IGF Open Consultations and MAG Meeting, Dec 1-3

IGF (Internet Governance Forum) Open Consultations and MAG Meeting: "The purpose of the Open Consultations and Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) meeting is to take stock of the IGF 2014 meeting and to start preparations for the IGF 2015 meeting. Venue: International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Tower Building, Avenue Giuseppe-Motta, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland

Monday, 1 December 2014: 07.30-12.00 and 13.30-17.30 CET
Tuesday, 2 December 2014: 08.30-12.00 and 13.30-17.30 CET
Wednesday, 3 December 2014: 08.30-12.00 and 13.30-17.30 CET

Time Link: Current local time (CET) in Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland

The December Open Consultations and MAG meeting draft agenda (also available in pdf version).

Remote Participation
To register and join the meeting remotely, please follow the links below. Once registered,you will receive a confirmation email with instructions for joining the meeting.
Open Consultations, 1 December 2014
Multistakeholder Advisory Group Meeting (open to observers), 2 December 2014
Multistakeholder Advisory Group Meeting (open to observers), 3 December 2014

Twitter: @intgovforum #IGF2014 #IGF2015

See also: Multistakeholder Advisory Group Renewed to Prepare Internet Governance Forum Meeting in João Pessoa, Brazil, 10-13 November 2015 | Meetings Coverage and Press Release
and Internet Governance Forum - Multistakeholder Advisory Group 2015


Internet Governance, Tech Change, Move to Mobile (Symposium videos)

Below: Three sessions of the Internet Governance After Busan Symposium sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations -- covering Internet Governance, Tech Change, Move to Mobile (second video below):

Session One: The Global Debate on the ITU and Internet Governance (Nov 20, 2014)
Experts discuss the global debate on the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and internet governance. This meeting is part of the Internet Governance After Busan Symposium sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations.
*This event made possible by Google, Inc., with additional support from Intel.
Introductory Speakers: James M. Lindsay, Senior Vice President, Director of Studies, and Maurice R. Greenberg Chair, David Rockefeller Studies Program, Council on Foreign Relations
Andrea Glorioso, European Union Information and Communications Technologies Attaché to the United States
Jeferson Nacif, Head, International Affairs, Brazilian Agency of Telecommunications
Eric Osiakwan, Former Executive Secretary, African Internet Service Providers Association; Executive Secretary, Ghana Internet Service Providers Association
Presider: Aparna Sridhar, Counsel, Google, Inc.

Session Two: Technological Change and the Move to Mobile (20 Nov 2014)
Experts discuss technological change and the move to mobile devices.
This meeting is part of the Internet Governance After Busan Symposium.
Dominique Lazanski, Director, Public Policy, Groupe Speciale Mobile Association
Robert Pepper, Vice President, Global Technology Policy, Cisco Systems, Ltd.
Jonathan Spalter, Chairman, Mobile Future, Inc.
Presider: Craig Mundie, Senior Advisor to the Chief Executive Officer, Microsoft

Session Three: Busan: What Happened and What Comes Next? (20 Nov 2014)
Experts discuss the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) conference in Busan, South Korea, and what comes next. This meeting is part of the Internet Governance After Busan Symposium.


FailCon: So Your Startup Failed, It Doesn't Mean YOU Are a Failure

Welcome to the Failure Age! - NYTimes.com: "An age of constant invention naturally begets one of constant failure. The life span of an innovation, in fact, has never been shorter. An African hand ax from 285,000 years ago, for instance, was essentially identical to those made some 250,000 years later. "
The FailCon event in San Francisco was canceled this year and Ms. Phillipps reports in the New York Times that "part of the reason is that failure chatter is now so pervasive in Silicon Valley that a conference almost seems superfluous. “It’s in the lexicon that you’re going to fail.” "30 to 40 percent of venture-backed start-ups blow through most or all of their investors’ money, and 70 to 80 percent do not deliver their projected return on investment." (source)

Startup failure, although destigmatized on a cultural level in Silicon Valley, can be painful for an individual entrepreneur:

Today my startup failed: "No soft landing, no happy ending—we simply failed... Our most recent product, DrawQuest, is by all accounts a success. In the past year it’s been downloaded more than 1.4 million times, and is currently used by about 25,000 people a day, and 400,000 last month alone. Retention and engagement are great. And yet we still failed. It may seem surprising that a seemingly successful product could fail, but it happens all the time. Although we arguably found product/market fit, we couldn’t quite crack the business side of things... I’m disappointed that I couldn’t produce a better outcome for those who supported me the most—my investors and employees. Few in business will know the pain of what it means to fail as a venture-backed CEO. Not only do you fail your employees, your customers, and yourself, but you also fail your investors—partners who helped you bring your idea to life... they’ve supported me throughout the ups and downs, and especially the downs. With that said, life goes on, and the best path forward is not a wounded one, but a more learned and motivated one..." --Chris Poole, founder of 4chan

Rewriting Cheezburger Saved My Life — Backchannel — Medium: "... When my first start-up failed, in 2001, I struggled with depression and thoughts of suicide. Things may have looked bad in 2013, but I had promised myself that I would not return to that same dark, helpless place. For many entrepreneurs, life and business are the same thing—a dangerous yet alluring corruption of the ego. If you really believe that you and your business are one, business failure destroys you, and success rewards you infinitely. But no outcome warrants such sacrifice. I started to tease apart my two identities first by embracing my own failure. I discussed the layoffs publicly. A public failure is embarrassing and isolating. You become the target of an endless stream of negativity. Acquaintances and strangers alike call you a crook, a fraud, a robber baron. You become a scapegoat for all the world’s economic, moral and social wrongs. Once you publicly disclose a failure, you only really have one choice: move on...." --Ben Huh, CEO of The Cheezburger Network

Wearing Your Failures on Your Sleeve - NYTimes.com"“We are getting a billion dollars a month of new investor money coming into the region, [Silicon Valley]” says Dr. Freeman, a co-founder of a nonprofit and a start-up. “If you fail, some investors believe that you’ve got the guts to take it to the mat. That you’re not personally going to be so damaged by adversity as to lose your persistence in business. That you’ll fight.”" (emphasis added)

Resources: failforward.org


Former ICANN CSO Kurt Pritz says ICANN Violated Its Own Policies

Added to the web page footer at expvc.com is a link to ICANN Independent Review Process (IRP) Documents. For anyone in the domain name industry, or a domain name registrant, it is worth checking that link regularly--the most interesting IRP currently pending is Donuts, Inc. v. ICANN concerning new gTLDs .SPORTS, .SKI and .RUGBY.

