[registration-issues-wg] [CPWG] [GTLD-WG] EFF : Nonprofit Community Stands Together to Protect .ORG

Jonathan Zuck JZuck at innovatorsnetwork.org
Sat Nov 23 01:56:27 UTC 2019


Well Nat, you’d be surprised at the public spirit of this group.  As for process, we’re working on it. Fundamentally, we try to evaluate those interests logically. Our mandate is to identify and advocate for the interests of “individual end users” which does not include non-profit organizations but does, by  definition, include people who benefit from their important work.

So perhaps the strongest argument here is not for individual non-profits but for collective loss to their efforts in the face of a price hike. That may very well be where we end up. All I said is that we spend some time to truly evaluate this. There’s no reason we should take as an article of faith that a non-profit is the best registry for non-profits just because it has always been. Rumors abound about the poor management of PIR. If that’s the case, it’s possible that Ethos could make money but simply running the registry more efficiently and not raising prices a cent. You, yourself, made the argument that you believe PIR was pulling too much money out of the market for too little work.

That said, we also cannot assume that the interests of domain investors are 100% aligned with those of other registrants, much less with individual end users and that there might be benefits to the new contract that benefit end users that do not benefit domain investors.

There are a lot of threads here unfortunately so I’ll leave it there. We just need to spend some time on this.
Jonathan


From: Nat Cohen <ncohen at telepathy.com>
Date: Friday, November 22, 2019 at 6:05 PM
To: John Laprise <jlaprise at gmail.com>
Cc: Jonathan Zuck <JZuck at innovatorsnetwork.org>, Alexander Schubert <alexander at schubert.berlin>, CPWG <cpwg at icann.org>
Subject: Re: [CPWG] [GTLD-WG] EFF : Nonprofit Community Stands Together to Protect .ORG

Hi John,

Thanks for that clarification.  What is the mechanism by which At Large, which requires no qualifications to join, aligns itself with the interests of end users?  The more familiar I become with ICANN the more I recognize that those who engage here usually have financial interests in the outcome.  And yes, I am one with financial interests, and it was those interests that led me to first pay attention to ICANN.  It takes a huge amount of time to productively engage here.  Unless one is exceptionally public spirited, that is a lot to ask of someone to devote so much time to ICANN without a financial interest and on behalf of the interests of random end users.

So while the purpose of At Large is to be a good steward on behalf of the interests of end users, how is that ensured?  What prevents At Large from being populated by those with financial interests adverse to the interests of end users, such that the guidance from At Large is equally adverse to the interests of end users?

As to your comment about .org being managed by those who make decisions primarily based on the financial impact, and who may therefore readily betray a .org or shut down a nonprofit website if an authoritarian government with which the private equity firm has business interests complains, that is one more good reason, among many, to be concerned about the sale to Ethos Capital.

Regards,

Nat



On Fri, Nov 22, 2019 at 5:43 PM John Laprise <jlaprise at gmail.com<mailto:jlaprise at gmail.com>> wrote:
Hi Nat,

Just to clarify, At Large isn't a representative organization. Rather, it collectively strives to be a good steward on behalf of the interests of end users. More than anything else, we listen. On .org, my sense is that the organization managing .org should at it's heart have non profit sensibilities. We thought that was true of ISOC and we were disappointed. Management by a fund is about as antithetical as you can get.

The bigger picture for me is that in many places, being a nonprofit or being affiliated with one is a personal security risk. Authoritarian governments do not like non-profits. If .org is managed by an org driven by $, then all it takes it coercion or money to get them to betray .org. A non-profit with a mission is much more difficult to coerce. The next billion users live in such places. I would not see them put at risk.
Sent from my Pixel 3XL

John Laprise, Ph.D.

On Fri, Nov 22, 2019, 4:19 PM Nat Cohen <ncohen at telepathy.com<mailto:ncohen at telepathy.com>> wrote:

This discussion has taken an interesting turn - "very greedy non-profits", "turned it into a porn site", "any price INCREASE up to about $100 would be a POSITIVE".

There's a lot to unpack here.

