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Re: [ga] GNSO Council: Taking 21 monthsto arrive at bad decisions

  • To: "Michael D. Palage" <mike@xxxxxxxxxx>, "'elliot noss'" <enoss@xxxxxxxxxx>, <ga@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Re: [ga] GNSO Council: Taking 21 monthsto arrive at bad decisions
  • From: "Elisabeth Porteneuve" <elisabeth.porteneuve@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 5 Sep 2007 14:21:08 +0200

The registry-registrar scheme, and subsequently ICANN, were put in place against a monopoly, which we did not like. The registrant-registrar contract, with some general policy rules established in ICANN forum is a guarantee for users to have a freedom of choice. In the scheme of vertical integration, giving domain names away for free to an existing client - the very possible Google scenario - you have in place all elements allowing for unwanted concentration of powers.

My two cents,
Elisabeth Porteneuve

----- Original Message ----- From: "Michael D. Palage" <mike@xxxxxxxxxx>
To: "'elliot noss'" <enoss@xxxxxxxxxx>; <ga@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: "'Danny Younger'" <dannyyounger@xxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Wednesday, September 05, 2007 4:05 AM
Subject: RE: [ga] GNSO Council: Taking 21 monthsto arrive at bad decisions


I thought I provided this answer previously, but just so there is no
confusion let me restate my personal opinion.

I believe there should be a presumption that all ICANN accredited
registries use ICANN accredited registrars. However, I believe this
should be a rebutable presumption where the registry operator can
demonstrate a unique set of circumstances, i.e enhancing diversity,
competition, and/or innovation, etc. I believe Danny's Google
hypothetical is one such example, and is potentially relevant in other
circumstances, especially where the registry operator's business model
may involve giving away domain names for free.

I believe TUCOWS own history points to the fact of why people need to
keep an open mind on expanding the name space and spurring innovation.
Prior to TUCOWS OPENSRS, most of the original test bed registrars were
selling domain names at about $30 per year, a $5 per domain name year
savings. Your OpenSRS model kind of rocked the registrar landscape early
on dropping prices to around $10 per domain name year.

Having worked with a number of smaller sponsored registries, I have seen
first hand how the existing registrar distribution chain can be rather
restrictive. Based upon this experience, I had originally thought that a
fixed domain names under management threshold would be a good measuring
stick for when a registry had to use ICANN accredited registrars. You
may recall our discussions with Louie back in Montevideo in 2001 on this
topic. However, as Danny's Google hypo illustrated, there may be a case
where a registry wants to give domain names away for free to an existing
client, in which case the imposition of using ICANN accredited
registrars seem less than logical.

So to answer your question, I do not see a situation in the current
marketplace that would justify VeriSign being able to go direct with
either the .COM or .NET registries.  I do believe however there are
likely a number of business models for new TLDs that I have not even
dreamed of that would benefit by a more liberal distribution model.

I hope that answers your question, and thanks for the constructive

Best regards,


-----Original Message-----
From: elliot noss [mailto:enoss@xxxxxxxxxx]
Sent: Tuesday, September 04, 2007 9:27 PM
To: Michael D. Palage; ga@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Cc: Danny Younger
Subject: Re: [ga] GNSO Council: Taking 21 months to arrive at bad

mike, danny, do you feel this way for new tlds or for com/net as well?

On Sep 4, 2007, at 3:00 PM, Michael D. Palage wrote:


I believe I find myself with Danny on this issue, and it should
come as
no surprise to you based upon our previous in-depth discussions on
issue. In fact I specifically raised this point in the recently closed
public forum on new gTLDs, see

However, I am a little confused over your claims that allowing
registries to go direct will place consumers at risk. If the
registry is
providing domain name registration services either directly or
indirectly to the registrant, ICANN has a direct contractual
relationship with the registry.

To demonstrate how registries can go direct and still protect
registrant's interests, consider the following four gTLDs: .EDU, .GOV,

..MIL and .INT. While these are all legacy gTLDs, they are nonetheless

still gTLDs in which the respective registries value very highly the
interests of their registrants. However, none of these four TLDs uses
registrars. The registry merely deals with the registrant. As I have
previously said, I do believe that at this time the default mechanism
for domain name distribution should be through ICANN accredited
registrars, however, I do believe there are situations in which this
requirement is a burden and impedes competition and innovation.