One of the expert witnesses for Donuts is Kurt Pritz, the former Chief Strategy Officer of ICANN, who has also been called the architect of ICANN's new gTLDs program.

In his "expert witness statement" filed on behalf of Donuts, Mr. Pritz states:

“…. Prior to joining the DNA [Domain Name Association], I served as Chief Strategy Officer and Senior Vice President of Stakeholder Relations for ICANN for nearly ten years, where one of my primary responsibilities was to lead the introduction of the New gTLD Program, preparing and presenting many policy and implementation position papers to the ICANN Community and Board…. There is no doubt that that New gTLD Program objection results are inconsistent, and not predictable…. Compounding the problem is applicants’ used [sic] of the objection as an anti competitive weapon….” (emphasis added)

Mr. Pritz concludes his statement with the following "expert opinion:"
Kurt Pritz expert opinion in Donuts vs ICANN

Domain Mondo has called the ICANN new gTLDs program dysfunctional for a long time. Now the architect of ICANN's new gTLDs program, former ICANN Chief Strategy Officer Kurt Pritz, apparently agrees.

You can follow the progress of  Donuts Inc vs. ICANN here.


ICANN, Parasites, Consultants, Directors, Feeding at the Public Trough

ICANN, Parasites, Consultants, Directors, Feeding at the Public Trough--and ICANN transparency and accountability--referenced below: ICANN FY13 Form 990--

Checking in with George Kirikos:


China Proposes Multilateral International Internet Governance, ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade Agrees (Video)

China proposes international Internet governance system - CCTV News - CCTV.com English: ".... Experts agree that the development of the internet has posed new challenges to national sovereignty, security and development interests.
"We need to strengthen communication, establish an international internet governance system based on multilateralism, democracy and transparency, and form a web space which is peaceful, secure, open and cooperative," says Lu Wei, minister of Cyberspace Administration of China.
"The internet is a cross-border web, while every country has its own law. Experts say internet governance needs a system which involves several different bodies, and China’s proposal is practical. Official data show that China currently has over 600 million Internet users. The number is expected to reach 850 million by 2015."

ICANN 50 in London: Lu Wei, Minister of Cyberspace Affairs Administration of China--China's Minister for Cyberspace Affairs Administration addresses the opening ceremony at ICANN's 50th public meeting in London.


HTML5, Mobile Web, Google, Apple, and Domain Names

Domain Mondo: Are Domain Names Dinosaurs?".... domain names altogether are increasingly irrelevant. Need a web page? Facebook or Google or Amazon or Tumblr or Twitter or LinkedIn or Pinterest (and many, many others) will gladly provide you a web page with its own distinct URL, on an easy to use platform with lots of traffic, accessible on any device, including mobile devices through a native app, all for free! So the real competition for new gTLDS are Facebook et al, and apps--a "Billion-Dollar Trend" that alone is a major domain name killer..."
Is there any hope for the mobile web or are we doomed to a world of native apps on mobile devices? There is hope--the new OS is the browser, and virtually all new software is moving to the cloud:

 On HTML5 and the Group That Rules the Web: "[HTML5].... made it possible to load in new data without refreshing the browser​—in the form of “web apps” like Google Maps, Gmail, Twitter, and Facebook​.... We still call Web pages “pages,” but many of them are actually software applications—“apps”—as complex to engineer as any word processor or video game. (Often, they are word processors, such as Google Docs, or video games, such as HexGL.)...."

And from the ReadWrite interview of Tom Dale:

What will make the Web a first-class citizen on mobile devices? What needs to happen, and who is most likely to make it happen? "I think the competition between Google and Apple will make it happen. As I mentioned before, Google has a very strong incentive to keep users on the Web, as search ads continue to be their lifeblood... Expect to see a much tighter integration of Chrome (and, therefore, Web technologies) into Android over the coming years... As for Apple... I'm cautiously optimistic about the future of Safari on iOS. In particular, the work they've been doing on JavaScript performance is just stunning..."

However, saying that the mobile web is not dead, is NOT the same as saying there is (or even ever was) a need for the new gTLDs--new generic Top-Level domains--this is not 2005--today, internet traffic is moving to mobile devices where platforms such as Alibaba and Amazon and Facebook dominate and provide users with the ability to publish a web page (without buying a domain name) AND a native or web app for distribution of that web page to the internet. Most people on mobile devices are using only a handful of apps the majority of time. For those people and businesses who have an actual need for a domain name, most are choosing, and will continue to choose, a domain name in the trusted, high-traffic, domain name extensions of .COM and well-run ccTLDs (see also full list of ccTLDs).

ICANN has admitted it never considered "demand" as a relevant factor in deciding whether and how many new gTLD domains to delegate into the root. ICANN policy was to delegate as many new gTLDs as there were applicants who could pay $185,000 and withstand ICANN's application process. ICANN said consumers would pick the winners and losers among new gTLDs, meaning, presumably, all the new gTLDs might fail. ICANN never understood the difference between healthy competition and destructive competition and all the negative consequences which result. ICANN just saw the opportunity to make a lot of money in the short term, and beyond that never fully considered all the unintended consequences of its own foolish and irresponsible program.


GMO Internet Group buys domain name Z.COM for $6.8 million: implications

GMO Internet, Inc.: "Tokyo, Japan – November 21, 2014 – GMO Internet Group, Japan’s leading provider of Internet services, today announces plans to unify its global strategy under the brand name, Z.comz.com Japanese /  z.com/en English]. As GMO Internet Group expands its global presence we aim to build our core values and objectives into the Z.com brand... " (for more info, go to the press release link above).

