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[ga] Re: Single Letter Domains

Title: Re: Single Letter Domains
Mr. Kaufman -

I am sure that I am not the only person on this address list that stands in awe of your entrepreneurial instincts.  Unfortunately, you have lots of company out there.  That's why there is an ICANN policy process through which the community can arrive at equitable approaches to the use of domain names.

With regard to various comments about legal matters in your emails, this list is not a useful place to air your opinions.  If your counsel has reason to believe that you have a particular legal right to any domain name, then he or she should send a properly supported brief to ICANN's General Counsel, Louis Touton, who will take it under advisement.

- Mike Roberts

At 10:19 -0700 5/27/00, John Kaufman wrote:
Dear Messrs Roberts and Alvestrand, DNSO Members of the ICANN Board, and the ICANN Board:

I will disregard the indiscreet email sent by Mr. Jeff Williams to this list.

I appreciate your response to my query. Mr. Alvestrand, your fairness in proposing a lottery for the purpose of disposing the 78 single-letter domains (.com, .net, .org) is kindly noted.

With not all matters of discussion or action being always equal or fair, a lottery would not work for the purpose of serving my personal agenda, which is to acquire the "k.com" domain. I understand that the prohibition of the sale of these domains was grandfathered into ICANN as a result of certain actions taken by Mr. Jon Postel and the IANA. But, I also understand that no legal standing whatsoever exists that prevents the immediate sale of single-letter domains, and that the only reason said domains are being withheld is that Mr. Postel simply wanted it that way.

I admit to not being particularly concerned about the way ICANN by-laws are written or enforced. However, I am concerned about the rule of law which, when applied in this case, could hold ICANN and its supporting organization(s) in violation of exclusionary practices, namely, the withholding of certain property (such as single-letter domains) when other like (similar) property (such as two-letter domains) are not being withheld.

Therefore, I respectfully submit to DNSO and ICANN that, first, the "k.com" domain be sold and released to the undersigned without delay, and that single-letter domains be opened for sale to the general public. If it is decided that this action can or will not be taken, kindly advise me of the specific reason so public debate and legal review can begin.

Respectfully submitted,

John C. Kaufman
Kaufman Communications
San Francisco, CA
May 27, 2000


Dear Mr Kaufman,

Let me clarify the situation with regard to single letter domains for you. Some years ago, Jon Postel in his capacity as IANA reserved these domains because in his judgment doing so would contribute to successful operation of the domain name system for all users. Like other pre-existing IANA policies, this policy is being continued under ICANN management until such time as a policy proceeding conducted under our organizational structure and Bylaws comes to the conclusion that these domains should be treated in some other manner.
They are not reserved for ICANN's use, they are reserved from any use at this time.
If you believe that there is sufficient reason to change the policy treatment of these domains, then the appropriate place for you to begin is with ICANN's Domain Name Support Organization, information about which may be found at www.dnso.org.
Thank you for your interest in our work.
- Mike
Michael M. Roberts


At 08:13 AM 5/27/2000 +0200, Harald Tveit Alvestrand wrote:
Dear mr. Kaufman:

These are my particular responses to the issues you raise, and have no particular weight; I have asked you before to join the GA list if you want to participate in a discussion about them.

You raise two interesting points in your message:

1) Should single letter domains be delegated under .com, .net and .org?
2) If they should be delegated, who should be the recipient of the delegation?

The first question then leads to the third question:

3) Who decides what domains to delegate under a top level domain?

We have multiple conflicting precedents on this question:

- The NSI decision not to delegate domain names containing the "network seven"
  was dropped recently, after a period where NSI as a registry permitted it,
  even while NSI the registrar did not.

- The attempt to sell .com names ending in a dash was stopped after an ICANN
  decision was made that such names were not within the specifications

On the question of single letter domains, there are precedents on this in other contexts; the .dk domain allows them, the .no domain does not, for instance. So clearly this has been decided in the past on a per-domain basis.

There is as far as I know no precedent for requiring a registy to register a name at all. While the trend recently has been that many registries will be happy to sell any name you want to buy, many (like .se, .gov or .int) are operated under far more restrictive rules. Again, on a per domain basis.
I thus have a problem seeing the precedent for forcing the sale of "k.com", given that the policy in place is not being unfairly applied - nobody can get it.

All that said, I don't see at the moment any particular reason for escrowing those 26 domains in .com - your request for a change of policy may have merit, if we can figure out who has the responsibility to change that policy.

On the question of who gets the domain, I am far less uncertain: If a policy change is decided, there must be a fair method of allocating the domains.
"First-come-first-served" has served us well in the past, but in this instance, it is likely to be decided on sub-millisecond timing, given the number of people who will take an interest.

A more explicit form of lottery will probably seem fairer in this particular case.

My thoughts.

                      Harald T. Alvestrand

Dear Mr. Alvestrand and the DNSO Members of the ICANN Board:
> >
> >I have been directed to you by Mr. Michael Roberts, CEO of ICANN,
> >regarding a change in the policy treatment of single-letter domains (e.g.,
> >the sale of said domains to the general public).
> >
> >After reviewing the charters, by-laws and other documents of both ICANN
> >and IANA, I see no precedent that would stand a legal test that would deny
> >the sale of single-letter domains to the general public. Nor do I see a
> >precedent that would stand a legal test that would disallow the sale of
> >single-letter domains to the public. If I have missed such a precedent,
> >please so advise.
> >
> >Therefore, I would like to propose that the Names Council of the DNSO, as
> >a supporting organization of ICANN with respect to policy issues related
> >to the Domain Name System, propose to ICANN that the pre-existing IANA
> >policy barring the sale of single-letter domains now being continued under
> >ICANN management be struck down and, at the same time, that the domain
> >"k.com" be the first such domain to be sold under the new policy to the
> >undersigned.
> >
> >Please be advised that, in the interest of the general public, I may issue
> >a press statement next week to the effect that a change in this policy has
> >been requested.
> >
> >Thank you very much.
> >
> >John C. Kaufman
> >President
> >Kaufman Communications
> >San Francisco, CA