initiatives. Projections based on assumptions are speculative at best.  All of this just reaffirms what I cited three weeks ago: "There are no experts on the future. Explaining the present and the past requires expertise: “it’s your carburetor/prostate”. In forecasting the future, experts are generally no better than everybody else. They might be worse."--rationaloptimist.comSee also Barry Ritholtz on the folly of forecasts (and see this, this and this), "... it is worth reminding ourselves just how terrible humans are at predicting ... what will happen in markets and/or the economy."
____________

Feature • Dot Registry Challenges ICANN Monopoly

On Friday, new gTLD applicant Dot Registry LLC, filed a motion in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (No. 16-55693, No. 16-55694) for leave to file an Amicus Curiae ("friend of the Court") brief in support of Plaintiff-Appellee DotConnectAfrica Trust (DCA Trust). The motion and tendered brief can be reviewed in full here and here (pdf) (highlighting added). Dot Registry is supporting DCA Trust's argument that ICANN's "release" from liability required of all new gTLD applicants is unenforceable under California Civil Code Sec. 1688 and is also unconscionable. In its tendered brief, Dot Registry refers to ICANN as a monopolist and repeatedly refers to ICANN's "monopoly" in the domain name space:
"ICANN exercises monopoly power over a critical channel of commerce. It may not lawfully use that power to exempt its decisions from any binding review by a court or arbitrator in any forum. California courts will not enforce contracts that are unconscionable. [citing authorities]"--p. 11
Dot Registry Amicus Curiae Brief  Table of  Contents
Other ICANN and Domain Name News:

•  ICANN and UDRP Trademark AbuseMystery over entertainment tycoon’s web of trademarks, domains and company names | Blog | WorldTrademarkReview.com: "manipulating trademarks to reverse hijack domain names through [ICANN's] UDRP"--i.e., how some lawyers and other "bad actors" grab domain names using ICANN processes. ICANN set up the UDRP [Uniform Dispute Resolution Process] in 1999 and provided no penalties for anyone filing meritless UDRP claims or otherwise attempting to take domain names through UDRP processes via trademark abuse. ICANN has known about this problem since at least 2001--see ICANN Hates Fairness and Predictability? So What's New?--but, in typical ICANN GNSO fashion has "put the cart before the horse" by delaying a review of the issue in its current GNSO working group:
"GNSO Working Group that will be conducting a Policy Development Process (PDP) to Review all Rights Protection Mechanisms (RPMs) in all gTLDs. This PDP is being conducted in two phases, as described in the approved charter: Phase One will focus on a review of all the RPMs that were developed for the 2012 New gTLD Program, and Phase Two will focus on a review of the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP)." 

•  Another Government Land Grab in the [Domain] Name Space | InternetGovernance.org: "... ICANN has paved the way for [governments] ... to assert sovereignty and property rights over two letter domains at the second level domain of new gTLDs (2LSLDs) ..."

•  Sticky or Stuck? Has anyone successfully pointed a Weebly hosted Domain to Webflow? [Solved] Webflow Forums | webflow.com"... Apparently if you purchased a domain name via Weebly, you can only change nameservers, and A/CNAME records are not available for modification. I suggest transferring the domain name to a proper domain name registrar."

•  Crowdfunding campaign for new gTLD .GAY applicant dotgay LLC via Generosity.com.

