Fwd: [At-Large] Strange Bedfellows

Milton L Mueller mueller at SYR.EDU
Tue Jan 8 11:18:40 CET 2008

Was Evan at the ALAC-NCUC meeting where we discussed this at some
length? Has he read our complete comments? (Can't blame him if the
answer is no, because there are so many rounds of comments at different
times and in different places that it would be easy to miss. Robin, can
you dig them up?) 

First, I would recommend informing him that someone who disagrees with
his particular position is not necessarily unconcerned about the public
interest. Indeed, one reason we were unwilling to jump on the anti-AGP
bandwagon was precisely that we saw only a few special interests for it
and not a big public interest rationale. On the whole, the issue affects
noncommercial registrants and the general public hardly at all.

Further, his grasp of the political and economic interests seems a bit
shaky. In our experience, it has been the registries (aside from
VeriSign) and in particular Afilias-associated registries who were
screaming most loudly about AGP. Some registries have complained about
the cost of handling all the traffic associated with short-term
registrations. This is a valid argument, but it was quickly and
adequately addressed by imposing fees (as PIR did). If the registries
have stopped supporting elimination of AGP, it is probably because the
imposition of "re-stocking fees" addresses the infrastructure burden
problem more than adequately.

He should not be surprised about the Business constituency position,
because they are all about regulating the domain name market as strongly
as possible to protect trademarks. Many businesses see domainers as
contributing to typosquatting. So they are more than happy to eliminate
business opportunities for small speculators, regardless of whether
there are other ways to eliminate typosquatting (there are), just as
they would be more than happy to eliminate all new TLDs in order to
protect trademarks.  

The "possible" benefit of ADP to registrants is the one that originally
motivated creating it: providing a cost-free way to correct mistakes. 

Our take on this issue is that the attack on AGP is basically an attack
on domainers; i.e., on making a business out of pay per click based on
popular domain names. We don't view domaining per se as a problem. As
I've said (and this may be not shared by some on the list) we are the
non-commercial constituency not the "anti-commercial" constituency. If
the problems of typosquatting are addressed by litigation (and they have
been) and the problems of registry infrastructure burden are addressed
by the fees, we just don't see the point of eliminating AGP altogether,
what does it accomplish that serves the public interest? 

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