[bc-gnso] RE: Important--Regsitry Registrar Separation issue

Phil Corwin pcorwin at butera-andrews.com
Fri Jul 31 18:21:33 UTC 2009

I believe that ICA took the position that the separation requirement could be relaxed for closed registries where DNs could not be obtained by the general public - e.g., .acmecorp where registry only open to employees, suppliers, etc. That could of course be combined with a numerical limit.

The potential problem with just a numerical limit is that a registry operator for a premium generic could choose to cap registrations just under the limit to create artificial scarcity and then operate the registrar function at high annual fees.
The purpose of separation for open gTLDs is to have registrar competition that keeps prices to registrants low. This is arguably one of ICANN's most successful policies. Relaxing it should be done with great caution.
Philip S. Corwin
Partner, Butera & Andrews
1301 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Suite 500
Washington, DC 20004

"Luck is the residue of design." -- Branch Rickey

From: owner-bc-gnso at icann.org <owner-bc-gnso at icann.org>
To: Michael D. Palage <michael at palage.com>
Cc: 'BC gnso' <bc-gnso at icann.org>
Sent: Fri Jul 31 14:01:02 2009
Subject: Re: [bc-gnso] RE: Important--Regsitry Registrar Separation issue


if we presume that somebody is going to make a lot of money off of those premium generics, i'm not sure i care whether it's the registrar or the registry...


On Jul 31, 2009, at 12:55 PM, Michael D. Palage wrote:


Not to sound like an attorney but please read the ICANN proposal "fine
print". Under the current proposal a Registrar would be able to register up
to 100,000 in a TLD in which they or an affiliate were the registry
operator. Do you want to take a bet on what percentage of those 100,000 with
be premium generics?

"With a limited exception, a registrar should not sell domain services of an
affiliated registry. This limit is set to a certain threshold, in this
model, 100,000 domain names. (The registrar may continue to manage its
existing base of registrations once the threshold is met)" See

Best regards,


-----Original Message-----
From: owner-bc-gnso at icann.org [mailto:owner-bc-gnso at icann.org] On Behalf Of
Mike O'Connor
Sent: Friday, July 31, 2009 1:22 PM
To: BC gnso
Subject: Re: [bc-gnso] RE: Important--Regsitry Registrar Separation issue

hi all,

i don't feel very strongly about this.  times have changed from the
days when there was one monopoly provider being broken up.  now there
are lots of strong/capable entities that have the income statement,
technical expertise and customer-facing capabilities to run registrars
and registries.

so i'm not sure we need to throw our collective body on the tracks in
the way of that train.  especially when they're saying that a
registrar can't be a registry for the same TLD.

my 2 cents,


On Jul 30, 2009, at 3:43 PM, Mike Rodenbaugh wrote:

I sent this around about five weeks ago, and other than George I do
believe anyone has commented.  I have been asked if the BC has a
view on
this issue.  It seems like a big issue with respect to new TLDs, and
be retroapplied to existing TLDs.  Does anyone else care?

My view is that the proponents of the change (abolishing the
rule of separation) ought to have a fairly heavy burden to prove the
for the change.  I have not seen a very good case for it, and think
www.registryregistrarseparation.org website presents a compelling case
against it.  I also am bothered that Staff seemed to unilaterally
incorporate such a radical change into the Draft Applicant Guidebook,
without any formal direction to do so.  So I hope they change it
back in the
next iteration, due in September.  If the BC is fairly unanimous on
issue, then I would like us to make comments to that effect very soon.
Please let me know what you think.

I summarized the factual situation in a recent blog post on


ICANN was formed eleven years ago, when the .com 'monopoly' was broken
At that time, Network Solutions was the sole registry and registrar
of gTLD
domain names.  ICANN created the system we have today, where
place orders with ICANN-accredited registrars, who in turn place the
with ICANN-contracted TLD registries, many of which use the back-end
services of third party registry operators.  It was thought that
this system
would increase competition for the suppliers of domain names, and
thus lower
prices for registrants.  It is hard to argue that this has not held
insofar as the price of .com domain names has dropped dramatically
in that
time (but is now allowed to rise again by 7% almost every year,
under the
2006 agreement between ICANN and VeriSign).

To ensure this structure held, ICANN restricted registries from
directly or indirectly a substantial percentage of any registrar, so
VeriSign cannot buy a controlling interest in GoDaddy, for example.
Some of
the largest registrars have become registry operators which also
those TLD names to the public.  For example GoDaddy provides the
for country-code .me (so Montenegro makes the rules, not ICANN).
large registrars, such as Network Solutions and eNom, now are
pressing ICANN
to eliminate the restrictions on registry-registrar cross ownership
of gTLD
registries, so that those registrars can compete as registry
sell new gTLD domains directly to the public, and sell them to all
ICANN accredited registrars as well.

Existing registry operators, such as NeuStar (.biz), Public Interest
Registry (.org) and others, are in support of any entity becoming a
or registry operator, so long as that entity does not distribute
names in the same TLD that they operate as a registry.  They are
this new proposal on the basis that registrars have a substantial
head start
in marketing domain names to the public, and thus can offer prime
distribution opportunities to new registries.  These registries and
operators argue that allowing cross ownership would put them at a
competitive disadvantage in convincing new TLD operators to use their
back-end services.

On the other hand, some large registrars argue that no registrar or
business -- other than VeriSign with .com and .net -- has any
'market power'
which can be exploited for anti-competitive purposes, and thus they
not be regulated by cross-ownership restrictions.  They note that,
proven 'market power', it is in consumers' interests to allow
cross-ownership because it will bring operational efficiencies and
prices to the marketplace.  The registries counter that a number
do in fact have market power in deciding which TLDs to promote, and
They argue that a registrar that owns a registry will choose to
promote its
own cross-owned TLDs over any non-affiliated TLD, thereby actually

A public comment forum concerning antitrust experts' reports on this
has recently closed,
http://forum.icann.org/lists/competition-pricing-final/, and ICANN
staff is
expected to make recommendations which then will be subject to further
public debate and comment before the next iteration of the new TLD
Guidebook, expected in late September.

Mike Rodenbaugh
Rodenbaugh Law
548 Market Street
San Francisco, CA  94104

-----Original Message-----
From: Mike Rodenbaugh [mailto:mike at rodenbaugh.com]
Sent: Saturday, June 20, 2009 12:39 AM
To: bc-gnso at icann.org
Subject: FW: Important--Regsitry Registrar Separation issue

FYI the site at www.registryregistrarseparation.org.  I know this
issue is
of serious concern to many members.

Adam Palmer and Jeff Neuman have agree to present briefly and take
at our BC meeting on Tuesday.

All comments welcome, and it would be wonderful if a member or two
wanted to
lead the BC thinking and engagement on this issue.


Mike Rodenbaugh
Rodenbaugh Law
548 Market Street
San Francisco, CA  94104

-----Original Message-----
From: Adam Palmer [mailto:APalmer at pir.org]
Sent: Friday, June 19, 2009 5:51 PM
To: Adam Palmer
Subject: Important--Regsitry Registrar Separation issue


Please see the below site on registry/registrar cross ownership.
ICANN will
also be having a panel on this on Monday.  Strong vocal support is
both on the website and at the ICANN Monday panel meeting.

Please forward this site link to anyone else that might support our
on this issue.

Let me know if any questions.


Adam Palmer

Link:    http://www.registryregistrarseparation.org/supporters

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- - - - - - - - -
phone  651-647-6109
fax   866-280-2356
web  www.haven2.com<http://www.haven2.com>
handle OConnorStP (ID for public places like Twitter, Facebook, Google, etc.)

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