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[ga] WLS is dead (or should be): Names Council vote comments


For those who didn't have time to listen to the Names Council
conference call and vote recorded at:


it was interesting (the actual vote on WLS took place at 1 hour and 17
minutes into the MP3, for those who want to fast forward).

The final report of the Transfers Task Force, see:


which, on a CONSENSUS basis rejected WLS, was approved in full by the
Names Council Board, with only the gTLD Constituency voting against it.
Thus, the Names Council vote itself was a CONSENSUS majority against

I believe that the ICANN board would be unwise to allow implementation
of WLS, ignoring that vote of the Names Council and its constituencies,
and also given the ability of negatively affected registrars to issue a
challenge based on my comments at:


and also in the courts.

I found it interesting to note the attempts by some Names Council
members to exclude the ccTLD constituency voting on the WLS (which
could have made it a non-consensus vote), saying that "WLS didn't
affect them", among other arguments. I was appalled that they'd stoop
to those levels, to disenfranchise a constituency once they were
discovered to be anti-WLS (previously, I had thought the ccTLDs were
pro-WLS, and I was pleasantly surprised that they did their homework
and talked to their members, and reviewed all the arguments and came
out against WLS). I echo the sentiments of another Names Council member
who stated that if someone had a concern about a constituency's
involvement in the Task Force, it should have been made ex-ante, not
ex-post after their final position was made.

Kudos to the Business Council members on the Board. If the GA
disappears, I think that's the "team" I'd want to be on (they seemed to
have the most logical and articulate members). I think Marilyn Cade
deserves great thanks (from those both for AND against WLS) for doing a
fantastic job taking input from all sides, especially given the time
constraints involved.

My predictions:

1) WLS is denied by the ICANN Board by this time next week.
2) SnapNames downsizes, and reduces its price for SnapBacks back to
$49. I don't think they'll go bankrupt, as they have a great service,
although it should not be a monopoly service in my opinion (thus my
opposition to WLS). The downsizing would mostly affect the "political"
employees of SnapNames (i.e. those mostly doing non-technical lobbying
activities), so I don't see this as a bad thing, because those
employees aren't truly "productive" in an economic sense, producing
valuable goods and services for consumers. I expect them to end up with
15 or so employees, a tight group.
3) SnapNames probably introduces an auction service for domain
resellers/buyers to complement their SnapBacks (i.e. competing against
GreatDomains and Afternic), and becomes the top auction marketplace.
4) Verisign renegotiates its R&D commitments of $200 million with
ICANN, to save money (I think they can get it down to $100 million with
not many people caring).
5) The expired names marketplace sees more and more competition and
innovation, with benefits to registrars and consumers.
6) Verisign eventually gets bought out by IBM or Microsoft, for under
$2 billion (2 or 3 year time frame). :)


George Kirikos

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