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[ga] Verisign: ".com/net not a necessity" replying to anti-trust concerns of WLS


In Verisign's justification document, responding to the anti-trust
concerns of the WLS proposal, they make a truly astonishing argument:

"Another misunderstanding is that the WLS would be a 'monopoly'
service. VGRS has no ability to 'control' WLS prices to consumers, in
the anti-trust sense of being immune from competitive pressure.
Moreover, with other gTLDs and ccTLDs now pervasive in the marketplace,
neither .com and .net registrations, nor a WLS subscription, are a
necessity. And there are alternative services that both registrars and
consumers may use instead of the WLS."

It *is* a monopoly service -- from the sole registry operator (VGRS) to
registrars. If it wasn't, why does VGRS need ICANN's approval? The
market between consumers and registrars is a competitive one, but not
the one between the registry operator and registrars. By moving WLS
into the registry, instead of keeping the market as we have it now (the
"Status Quo" proposal) where we have competition from many sources
(eNom, NameWinner, SnapNames, NicGenie, AWRegistry, IARegistry, and at
least 10 others), Verisign/SnapNames will singularly dominate the
deleted domains market, and reduce innovation and choice for consumers
(unless you define "innovation" as choosing optimal font styles and
graphics in a web design). Only Verisign is able to propose the WLS, as
it leverages the existing monopoly held at the registry level.

As for dot-com and dot-net not being a necessity, that's true in the
sense that they're not like food, water or shelter. However, if
Verisign truly believed their own argument then the "one year test"
could be conducted with equal efficacy using the dot-TV or dot-CC TLDs,
and not dot-com/net. If it's true, I'm willing to trade Verisign
gs34jkhgds-jkhg.org for the NSI.com domain name. I believe someone
forgot to tell GreatDomains (a Verisign company) that other TLDs are
now pervasive:


"Location is everything, and many want to live in such coveted
neighborhoods or cities as Beverly Hills, New York City, Paris,
Singapore, or Hong Kong. That's equally true of premium cyberspace. On
the Internet, everyone prefers to dwell in the .com neighborhood. It's
the top-level domain (TLD) that embodies instant branding, and .com
names enjoy a premium rating."

Those who've paid for a Great Domains appraisal know that dot-com names
are given "4 stars", dot-net/TV/CC are given "2 stars" and everything
else is given "1 star". I find it interesting that Verisign controls
dot-com/net/TV/CC (2 stars and above)...

Microsoft might make the argument too that they don't "control" the
price of Windows to end-users. However, like Verisign, they control the
price to resellers, and are thus able to exact monopoly profits.
Dot-com has less to fear from competition in other TLDs than Windows
does from Linux, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, and other offerings. Is Windows not
a "necessity", such that the behaviour of Microsoft should not be
scrutinized? I'm sure the DoJ has seen this all before...

Verisign is right in saying that there *are* (note the PRESENT tense,
without WLS existing) alternatives to the WLS that both registrars and
consumers may use. However, once WLS is implemented, these alternatives
such as NameWinner, NicGenie, eNom Drop Club, IARegistry, AWRegistry,
etc. disappear. This proposal damages the existing competitive market,
outside of Verisign and SnapNames, and thus continues to raise
anti-trust concerns.


George Kirikos

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