I am a domain investor.  I recognize it may seem odd for domain investors to care about how much nonprofits are paying for their .org domain names.  Indeed, the primary focus of domain investors is .com domain names.  .Org domain names represent a negligible holding in most investors' portfolios.

Domain investors are first and foremost registrants.  We care about registrant rights.  We care about our ownership rights in our domain names.  We want registry service providers to act like service providers.  We don't like it when registries attempt to usurp the value in entire namespaces when those name spaces are legacy name spaces that they did not create nor nuture to maturity.

As registrants, do registrants own their domain names, or do the registries own those domain names?  That is a key question.  The right to charge any price to renew a domain name is the right of an OWNER, not a contracted service provider.

The right to tell EFF, ICANN, the Girl Scouts, and the registrants of ten million other .org domain names that their right to continue using their long term home on the Internet depends on paying PIR whatever price PIR wishes to impose, conveys to PIR the right of an owner.  PIR runs a database.  Actually they outsource the running of a database.  The marginal cost of adding or renewing a domain name is a fraction of a cent.  Yet PIR charges over $9 for performing that service - or rather for hiring someone else to perform that service - for an average cost of under $2 per domain name.

As others have pointed out, the benefits from these agreements are concentrated in a couple of registries, in particular PIR and Verisign, while the harm is diffused across tens of millions of registrants.  The harm suffered by the average registrant is not great enough to motivate them to engage with ICANN.  So registries exert their influence on ICANN, the registrants don't participate, and the result is that the registrants are harmed while the registries negotiate sweetheart deals.

One of the few businesses where registrations are concentrated such that the harm incurred is high enough to make it worthwhile to engage at ICANN is domain investing.  Domain investors are similarly situated with other registrants as to registrant rights issues.  You may not like our business model.  You may have other issues with us.  But in the absence of engagement by the millions of registrants around the world who bear the brunt of ICANN's policies but aren't here to participate in the process, we are speaking out.  You can think of us like the Lorax in the Dr. Seuss book, we speak for the trees when the trees can't speak for themselves.

One might ask about the legitimacy of the participants in At Large to speak on behalf of the global Internet community.  What are your interests here?

I am friendly with Alexander.  I know that he is a promoter of new gTLDs.  It is no accident he has the excellent domain name Schubert.Berlin.  Higher prices for legacy domain names, such as .org domain names at $100 or so, would make the new gTLDs he is promoting more attractive.

Jonathan - I am fairly new here.  You have strong opinions on these matters.  What is your interest in these issues?

As for your question about what shrill rhetoric may have motivated the nonprofits to comment, there is a blog post by NameCheap that they shared with their .org registrants that led many of them to comment, and some of them to use the form that the ICA created to facilitate comments.  That blog post is here - https://www.namecheap.com/blog/keep-domain-prices-in-check/.  I agree that the blog post raises the fear of sharply higher prices - "sky-high .org prices could be coming" and "Rather than a 10% increase to renew your domain next year, it could suddenly start charging registrars like Namecheap 100 times as much."  You can read the post for yourself and form your own opinion.

Yet what I wonder about is why are the opinions of the folks who joined this group - I mean, you even allowed a domain investor to join - more relevant that what the nonprofit community is saying loudly and clearly and consistently.

To the extent that this group has any relevance at all, and actually has any overlap with its stated purpose of representing Internet users at large, shouldn't it be guided by the interests of the nonprofits as stated by those nonprofits themselves, rather than whoever wandered into this group for whatever unknown reason?

Regards,

Nat Cohen


On Fri, Nov 22, 2019 at 4:15 PM Jonathan Zuck <JZuck at innovatorsnetwork.org<mailto:JZuck at innovatorsnetwork.org>> wrote:
Good point
________________________________
From: GTLD-WG <gtld-wg-bounces at atlarge-lists.icann.org<mailto:gtld-wg-bounces at atlarge-lists.icann.org>> on behalf of Alexander Schubert <alexander at schubert.berlin>
Sent: Friday, November 22, 2019 4:12 PM
To: 'CPWG' <cpwg at icann.org<mailto:cpwg at icann.org>>
Subject: Re: [GTLD-WG] [CPWG] EFF : Nonprofit Community Stands Together to Protect .ORG


Any price INCREASE up to about US $100 per year would be a POSITIVE: It scares scalpers away.

