31 July 2014

Just Net Coalition Proposal to Separate IANA from ICANN

Not everyone is moving in lockstep with the NTIA-ICANN-Google effort to force everyone to accept ICANN, a California corporation chosen solely by the United States government and accountable only to its own self-selected Board of Directors, as the one and only global Internet DNS authority with total control over the global internet root zone a/k/a the IANA functions.

One such organization with "other ideas" is the Just Net Coalition. Below are excerpts from the latest Just Net Coalition proposal on the IANA transition and ICANN accountability.

Comments on the IANA transition and ICANN accountability: "...As stated in our Delhi Declaration1: 'Existing governance arrangements for the global Internet are inadequate. They suffer from a lack of democracy; an absence of legitimacy, accountability and transparency; excessive corporate influence and regulatory capture; and too few opportunities for effective participation by people, especially from developing countries. The situation can be remedied only through fundamental changes to the current governance arrangements.' This applies also to the management of Internet domain names and addresses, that is, to ICANN and IANA, their accountability, their structure and organization and their relations....

21. In our view one way forward might be to recognize that the legacy gTLDs (in particular “.mil”, “.edu”, “.com”, and “.org”) are in reality US constructs and thus they should be under the authority of the US [US government], who would be free to delegate that authority as it sees fit...

22. Further, countries should be allowed to ask for additional ccTLDs and should be granted additional ccTLDs upon request. In addition, if a gTLD registry and a country wants to give a gTLD a status equivalent to that of a ccTLD (similar to the above proposal for “.mil”, “.edu”, “.com”, and “.org”), they should have the right to do so.

23. ICANN should become a membership organization, with the membership having ultimate decision-making authority. The membership would elect the Board and could override any decision of the Board. The membership would consist of all registrants of domain names (that is, holders of domain names) controlled by ICANN, that is, gTLDs (see 21 above)....

31. It our view, it should be recognized that ICANN is the economic regulator of the gTLDs. There is no obvious reason to combine this function with the IANA function. Thus we propose consideration of full structural separation...

32. Create a new entity that would perform the root zone management function. It would be structurally separate from ICANN. It would be a Swiss non-profit association, and would request that the Swiss government grants it immunity of jurisdiction. The members of the association would be the domain name registries (both gTLD and ccTLD). The domain name registries would fund this new entity.

33. ICANN would be the interface between the gTLD registries and the new root zone management entity. ccTLD registries would communicate directly with the new root zone management entity.

34. The IETF would decide who should perform the protocol parameters part of the existing IANA function. That could be the new entity of 31 above or any other organization chosen by IETF. The protocol parameter function would be funded by ISOC.

35. The NRO would decide who should perform the IP address part of the existing IANA function. That could be the new entity of 32 above or any other organization chosen by NRO. The IP address function would be funded by the RIRs...."

(read more at link above or download pdf:  http://justnetcoalition.org/sites/default/files/IANA_paper_2014-07_2.pdf  )

Members of the Just Net Coalition: http://justnetcoalition.org/jnc-members

Just Net Coalition Steering Committee: http://justnetcoalition.org/jnc-members#steeringcommittee

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30 July 2014

Good Advice ICANN Ignored, INTA Green Paper Response, new gTLDs

The tragedy of the huge mistake ICANN made with flooding the DNS with 1000+ new gTLDs, can truly be put into perspective when one takes the time to review INTA's response (pdf) to the US government's green paper (pdf) -- its statements are as relevant in 2014 as when originally made in 1998 -- excerpts below (emphasis added):

