Monday, 3 October 2005

".travel" launched. ICANN still ignores my request for stay.

Today the Tralliance Corp. subsidiary of TheGlobe.com (d/b/a "Voiceglo"), with approval from ICANN and the USA Department of Commerce, began accepting registrations from suppliers of travel services (travellers themselves aren't eligible, unless they sell travel services) for second-level .travel Internet domain names.

I've received no response or acknowledgement at all to my latest inquiry : "When, if ever, do you expect that ICANN will consider or act on my requests for independent review [of the lack of openness and transparency in the process by which ICANN approved ".travel" and delegated control of it to Tralliance/TheGlobe.com], and stay pending independent review".

ICANN bylaws require ICANN to indemnify its officers and Board of Directors, but only to the extent that they are acting in good faith. It's hard to imagine how any of them could claim, at this point, to have made a good-faith effort to comply with the requirement of ICANN's bylaws that a request like mine be referred to an independent review panel IRP), and that the IRP be afforded the authority to recommend a stay of the questioned decision pending their review.

Certainly, if I were ICANN's liability insurance company, I would contest any claim related to their inaction on my requests, on the grounds of failure to act in good faith.

That means ICANN's officers and Board are probably at substantial risk of personal liability for their inaction on my requests -- liability, for example, to those registering ".travel" domain names should an IRP eventually recommend reversal of the "travel" delegation decision. It's the enormous personal financial risk they are taking that makes their continued inaction, and their willingness to allow the launch today of "travel" registrations, so surprising.

[Addendum, 3 October 2005: I'm quoted today in a widely-published Associated Press story on the launch of ".travel":

Although Tralliance billed the domain as an online space for the global travel and tourism community, travel journalist and author Edward Hasbrouck criticized the rules, saying they exclude travelers at the expense of promoting travel businesses.

"The domain appears to exclude the participation of the largest class of people who use the Internet to travel -- people who use the Internet to post their travel stories and photos and all sorts of things," Hasbrouck said.

Cherian Mathai, Tralliance's chief operating officer, said individuals might qualify as travel media if they offer a service, such as advice on how to get there. Simply creating a site with family photos from Peru's Machu Picchu won't qualify, he said.

Approval is made on a case-by-case basis, he said.

I had spoken at length with AP reporter Anick Jesdanun, but (as is inevitable) most of the conversation didn't make it into his story. In particular, I stressed that my most important, and time-critical complaints are not with the substance of the ".travel" proposal -- essential aspects of which have not yet been publicly disclosed or discussed, and which therefore is not yet ripe for decision -- but with the secrecy of ICANN's decision making process, and ICANN's refusal to follow its own rules requiring maximum transparency, a right of independent review, and right to at least the consideration of a stay pending independent review. It's particularly hypocritical, I told Jesdanun, that the USA government is insisting on retaining its oversight authority over ICANN, while refusing to take any action against ICANN for even the most egregious violations of ICANN's contracts with the USA Department of Commerce, or of ICANN's own bylaws.]

Link | Posted by Edward on Monday, 3 October 2005, 05:36 ( 5:36 AM) | TrackBack (2)
Comments

Let's face it, the whole .travel idea is just a way for the Internet registrars to make a few more dollars on some new names.

What problem does it solve?

Posted by: dave, 4 October 2005, 12:27 (12:27 PM)
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