Tuesday, 17 January 2006

Snail-mail from ICANN

I received a strange e-mail message today from Nicole Bihari, executive assistant to ICANN General Counsel and Corporate Secretary John Jeffrey, forwarding (by e-mail) a PDF file of a scanned image of a letter supposedly sent to me today by snail-mail.

Why ICANN chose this particular kludge of a mode of communication wasn’t explained, but since the letter hasn’t yet been posted on the ICANN Web site (it probably will be after ICANN reads this article), I’m posting a copy here .

Mr. Jeffrey’s latest letter suggests that ICANN’s Board of Directors intends — if ICANN ever follows through on its purported promise to allow an independent review of their lack of openness and transparency — to disclaim any responsibility for the actions of ICANN’s staff, as a way to evade the jurisdiction of the independent review panel.

More immediately, Mr. Jeffrey refuses to take any action on my request for independent review, claiming that my request “does not meet the guidelines required by the ICDR procedures and therefore cannot be considered a formal IRP request sufficient to forward to the ICDR.”

It’s difficult, of course, to comply with procedures that don’t exist. Mr. Jeffrey’s latest letter acknowledges receipt of my latest e-mail message to him, but entirely fails to acknowledge or respond to what my message said: ICANN hasn’t ever properly designated the ICDR or anyone else as its independent review provider (IRP), and has no properly-adopted procedures for independent review, as it is required to have.

The first step toward actually being able to refer my request to an IRP — as ICANN has promised to do — would be for ICANN to begin the process of designating an IRP and developing procedures for independent review. There’s no mention in Mr. Jeffrey’s meesage of any of these issues, or of any such actions.

My request for independent review remains pending, and ICANN remains in breach of its bylaws and its contractual commitment to the USA Department of Commerce to provide a mechanism for independent review of its compliance with its self-imposed procedural rules.

For good measure, Mr. Jeffrey throws in a bold-faced threat that if I actually attempt to (which I haven’t), and am permitted to, register a “.travel” domain name, that will deprive me of any “interest” in ICANN decision on “.travel, and any right to independent review of that decision. It’s a typical corporate capitalist attitude that only understands commercial interests and uses of the Internet, and can’t imagine that I (or anyone else) would have any interest in “.travel” as a journalist, a traveller, or anyone other than a seller of travel services.

I’ll be responding to Mr. Jeffrey, and ICANN, shortly.

In the meantime:

Tralliance Corp., ICANN’s delegate to run the “.travel” franchise, has posted an unusual admission — even before the completion of Tralliance’s phased roll-out of the new domain name — that even the travel “industry” (the only organization or interest group allowed to register “.travel” domain names) has doubts both about the value of “.travel” and about Tralliance as its operator.

The memo is prominently linked from the Tralliance home page and appears to be directed at potential “.travel” registrants:

[A] spirited discussion has developed surrounding the value of .travel and the viability of its success. The .travel critics have spoken…. There are those who allege that .travel is just a money grab by a couple of opportunistic entrepreneurs.

Presumably this last line refers to Michael Egan and Edward Cespedes, principals of Florida-based tour operator Certified Vacations , who as “E & C Capital Partners II, LLLP” hold convertible notes redeemable for a controlling interest in TheGlobe.com/Voiceglo.com, of which Tralliance Corp. is a wholly-owned subsidiary. Yes, “.travel” is now controlled by the owners of one Florida tour operator. No wonder the rest of the travel “industry” has doubts about whose interests it serves.

The further implication is that “.travel” registrations are lagging far behind Tralliance’s rosy predictions — as have registrations in the rest of the sponsored top-level domains now up for renewal, including “.aero” for the airline industry.

ICANN is currently soliciting comments on whether the “.aero” franchise to trade association SITA should be renewed, or on what terms. (What, if anything, ICANN will do with those comments is another question.) Comments can be sent to aero-renewal@icann.org through 4 February 2006; the one comment and one piece of spam received to date are posted here on the ICANN Web site.

[Addendum, 19 January 2006: More from John Levine on the lack of interest by potential travel industry registrants in “.aero” and “.travel”.]

Link | Posted by Edward on Tuesday, 17 January 2006, 20:56 ( 8:56 PM)

Tralliance are in my opinion profiteering from their status as the .travel authority. They will not let me register the .travel extensions that i require. They have said that they are not available, but have said that I can lease them for upwards of $1000 per month. This in my opinion should not be allowed. ICANN do something about this blatent profiteering.

Posted by: Travel Articles, 28 May 2007, 04:16 ( 4:16 AM)
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