"... INTA applauds the efforts of the [US government] Administration to seek comment from the public concerning the future of the Internet - the latest mode of global communication....INTA supports efforts by the U.S. Government to privatize the Internet and promote international participation in the domain name system.... INTA believes that the most important issues relating to administration of the DNS, including the policy for addition of generic top level domain names (gTLDs) and the guaranteed operation of an authoritative root server system are not technical. Decisions on these functions will have a critical impact on businesses and consumers using the Internet. They will have significant consequences for the stability and interconnectivity of the Internet and particularly for its utility as an effective medium for electronic commerce. In this respect, the Administration does not adequately recognize or acknowledge the damaging effects of loss of business and consumer confidence in the Internet as a result of changes which are likely to increase the potential for confusion and conflict over domain names... INTA favors the alternative single, shared registry model... with the registry operating on a cost-recovery basis and with competition between registrars. Under this model, the new corporation [ICANN] would be empowered to manage the gTLD name-space as a public resource, would be able to take its decisions in the wider public interest and would not be involved in the dubious practice of granting proprietary monopolies to commercial enterprises to control individual gTLDs... The Administration asserts that attempts to impose central order "risk stifling a medium like the Internet that is decentralized by nature and thrives on freedom and innovation". What the Administration appears to be reluctant to accept is that the inevitable consequence of unconstrained "freedom" (as sought by the Internet technical community) is chaos, confusion and anarchy where only the street-wise (in this case hackers and others with sufficient technical skills) can survive. Already, the exploitation of this "freedom" by those without principles or any sense of community responsibility has given rise to the problems of proliferation of illegal content (e.g. child pornography), security breaches (e.g.hacking and spoofing incidents like Kashpureff's hijack of the root-server), spam and copyright infringements, all of which undermine established real-world standards… The pressure to add new gTLDs has to date come predominantly from members of the Internet technical community. While INTA has made considerable efforts to bring "real-world" and commercial user views into the debate through its participation in IAHC and POC, overall it is clear that the concerns of ordinary businesses and consumers have not been given weight commensurate with the potential impact the addition of new gTLDs might have on their interests. The unconstrained proliferation of gTLDs will act to undermine the existing trademark system (we have already heard calls from members of the Internet technical community for domain names to be above trademark law, but to be "brands" at the same time.) In a San Francisco Chronicle article of January 31, 1998 entitled "Domain Name Plan May Result in Net Chaos"… No one benefits from consumer confusion, except, perhaps, those who seek to engender it….”

What really struck me in reading INTA's 1998 paper is how often it makes the same points I made recently. Oh well, maybe someday the global internet community will have a responsible and representative governing body over the internet DNS, guided by the wider public interest and governing the DNS as a public resource.

--report submitted by contributing editor, John Poole, Domain Mondo

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29 July 2014

ICANN Request for Proposal for Global Consumer Survey

Good idea--even if a little late--

"ICANN has not previously conducted a survey of Internet users to gauge their trust and perceived sense of choice in the DNS. As this is a new activity, ICANN is open to creative proposals in order to capture a representative cross-section of user opinions. The goal of the consumer survey is to gauge Internet users’ perceived sense of choice and trust in the DNS prior to new gTLDs saturating the domain name marketplace. Ultimately, that baseline data will be used as a comparison point with responses to be taken at least one year after new gTLDs have been in operation." (source infra)

Request for Proposal for Global Consumer Survey - ICANN: "... The selected provider(s) will design and execute an initial survey to create a meaningful baseline of data on consumer attitudes and will perform a follow-on survey one year later, to generate a set of comparison data.... By making the data available for community members and all interested parties to review and download, the community can more meaningfully participate in discussions of the survey’s findings, as well as provide well-informed opinions to guide future decisions on gTLDs. In addition, the survey’s data will have broader implications for understanding the global Internet community. While the data will inform the level of trust and perceived sense of choice in the DNS, it will also provide valuable insight into how users view and employ the DNS, what websites they trust, and what software and applications they use to reliably navigate the Internet...." (read more at the link above)

Of course, SCORE and Verisign already conducted a study:

How Will New gTLDs Impact Small Business? | SCORE: "... Four out of five SMB website owners prefer a .com web address over a new gTLD web address - 81% of SMB website owners believe new gTLDs will be confusing to their customers - 94% of Internet users feel safe visiting a .com website VS. 33% of Internet users feel safe visiting a new gTLD website... "

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28 July 2014

INTA conference on Internet, Innovation, and ICANN

"... the Internet and Internet technology have taken the world by storm and now are the epicenter of almost all that we do. The Internet impacts business, government, education and private life. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has become a dominant force in the policymaking arena for the Internet."  (source infra)

INTA (International Trademark Association) presents an advanced-level conference cosponsored by INTA's Internet and Programs Committees entitled Internet, Innovation and ICANN: The Evolving Landscape of the Net
September 18–19, 2014
JW Marriott Hotel
San Francisco, California, USA

