[council] Economic Study of Proposed Registry Agreements

Bruce Tonkin Bruce.Tonkin at melbourneit.com.au
Thu Oct 19 11:02:01 UTC 2006

>From the ICANN Board meeting on 18 Oct:


Economic Study of Proposed Registry Agreements

Whereas, proposed new registry agreements between ICANN the operators of
the .BIZ, .INFO, and .ORG registries have been posted for public comment
and presented to the Board.

Whereas, the proposed new agreements were the subject of a substantial
number of comments, especially concerning competition-related issues
such as differential pricing.

Whereas, ICANN's Core Values include: 

* Preserving and enhancing the operational stability, reliability,
security, and global interoperability of the Internet. 

* Where feasible and appropriate, depending on market mechanisms to
promote and sustain a competitive environment.
* Introducing and promoting competition in the registration of domain
names where practicable and beneficial in the public interest. 

Whereas, the Board has carefully considered the proposed new agreement,
and the public comments and the registry responses, and finds that
approval of the proposed new agreements would be beneficial for ICANN
and the Internet community, provided that ICANN and the registry
operators are able to agree to appropriate revisions to the proposed
agreements to address competition-related issues such as differential

Whereas, the GNSO is currently conducting a policy-development process
that includes study of some of these issues, but ICANN has pressing
operational questions relating to its bilateral contracts with registry
operators that need to be resolved, separate from any generally
applicable new policies on this subject that might be recommended
through the GNSO process.

Whereas, the domain registration market is very complex and producing
reliable analysis and findings will require high-levels of economic

Resolved (06.___), the President is directed to commission an
independent study by a reputable economic consulting firm or
organization to deliver findings on economic questions relating to the
domain registration market, such as:

* whether the domain registration market is one market or whether each
TLD functions as a separate market, 

* whether registrations in different TLDs are substitutable, 

* what are the effects on consumer and pricing behavior of the switching
costs involved in moving from one TLD to another, 

* what is the effect of the market structure and pricing on new TLD


* whether there are other markets with similar issues, and if so how are
these issues addressed and by who? 

Resolved (06.__), after having considered the public comments and the
responses from the registries, the President and the General Counsel are
hereby requested to renegotiate the proposed agreements relating to:
competition-related concerns (in particular price increase
restrictions); traffic data and review mechanisms resulting from the
introduction of new studies or additional information.

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