The REAL risk we are facing is obviously the OPPOSITE:

That PIR allows freebee “creates” (first year registrations) to hike the .org domain count. The result of such action: bad actors snatching up EVERY single generic term based .org; and expired domains.



I am not afraid of rice hikes. I am afraid of the opposite: free “creates”. These monetization sites BADLY hurt the “.org” trust with Google. We shouldn’t ask ICANN for a “price cap” – rather for a guaranteed MINIMUM reg fee!



Thanks,



Alexander.berlin









From: GTLD-WG [mailto:gtld-wg-bounces at atlarge-lists.icann.org<mailto:gtld-wg-bounces at atlarge-lists.icann.org>] On Behalf Of Jonathan Zuck
Sent: Freitag, 22. November 2019 15:58
To: Kaili Kan <kankaili at gmail.com<mailto:kankaili at gmail.com>>; Evan Leibovitch <evanleibovitch at gmail.com<mailto:evanleibovitch at gmail.com>>
Cc: CPWG <cpwg at icann.org<mailto:cpwg at icann.org>>
Subject: Re: [GTLD-WG] [CPWG] EFF : Nonprofit Community Stands Together to Protect .ORG



Yes, those are the same issues raised during the original discussion about .ORG but they are still pretty specific to folks in the secondary market if you go one layer down. I've got about a dozen .ORG domains registered which I suspect is more than most non-profits, and I'd be fine with the price quadrupling if it put a dent in the secondary market for confusingly similar, snapped up and turned into porn sites and just plain expensive domains. I've run an arts non-profit called DC Dogs for the past decade. I found it a LOT cheaper to get the .COM than the .ORG because the .ORG was being held by a domain investor. Several times a year, I get an email from a broker asking if I'm ready to buy the .ORG. And THIS year, I was breathlessly notified that there had been a HUGE price decrease so I could now pick it up for the low low price of $7,500! Another time, I switched from competitivetechnology.org<http://competitivetechnology.org> to actonline.org<http://actonline.org> and unfortunately allowed competitivetechnology.org<http://competitivetechnology.org> to lapse. It was immediately purchased and turned into a porn site, capitalizing on the traffic WE had established so to buy it back, I had to match the revenue it was making for the domain investor, something close to $10k. It's a little ironic to talk about non-profit management of .ORG when so many of the second level domains are in the hands of the most for profit actors in the market.



We should also remember there are safeguards and PICs in the new contract that legacy domains do not need to implement and we have not evaluated their relative value to end users. As end users, we're most certainly not automatically for limiting IP rights, for example, because of the high correlation between infringement and malware. If we don't like the safeguards, we have a role to play in improving them which will go a LOT further than any reliance on someone's non-profit status to protect us. There are PLENTY of very greedy non-profits in the world whos executives make a great deal of money. I think the PIR CEO pay is something like $750k so before we cry a river over their loss, let's have a real discussion about how best to protect our interests in this.



All this said, I have nothing against domain investors and they are simply a reflection of a free market (that will exist with, or without PIR) and I myself once sold activate.com<http://activate.com> for much more than I paid for it. However, I do not believe the internet community owes them anything and should not concern ourselves with their interests.



Consequently, when they are the primary driver behind an initiative to control pricing, we should be wary of their motives. Yes, they managed to generate a lot of comments and yes, Nat, I'm sure those comments were legitimately from the organizations listed but we know little of how the problem is being described to those organizations or how shrill the rhetoric about domain takedowns, etc. What we DO know is that domain investors are the group with the MOST to lose here whereas doubling the price of innovatorsnetwork.org<http://innovatorsnetwork.org> will make a lot of cash for Ethos and not make a bit of difference to the Innovators Network Foundation.



So Evan, I make no statement about the best outcome, because I have not yet studied it and I have NO problems with strange bedfellows if we're on the right side of something. I'm just not ready to ASSUME this is a bad development because folks with an entirely unique stake tell me so. All I ask is that we spend the time to discuss it.