Subject areas according to the program description:
  • Cloud-based storage, gaming, augmented reality, wearable technology, 3-D printing and more.
  • Reaction to the U.S. government’s announcement regarding its intention to transfer its stewardship role over the Internet’s Domain Name System (DNS).
  • Conflicts between trademarks and governments over geographic names and their use in the DNS.
  • Effective management of social media interactions between rights holders, platforms and users of social media.
  • New changes to the WHOIS domain name directory system, and what trademark owners think about them.
  • Lessons learned by applicants, service providers and industry when they applied for a new generic top-level domain (gTLD) in the first round.
  • Internet intermediary liability regarding online sales.
  • New gTLDs and rights protection mechanisms (RPMs) to help protect trademarks, including the Trademark Clearing House, the Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Procedure (PDDRP), the Uniform Rapid Suspension system (URS) and traditional litigation.
  • What brands can do to ensure their own security and to re-establish trust with their consumers.
  • National security and government surveillance, offensive and defensive brand attacks, and consumer-focused data collection and usage.
  • Learn latest developments on the newest topics relating to trademarks and the Internet and meet leaders of the trademark community, Internet experts and high-level government officials. 
Sponsors: BrandShield, MarkMonitor, Safenames, VeriSign

registration info

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27 July 2014

Verisign Earnings Call, Most Important Takeaway, gTLD winners and losers

The most important takeaway from the Verisign earnings call (registry for .COM and .NET) is in bold below -- Verisign +11.6% on healthy guidance, buyback expansion - VeriSign, Inc. (NASDAQ:VRSN) | Seeking Alpha: "... The company has $1.5B in cash to finance buybacks with. Q2 domain name net adds totaled 420K, towards the low end of a 300K-800K guidance range. But Verisign expects net adds to grow to 600K-1.1M in Q3. Total active .com/.net domain names amounted to 128.9M at the end of Q2, +3.7% Y/Y. However, processed domain names slipped by 200K Y/Y to 8.5M, and the company discloses renewal rate fell 60 bps [basis points] in Q1 to 72.6% ..."

So there you have it: Q2 2014 Verisign had total domain name net adds of 420,000 but expects total domain name net adds to grow to 600,000 to 1,100,000 in Q3 2014. No explanation was given as to how this will happen, but it will be interesting to watch and see if Verisign is right.

Tracking daily net adds recently for all gTLDs on Registrar Stats has indicated the domain extensions consistently driving net new growth in gTLD domain name registrations are .COM and .XYZ (a new gTLD). All other gTLDs are either: (1) in the red (negative in net adds/losing registrations) which is where most of the legacy gTLDS (except .COM) are; (2) at zero or near -0- net new registrations which is where most of the new gTLDs are since they do not have any renewals or drops until next year and are not getting many new registrations; or (3) have some growth although mostly unimpressive (the sole standout in this subcategory being .CLUB with total registrations of 88,529 as of July 25).

Here are the top 3 gainers and losers for July 25, 2014, of all gTLDs:
Extension  Total Domains  Net Add or Loss
.COM          113,843,335    +24,209
.XYZ                   380,355      +7,527
.TOKYO*             11,981        +497  *new gTLD launch week
.INFO              5,665,636         -775
.MOBI                924,719         -772
.BIZ                 2,641,321         -386

Total net adds for all the gTLDs (legacy including .COM + all new gTLDs) were almost 34,000 for July 25th. If you subtract the .COM net adds, then all the other gTLDs (new and old) only garnered about 10,000 net new adds, most of which went to .XYZ. How many of those .XYZ adds were for free domain names, is unknown. And of course, not every day recently shows such adds for either .XYZ or .COM (which also has a few net loss days recently).

So, yes ICANN decided to increase the number of gTLD domain name extensions from 22 to over 1000, but increasing supply does not increase demand. There will be many losers (many new gTLDs are already failing in registration growth) and just a few winners. Currently the total gTLD pie of net new domain name registrations is growing, albeit slowly if you subtract the net new adds in the .COM and .XYZ extensions from the totals.

Final notes: as a Verisign officer said during the call (paraphrasing): .NET is like a new gTLD whereas .COM is in a category by itself. Daniel Negari (.XYZ) took a different path from most other new gTLD applicants--his extension .XYZ is literally a "generic" extension--.XYZ stands for nothing other than the last 3 letters in the English/Latin Script/Roman Script alphabet - "the most widely adopted writing system in the world commonly used by about 70% of world's population" according to Wikipedia. We will know a year from now whether his aggressive marketing has paid off when we have figures from renewals and drops. In the meantime, how is Verisign going to increase net new adds in their gTLDs in the 3Q 2014, to 600,000 to 1.1 million (from only 420,000 in 2Q 2014)? And finally, while almost everyone is focused on the new gTLDs, the real growth story for the last few years has been in ccTLDs (Country Code Top-Level Domains):
Global growth is driven by ccTLDs"In the last seven years ccTLDs have driven the growth of the global market, out-growing gTLDs every year except 2010 when a near 10 million drop in .cn domains (due to policy changes) had a massive impact on the total. In 2012 ccTLDs grew nearly three times as fast as gTLDs (+18.3% vs +6.4%)."

