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Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Karl Auerbach on the Revised Settlement Agreement

As far as I can tell the revised agreement has repaired not even one of the numerous fatal flaws that were found in the draft discussed in Vancouver.

Has data mining been removed? No. ICANN grants Verisign an entirely unwarranted contractual right to mine DNS usage data for the profit of Verisign with no benefit to those who have paid for domain names or to those who use DNS. Data mining not only adds nothing to internet stability but actually undermines it by distracting Verisign from the primary goal to be obtained, the operation of a reliable, unbiased, efficient TLD registry with associated TLD servers.

Nor does ICANN obligate Verisign to offer prompt, unbiased, and accurate domain name responses to domain name queries.

Has the "Add Grace" period been eliminated? No. ICANN still enables one of the worst of domain name business practices, one that relies on deception and adds utterly nothing to internet stability.

Has presumptive renewal been removed? No.

Is Verisign being driving to establish registry prices that reflect actual costs? No, ICANN simply presumes that price increases are warranted without even a dribble of analysis and in the face of clear and obvious evidence that the underlying costs are actually dropping rather than increasing.

All-in-all, this agreement is unacceptable. The agreement damages the stability of the internet by defocusing the registry operator and suggesting that the registry operator subordinate reliable and accurate operation to whatever profit opportunities may be possible through data mining. The agreement has arbitrary and unsubstantited pricing terms that are not tied to any costs but which must be borne by all users of .com, as a recurring cost year-in-and-year out. And finally, ICANN continues through this agreement the completely outrageous practices enabled by the strange creature known as "add grace".

ICANN's staff should reject this agreement.

If not ICANN's board should do two things:

1) Fire ICANN's staff (and the law firm they use) because they are clearly deaf to the demands of both the internet community and the idea that the overriding purpose of ICANN and this agreement is the reliable, accurate, efficient, and unbiased provision of domain name registration services and domain name query resolution services to internet users.

2) Reject this agreement.


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