Jonathan



________________________________

From: Kaili Kan <kankaili at gmail.com<mailto:kankaili at gmail.com>>
Sent: Friday, November 22, 2019 3:12 PM
To: Evan Leibovitch <evanleibovitch at gmail.com<mailto:evanleibovitch at gmail.com>>
Cc: Jonathan Zuck <JZuck at innovatorsnetwork.org<mailto:JZuck at innovatorsnetwork.org>>; Dev Anand Teelucksingh <devtee at gmail.com<mailto:devtee at gmail.com>>; CPWG <cpwg at icann.org<mailto:cpwg at icann.org>>
Subject: Re: [CPWG] [GTLD-WG] EFF : Nonprofit Community Stands Together to Protect .ORG



After reading the letter signed by over 20 NGOs, I find it going beyond far potential price increases.  The following are their listed concerns:



-- The power to raise .ORG registration fees without the approval of ICANN or the .ORG community. A .ORG price hike would put many cash-strapped NGOs in the difficult position of either paying the increased fees or losing the legitimacy and brand recognition of a .ORG domain.

-- The power to develop and implement Rights Protection Mechanisms unilaterally, without consulting the .ORG community. If such mechanisms are not carefully crafted in collaboration with the NGO community, they risk censoring completely legal nonprofit activities.

-- The power to implement processes to suspend domain names based on accusations of “activity contrary to applicable law.”  The .ORG registry should not implement such processes without understanding how state actors frequently target NGOs with allegations of illegal activity.



If these are true, it seems that we have even more reasons to act.



Kaili



On Sat, Nov 23, 2019 at 3:56 AM Evan Leibovitch <evanleibovitch at gmail.com<mailto:evanleibovitch at gmail.com>> wrote:

I am somewhat comforted by the observation that the Free Software Foundation and Electronic Frontier Foundation have signed on to the site, neither of which is associated with being corporate proxies.



I share your concern about ICA. However, at various points in history we've partnered with many different parts of the ICANN ecosystem and this time we happen to be on the same side as an organization we often consider as an adversary. Strange bedfellows indeed but why not?



I maintain my position that PIR should be given more leeway to set prices. That's not the issue to me. The change of PIR from nonprofit to for-profit has far deeper implications for trust that price increases will be reasonable and serving an interest beyond maximizing revenue. I had trust that a nonprofit PIR would treat the removal of price caps with prudence. I have no such confidence in a profit-maximizing PIR.



___________________
Evan Leibovitch, Toronto
@evanleibovitch/@el56



On Fri., Nov. 22, 2019, 1:50 p.m. Jonathan Zuck, <JZuck at innovatorsnetwork.org<mailto:JZuck at innovatorsnetwork.org>> wrote:

I confess I’d be interested to see who is behind this site.  The talking points are very similar to those with which we were bombarded by ICA during the original discussions around .ORG. Deep down, we ALL know that the only ones truly harmed by a price increase are volume registrants. It was you who suggested that a price hike might actually be pro-consumer. Let’s not lose site of all that because we’re pissed at ISOC. Let’s try to keep from being manipulated again and do a reasoned analysis of the situation.



From: GTLD-WG <gtld-wg-bounces at atlarge-lists.icann.org<mailto:gtld-wg-bounces at atlarge-lists.icann.org>> on behalf of Evan Leibovitch <evanleibovitch at gmail.com<mailto:evanleibovitch at gmail.com>>
Date: Friday, November 22, 2019 at 1:41 PM
To: Dev Anand Teelucksingh <devtee at gmail.com<mailto:devtee at gmail.com>>
Cc: CPWG <cpwg at icann.org<mailto:cpwg at icann.org>>
Subject: Re: [GTLD-WG] [CPWG] EFF : Nonprofit Community Stands Together to Protect .ORG



Have a look at https://savedotorg.org

Interesting list of signatories. Perhaps ALAC should endorse?