GMO's rebranding to Z.com cost about $6.8 million for just the domain name--the biggest (public) domain name sale of the year, surpassing even Xiaomi's purchase, also for global branding, of MI.com ($3.6 million in April) and the sale of Whisky.com ($3.1 million) in March.

Congratulations to buyer GMO and seller Nissan. Smart deal--both sides. And entirely consistent with Domain Mondo's domain philosophy, see, e.g., Domain Mondo | Company Domain Names, IPOs, Simple Rules, Stupid Mistakes.

Implications: What is most striking is not that the three largest (public) domain name sales this year were all dot COM domain names, but that the purchasers were all non-US buyers: Japanese (Z.COM), Chinese (MI.COM) and German (WHISKY.COM), reaffirming that .COM is the only true global brand among all domain name extensions / Top-Level Domains (TLDs).

It is now obvious that no matter how hard ICANN and its new gTLD registries tried to "break" .COM, they have failed. Also, with Chinese being among the largest dot COM buyers, and Pinyin as a commonly used method of transcribing Mandarin pronunciations into the Latin alphabet (which is used in English and other western languages), there are literally millions upon millions of attractive letter combinations still available for registration in the dot COM extension!


ICANN VP Says Expect IANA Transition Plan By March or Earlier!

POLITICO.com: "LOOK FOR AN IANA TRANSITION PROPOSAL BY MARCH -- A working group that's developing a proposal to transition U.S. oversight of ICANN will likely have a document by March or earlier, according to ICANN adviser [and VP] Jamie Hedlund. It's slower going in a separate process aimed at increasing accountability at the nonprofit Web management group, Hedlund and others at yesterday's Chamber of Commerce event said . . . "

No surprise here--Domain Mondo said this whole IANA Transition thing was a "done deal" months ago: IANA Transition a Waste of Time, Decision Has Already Been Made. After all, Google and Vint Cerf said as much in a YouTube video published in July.

On the other hand, Kieren McCarthy reports that some Republicans (Congressman Mike Kelly et al) might have a different idea consisting of of real oversight of ICANN and real separation of the IANA functions from ICANN dysfunctionality. Kelly's bill (pdf).

From Kelly's press release: Rep. Kelly Introduces Defending Internet Freedom Act of 2014 | Congressman Mike Kelly: "U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee – issued the following statement today after introducing H.R. 5737, the Defending Internet Freedom Act of 2014. The legislation would prevent the Obama administration, or that of any future president, from relinquishing the critical functions of the Internet – currently stewarded by the United States – to any other entity without enhanced congressional oversight and until explicit, freedom-protecting requirements are met. It is being co-sponsored by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX), who also serves as chairman and co-founder of the Congressional High Tech Caucus..."


Google Chrome Dev Summit, Day 2 LIVE Video from Mountain View

Google Chrome Dev SummitDay 2 LIVE Video from Mountain View, CA (USA) 20 Nov 2014
Chrome Dev Summit has sold out. Join Domain Mondo on November 20th for the live stream from Mountain View. For Day 1 videoDomain Mondo | Chrome Dev Summit, Day 1 LIVE Video from Mountain View.

Day 2 Schedule--All Times are Pacific Standard Time, Mountain View, CA, USA--the focus of Chrome Dev Summit this year is the mobile web and mobile web apps:

09:30 - 10:30 Web Components and Polymer Panel
What is the future of Web Components? How should we start building using Web Components and Polymer? Are there performance issues with Polymer? Moderator: Rob Dodson
Panelists: Alex Komoroske; Taylor Savage; Alice Boxhall; Matthew McNulty

10:30 - 11:30 Future of Web Apps Panel
Web Apps: What is the future of apps on the web? What platform should we build for? When should we build a Chrome App or a Web App? Are we going to get all of the Chrome Apps APIs on the web? Moderator: Jake Archibald
Panelists: Alex Russell; Alex Komoroske; Adrienne Porter Felt; Mike Tsao; Greg Simon

12:00 - 13:00 Performance Panel
Where should I focus my efforts: Network or Rendering? Where are the next set of performance improvements coming from? Why is it so difficult to get 60fps on sites and apps? Moderator: Paul Lewis
Panelists: Paul Irish; Pat Meenan; Tony Gentilcore; Nat Duca; Elliot Sprehn

14:15 - 15:00 Material Design Panel
How do I use Material Design in a content site? Should I adhere to it fully, can I bend the rules and, if so, when and how? Moderator: Matt Gaunt
Panelists: Zachary Gibson; Matthew McNulty; Josh Estelle; Paul Lewis; Roma Shah

15:00 - 16:00 Chrome Leadership Panel
Moderator: Jake Archibald
Panelists: Darin Fisher; Greg Simon; Rahul Roy-Chowdhury; Avni Shah; Grace Kloba



Chrome Dev Summit, Day 1 LIVE Video from Mountain View

Chrome Dev Summit - Day 1 LIVE video from Mountain View, California:

About Chrome Dev Summit: Connect with Chrome engineers and other leading developers for a two-day exploration of building beautiful and performant mobile experiences. This year the Summit presentations will mainly focus on performance, Polymer, Material Design, and building mobile web apps that work like apps with Service Worker and other technologies.
  • Master the art of web performance.
  • Collaborate with Chrome engineers and other attendees.
  • Learn how to build for a multi-device world.
  • Explore web APIs and their implementations in Chrome.
  • Enhance your productivity with tested workflows.
  • Guide the evolution of the web.

Day 1 Schedule--All Times are Pacific Standard Time, Mountain View, CA, USA--

09:00 - 09:30 Darin Fisher introduces the Chrome Developer Summit.

Wicked Fast (Performance investments)
09:30 - 09:50, Ryan Schoen, Product Manager
Ryan gives an overview of some of the architectural improvements to Chrome to ensure that it's easy to make 60fps web applications across any device, as well as some features that help apps perform silky-smooth.

Making Web Apps Appy
09:50 - 10:40 Alex Russell, Software Engineer
Alex gives an overview of why web apps don’t feel “appy” today, and shows how Service Worker is enabling a whole new world of appiness - beyond the simple goal of making web apps work offline, to building truly engaging web applications.

