Wednesday, 17 November 2004

Who will really run the ".travel" domain?

A press release today announces a sale option for .travel top level Internet domain applicant Tralliance Corp., contingent on "conditions being met, including final approval [for Tralliance] to be the registry of the .travel top-level domain from ICANN".

The news release reveals that throughout its application to ICANN for the creation and delegation of policy-making authority over a new top-level Internet domain for travel, Tralliance actually had a secret agreement -- never disclosed in any of the public documents related to the ICANN application, but critical to evaluating Tralliance's claims about itself, who and what interests it represents, and what policies it will follow -- regarding an option for sale of the company to TheGlobe.com if the ".travel" application is approved:

The agreement between the two companies was originally entered into on February 25, 2003 and has since been amended. The Securities and Exchange Commission granted theglobe.com confidentiality treatment with respect to full disclosure of the details of the Agreement pursuant to Rule 406 under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.

Trallaince itself made its application primarily as a front for the airline trade association IATA, whose original .travel application had been passed over by ICANN. Tralliance represented itself to ICANN and the public as having a particular relationship to travel and the travel industry, which has been questioned by myself and others, but which The Globe.com certainly doesn't have.

More suspiciously, the move comes just after the completion of the preliminary (secret) review by ICANN's consultants of Tralliance's application, and the ICANN board's (closed seesion) decision to authorize further negotiations toward an agreement for Tralliance sponsorship of .travel. The obvious inference is that Tralliance and TheGlobe.com feared that revealing their agreement would have reduced the chances for approval of Tralliance's application for ".travel".

If ICANN were doing their job, they would require a fresh review of Tralliance's application. But I'm not holding my breath for that to happen. The fix is still in, and eventually, somehow, ICANN's insider clique will find a way to fulfill its secret handshake deal with its cronies to create and hand over a ".travel" domain to IATA or someone representing its interests.

[Update, 19 November 2004: Lots of discussion of this topic at ICANNWatch in response to my posting there.]

Link | Posted by Edward on Wednesday, 17 November 2004, 12:47 (12:47 PM) | TrackBack (0)
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