[Comments-com-amendment-3-03jan20] ICANN captured by registry interests

Kevin Ohashi kevin at reviewsignal.com
Tue Feb 11 09:38:57 UTC 2020


I strongly oppose the price increase proposed.

There is simply no justification for the price increase. ICANN is taking
essentially a 20 million dollar bribe to allow VeriSign to capture many
multiples more than that in increased profit. 20 million dollars over 5
years is nothing. If ICANN desperately needs this funding, it is sitting on
~450 million dollars from the last 990 I could find (2018 -
https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/fy18-irs-tax-form-990-return-organization-exempt-income-tax-27may19-en.pdf
).
If this is essential, it can be pulled out of the budget, it shouldn't be
taking VeriSign's money in a quid-pro-quo arrangement to allow VeriSign to
raise prices on a monopoly product with wildly healthy margins - "*The
operating margin for 2019 was 65.5 percent compared to 63.2 percent in
2018.*" (Quote from VeriSign quarterly report
https://investor.verisign.com/static-files/4a30ffcc-5b47-464d-bf43-11637bdf5510
 ).

VeriSign has a monopoly over .COM which has an extremely disproportionate
power over internet commerce. The cost of operating domain registries has
gone down (as seen by competitive bids to operate registries and in
VeriSign's operating margin).

ICANN pretending it shouldn't be a price regulator is a new line which
seems to be ICANN abdicating it's responsibility towards internet users and
only representing the interest of registry operators. Removing price caps
on .ORG has lead to the catastrophe we see today. Letting VeriSign
continually increase prices on .COM has an even larger impact considering
it's stronger monopoly and it being an order of magnitude larger than .ORG.

If ICANN really cared about competition, it wouldn't be giving contracts to
run the registry in perpetuity and open them up to competitive bidding
every so often. This selective interpretation of how markets should and
shouldn't be free is designed to hurt consumers and line the pockets of
registries, which seem to have a revolving door with the ICANN folks.

I fully expect ICANN to ignore the overwhelming opposition to these price
caps as they did with .ORG (
https://reviewsignal.com/blog/2019/07/01/icann-fails-the-internet-community-allows-an-unlimited-non-profit-tax/
).
I will be amazed if we even see the board make a decision or if they simply
hand it off to staff and pretend this is unimportant.

ICANN's multi stakeholder model is a failed project in governance and I'm
sure this comment period will simply be the latest supporting evidence.

Kevin Ohashi

-- 

Kevin Ohashi
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