For Domain Name Registrants, ICANN Is Useless

When it comes to protecting Domain Name Registrants, and their interests, almost everyone who is knowledgeable, knows that ICANN is pretty much useless and inept -- even willfully so -- here's a good example -- read the ICANN dot Com Registry Agreement with Verisign and ask yourself why the limitation on fees Verisign can charge is not there AND was not as a result of ICANN action but ONLY by action of the US Government in its separate Amendment 32 to the Cooperative Agreement with Verisign which extended the term of the Cooperative Agreement through November 30, 2018, and provided the Maximum Price (as defined in the 2012 .com Registry Agreement) of a .com domain name shall not exceed $7.85 [subject to a limited right to seek increase approval from the Department of Commerce.]*

Here's what one blogger remarked at the time (2012):

Verisign loses right to increase .com prices | DomainIncite: "...[Amendment 32 is] also an embarrassment to ICANN, which seems to have demonstrated that it’s less capable of looking after the interests of registrants than the US government..."

Let's repeat that: ICANN has demonstrated, time and time again, that ICANN is less capable of looking after the interests of domain name registrants than the US government -- or almost any government! Just look how ICANN sold domain name registrants down the river in the new gTLD domain name renewal fees!

As a domain name registrant, do you think I want the US government to just walk away from its oversight role of ICANN? I would then have no protection! My big complaint is that US government oversight of ICANN has been, in reality, almost no oversight, all to the detriment of all domain name registrants. As a domain name registrant, I would rather have some kind of multilateral internet governance -- multilateral means governments would have the final say in all matters concerning domain names and domain name system public policy -- than the severely flawed multistakeholderism as practiced within ICANNICANN is conflicted, co-opted, and corrupted, and the condition is systemic. The world needs to stop being in denial. ICANN has not been a good steward of the domain name system and ICANN has demonstrated it is incapable of looking after the interests of domain name registrants. ICANN needs to be replaced.

ICANN ought to be embarrassed -- and ashamed. As far as domain name registrants go, ICANN is really worse than useless. ICANN appears to be interested only in the money -- ICANN protects and promotes registry operators and registrars over the public interest and the interests of domain name registrants -- just look at how pathetic "ICANN's Domain Name Registrants' Rights" really are. This is just one more reason, of many, why IANA should be separated from ICANN, and then ICANN should be replaced.

*Postscript: The role of the Internet Commerce Association (ICA) in protecting domain name registrants in the Verisign dot Com fees case was pivotal. Here are some other organizations that actually help protect and defend domain name registrants -- a real life example --

Kentucky Supreme Court Reverses Ruling Challenging Domain  Name Seizures - Electronic Frontier Foundation: "The case began in late 2008 when, in a move to combat what it viewed as illegal online gambling, the Commonwealth of Kentucky convinced a state court to order the "seizure" of 141 domain names because the names allegedly constituted "gambling devices" that are banned under Kentucky law -- even though the sites were owned and operated by individuals outside of the state, and in many cases even outside of the country.... In amicus briefs filed with the Court of Appeals and the Kentucky Supreme Court in support of a writ vacating the trial court's order, EFF [Electronic Frontier Foundation], Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) argued that the First Amendment, the Commerce Clause, and the Due Process Clause of the [U.S.] Constitution prohibit state courts from interfering with Internet domain names that were registered and maintained outside the state. EFF expects to participate as amicus in future proceedings if and when the affected domain name registrants continue their challenge to the trial court's ruling." [Sidenote: this is another reason to insist that US government oversight and jurisdiction over the legacy domains .com, .net, and .org continue, no matter what happens to IANA and ICANN.]

Bottom Line: Domain Name Registrants, do not look to ICANN for protection of your rights or interests.

John Poole
Domain Mondo
June 17, 2014

Domain Mondo archive