Asking for superpowers: Chrome's permission model
10:40 - 11:00 Adrienne Porter Felt, Software Engineer
Adrienne explains how we can enable more powerful web applications while keeping a user focus on security and privacy, and how you should structure your own apps to take best advantage.

Material Design Deconstructed
11:30 - 12:00 Roma Shah, UI Designer
Roma explores the philosophy of Material Design, and provides practical guidance for building apps according to Material Design principles.

The Applied Science of Runtime Performance
12:00 - 12:30 Paul Lewis, Developer Advocate
Building a 60fps, cross-browser website can be tricky. It requires knowledge, experience and judgment calls on trade-offs and what to prioritize. In this session Paul will take you through his recent experience of building the Chrome Dev Summit site, and in particular the challenges of achieving good runtime performance, performance tooling, and a couple of new and useful APIs.

All the Things! - Security with Performance
12:30 - 13:00 Chris Palmer, Software Engineer
TLS underlies all security and privacy on the web. Chris explains how to do TLS right: not only to deploy TLS and remain performant at scale, but also demonstrating how TLS is the basis of new performance improvements.

Easy Composition and Reuse with Web Components
14:30 - 15:00 Dmitri Glazkov, Uber Compositor
Dimitri explores the set of enabling technologies that make up Web Components, and describes how these pieces make it easy and fast to build composable components, and make HTML finally earn its keep.

Polymer: State of the Union
15:00 - 15:30 Matt McNulty, Software Engineer
Polymer started as an experiment in pushing the web platform. In the two and a half years since, Google helped ship a lot of standards, a developer preview of Polymer, and learned a lot and heard a lot of feedback from developers. Matt will share what was learned, the state of the art of Polymer today, and most importantly what’s next.

Let's build some apps with Polymer!
15:30 - 16:00 Rob Dodson, Developer Advocate
This talk will cover what it takes to build a single page app in Polymer. Rob will demonstrate how to quickly scaffold the structure of an application by leveraging Material Design elements, explore best practices around lazy loading elements to keep our app speedy, and also touch upon the tools we can use to debug and test our app.

Fundamentals of Mobile Web Development
16:30 - 17:00 Matt Gaunt, Developer Advocate
Matt gives a whirlwind tour of getting started on Web, from the Web Fundamentals guide to jump-starting with the Web Starter Kit, and also cover some of the stunning advancements in DevTools.

Closing Keynote
17:00 - 17:15 Closing remarks on Day 1.

Geneva Internet Conference, Day 2, The Complexity of Internet Governance

Geneva Internet Conference, Day 2 – 19 Nov 2014: The complexity of Internet governance: sustaining innovation while ensuring equality-- full program here or pdf
CURRENT Date and Time in Geneva, Switzerland:

The links for AdobeConnect participation for each of the different rooms are:
'Salle Obassi' https://meet93452463.adobeconnect.com/gic-1/
'Auditorium Kreuzel' https://meet93452463.adobeconnect.com/gicroomtwo/
'Auditorium de Mello' https://meet93452463.adobeconnect.com/gicremoteroom3/

Today's Highlighted Session:
Drafting in policy processes: how can we best nurture the socialisation of policy texts in multistakeholder contexts? (Auditorium de Mello for remote participation online) 14.00 ‒ 15.30
  • Moderator: Jovan Kurbalija, DiploFoundation and GIP
  • Alex Sceberras Trigona, Special Envoy of the Prime Minister of Malta and former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malta
  • Richard Hill, President, Association for Proper Internet Governance
  • Avri Doria, Principal Researcher, Technicalities
One of the fathers of the Internet Jon Postel said ‘Group discussion is very valuable; group drafting is less productive.’ The more people involved, the greater the complexity of the process. The drafting process is not individual writing; it is highly social. Thus, ‘socialisation of the text’ is essential for successful negotiations. All involved should be aware of how the final draft was negotiated, what was included, and what was left out. Participants should know that their voices were heard, considered, and adopted… or not, accordingly.

The panelists will address the following questions:
  • How do we harvest and harness a wide range of inputs in the drafting process?
  • What types of procedures are needed to ensure that the drafted text can have legitimate acceptance by most actors involved in the process?
  • How do we deal with conflicting situations in the drafting process?

On Twitter: #igeneva #thegip @GenevaGIP


Fadi Chehadé, President and CEO, ICANN, at Geneva Internet Conference (video)

Fadi Chehadé - President and Chief Executive Officer, ICANN -

Interview of Fadi Chehadé, Chief Executive Officer, ICANN, at the opening of the Geneva Internet Conference--video above. (Published on Nov 18, 2014)

Day One: Geneva Internet Conference, Internet Governance Landscape

Geneva Internet Conference - Internet Governance at a Crossroads
DAY ONE – 18 November 2014 - The Internet governance landscape
CURRENT Date and Time in Geneva, Switzerland:

Links for remote participation (AdobeConnect) by location as shown in "Program" (see above):
'Salle Obassi'
'Auditorium Kreuzel'
'Auditorium de Mello'
Livestream Link to Webcast--Geneva Internet Conference - Internet Governance at a Crossroads on Livestream in Salle Obassi

Tuesday's Highlighted Session: 14.30 ‒ 16.00
Legal framework, jurisdiction, and enforcement in Internet governance (Salle Obasi)
Moderator: Jacques de Werra, Professor, Law School, University of Geneva
Rolf Weber, Professor, University of Zurich
Joe Cannataci, Professor, University of Groningen
Mira Burri, Senior Research Fellow, World Trade Institute & Lecturer, University of Bern
Konstantinos Komaitis, Policy Advisor, Internet Society
Xianhong Hu, Program Specialist, Division for Freedom of Expression and Media Development, UNESCO 

The Internet does not function in a legal vacuum. Increasingly, it is perceived that what is (il)legal offline is (il)legal online. The UN Human Rights Council made this principle explicit: ‘The same rights that people have offline must also be protected online.’ Thus, most Internet issues are already regulated in the offline environment (e.g. jurisdiction, copyright, trademark, labour law).The main challenge is how to apply these rules to Internet transactions, particularly in view of transborder aspects and the speed of Internet activities. At the preparatory seminar for the Conference, the idea of legal innovation with wisdom was suggested. It means that there is a need for innovation for the Internet, which should not ignore the wisdom of the legal profession gathered over centuries in regulating conflicts and ensuring order in human society.

