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[ga] The chaotic and unresponsive empire of ICANN

  • To: <ga@xxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: [ga] The chaotic and unresponsive empire of ICANN
  • From: "Richard Henderson" <richardhenderson@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 18 Jul 2003 23:17:47 +0100
  • References: <1e1.d7e6ece.2c487838@cs.com>
  • Sender: owner-ga@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

I noticed this post from Jeff Davies at ICANNWatch, which raises issues that
deserve responses... but I raised many of these issues 425 days ago with
ICANN-Registrar Liaison Dan Halloran, and have still to get a reply.

JeffD wrote

 "In its agreements with its Registrars, Afilias permitted registrars (that
were accredited at least 10 days prior to the start of the .info Landrush
Period) to reserve up to 10 .info names for their own use. The wording of
the contract provision is a little ambiguous (see
http://www.icann.org/tlds/agreements/info/registry -agmt-appf-11may01.htm
v.5) but suggests that this right was exercisable during the 10 days prior
to the start of the Landrush Period.

There are additional restrictions on names that registrars were able to
reserve - thay could not have been previously registered (as opposed to
applied for) and they had to be a trade name, trademark or service mark of
the registrar and be identical to a name registered by the registrar in the
.com or .net TLD. There is also no exception in the Afilias' Sunrise Policy
for names to be registered by Registrars during the Sunrise Period unless
they also comply with the trademark requirements that applied to everyone.

However, 322 .info names have been registered by registrars during the
Sunrise Period and are regarded as "Sunrise Names" as defined int he Sunrise
Policy. "Registrar reserved' has been inserted into the 4 required
'Trademark' fields as 'justification' for the Sunrise registration. Some
registrars took a responsible approach to this opportunity and simply
registered their own trading name - such as Bhavin Turakhia of directi who
registered just one name - directi.info. I don't think that anyone would
have any problem with this - even if Bhavin did not hold a trademark on the

However, others appear not to have been so responsible."

Many applied for - and were awarded - .info names very early in the Sunrise
process and before anyone else had a chance of registering them. The generic
names registered generaly appear not to be trade names of their core
registrar business - unless you regard a generic name as a trade name when
it is used to lure unsuspecting surfers to your domain business rather then
to the generic information that they were seeking...

Some examples:

Barry Fellman - Signature Domains
Bruce Kaiser - Namezero
Bruce Winn - CSCInfo
Govinda Leopold - 1stdomain
                    hochzeit (German for wedding)
Hal Lubsen - DomainBank
Juan Carlos Sanchez - Catalog.com
Samuela Fleitman - Catalog.com
Keith Lubsen - DomainPro

Hal Lubsen - who registered FortKnox.info - is also CEO of Afilias. As
several entities own trademarks in the Fort Knox name, it would be
interesting to know if any Sunrise applications were denied so that Mr
Lubsen could register 'his' name. There is no record of a trademark
application by Mr Lubsen at the USPTO.

Disappointingly, with one exception, none of the registrations listed above
are linked to an active web site (the exception is crull.info which is used
as the personal web site of Bob Crull, who described himself as the founder
of catalog.com - hardly a use in connection with the registrar business of

By allowing these names to be preferentially registered by its own
registrars, Afilias has not only ensured that they are not available to the
general public, they have also ensured that they provide no useful content
for the benefit of the general public. I am sure that there are lots of
people out there who could make very good use of dallas.info, oklahoma.info,
german.info and the rest of the hijacked names.

Jeff Davies

AND my response:

Heather Carle is on record as saying that every one of the "Registrar
Reserved" names were QUOTE: <b>"hand-checked"</b>.
In defence of Hal Lubsen (who I have criticised on many scores previously) I
must mention that I checked to see if he had an up and running FortKnox.com
site at the time of the .info Sunrise, and he did indeed have a website
operating at this site.
The real criticism, though, and I think Jeff Davies makes this point, is:
<b>Why should the Registrars get first pick of domain names</b>, to the
exclusion of other people?
I thought the whole point of the Sunrise was to enable IP claimants access
to these names, so how do you justify letting the "suppliers" nip in first
and take them, instead of "supplying" them... which, forgive me, I thought
was the purpose of a Registrar!
With reference to Signature domains, I'm bound to allude once again to their
performance in the .biz2B, where they submitted an incredibly short list of
names, for just one customer (their own Partner Joshua Blacker)... thereby
effectively <b>queue-jumping the general public</b>, because the round-robin
system favoured the shortest queues possible.
I phoned Joshua about this extraordinary policy, and he admitted he was a
Signature partner in whose name nine fantastic names had been acquired, but
he told me "You should speak to Barry because he knows what this is all
about, I don't really know anything."
This was one of a host of issues I raised with ICANN-Registrar Liaison Dan
Halloran, <b>425 days ago</b>, and I am deeply disappointed that he has
*never* even had the courtesy to reply to me.
What is the point of "ICANN accreditation"? What is the point of ICANN
Agreements (when, for example, Lubsen's associated company DomainBank broke
the Afilias rules, even though Hal Lubsen was Afilias CEO)? Amazingly
DomainBank charged <b>$15000</b> to a customer, to submit ineligible
applications which broke Afilias's rules, and which were therefore
valueless. Another member of the Afilias cartel - Speednames - charged
<b>$500,000</b> to submit 4981 ineligible Sunrise applications.
It seems to me that what we have here is a system which is set up to serve
the suppliers rather than the consumers.
In this light, it is entirely logical that Registrars were allowed "first
pick" of the .info names.
And in the context of fraud and corruption which ran far deeper than
anything cited here, I suppose it is entirely logical that Dan Halloran has
refused to respond to my fair and serious concerns, because ...
... ICANN has no defence.
Richard Henderson

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