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RE: [ga] New gTLD Applicant Guidebook Version 2

  • To: "George Kirikos" <gkirikos@xxxxxxxxx>, <ga@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: RE: [ga] New gTLD Applicant Guidebook Version 2
  • From: "Neuman, Jeff" <Jeff.Neuman@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2009 21:19:20 -0500


This is my own personal post and not an official NeuStar position.

Your assertions are incredibly far-fetched especially when it relates to
the Abuse Policy.  In case you did not know, NeuStar has had an abuse
policy since 2006.  See
Since 2006, we have been affirmatively taking down names (note I did not
say deleting names) where we have verified evidence of phishing,
pharming, malware, etc.  This is nothing new.  We have literally taken
down tens of thousands of .biz names and yet you have not heard a single
word about it.  Why?  Because we take down names that are verified to be
involved in that type of criminal behavior.  We have never had a single
complaint from a registrant.  ICANN has never received a complaint about
what we have been doing.  We have never taken down a legitimate site.
Again, we have been doing this since 2006.  We have saved millions of
consumers from becoming victim to some of the most malicious viruses out
there (some of which have recently been in the news).  Afilias has just
started to do the same thing.  You are so paranoid that we are all out
there to mess with your business, that you fail to recognize the truth
of what is going on.  

Let me address another point you raise:  You state: "Furthermore, all
expired domains would effectively be able to be auctioned by the
registry operator (i.e. through setting higher than normal registration
prices, like .tv)."  Let me ask you a question.  How many registrars
actually delete domain names these days?  Almost all names worth any
value at all are kept by the registrar and auctioned off by them (or
some other mechanism taking advantage of the secondary market)?  Can you
give me one example where a registry had actually seized a name for

But let's assume a registry does want to auction off legitimately
expired domains (which by the way is not something NeuStar has ever, or
is now, proposing).  By legitimately expired domains, I mean ones where
the registrant truly intended its expiration.  Why would this be a
problem?  It is not a registrant's rights issue, since they did not want
it anymore.  Does it make it more difficult or expensive for speculators
and domainers...possibly.  Is it any different than a registrar
auctioning off the name? I am really just curious as to why you think it
is a huge issue.

Again, it is NeuStar's position that it is reasonable to have price caps
on renewals of domain names to protect existing registrants.  It is also
NeuStar's position (and contractual right) that all registries are
treated equitably absent substantial justification.  This is what we
signed up for when we were selected to run .BIZ.  This is our
expectation.  We have never asked for more than this and frankly just as
we have to treat all registrars equitably, I see nothing wrong with
expecting the same of ICANN in their dealings with us.

Jeffrey J. Neuman, Esq.: NeuStar, Inc.
Vice President, Law & Policy 

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-----Original Message-----
From: George Kirikos [mailto:gkirikos@xxxxxxxxx] 
Sent: Thursday, February 19, 2009 5:49 PM
To: ga@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx; Neuman, Jeff
Subject: RE: [ga] New gTLD Applicant Guidebook Version 2

Hi Jeff,

--- On Thu, 2/19/09, Neuman, Jeff <Jeff.Neuman@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> The author's post seems to boil down to a concern for
> the renewal price
> of a domain name, as that price could potentially
> disadvantage a
> registrant who has built up brand equity in its domain
> name.  NeuStar
> sympathizes with this comment and has suggested to ICANN
> and others in
> numerous conversations that perhaps a cap on renewal
> pricing for all
> TLDs is appropriate and warranted.  After all, if the

Renewal price caps are a basic protection mechanism, and would be a
start towards increased price protection. However, they are not enough.

In particular, registry operators would be incented to find ways to get
valuable domain names deleted, so that they could raise the prices. For
example, Afilias implemented a .INFO Abuse Policy:


which gives it sole discretion to define what constitutes "abuse." If
that policy was widespread in important registries, I would not want
VeriSign deciding whether one of my domain names was "abusive" when they
know that if they made that determination, they could raise the price on
one of my dot-coms from $7/yr to $1 million/yr. I'm sure Google, Yahoo,
Microsoft and others would feel the same way (Afilias, for example, gets
to have sole discretion over the definition of spam, and certainly all
the companies in the world that have user-generated content, free
webmail, or webservices that are subject to hacking would be at risk;
e.g. your Apache webservers gets hacked, you get flagged as "abusive"
and the registry seizes your valuable domain to auction for more money).

Furthermore, all expired domains would effectively be able to be
auctioned by the registry operator (i.e. through setting higher than
normal registration prices, like .tv). Once again, this is asking for a
handout, a change to your contract that only benefits Neustar. You
signed a contract with ICANN, and are looking for more. What are you
giving up in exchange for "more"? You're giving up nothing.

Those are the one-sided contract changes that the registry operators
always seek. That's why the only solution is regular tenders for
operation of the registry, just like the DOJ suggested (and which I've
long advocated). Registry operators could compete to run .com or other
gTLDs, and whoever bids the lowest (for a fixed level of service
performance specified in the tender) wins the contract. Very basic stuff
that companies do all the time in procurement, but apparently too basic
for ICANN, because there's no money in it for ICANN. The process is so
simple that it doesn't require an annual $60 million budget and hundreds
of staff.

Notice with tenders, there are no incentives for registry operators to
seize valuable domains, since they're all the same price. All the
benefits flow to the consumers. Competition between prospective registry
operators maximizes consumer benefits, and registry operators receive
"normal" profits. The most efficient registry operators will be the ones
to be awarded the contracts, since they can operate the TLD at the
lowest cost.

Until there's a Domain Registrant's Statement of Rights that gives
registrants far greater protection than exists today, you'll have to get
in line behind us when looking for one-sided contractual changes.


George Kirikos

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