___________________
Evan Leibovitch, Toronto
@evanleibovitch/@el56



On Fri., Nov. 22, 2019, 1:16 p.m. Dev Anand Teelucksingh, <devtee at gmail.com<mailto:devtee at gmail.com>> wrote:

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/11/nonprofit-community-stands-together-protect-org

_______________________________________________
CPWG mailing list
CPWG at icann.org<mailto:CPWG at icann.org>
https://mm.icann.org/mailman/listinfo/cpwg

_______________________________________________
By submitting your personal data, you consent to the processing of your personal data for purposes of subscribing to this mailing list accordance with the ICANN Privacy Policy (https://www.icann.org/privacy/policy) and the website Terms of Service (https://www.icann.org/privacy/tos). You can visit the Mailman link above to change your membership status or configuration, including unsubscribing, setting digest-style delivery or disabling delivery altogether (e.g., for a vacation), and so on._______________________________________________
GTLD-WG mailing list
GTLD-WG at atlarge-lists.icann.org<mailto:GTLD-WG at atlarge-lists.icann.org>
https://atlarge-lists.icann.org/mailman/listinfo/gtld-wg

Working Group direct URL: https://community.icann.org/display/atlarge/New+GTLDs
_______________________________________________
By submitting your personal data, you consent to the processing of your personal data for purposes of subscribing to this mailing list accordance with the ICANN Privacy Policy (https://www.icann.org/privacy/policy) and the website Terms of Service (https://www.icann.org/privacy/tos). You can visit the Mailman link above to change your membership status or configuration, including unsubscribing, setting digest-style delivery or disabling delivery altogether (e.g., for a vacation), and so on.

_______________________________________________
CPWG mailing list
CPWG at icann.org<mailto:CPWG at icann.org>
https://mm.icann.org/mailman/listinfo/cpwg

_______________________________________________
By submitting your personal data, you consent to the processing of your personal data for purposes of subscribing to this mailing list accordance with the ICANN Privacy Policy (https://www.icann.org/privacy/policy) and the website Terms of Service (https://www.icann.org/privacy/tos). You can visit the Mailman link above to change your membership status or configuration, including unsubscribing, setting digest-style delivery or disabling delivery altogether (e.g., for a vacation), and so on.
_______________________________________________
CPWG mailing list
CPWG at icann.org<mailto:CPWG at icann.org>
https://mm.icann.org/mailman/listinfo/cpwg

_______________________________________________
By submitting your personal data, you consent to the processing of your personal data for purposes of subscribing to this mailing list accordance with the ICANN Privacy Policy (https://www.icann.org/privacy/policy) and the website Terms of Service (https://www.icann.org/privacy/tos). You can visit the Mailman link above to change your membership status or configuration, including unsubscribing, setting digest-style delivery or disabling delivery altogether (e.g., for a vacation), and so on.
_______________________________________________
CPWG mailing list
CPWG at icann.org<mailto:CPWG at icann.org>
https://mm.icann.org/mailman/listinfo/cpwg

_______________________________________________
By submitting your personal data, you consent to the processing of your personal data for purposes of subscribing to this mailing list accordance with the ICANN Privacy Policy (https://www.icann.org/privacy/policy) and the website Terms of Service (https://www.icann.org/privacy/tos). You can visit the Mailman link above to change your membership status or configuration, including unsubscribing, setting digest-style delivery or disabling delivery altogether (e.g., for a vacation), and so on.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://mm.icann.org/pipermail/registration-issues-wg/attachments/20191123/eec233a9/attachment-0001.html>
-------------- next part --------------
_______________________________________________
CPWG mailing list
CPWG at icann.org
https://mm.icann.org/mailman/listinfo/cpwg

_______________________________________________
By submitting your personal data, you consent to the processing of your personal data for purposes of subscribing to this mailing list accordance with the ICANN Privacy Policy (https://www.icann.org/privacy/policy) and the website Terms of Service (https://www.icann.org/privacy/tos). You can visit the Mailman link above to change your membership status or configuration, including unsubscribing, setting digest-style delivery or disabling delivery altogether (e.g., for a vacation), and so on.


More information about the registration-issues-wg mailing list