[registration-issues-wg] [CPWG] [GTLD-WG] Subsequent Procedures | Request for feedback on Neustar's proposal for 3-phased New gTLD Application Model

Evan Leibovitch evan at telly.org
Sat Jan 5 19:04:09 UTC 2019

Hi Olivier,

> I must admit that these slides made me feel particularly uneasy about the
> whole process of subsequent procedures. Without prejudice, here we have the
> Chair of the working group, main driver of the working group moving
> forward, ex-Neustar and currently working for Valideus, a company that
> stands to capitalise significantly in the creation of brand TLDs, pushing a
> calendar that is suggested by his ex-firm, favouring his current firm. I
> cannot stop seeing a flashing sign telling me "conflict of interest" here.

Welcome to ICANN's model of multi-stakeholderism, where such behaviour is a
feature not a bug. Here there is no such thing as conflict of interest
affecting outcomes so long as the participants declare. That flashing sign
has been in our collective faces since day one.

The ICANN design encourages vested-interests to drive policy with the power
to compel the Board to accept their results, with the groups which exist to
represent the public interest on the sidelines as toothless advisory
groups. Only ICANN's dependence on governmental non-interference has it
even listening to the GAC, where it relies on the GAC's need for unanimity
to keep it from intervening in truly meaningful ways. The ALAC and SSAC
don't even have that.

It should be no surprise to long-timers that this "inmates running the
asylum" mode of operation leads to ever-increasing industry capture,
especially when ICANN-the-institution is financially dependent on said

At ICANN Studienkreis and elsewhere, Cherine Chalaby has been asking the
> community about the need for a fast next round, and the majority of people
> around the table, whether end users, businesses, registrars and established
> registries said they were not eager for an immediate next round.

We've heard this tune many times before. ICANN makes a pretence of asking
for public input, then does what industry wants anyway. (After all, the
industry is part of the public, right?) The levers of ICANN power are not
being moved at Studienkreis or even in public view.

If ALAC is going to be solicited and ignored as usual, it ought to at least
make some principled stands that demonstrate the shallowness of the

If there is no public good to be derived from new rounds of gTLDs, but
instead a threat of more confusion and potential for user abuse that
outweighs the fake claims of competition, *SAY SO*.
If ICANN is proceeding in its path without sufficient research into the
needs of the future or the consequences of past actions, *SAY SO*.
(Or does ALAC risk jeopardizing travel/Summit/outreach/whatever funding
should it say what truly needs to be said?)

Personally I remain against any namespace expansion until proper cause for
new gTLDs (outside of "ICANN needs more domain sales") can be demonstrated.
So I am loathe to engage in ALAC's typical bikeshedding, micro-policy
advice that detracts from the necessary simple high-level commentary.
However, if ALAC insists on continuing the path of fine tuning (and thus
tacitly endorsing) broken ICANN policy, I offer the following comment based
on my own experience:

Before talking about the need to prioritize Community TLDs, have a very
clear idea what this means. We know that the industry does not have the
same view of "community" as do public-interest advocates. So you could get
the prioritization you want and still not be further ahead in actually
achieving any desired outcomes. This is not a theoretical problem, we have
already lived it once through the Applicant Support debacle.

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