The session will focus on the following questions:
>Is there any area where the ‘offline/online principle’ cannot be applied and there will be a need for new substantive rules for the Internet?
>What are the specific challenges for applying existing legal rules on the Internet?
>How do we innovate with wisdom? What are the possible innovations?

On Twitter: #igeneva #thegip @GenevaGIP


Geneva Internet Conference, Internet Governance at a Crossroads

Geneva Internet Conference - Internet Governance at a Crossroads | Geneva Internet Platform: 17-19 Nov 2014 "The Geneva Internet Conference (GIC) will address critical issues, gaps, and future developments in Internet governance (IG) and digital politics. The conference will provide a neutral and inclusive space for debates as it paves the way to 2015, building on the main events and developments in 2014, including announcement of the transition of the IANA oversight of Internet functions, NETmundial and the Internet Governance Forum."  Registration to attend the conference in Geneva is closed, but you may still participate online" Register here to participate online, by clicking on the 'I will participate remotely' at the bottom of the form. Schedule/program/speakers(pdf) Conference times are local Geneva, Switzerland (CET/UTC +1) 

CURRENT Date and Time in Geneva, Switzerland:
DAY ZERO – 17 November 2014
14.00 ‒ 17.00 Introduction to Internet governance (pre-conference workshop)
17.30 ‒ 19.30 Keynote address by Fadi Chehadé, President and Chief Executive Officer, ICANN
Inauguration of Geneva Digital Landscape IG 360°
DAY ONE – 18 November 2014: The Internet governance landscape (see program for specifics)
DAY TWO – 19 November 2014: The complexity of Internet governance: sustaining innovation while ensuring equality (see program for specifics)

On Twitter: #igeneva #thegip @GenevaGIP

Links for remote participation by location:(see program ["programme and speakers" tab] for location of each event):

'Salle Obassi'
'Auditorium Kreuzel'
'Auditorium de Mello'


Why The Onion Is Looking Into a Possible Sale (video)

Why The Onion Is Looking Into a Possible Sale: Video - Bloomberg:
(Allow video to load after clicking play or go to link above)

Onion Inc., owner of the satirical news site the Onion and the entertainment site the A.V. Club, has hired a financial adviser for a possible sale, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Bloomberg’s Alex Sherman reports on “Market Makers.” (Source: Bloomberg-Nov 14)

ref. The Onion | theonion.com and The A.V. Club | avclub.com

The Onion - Wikipedia"The Onion is an American digital media company and news satire organization. It runs an entertainment website featuring satirical articles reporting on international, national, and local news. It also runs a non-satirical entertainment section known as The A.V. Club. Since 2007, the organization has published satirical news audio and video online, as the "Onion News Network"...."


ICANN Exists for Itself and Insiders, to Exploit Domain Name Registrants

(Note: This is a follow-on to yesterday's ICANN FY15 Budget, New gTLD Domain Names #FAIL)

The first thing one should know and understand about ICANN is that ICANN is lacking in integrity--ICANN even lies about itself--

Resources - ICANN: ICANN "is a not-for-profit partnership of people from all over the world" -- this statement about ICANN on ICANN's website is FALSE. ICANN is not a partnership. ICANN is a California non-profit corporation with no membership, no partners, no stockholders, nothing, other than a Board of Directors which owes its fiduciary duties to the corporation, not  to a "partnership of people from all over the world." There is no legal "ownership" or "membership" or "governance" or "oversight" of ICANN by any "global internet community," or "multistakeholders," or any other concoction of the phrase "not-for-profit partnership of people from all over the world." 

ICANN, the California non-profit corporation, was formed at the instance of the U.S. government, to essentially be responsible for three things:

a) the technical coordination necessary for operation of the internet--the IANA functions--which are executed by Verisign (on a no-fee contract), the global technical community (people who do not work for ICANN), and a small staff of not more than 10 people employed by ICANN who perform mostly "clerk" functions;

b) policy-making regarding the domain name system (DNS); and

c) governance of domain name registry operators, registrars, and registrants.

At a typical ICANN meeting, you will find (besides ICANN staff, officers, and directors) people who largely fall into one of the following categories: a) the technical (IANA functions) community; b) the domain name industry--which dominates and has largely captured ICANN--registry operators, registrars, service providers, and their attorneys, lobbyists, et al, many of whom are trying "to game the system" for their own profit-making ends so they can exploit domain name registrants, financially and otherwise; and small contingents of c) government representatives; d) members of civil society/academia; and e) business and trademark "stakeholders."

ICANN's failure to have, within its organizational structure, equal and identifiable representation for the interests of domain name registrants has been disastrous--just look at the failure of ICANN to govern the outrageous conduct of new gTLD registry operators enabled by ICANN in its new registry and registrar agreements--see, e.g.For Domain Name Registrants, ICANN Is Useless and ICANN Fails to Prohibit Warehousing OR Speculation in Domain Names by new gTLD Registry Operators and Registrars and ICANN, New gTLD Domain Name Renewal Fees, Price Gouging. The whole organizational structure of ICANN, and its registrar and registry agreements, enable, intentionally or not, the exploitation (financially and otherwise) of domain name registrants by, primarily, the domain name industry, and secondarily, by ICANN itself as a recipient of fees collected from the registrants, directly and indirectly, by registrars and registry operators ("follow the money"). Furthermore, ICANN has failed to prevent the loss of domain names by UDRP abuses, or domain name thefts, or provide swift remedies for recovery of stolen domains, which ICANN could very easily do if it really cared about domain name registrants.

