PALM BEACH, FL – Sometimes they say “where there is smoke, there is fire,” and the room keeps getting hotter for ICANN, The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, for its poor, super-controversial and extremely suspect decision to allow the Registry Agreement with Public Interest Registry to renew without price-caps in place.
The whole situation is turning into a hot potato / can of worm’s scenario where -if- any backroom deals or funny business exists; it’s all going to come out in the wash.
I’ve not been much of a fan of California politics in the last few years, but, there is one political figure who seems to be a little more levelheaded then I had thought, and its Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who wrote a letter to ICANN dated January 23, 2020, making dozens of serious inquiries and demands, effectively a subpoena to ICANN, for any and all documents, information, correspondence, emails, etc., related to both the decisions around price cap removals of the .org domain name, and the whole PIR to Ethos Capital deal.
The list of items requested is so extensive, that if ICANN could just disapprove of the whole PIR / Ethos Capital deal to make the entire inquiry go away, it might actually be a safer and more realistic response.
The Office of the Attorney General has the duty to supervise charitable organizations under California Corporations Code section 5250, and Government Code sections 12580 through 12599.8. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), as a registered nonprofit in California, is subject to regulation by the California Attorney General. It is my understanding that ICANN is in the process of reviewing for approval the proposed transfer of Public Interest Registry (PIR), a Pennsylvania nonprofit corporation, to Ethos Capital, a for-profit corporation.
According to Zak Muscovitch, General Counsel to the Internet Commerce Association, it is the “greatest pressure that ICANN has faced to date.”
“The [California] AG is apparently looking into ICANN decision-making, governance, the Ethos deal, and ICANN’s removal of price caps in particular. This appears to be the greatest pressure that ICANN has faced to date and has caused ICANN to request that PIR delay further delay the deal approval process.”
In December, a letter signed off by four U.S representatives, one of which is presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, was delivered to Ethos Capital, Internet Society and Public Interest Registry posing what appeared at that time as a laundry list of questions. This list is quite a bit longer and a whole lot more serious.
About The Author: John Colascione is Chief Executive Officer of Internet Marketing Services Inc. He specializes in Website Monetization, is a Google AdWords Certified Professional, authored a ‘how to’ book called ”Mastering Your Website‘, and is a key player in several Internet related businesses through his search engine strategy brand Searchen Networks®
Mark Thorpe says
Seems to me, that this whole .ORG ordeal started when the new CEO (Jon) took over ,ORG.
I’ve said from the beginning that this smelled like Donuts!
John Colascione says
Yes, it actually did. Agreed. I wouldn’t at all be surprised if it was already in motion.
Mark Thorpe says
I wouldn’t be surprised either. Nothing surprises me anymore with the domain industry.
Greed is hurting our industry.
Even if the deal falls apart the inquiry should continue.
ICANN needs to justify its processes in particular why it has avoided creating any competition for registry contracts and exactly how the price cap removal got approved despite an unprecedented public backlash.
Mark Thorpe says
Agreed. The inquiry should continue no matter what happens with the .ORG deal.
ICANN needs to answer questions that it has been avoiding answering.
Icann needs to answer to why it is the mafia only protecting the registries, allowing unlimited money to monopolists, and stealing from the world. This is great news! #ByeByeIcann #WeWontMissYou
Looks good. We can assume these files produced will be thin and vague at best. Everything so far has been so. Everything’s a big secret apparently. Don’t expect them producing anything to get them off the hook. I love the questioning along the lines of nTLD in general, and what role icann takes in managing these (none), like everything…take the money and run is their MO.
I want frank shilling next. He broke contract (zone stuffing) lied the whole way about not increasing prices, did so, clawed back domains. I am quite sure he re-registered the best ones during the exodus. Now he’s SQUIRMING and scamming to get them sold at original prices though ‘buddy deals’. ICANN is at fault for NOT managing it, and allowing frank to operate in domains at ANY level. He needs everything revoked YEARS ago.
If you chose to invest in new tlds that is on you. The rules were clear from the outset, zero price restrictions.
John Colascione says
I don’t think there is a way to provide documents which are ‘thin or vague’ based on these requests as they are very specific in any and all records. There is very little room for ICANN to decide on what is relevant, If a communication or document is related, it better be included, To not do so would be extremely risky, not to mention, outright illegal.