--report submitted by contributing editor, John Poole, Domain Mondo

Update October 23, 2014: Dot COM Still King! Verisign 3Q 2014, Highest Q3 on Record!

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26 July 2014

Michele Neylon, Internet Governance, IANA Stewardship Transition (video)

Dyn Video Blog: ICANN 50 London - Michele Neylon of Blacknight Internet Solutions -

Ray King of Top Level Design LLC discusses Internet Governance and IANA Stewardship Transition with Michele Neylon, Managing Director of Hosting company and Registrar, Blacknight Internet Solutions, at ICANN 50 in London. Published on July 23, 2014

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25 July 2014

Focus on China: Internet User Growth Slows, Chinese Companies Go Global

China's total number of internet users crept up 2.3% to 632 million by the end of June, from 618 million at the end of 2013, according to a CNNIC (China Internet Network Information Center) internet development statistics report (pdf). The number of China's internet users going online with a mobile device — such as a smartphone or tablet — has overtaken those doing so with a personal computer (PC) for the first time. Compared to the 53.58 million new Internet users added in 2013, the increase in the first six months of 2014 was relatively small which was due, in part, to declining smartphone sales according to state-run Xinhua news agency. According to IDC, China is the largest smartphone market in the world and will likely account for nearly one-third of the expected 1.8 billion smartphones shipped in 2018. More analysis below--

Computerworld: "...Although China has long reigned as the country with the world's largest Internet population, the services are still struggling to take off in the rural areas, where about 450 million people never go online, said the CNNIC in its bi-annual report. Total Internet penetration in China is at 46.9 percent. This is far lower than the U.S, which has a penetration rate of 87 percent, according to Internet World Stats. Many of these non-Internet users in China have low education levels, and have little need to surf the Web, the research group added...."

The Times of India: "... online mobile services with rapid growth from the end of 2013 include music, video, gaming, search, and group-buying, all of which experienced double-digit increases. The fastest growing services were mobile payment, where users shot up 63.4%, online banking, with a 56.4% rise, and mobile travel booking, which was up 65.4%... Users of microblogs such as Tencent Weibo... fell for the second six-month period in a row, by 1.9% to 275 million. They numbered 331 million at the end of June last year before the government in September started clamping down on "online rumours" which it said threatened social stability... mobile messaging apps such as Tencent's WeChat have since become venues of choice for users who want to express views without fear of retribution."

China Voice: More Internet companies should go abroad - Xinhua | English.news.cn: "During his trip to Brazil last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping, together with his Brazilian counterpart Dilma Rousseff, witnessed the launch of the Portuguese version of China's Baidu search engine. It is not the first time that a Chinese Internet company has launched a non-Chinese search engine, but it is the first time that a Chinese state leader has helped promote its services. More Chinese Internet companies should compete internationally, as they now have the ability and can make the world's cyber environment more balanced and just...."

some Chinese Internet and Technology companies:
http://www.mi.com/ (Xiaomi)
more info: Top 30: China's most valuable Internet Companies - Web2Asia 

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24 July 2014

VeriSign Earnings Conference Call, Decelerating Revenue Growth

Q2 2014 Verisign Earnings Conference Call - Thursday, July 24, 2014 4:30 PM ET
Listen to webcast
Earnings Results (pdf)
Earnings Presentation
Quarterly VRSN Convertible Debenture Dilution Q2- 2014 (pdf 87.0 KB)
Quarterly Results

Highlights of the latest analysis from Trefis (see above and below) on domain name registry Verisign:
  • country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) growing faster than the .com and .net 
  • As of Q4FY13: ccTLDs total 123 million || .com + .net total 127 million 
  • new additions into the root zone slowing due saturated nature of the .com domain name
  • .net domain name has not seen the same amount of traction as the .com domain name
  • renewal rates of domain names continue declining
  • no mention of new gTLDs as a factor (negative or positive)
VeriSign Pre-Earnings: Decelerating Revenue Growth to Continue -- Trefis: "Domain registry services provider VeriSign (NASDAQ:VRSN) is scheduled to report its second quarter results for fiscal 2014 Thursday, July 24. First quarter revenues grew 5% this fiscal year compared to 15% during a similar period in fiscal 2013. For full fiscal 2014, VeriSign expects revenues to grow between 4% and 5%, lower than the 11% registered in fiscal 2013. In addition to the slowing adoption of .com and .net domain names from new customers, revenue growth slowed down rapidly in Q1FY14 primarily due to falling renewal rates. The global domain name market registered 7.3% increase in Q4FY13 to 271 million domain names from a comparable period in FY12. During the same period, the base for country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) continued to grow faster than the .com and .net domain base. ccTLD domains notched a 12% increase to reach 123 million domain names while VeriSign’s domestic domain base of .com and .net domain names grew 5% to 127 million domain names... In terms of guidance for Q2FY14, the company expects a weak quarter with the zone growing 2-4% on a year-on-year basis before witnessing an acceleration in H2FY14...." (read more at Trefis links above and below)