Protection of the public interest and domain name registrants from abusive ICANN practices and policies and registry and registrar malfeasance, to some degree, used to be provided by way of US government oversight, which unfortunately, has pretty much been AWOL in recent years, although as recently as two years ago, the US government essentially found ICANN to be unfit:
"The Commerce Department said it had canceled a request for proposals to run the so-called Internet Assigned Numbers Authority [IANA] because none of the bids [including ICANN's] met its requirements: “the need for structural separation of policy-making from implementation, a robust companywide conflict of interest policy, provisions reflecting heightened respect for local country laws and a series of consultation and reporting requirements to increase transparency and accountability to the international community.” (emphasis added; source: NYTimes.com)
Right now, ICANN presumably has benefit of a "government contractor" immunity because it operates via a contract granted it by the US government. Once that contract is gone (September 2015?), will domain name registrants be able to resort to class actions and other litigation under U.S. federal and California state laws, against ICANN and its "contractors"--the registry operators and registrars? If so, besides being a windfall for class action law firms and the U.S.plaintiffs' bar, it may be a way to give domain name registrants some protection and remedies now lacking. Recommended reading: ICANN and Antitrust by A. Michael Froomkin and Mark A. Lemley (pdf).

Final note: It does not appear that any oversight of ICANN nor other effective means of redress will emerge from the current "ICANN-convened-and-controlled" IANA Transition or Enhancing ICANN Accountability processes, as a means for domain name registrants to seek effective redress for wrongful actions or omissions of ICANN or its registry operators and registrars.


ICANN FY15 Budget, New gTLD Domain Names #FAIL

ICANN depends on the income it receives from gTLD domain names registered in each fiscal year. ICANN's budget expenses have exploded due to the new gTLDs program, exhorbitant salaries, hub offices, and other unneccessary expenses. As a result, as part of its budget process, ICANN estimated the number of new gTLD domain names it expected (and needs) to be registered in  Fiscal Year 2015 (FY15: July 1, 2014 -- June 30, 2015) to "make ends meet." In its proposed ICANN FY15 budget, ICANN estimated 33 million new gTLD domain names would be registered in FY15. Then, after sane people said ICANN's estimate was "delusional," ICANN slashed its budget estimate by more than half, to arrive at its final adopted budget estimate of 15 million new gTLD domain names to be registered in FY15:

ICANN FY15 Budget assumes 15 million new gTLD domain name registrations from July 2014 through June 2015

So where are we in new gTLD domain name registrations for FY15? Well, using ntldstats.com as our data source, at the end of FY14 (June 30, 2014), total new gTLD domain name registrations were 1,419,110 (the number to be subtracted to get FY15 numbers). During the first quarter FY15 (July 1-September 30, 2014) there were only 1,098,895 new gTLD domain names registered--so 9 months to go in FY15 for ICANN to get an additional 13,901,105 new gTLD domain name registrations. I wonder if anybody at ICANN has brought this to the attention of Akram Atallah or Fadi Chehade?

I, and many others, have pointed out the many ways that ICANN's new gTLD domains are failing (see, e.g., Why ICANN's New gTLD Domains Are A #FAIL, Reason #1), but there is no #FAIL quite like the fact that ICANN's own hubris and hype of the new gTLDs is being exposed for the scam it mostly is, on ICANN's bottom-line. Bad policy has consequences--and for bad policy-making we have as a prime example, ICANN's ill-advised and misguided new gTLDs program. For ICANN to hit its number (15 million new gTLD registrations in FY15), the remaining 9 months in FY15 would have to average over 1.5 million new gTLD registrations per month (October 1, 2014--June 30, 2015). October numbers are in: only 584,748 new gTLD domain names were registered.

So here we are in November, 2014, and it's now clear that ICANN was as wrong about how many new gTLD domain names would be registered as they were about the whole dysfunctional new gTLDs program! You would think these kinds of errors in judgment would bring a little humility to the overbearing arrogance of ICANN, but apparently not--they just keep compounding their mistakes (and believing their own hype!). Remember, these are some of the same people who laughed at Esther Dyson when she spoke up and tried to save ICANN from its disastrous new gTLDs program. This is what we get when we have an unaccountable, California non-profit corporation, with no membership, running the DNS. At least with governments, people can overthrow or vote the bums out of office--but we have no choice with ICANN. We are stuck with an unaccountable, arrogant organization that excludes domain name registrants from having equal voice and representation as compared to the greedsters of the domain name industry who dominate ICANN's governance structure, Board of Directors, and decision-making processes for their own profit-making purposes.

Will the people at ICANN who were WRONG about the whole new gTLDs program (there won't be 33 million or even 15 million new gTLD domain name registrations in FY15) be held accountable for their errors in judgment? Of course not. Accountability is just another word at ICANN that means whatever you want it to mean--like "multistakeholder." In reality, at ICANN, it's all about the money, and the hype, until the numbers come in. Then, he who laughs last laughs best!

See also the follow-on post: 
ICANN Exists for Itself and Insiders, to Exploit Domain Name Registrants


ICANN Accountability, IANA Transition, Deadline Dysfunctionality

Remarks of Assistant Secretary Strickling at The Media Institute | NTIA"... the current [IANA] contract expires at the end of September 2015. I want to emphasize that we did not set a deadline for this transition.  If for some reason the community needs more time, we have the option to extend the current contract for up to four years." (emphasis added)

Philip S. Corwin has written a thoughtful article published on circleid.com (link and excerpt below) which I commend for reading re: the Enhancing ICANN Accountability process, which also relates to the IANA Stewardship Transition process as both are now trapped in deadline dysfunctionality:

Accountability Group Charter Sets the Bar Too Low".... Unfortunately, and with all respect to the Drafting Team members who labored hard, fast, and in good faith to reach consensus on this proposed Charter, it fails to adequately capitalize on the opportunity created by the community's united actions over August and September, and should not be adopted by the chartering organizations absent strengthening revisions.
The Charter's major deficiencies are:
  • Letting the arguably unrealistic goal of meeting a September 2015 deadline for transition of the IANA functions dominate its proposed timeline and approach to required deliverables.
  • Adopting a dual work stream approach that almost surely puts off the major accountability issues and decisions until after the IANA transition takes place, at which point the community's unity may well dissipate and its leverage vis-à-vis ICANN will be permanently diluted.
  • Preserving the ability of ICANN's Board to reject the most important accountability reforms by simply remaining intransigent...." (emphasis added)

