10 Years Ago… new gTLDs, ICANN pay, DNS abuse and ethics | Domain Incite
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
I’ve been in a reflective mood recently, and it’s a slow news day, so I thought now might be a good time to launch a new, irregular feature — a trawl back through the DI archives to see what we were all talking about a decade ago this month.
In many respects, the conversations haven’t changed all that much in the last 10 years. Some are being repeated almost verbatim today. Others seem almost laughably naive with hindsight.
We were just a few months away from the opening of the first big new gTLD application window, but in October 2011 many of the rules of the program were, remarkably, still up in the air.
ICANN still hadn’t decided how much an application would cost. It had yet to decide how it would subsidize poorer applicants.
The industry was awash with speculation, as it had been for the whole year, about who might apply for a gTLD. In October, there were stories about potential applications from New South Wales, Orange, Corsica, and BITS.
Afilias was offering $5,000 for new gTLD ideas.
But perhaps the strangest idea was a pitch from CentralNic to the super-rich. For $500,000, it would apply for your family name as a new gTLD. This came to nothing in the 2012 round, but CentralNic’s site is still live.
October 2011 was marked by the registrar community reluctantly agreeing to enter talks with ICANN to renegotiate their standard Registrar Accreditation Agreement, which would ultimately lead to the current 2013 RAA.
The move came as the Governmental Advisory Committee was on the warpath on behalf of its law enforcement allies, demanding more action from the industry on DNS abuse and threatening legislation if it didn’t happen.
The Revolving Door
There was a lot of talk during and around ICANN 42 about conflicts of interest, particular with regards the emergence of a so-called “revolving door” between ICANN’s top brass and the domain industry.
It had been just a few months since chair Peter Dengate Thrush had, on the eve of his retirement from the board, pushed through final approval of the new gTLD program and promptly took a top job at portfolio applicant Minds + Machines.
It looked rotten, and ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom, who had himself announced he was quitting just months earlier, had made its his personal mission to reduce at least the perception of conflicts of interest at the Org.
It was probably all pointless.
As it turned out, the guy who replaced Beckstrom, Fadi Chehade, put in a few years in the corner office before prematurely quitting for private equity, where he now runs the company that owns Donuts, itself run by Chehade’s ICANN number two, Akram Atallah.
The amount of revolving door action at less-senior levels has been so frequent since 2011 that I don’t even keep track of it any more.
ICANN gave its top execs big pay raises. Along with death and taxes, this is a universal constant.