[Comments-biz-renewal-03apr19] Comment re .BIZ registry renewal from John Poole, DomainMondo.com

John Poole jp1 at expri.com
Mon May 6 20:27:38 UTC 2019

Comment re .BIZ registry renewal from John Poole, DomainMondo.com is
attached (pdf) and also below:

Re: Proposed Renewal of .biz Registry Agreement

I am a gTLD domain names registrant, and* oppose* the proposed *.BIZ*
renewal registry agreement, as I have also opposed the currently pending
proposals for generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs)* .ORG, .INFO, .ASIA.*

*Reasons for opposition:*

*1.* All of those reasons set out in the comment submitted by Zak
Muscovitch on behalf of the Internet Commerce Association (ICA)
(of which I am NOT a member), as if fully set out herein, and with which I
fully concur. In accordance with ICANN’s own bylaws, it is simply wrong and
inappropriate for ICANN org management and staff on its own, to “make
policy” in regard to legacy gTLDs, such as .BIZ, by deleting all pricing
controls and allowing unlimited price gouging by registry operators, and
applying RPM and other policies specifically adopted for new gTLDs, but
*not* other gTLDs, especially when those same RPMs and policies are
currently under review for further revisions by the “ICANN community.”
ICANN org ALWAYS fails to represent the interests of domain name
registrants (which indicates ICANN is a
*domain-name-industry-captured-organization*), and its process for ALL gTLD
registry renewals needs a complete overhaul in conformance with advice from
the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division
discussed further below, attached to this letter from NTIA
to ICANN. In addition I concur with EFF’s .ORG comment
as also *applicable to ALL gTLDs*, as if fully set out herein, *and* the
following which is also *applicable to ALL gTLDs *(emphasis added):

The economics of domain name prices--
: “… *high switching costs* make domain owners hostages to the registries
that operate their domains. They simply have to pay whatever they are
charged. The cost to switch is too much. For this reason, *renewal costs
must be capped*. *How domain registration and renewal costs should be
managed*--*Some* top level domains have *market power* at the *time of
registration*. *All top level domains have tremendous power over
registrants at the time of renewal*. For this reason, ICANN should
consider *capping
initial registry fees* for top level domains that have some level of *market
power, such as .com and .org*. It should *limit prices on all domains at
the time of renewal*. The organization [ICANN] has stated that registrants
have some protection because they can renew domains for up to ten years at
current prices before price hikes take effect. There are two problems with
this. First, the registries must notify the registrars of the price
increase. It’s up to the registrars to notify customers. Busy customers
might overlook these notices or not have the cash to renew for ten years
today. Second, and most importantly, this just kicks the can down the
road. *What
does a company do ten years from now when it has to pay the new rates*?”

*2.*  Those reasons set out in *my comment*
submitted in regard to *.ORG*, and blog post *News Review 1) ICANN Org
Policy-Making Trashes Legacy gTLD .ORG*
, applicable to .BIZ, as if fully set out herein, as well as the aforesaid DOJ
Antitrust Division advice
which states:

*“ICANN’s approach to TLD management demonstrates that it has adopted an
ineffective approach with respect to its obligation to promote competition
at the registry level.”* (p.8)

The *“proposed registry agreement should include provisions that would
enable ICANN to constrain … registry operators from exercising market
power. In particular, ICANN should establish competitive mechanisms for …
renewals of gTLD registry agreements whereby prospective gTLD operators
would compete for gTLDs by proposing registry terms – including maximum fee
schedules – that would provide consumer benefits.*” (p. 2) (emphasis added)

“ICANN’s request for bids should expressly call for bids to specify an *initial
maximum price* that would be charged by the operator for *domain
registrations*, as well as *limitations on price increases over time*.”

“… *ICANN *should require competitive bidding for* renewals of a gTLD
registry agreement, *rather than granting the incumbent operator a
perpetual right to renew without competition. Such a mechanism would both
assist in disciplining the conduct of the incumbent during the initial term
insofar as the incumbent would want to maximize the likelihood of renewal,
and ensure the benefits of competition when potential operators bid for the
right to operate the gTLD in the renewal term … *Experience with the .net
TLD and other gTLDs has shown* that … *periodic rebidding has served as an
effective tool* for *managing the interests of registrants* in *gTLDs*.
Indeed, *competitive bidding has resulted in lower domain prices* and
higher operating specifications than what ICANN has achieved through
non-competitive negotiations. In particular, *competitive bidding* prompts
bidders to propose and accept registry improvements, higher operating
standards, and *lower registration fees* to win the contract.” (pp.7-8)

*3. The Registry Operator Does Not Own .BIZ—top level domains do not
constitute property--see* U.S. government’s Amicus Curiae brief filed 29
Dec 2015 in Weinstein vs IRAN
(US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit,  USCA Case #14-7193), at page 20
of 32: “To the contrary, a foundational 1994 Internet governance policy
statement, *still regarded by the Internet community as authoritative*,
explicitly rejects efforts to assert property rights in such domains:
“Concerns about ‘rights’ * * * are inappropriate. It is appropriate to be
concerned about ‘responsibilities’ and ‘service’ to the community.” See RFC
1591 <https://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc1591.txt>, DNS Structure and Delegation
4-5 (Mar. 1994).” (emphasis and link added)

Respectfully submitted,

John Poole, gTLD domain name registrant, and *editor,* DomainMondo.com

cc: U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division; Federal Trade Commission
(FTC); NTIA (David Redl); European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe
Vestager; European Commission Directorate-General for Competition For the
attention of the Antitrust Registry; European Data Protection Supervisor
Giovanni Buttarelli; ICANN Board Chair Cherine Chalaby.
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