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Friday, February 03, 2006


ALAC's At-Large Structures: A Miserable Failure

Yet another email from ICANN staffer Denise Michel, Executive Director At-Large, has been sent out to the troops. This one entitled "Input needed on new domain names, review of 3 sTLDs" was sent on 13 January to every single ALAC-accredited At-Large Structure and even to those whose applications are in pending due diligence status. The basic request [paraphrased]: "Give us some input, dammit!"

As usual, the troops responded by doing nothing. Although a wiki was set up, no certified at-large structures bothered to participate; although both a special purpose ICANN Forum and the general purpose ALAC Forum were open, no one came to the party. ... and seemingly undaunted by this unfolding debacle, the clueless members of the ALAC continue to build their mythical "RALOs".

The short history of ALAC as recounted by Richard Henderson: "The Board needed to save face. So it hired Denise Michel to create a new ICANN At Large which could be controlled and kept at arm's length from any real power and decision-making. Denise got back up from Esther in the early stages and Esther found herself representing North America simply because that's what ICANN wanted. Vittorio (who I have plenty of time for) made what I regard as the mistaken decision to jump aboard. It has primarily been Denise, Vittorio and Thomas driving the sinking ship since then. Just three people, unelected and unrepresentative, to claim to speak for the millions of individual Internet users. ICANN soon found that they were trying to roll an immovable boulder up a steep hill, trying to impose something that people had never asked for or wanted. So they roped in various chapters of ISOC, the Internet Society, which has close links with Vint and ICANN, to create the appearance of things happening. Only trouble was that... nothing much did happen. Because it was still just Denise, Vittorio and Thomas (with some input from two or three others). "

Here's a thought... if after three years of such steady e-mails from Denise we still have participation to the null degree, then perhaps the ICANN CEO should re-evaluate whether she's in fact the right person for the job.

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