My comment (also published on circleid.com):
"Thoughtful, well-written article, Phil. I do not understand the IANA ICG's and now the CCWG-Accountability's "rush" to meet an artificial September 2015 deadline when NTIA/Department of Commerce has repeatedly said there is no problem extending the time frame. Isn't it better to have a substantive end result which has lasting value and broad community support, than a top-down result with little community support? It appears that framing these processes by this "artificial time deadline" is being used as a way to manipulate the community into accepting outcomes which maintain the status quo because "we are running out of time" to consider better alternatives. Unless there is a sea-change, when all is done, the best that will be said of the IANA transition and ICANN Accountability processes is: "Well, they had to meet a deadline and did the best they could under the circumstances." -- John Poole"

It appears that both the IANA Transition and ICANN Accountability processes have now made the false deadline of September, 2015, the priority over everything else. Good luck getting anything of real lasting value substantively, from either process, with the "arguably unrealistic" deadline of September 2015 as The Priority! There's a wealth of literature on the subject of unrealistic deadlines and the resulting dysfunctionality, e.g., Managing projects with unrealistic deadlines - TechRepublic: "... the time constraint is not in alignment with the ... scope ..."


Mark Cuban Talks Domain Names and More with Barry Ritholtz (audio)

Mark Cuban, owner of Dallas Mavericks, co-founder of Broadcast.com, and regular on ABC’s Shark Tank, interviewed by Barry Ritholtz. This is a fascinating and wide ranging interview, with a brilliant and innovative investor, talking about, among many other things, domain names and the multi-billion dollar deal he did with Yahoo. (You will not be disappointed!)

And below, a Bloomberg TV profile of Mark Cuban--"How I Became a Billionaire"

Mark Cuban: How I Became a Billionaire

Bloomberg Game Changers profiles Dallas Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban. See how Cuban spun his love of basketball into a multi-billion dollar enterprise. (Source: Bloomberg - Published on Apr 23, 2014)


ICANN Dysfunctions and Abuse, New gTLDs, TMCH

More ICANN dysfunctions and abuse re: new gTLDs and TMCH--

"As explained in my letter dated March 20th 2014, Domainoo, a French domain name provider for big companies, has been facing a big issue concerning TMCH labels authorized for trademarks with accents (umlaut, acute accent …).

"In order to meet your requirement concerning exact match between trademark and proof of use, many clients have been obliged to protect in the TMCH trademarks with accents. Unfortunately, we learned later, checking the corresponding labels, that corresponding domain names without accents were not authorized and non-addable. 

"We have participated to many meetings in which we met people from other countries facing the same issues. Despite our letters, nothing has changed and we have been obliged, in order to offer a strong protection to our clients to ask them to protect in the TMCH new trademarks without the accents. Thus, they have been invoiced twice to obtain the good protection.

"As already explained, until TMCH was created, all previous Sunrise Periods have accepted these trademarks to lock or register domain names without accents (trademark Moët used to protect moet.xxx for example) and you can check with .PARIS that the Registry will authorize these trademarks during its priority phase.

"The big French company MHCS, part of Moet Hennessy group, a subsidiary of LVMH group, is associated to this letter and would like to receive a reimbursement or a compensation for all the unnecessary costs they have had to bear with the inscription of many useless trademark (according to your conditions of course) !

"Thank you in advance for your attention and your efforts so that our customers have not the feeling that they have been abused by ICANN and the TMCH." (emphasis added)

Online document (pdf):

Domainoo Letter to ICANN re TMCH, trademarks

Domain Mondo comment: Not to worry--lots of companies and people have been abused by ICANN, excepting of course, its favored customers: certain registry operatorsservice providers; and registrars;--remember, for ICANN, "it's all about the money"--the public interest be damned.


Silicon Valley Insiders Views


Barry Ritholtz Interviews Jack Schwager, author of Market Wizards (Audio)

Masters in Business: Market Wizards by Jack Schwager (Audio) by Bloomberg View:

Barry Ritholtz interviews Jack Schwager.

Great advice for any kind of investor--well worth taking the time to listen to the whole interview:

Barry: hold "strong opinions, loosely held"

Jack Schwager, author of “Market Wizards: Interviews With Top Traders.” More than 25 years after the first book was published in 1989, the series remains one of the most widely read books on Wall Street trading desks.

There are consistent themes found in Schwager’s interviews: discipline, risk management and capital preservation, intellectual flexibility, personal responsibility and honest self-appraisal. William Eckhardt, who famously debated with Richard Dennis about whether trading could be taught, summed up many of these rules with the quote: “Amateurs go broke taking large losses, professionals go broke taking small profits.”


New gTLD Registry Rightside, Wrongside Still A Downside?

3 month stock chart for Rightside (NASDAQ:NAME)
source: Marketwatch.com
New gTLD Registry Rightside Group Ltd. (NASDAQ: NAME), has had a rough 2014. At left is the most recent 3 month stock chart for this stock [52wk high: $17.00; 52wk low: $8.36] market close yesterday was $9.41. As reported previously on Domain Mondo (New gTLD Registry Rightside, Rename It Wrongside? and Rightside dot Wrongside? Further Downside For New gTLD Registry?) analyst Thunder Capital has been "negative" on Rightside which trades under the symbol "NAME" on the NASDAQ.

Yesterday Rightside had a conference call on its Q3 2014 financial results. Apparently, the only way to make money off the new gTLDs is to withdraw your applications. That's exactly what Rightside reported yesterday that it did in order to realize a one-time gain of $8.6 million which saved the company from having to report a Loss for Q3 2014. However, even with that one-time gain, it reported net income of only $4,097,000 for the quarter, and still reported a LOSS on "Adjusted EBITDA" of (-$593,000).

Oh yes, there was an isolated trade of 100 shares in "after hours" trading on the NASDAQ that excited at  least one domaining blogger--Time: 17:58    Price: $12.53   Number of Shares: 100

Note that the "after hours" trade that preceded the above was also only 100 shares for a lot less:
Time: 17:46    Price: $10.15  Number of Shares: 100

No other "after hours" trades occurred after 17:58 (5:58pm) until NASDAQ "after hours" trading closed at 20:00 (8:00pm). It will be interesting to watch this stock in the coming days and months.

