29 December 2016

Caveat Emptor Domain Name Registrants re: ICANN Base New gTLD RA

There is now no question that ICANN, post-IANA transition, is a domain name industry-captured organization and does not operate in the global public interest, but completely disregards the interests of domain name registrants. Ted Cruz may have been right, the IANA transition may have been a terrible mistake, premature at best. Maybe Trump can do something.
Caveat Emptor new gTLD domain name registrants: ICANN intends to eliminate price increase transparency for new gTLD domain names in its ICANN base new gTLD Registry Agreement (RA):
"Comments on the proposed amendments. A number of comments relate to the proposed amendments to Sections 2.9 and 2.10. The proposed amendment removes the requirement that a Registry Operator notify ICANN (in addition to its contracted ICANN accredited registrar partners) of increases in the price charged by a Registry Operator to register a domain name in the TLD. ICANN and the Working Group agreed to this modification for several reasons. First, it should be noted that a Registry Operator is not required to provide ICANN with the registration pricing initially charged to ICANN accredited registrars to register names in a TLD. Second, the price charged by Registry Operators is viewed as the “wholesale” price for registering a domain name in a TLD and is not necessarily the price ultimately charged to registrants by ICANN accredited registrars. As such, Registry Operator’s pricing is only one data point that leads to the price charged to registrants, and the disclosure and analysis of this data may be misleading to registrants. Third, it is not necessary for ICANN to be notified of price increases in order to ensure Registry Operator’s compliance with the substantive requirements of Section 2.10 as ICANN’s compliance department is entitled to request this information as part of its normal compliance process. Fourth, ICANN is concerned that collecting, retaining and analyzing this information could be seen as ICANN playing a role in the pricing policies and decision-making of Registry Operators, which historically ICANN has not done."--Updated ICANN Staff Report on Proposed Amendments to Base New gTLD Registry Agreement (pdf) at page 9 (emphasis added).
What's wrong with removing price increase transparency? Healthy competition in a free market is destroyed when price transparency is removed:
A 'free market' in healthcare is doomed | LATimes.comUnleashing the power of choice and competition is the best way to lower healthcare costs and improve quality,” declares House Speaker Paul Ryan in his conservative manifesto “A Better Way.” The problem with that, however, is that the healthcare industry — hospitals, drug companies, insurers — have worked tirelessly to prevent the medical marketplace from functioning with sufficient transparency and efficiency to allow consumers to benefit from classic supply-and-demand economics. Instead, the opaque and frequently unfathomable healthcare market promotes runaway corporate greed that often can be countered only by shaming businesses into behaving fairly and responsibly.
And that Fourth reason for not even collecting and publishing pricing information:
Fourth, ICANN is concerned that [merely] collecting, retaining and analyzing this information could be seen as ICANN playing a role in the pricing policies and decision-making of Registry Operators, which historically ICANN has not done."
"ICANN is concerned"? Really? How so? Sounds like ICANN can not handle the responsibility of being a responsible steward acting in the global public interest--pricing information should be transparent to everyone in a free competitive market--but ICANN shirks its responsibilities to the global internet community, which includes domain name registrants!

ICANN obviously never really wanted "competition" in the domain name marketplace, instead ICANN prefers crony capitalism and monopolistic franchises exploiting domain name registrants, enabling opaque pricing that encourages the 'runaway greed' of ICANN's "partners," the gTLD domain name registry operators. Likewise the ICANN fee waivers enabled by the amendments will encourage gTLD registry operators' dependency upon ICANN for favoritism, and will ultimately lead to corruption between ICANN management/staff and the gTLD registry operators.

ICANN Publishes Updated Staff Report on Proposed Amendments to Base New gTLD Registry Agreement | ICANN.org
Los Angeles – 22 December 2016 – "ICANN today published a revised Staff Report of Public Comment Proceeding regarding Proposed Amendments to Base New gTLD Registry Agreement. Read the Reissued Report [PDF, 544 KB]. The reissued report supplements the staff report published on 17 August 2016 and includes additional explanatory text in Section I and a revised Section IV to reflect an analysis of the public comments by ICANN and the Working Group. More Information: Public Comment: Proposed Amendments to Base New gTLD Registry Agreement." Updated as of 22 December 2016:
"This Staff Report (see Reissued Report below) supplements the Staff Report published on 17 August 2016 to include additional explanatory text in Section I and a revised Section IV to reflect discussions between ICANN and the Working Group in response to the public comments. On 17 August 2016, ICANN published a summary report outlining comments received and committed to later publish an updated Report of Public Comment Proceeding to include analysis of the public comments, once considered with the Working Group as provided for in the Registry Agreement. For convenience, Sections I, II, and III have been reproduced from the 17 August 2016 Staff Report below for reference. As a result of the analysis, a few minor adjustments were made to the originally posted amendment. The updated version is reflected in the clean and redlined documents below:
Background:

Clean version of amended base New gTLD Registry Agreement as of December 2016:



Redlines from previous version of the amended base New gTLD Registry Agreement as of December 2016:



Updated Next Steps according to ICANN: "According to Section 7.7(c) of the Registry Agreement, the Proposed Revisions shall be submitted for Registry Operator Approval (as defined in Section 7.6) and approval by the ICANN Board of Directors. If such approvals are obtained, the Proposed Revisions shall be deemed an Approved Amendment (as defined in Section 7.6) by the Applicable Registry Operators and ICANN, and shall be effected and deemed an amendment to this Agreement upon sixty (60) calendar days notice from ICANN to Registry Operator."


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