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[ga] Re: Verisign proceeds with WLS, despite opposition


--- Joseph McDonald <joe@vpop.net> wrote:
> I'm a pretty easy-going sorta guy, but this really makes my blood
> boil.  This is such a blatant abuse of monopoly power it's not even
> funny.

Indeed. My background is in finance and economics, and I wouldn't
loosely toss around words like "anti-competitive", unless it was
blatant and fit a strict definition. Verisign's definition, where
registrars are free to compete for razor-thin margins reelling its
monopoly service, while it takes 99% of the pie, doesn't fit my
definition. The Status Quo proposal, which I backed and "named" way
back when is far more competitive -- it's so competitive that it
strikes fear into Verisign's heart, as they haven't found a way to
corner that market and make enough money from it, while their
competitors have innovated and prospered. Only by leveraging its
monopoly can it hope to wipe out competitors, which is by definition an
abusive and anti-competitive action. Verisign's WLS is as "competitive"
as the "Let's Make George Kirikos a Multi-Millionaire" proposal,
although I think I'd be able to spin the numbers more favourably on the
latter than Verisign has on the former. I'd love to see the RC vote
straight up, WLS vs. Let's Make George Kirikos a Multi-Millionaire! ;)
> What this means is that VRSN is going to dip into registrants wallets
> for *hundreds of millions* of dollars.  They are going to *kill* at
> least a dozen businesses, they are going to cripple hundreds more and
> in the end, the people paying the bills are going to get service that
> is lousier than they ever could have imagined.  VRSN will laugh all

Exactly. Notice how SnapNames took down their "Hot 100" list, for
example? I'm sure the Intellectual Property Constituency would have
voiced more opposition when they saw that names like
volkswagonparts.com (forwards to an "abortion is murder" website) were
acclaimed as great "catches" for people using Snapbacks, and that those
same Snapback holders are being given extra privileges compared to
clients of other domain drop services. Yet, they have the gall to
suggest that WLS is a great thing for the IP community. HA! Verisign
doesn't want a WHOIS for WLS slots, as that would reveal up front
exactly the type of people who are going after certain names, and those
aren't the pals of the IP community. I wonder if anyone on the IP
constituency even reads these lists (maybe someone should forward
these, so they can get up to speed on some things). Not that Verisign
wants consensus (that part of their 4 page commentary was simply

> What can we do to stop this?  It is so not right that the word
> "wrong"
> doesn't even scratch the surface.

I expect that some legal action is going to be required, should ICANN
be foolish enough to tempt registrars to sue them by actually
rubber-stamping this cash grab. I'll go on record as ponying up USD
$500 towards the cause, should someone file the appropriate suit (I
expect it'll end up being a group of registrars that files). If a bunch
of other customers helps to spread the costs around, it might help.
With ICANN embroiled in a suit with Karl/EFF, they might want to watch
that they don't get into a multi-front war...

Ultimately, it's the registrars who have the best "cause of action" in
this matter, as the WLS hurts their businesses and they have contracts
that can be enforced. Individual registrants have less of a cause of
action, except in the context of protest, and/or complaints to the
FTC/DoJ, etc. Mike Mann posted a list of links/emails, if one searches
the archives.

Long-term, taking more and more power away from Verisign will help.
Undermining its revenue base, by winning away customers, can bring it
to its knees (all the accounting games in the world won't hide the fact
that GM.com, EDS.com, and other large companies have moved their
domains to OpenSRS, for example, and away from Verisign). In this
internet age, trends can be amplified quickly. Having Verisign lose a
few million more customers might do the trick. Their desperate actions
sending out misleading physical mails to clients of their competitors
shows how low they're prepared to go. It's time to get into the
trenches, and do what needs to be done now, rather than suffer later.

George Kirikos

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