By the way, you can find all this information and  NASDAQ's clearly stated advisory about "after hours" trades posted on the NASDAQ website:

"Investors may trade in the Pre-Market (4:00-9:30 a.m. ET) and the After Hours Market (4:00-8:00 p.m. ET). Participation from Market Makers and ECNs is strictly voluntary and as a result, these sessions may offer less liquidity and inferior prices. Stock prices may also move more quickly in this environment. Investors who anticipate trading during these times are strongly advised to use limit orders."  source: http://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/name/after-hours

As for Thunder Capital, haven't heard from him yet, but whenever we do, it should be enlightening--on October 3, 2014, in the article published on Seeking Alpha, Rightside: The Sky Is Falling Down, he said: "The gTLD initiative has not ramped and will continue to be a short with at least 30% downside." At that time Rightside (NASDAQ:NAME) had fallen from $11.83 when he initiated coverage (Rightside - It's Trending on the Wrong Side) to $10.53 as of 9/26/14, and since then the stock has traded (on some days) below $9 a share. On October 8th, in a reply to a comment on his latter Seeking Alpha article, he wrote: "In my analysis, I actually project 1.5mm domain name sign-ups for 2015. If I used a "look through the windshield analysis," the Company [Rightside] would default in 2015." [According to Rightside's own reported Q3 2014 results, the company had, as of September 30, 2014, 15 of Rightside's owned and operated gTLDs  in "general availability" for an average of 89 days each, with a total of only 80,000 registrations.]

If you have any interest in this stock, a good place to begin "due diligence" is on the NASDAQ website pages for NAME (Note Domain Mondo's Disclaimer near the bottom of the web version of this page).

Caveat Emptor!

UPDATE: see New gTLD Registry Rightside Stock Tanks on NASDAQ (5 Dec 2014)


Web.Com Group Stock Tanks, New gTLDs Kill Domains Aftermarket

Web.com Group Inc. Stock Chart
Web.com Group Inc. Stock Chart (source: Marketwatch.com)
Today Web.com Group (NASDAQ:WWWW) stock is tanking (see above, source: Marketwatch).
UPDATE--at market close 6Nov2014: WWWW $14.71  -5.54 (-27.33%) [source:Seeking Alpha] while overall the NASDAQ closed up +17.75 +0.38% at 4,638.47 (source: Bloomberg).

Web.com Group operates various brands in the domain name industry including registrars web.com, networksolutions.com, and register.com.

Yesterday afternoon (5 Nov 2014), Web.com Group (NASDAQ:WWWW) presented its Q3 2014 Results in a conference call. Excerpts below (emphasis added) from Web.com Group's (WWWW) CEO David Brown on Q3 2014 Results - 5 Nov 2014 Earnings Call Transcript | Seeking Alpha [my "translation" appears within brackets below]

David L. Brown - Web.com Group Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President: "First, in the domain business, while we continue to expect the recently expanded top-level domain environment to increase our ability to sell domains over the medium to long term, the increased availability of names has had a near-term negative impact on domain-related revenue. This is primarily associated with noncore domain-related revenue such as sales of premium domain names and bulk domain sales. While not a significant part of our overall domain business, it has historically represented several million dollars of quarterly revenue. But given the current environment, we now expect minimal contribution in the coming quarter." 

[Translation: Since ICANN's new gTLDs (new generic Top-Level Domains) came out, the domain name business has been bad, but medium to long term we hope it will get better.]

David L. Brown - Web.com Group Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President: There's a marketplace out in the U.S. and around the world that buys domains and resells them or monetizes them, and we've seen that market get soft. We actually commented on this in our second quarter call that we were beginning to see softness. We saw it continue to soften further. Our belief is the reason the softness is occurring is that this marketplace is looking at all of these new gTLDs coming into place, i.e., there are more options available for people and they're kind of stepping back away, at least temporarily, to see how things settle out. We continue to believe that this market could come back. But for the sake of conservatism, we have effectively taken this revenue out of our model for the fourth quarter because we can't predict how long this behavior is going to continue.

[Translation: Web.com Group (web.com, networksolutions.com, register.com) does not expect to make any money in domain name aftermarket sales due to the chaos and confusion caused by the current launch of over 1300 new gTLDs by ICANN, which is causing domain name investors to become cautious and the market to go "soft."]

Gray Powell - Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division: "So on the domain name side, I just want to make sure that I have it correct. So specifically, you're saying that new gTLDs are impacting the resale of domain names in the aftermarket. Is that right?"

David L. Brown - Web.com Group Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President: "That's our belief at this point. When we commented in the second quarter, it was just beginning to impact us, and we really didn't understand it at that point. Upon investigation and discussion with some of the purchasers in the marketplace, we see a much more cautious attitude in the marketplace. And we just believe that demand has softened, which leads us to believe that people have kind of -- are taking a wait-and-see attitude relative to this new phenomenon of gTLDs and the new opportunities they create."

[Tanslation: "Opportunities" means "problems and financial pitfalls," i.e., the new gTLDs are BAD NEWS for almost everyone: trademark holders, law enforcement, consumers, the domain name industry (see above), as well as domain name registrants and investors. It's called "flooding the market" and creating gross oversupply or a "glut," which leads to commoditizing (falling prices) and a shakeout in the industry with a few well-capitalized big operators (Google and Amazon?) eventually controlling marketshare. The premium extensions .COM and well-run ccTLDs should weather the storm and maintain and continue to increase in value over the long-term, but do not expect savvy domain name investors to follow the new gTLDs over the cliff. There are plenty of .COM and ccTLD domain names available--we were never "running out of .COM domain names" and ICANN never considered "consumer demand" as a relevant factor in whether to create more gTLD domain name extensions. ICANN just decided to "glut" the market "because they can" and because it would make a "lot of money" for ICANN, at least in the short term.]

See also: WWWW: The Greatest Stock Promotion Story Ever Told | Stocks and Dollars: "...This company is engaged in an unattractive low-growth commodity business of selling domain names...." and  We're doing great, say [new gTLD] dot-London chiefs ... Unfortunately, few agree • The Register

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