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Re: [ga] no surprises here

> ""Afilias will provide ISOC with the necessary experience at operating a
> large registry," said Lynn.

Well forgive my scepticism... a few contexts to consider:

Context 1: Afilias presided over the .info fiasco so THEIR expertise is
really gonna be great isn't it?

Context 2: Afilias Director Robert Connelly resigned in protest at what he
called the "abomination" of their processes.

Context 3: Robert Connelly was disgracefully marginalised and branded a
"malcontent" in the subsequent Afilias spin, even though he was proven
absolutely correct in his analysis that the process had become a fiasco.

Context 4: Afilias CEO Hal Lubsen is closely associated with DomainBank
which abused the .info process and charged thousands of dollars to submit
ineligible registrations which breached Afilias's own rules.

Context 5: The company of another Afilias Director charged over $500,000 to
submit the notorious 4981 fake "Plankenstein" registrations, almost all
pretending to have 1899 Trademark dates, and since then this company has
claimed in private mail that when they asked Afilias to intervene and delete
these fakes, Afilias would not.

Context 6: Afilias refused to implement the equitable "Domebase" solution
which would have avoided the need for Landrush 2 and would have protected
all interests.

Context 7: Afilias originally tried to play down the scale of their fiasco,
but predictions that ineligible registrations ran to 25% or more later
turned out to be correct.

Context 8: Afilias refused to protect the public from "exclusive registrar
lists, closed to the public" though warned in advance about these.

Context 9: Moshe Fogel obtained the premium name www.domains.info through a
very short list thereby benefitting in person from the outcome of Afilias's
names distribution process.

Context 10: Afilias accepted and registered over 200 domain applications
from Yesnic registry which have been successively challenged and confiscated
through WIPO.

Context 11: ICANN refused to take any action against Yesnic such as
withdrawing their accreditation. They failed even to respond to enquiries
from the public about this case.

Context 12: ICANN were in part responsible because they helped draw up
flimsy and easy-to-abuse agreements, and then failed to intervene
effectively when it became absolutely clear that abuse was taking place on
an unprecedented scale.

Context 13: Members of the Afilias founder group and Board had long-term
connections with ICANN.

Context 14: The choice of granting the .info registry to Afilias - a kind of
"favoured" cartel of registrars - was itself shrouded in controversy, not to
mention the question of Leah's interests.

Context 15: When ICANN's attention was drawn to the actions of registrars
linked to Afilias in abusing Afilias's own systems (involving over 5000
names) ICANN refused to intervene.

Context 16: ICANN could have "supported" / pressured Afilias towards
adopting the equitable Domebase solution but refused to upset their
registrar financiers/friends/DoC supporters.

Context 17: An appeal was sent from the public to ICANN to intervene over
the prejudicial advantage gained by some registrars applying for themselves
using exclusive application lists which were so short they were able to
queue-jump mainstream registrars (who were unfairly disadvantaged) - such as
the Lubsen's DomainPro which obtained a tiny number of desired names - but
ICANN refused to take any action to prevent these lists, and Dan Halloran
studiously ignored the warning messages and request for advice/intentions -
indeed, 120+ days later, he STILL refuses to even acknowledge receipt of
these detailed concerns and warnings... and of course, now, the process has
run its course and the public lost out as a result.

Isn't it PLAIN and dismaying, that ICANN and the Afilias cartel of
registrars have a symbiotic relationship, of mutual support, and that
decisions are repeatedly being made in favour of Afilias - to the detriment
of many other legitimate applicants?

Isn't it plain that the "inside" relationships between members of ICANN and
Afilias make it very hard for the public to believe that fair and objective
decisions will be taken by either the ICANN executive or its Board?

My own take on it is this:

ICANN awarded Afilias the .info registry in the face of considerable
competition from other applicants with strong cases, and there was a known
link and friendship and association between the Afilias main players and
ICANN. Afilias presided over one of the biggest shambles in the history of
the internet, arguably the result of inept management on the part of ICANN
and/or Afilias. ICANN, in their soft handling of their
friends/associates/selected registry at Afilias, failed to intervene when
this fiasco happened, they failed to protect consumer interests to the full,
they were extremely unresponsive to the public outcry and proposals such as
Professor Robert Connors' solution. Afilias managed the crisis through
orchestrated "spin" and the evasion of significant questions and proposals.
The Afilias Board were themselves implicated in the abuses which took place.
ICANN took no action against registrars who abused the .info process, even
when such abuse was verified by WIPO. Then they also failed to intervene
when Afilias set up an LR2 process which gave registrars an opportunity to
make further money in a manner which could be prejudicial to ordinary
members of the public. After that, in payback time, we see Afilias Directors
or their companies supporting ICANN in its hour of need in correspondence to
DoC. And Afilias, yet again, ends up a winner in the selection process for
the re-designation of .org

I apologise for sounding sceptical, but the evidence seems persuasive. If
the BoD rubberstamp this decision, then I see it as a reward for friends, a
reward in the face of proven incompetence and unsubstantiated projections
for .info which failed to materialise, a reward for implicit support at DoC,
a reward for "playing the game" - but NOT a reward for those people who want
an open and transparent process run responsibly in the public interest.

Just my opinions. Just the opinions of many others.

Richard Henderson

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