Guest post by: George Kirikos

As I’ve long warned, in ICANN’s rush to bring forth new gTLDs (which
mostly profit ICANN insiders, registries, registrars, and wannabes),
it has no hesitation in trampling the rights of domain name
registrants in existing gTLDs like dot-com. This is demonstrated by an
ICANN working group which is considering some profound policy changes
surrounding “reserved names” that could put short and valuable domain
names under extreme risk. See the report at:

which I encourage all to read closely. My own comments were submitted
the day the report was issued, and can be seen via the public comments
archive at:

There are some truly extremist views being represented in that working
group, which are currently not a majority or “consensus” view, but
it’s extremely troubling that these views are even being considered.
For instance, from the mailing list archives of the working group:

“I have worked under the assumption that any names that do get special
protections at the second level on new gTLDs should have the same
protection on existing gTLDS.

My preference if for some set of processes for removing the names from
existing holders thought the use of a carrot and stick approach.

At the very least all such names should become non-transferable and
nonrenewable. that too requires a policy decision and perhaps
operational recommendations.”

That’s truly shocking, to be openly discussing what’s essentially
theft of elite domain names that are widely held by legitimate
registrants and are non-abusive.

The sense of entitlement by these IGOs is truly scary. It’s even
bolder than TM holders, amazingly. These IGO types think they deserve
a monopoly on these names, regardless of whether they’re being abused,
and despite having nearly 30 years to acquire them. If they made the
same proposals for other valuable assets, e.g. land, houses,
commodities, etc., to “further their social mission”, they’d be
laughed at. At ICANN, though, you just never know what they might do,
especially given that overpaid and unaccountable staff desperately
want to appease governments in order to rush forward with new gTLDs.

ICANN, registries and registrars make the same amount of money in
fees, as long as the domain name is registered, so they ultimately
don’t give a damn who has ownership of a particular domain name (of
course, registrants do care about their property rights). That’s 50%
of the “votes” in theory, at the GNSO, via contracted parties
(registrars and registries). Add in the NCUC (which has obvious ties
to the IGOs), and the IP constituency, and who knows what deal might
take place, at the expense of existing registrants, so that ICANN
“insiders” can profit from new gTLDs. This all takes place without any
economic analysis, weighing costs and benefits, that the Affirmation
of Commitments requires, as per paragraph 4 of the document at:

I hope you will all consider submitting comments (after talking to
your advisers and researching the issue more), and indeed encourage
others to submit comments, to protect your property rights as
registrants. Registries and registries certainly aren’t incentivized
to watch our for your interests. As I noted in my own submission,
“first they come for the short domains, then they’ll come for *your*

This is not just an issue for “domainers”, but for anyone with a
desirable domain name (indeed, lots of individuals and companies own
short or desirable domains that might randomly collide with acronyms
of IGOs), that could see their assets taken if some of the voices in
the working group become a majority. If views of existing registrants
aren’t made vocally, then the extremist minority that wants to take
domains from existing registrants might become the “majority”, at
least in the working group, thereby setting policies that affect