•  Comments close this coming week at ICANN on:

•  Tech News:
  1. EU vs Apple and Ireland: Brussels poised to strike down Apple ‘state aid’ | FT.com: "Brussels is poised to hand down an adverse ruling against Ireland after a three-year inquiry into claims the country granted an illegal tax arrangement to Apple, the world’s biggest tech company." See also US Treasury White Paper (pdf).
  2. Google's Russian antitrust case, global implications "... the Russian agency has issued a fine and given Google eight days to update its distribution deals and inform existing Android users about ways they can install competitive apps. Google has one more appeal left ... other governments, including the U.S., South Korea and in the EU, could be reevaluating their antitrust reviews of the Android operating system, the crux of Google’s global growth plan."--POLITICO.com
  3. Google petitions Supreme Court on Chrome and Patent Claims | Fortune.com“Overbroad patent claims are a plague, especially in the vital and growing high-tech sector … All of this plays into the hands of entities that buy patents and then use litigation or the threat of litigation to extract settlements from alleged infringers,” says Google petition. See also Patentlyo.com.
  4. Peter Thiel is investing in startup Legalist (domain: legalist.us), that analyzes lawsuits to determine likelihood of victory and offers funding in exchange for half the judgment--TheGuardian.comCaveat: see Champerty and maintenance | Wikipedia.org.
  5. Relaxing Privacy Vow, WhatsApp Will Share Some Data With Facebook--NYTimes.com.
  6. Alphabet's X division puts new leader on Project Loon: Tom Moore, co-founder of WildBlue Communications (acquired by ViaSat in 2009).--Bloomberg,com. See also Alphabet CEO ordered Google Fiber to downsize--ArsTechnica.com.
  7. The Metagame: A Monetization Opportunity For Twitter? "Twitter gets the metagame trend. Monetizing a metagame platform ..."--SeekingAlpha.com
  8. Evidence points to another Snowden at the NSA"NSA may prove to be one of Washington’s greatest liabilities rather than assets."--Reuters.com
  9. In the Bitcoin Era, Ransomware Attacks Surge"The Federal Bureau of Investigation said ransomware attacks cost victims $209 million in the first three months of the year, including costs, such as lost productivity and staff time to recover files, that is an average of about $333,000 an incident, based on complaints that it has received. The total is up from $24 million for all of 2015, or about $10,000 an infection, the FBI said."--WSJ.com
  10. Apple iPhone vs Web Services"... Why buy a $700 iPhone when a $200 Android phone can access the same YouTube or Amazon Music as everyone else? All you need to do to get new Facebook features is refresh your browser or update your app. You don't need a high-performance device to participate in the 21st century ... And it could be a dire omen for high-margin hardware companies like Apple."--BusinessInsider.com
  11. Eleven Reasons To Be Excited About The Future of Technology--Chris Dixon, Medium.com.

Four most popular posts (# of pageviews Sun-Sat) this week on DomainMondo.com:
  1. News Review [21Aug]: IANA Stewardship Transition, Vint Cerf Retrospective (video):
  2. New gTLD AFRICA Appeal: DCA Trust Answering Brief vs ICANN & ZACR
  3. Strange Bedfellows: Vanke, Chinese Tycoon Wang Shi, and China (videos)
  4. Italy's Banks in Crisis, Final Nail in the Coffin for the EU and Euro? (videos)

4 Other Reading Recommendations:
  1. China's Best Bank Called 'Mirage' of Shadow Lending | Bloomberg.com"Case of Bank of Tangshan highlights opaque financial risks across the nation."
  2. Here’s another reason not to trust TV news reports about election polls | WashingtonPost.com"... Such judgments may lead news outlets to distort the true state of the race ..." See also: Bizarre Media Blackout Of Hacked George Soros Documents | investors.com
  3. "Markets Are Ripe For A Black Swan Event" - Why Most 'Well Hedged' Funds Won't Survive | Zero Hedge.com and "Seven Signs Of A Deeply Dysfunctional Market" - Why Citi Is Also Warning Of "Surprising, Sudden, Intense" Tail Risk | ZeroHedge.com.
  4. Retirement? Indie Publisher Fahrenheit Press on Running a Small Publishing House | DigitalBookWorld.com: "I was quite reluctant, but the truth is that retirement is boring. I decided that if I was going to do it at all I should do it properly but only if I could do it 100 percent on my own terms."

-- John Poole, Editor, Domain Mondo 

feedback & comments via twitter @DomainMondo


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