While some registrars have put forward the compromise of allowing
accredited registries to own ICANN accredited registrars, I find this
"compromise" rather self serving given that a number of ICANN
registrars are likely to be submitting bids on new gTLDs next year
either directly or through one of their sister companies. Given that
this comprise only raises the cost for a new registry entrant to the
market place that wishes to go direct, I believe this fact goes
to the legal concerns raised by Danny.

Obviously if a registry goes direct there is the need for scrutiny to
make sure that a registry does not abuse its position as a sole source

provider. However, as has been demonstrated in the case of .EDU, .GOV,

..MIL and .INT, consumers are not being harmed even though they are I
some cases paying higher per domain name registrant costs than
equivalent registrants in the .COM space.

Just my two cents and I look forward to a rather constructive
dialog on
this topic.

Best regards,


-----Original Message-----
From: owner-ga@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:owner-ga@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On
Of Nevett, Jonathon
Sent: Tuesday, September 04, 2007 12:29 PM
To: Danny Younger; ga@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: RE: [ga] GNSO Council: Taking 21 months to arrive at bad


In the wake of the RegisterFly controversy, you and other folks on
list have been advocating for ICANN to enforce requirements in the
Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) in order to better "protect
registrants."  I have been very vocal in encouraging ICANN to enforce
the requirements in the RAA.  Doing so is good for registrants and the
DNS, as well as helps to level the competitive playing field for

You also have been advocating for changes to the RAA to add additional
requirements or regulations on registrars.  Indeed, as of this
you alone account for over 70% of the posts on the comment forum on
potential changes to the RAA.  I am leading a group of registrars that
will work with ICANN to discuss potential changes to the RAA.

With this background, I was quite surprised to read the below post
you, in which you argue that the current model of having registries
selling domain name services through registrars is a "poor
recommendation" for new TLDs.  I can't imagine how you can argue that
ICANN should add additional requirements on registrars on one hand and
then seek the abolishment of the current registrar model for new
TLDs on
the other.  Only ICANN-accredited registrars are bound by the terms of
the RAA.  If registries sold domain name services outside of the
registrar channel, ICANN would have no contractual relationship
with the
sales channel and no rights whatsoever to enforce.  How could opening
the floodgates to permit any entity to sell such services without any
contractual requirements place registrants in a more protected

The GNSO Councilors must have understood this to be the case when they
approved Recommendation 19 without dissent.


-----Original Message-----
From: owner-ga@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:owner-ga@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On
Of Danny Younger
Sent: Monday, September 03, 2007 10:09 AM
To: ga@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [ga] GNSO Council: Taking 21 months to arrive at bad

The GNSO new gTLDs PDP was launched quite some time
ago and has arrived at a number of horrible
recommendations.  Consider recommendation #19 that
would require all new gTLD registries to rely
exclusively on ICANN-accredited registrars.  Public
comments thus far have shown opposition from a chinese registrar
(BeijingIDC.com), from Michael Palage, from Karl Auerbach, from
Li, from Milton Mueller, and from Vittorio Bertola.  Beyond that,
we now
see that the .museum proposed agreement also serves to undermine the
proposed recommendation.  Earlier, I too, raised my concerns with the
prospect of anti-trust issues.  Finally, even the registries have
concerns with this recommendation -- see their "Impact Statement" at

This leads one to ask:  If that many well-informed and reasonable
are in opposition to a particular GNSO recommendation, then how did
process allow for this poor recommendation to be agreed upon by the
Councillors?  What is so fundamentally wrong with GNSO mechanisms that
results in bad decision-making?
Logically, we should also be asking "How do we go
about correcting the problem?"

I'm told that the Board Governance Committee's Working
Group on GNSO Improvements will soon be meeting with
current and former GNSO Council Chairs prior to
issuing a new draft recommendation.  Let's hope that
this committee asks some of the hard questions lest
they arrive at nothing but cosmetic changes in their
new iteration of "GNSO improvements".


Fussy? Opinionated? Impossible to please? Perfect.  Join Yahoo!'s user
panel and lay it on us.

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