See Trefis complete coverage of VeriSign

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23 July 2014

International Safe Harbor Privacy Compliance, What You Need to Know

International Safe Harbor Privacy Compliance: What You Need to Know | Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP - JDSupra:

"If you are not Safe-Harbor certified, review your website content, especially your privacy policy, and delete any language, including images of the Safe Harbor seal, that would express or imply your company’s claiming to participate and to comply with the Safe Harbor Framework. This is the only surefire way to ensure your company does not violate the FTC Act by misrepresenting participation."(source supra)

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21 July 2014

LIVE Tuesday, Internet Governance, Steve Crocker, Larry Strickling

Replay Video Above
Who governs the Internet? A conversation on securing the multistakeholder process - Economics - AEI: ".... As the US government prepares to end its oversight of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, how might we strengthen the multistakeholder process and ensure that rogue governments or actors do not threaten the traditional openness and innovation of the Internet? Please join AEI’s Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy for a conference to address key steps we can take, as members of the global community, to maintain a free Internet." Twitter #igfAEI --see Twitter embed below-- Live Video Replay Above
Conference Agenda - Tuesday, July 22, 2014 (all times ET): 
8:50 AM Opening Remarks: Jeffrey Eisenach, AEI 
9:00 AM Conversation: Danny Sepulveda, US Department of State Interviewer: David McAuley, Bloomberg BNA 
10:00 AM Panelists: Steve Crocker, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN); Steve DelBianco, NetChoice; Laura DeNardis, American University; David Gross, Wiley Rein LLP; Moderator: Shane Tews, AEI 
11:00 AM Keynote Address II: Larry Strickling, National Telecommunications and Information Administration

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Google Profit Beats on Unexpected Ad Sales Gain (video)

Google Profit Beats on Unexpected Ad Sales Gain: Video - Bloomberg:
(Allow video to load after clicking play or go to link above)
Bloomberg’s Caroline Hyde breaks down second-quarter results from Google as ad sales grew and how the company will deal with the loss of Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora. She speaks on “On The Move.”(July 18 - Bloomberg)

More info on Google 2Q 2014 results and Google info: go to Google including Registry and Registrar links - Google Registry, Google Registrar (Google Domains)

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20 July 2014

ICANN Accountability, Internet Governance Forum USA video

ISOC-DC TV - Live Events | ISOC-DC: July 16, 2014 -- How to Increase the Accountability of ICANN

Moderator: Steve DelBianco, NetChoice
Panelist from NTIA: Fiona Alexander (invited by Chris Hemmerlein)
Panelist from Business: Becky Burr, Neustar and formerly with NTIA when ICANN was created
Also panelists from Civil Society, ICANN, Academia:

more news links below (on mobile go to web version link below)

18 July 2014

IANA Coordination Group First Meeting Concludes

Further details of the IANA Coordination Group First Meeting are posted online. More info:

Statement from the First Meeting of the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG) [PDF, 100 KB]"... The ICG will conduct itself transparently, consult with a broad range of stakeholders, and ensure that the final recommendation supports the security and stability of the IANA functions... Formal ICG communication channels are currently under development and will be communicated as soon as available."

Draft Charter for the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group [PDF, 44 KB]

IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG) Resources - ICANN website

IANA Functions Stewardship Transition Updates - ICANN

NTIA IANA Functions' Stewardship Transition

The IANA Coordination Group was convened by ICANN as a result of the NTIA [US Department of Commerce] announcement to transition US Government IANA functions to the "global multistakeholder community" --

NTIA Announces Intent to Transition Key Internet Domain Name Functions | NTIA: "To support and enhance the multistakeholder model of Internet policymaking and governance, the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today [March 14, 2014] announces its intent to transition key Internet domain name functions to the global multistakeholder community. As the first step, NTIA is asking the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to convene global stakeholders to develop a proposal to transition the current role played by NTIA in the coordination of the Internet’s domain name system (DNS)."

The IANA Coordination Group members: 30 individuals representing 13 communities (direct and indirect stakeholders).

COMMUNITY (key to the acronyms) and NAME OF REPRESENTATIVE (updated as of 17 July 2014):

ALAC Mohamed El Bashir
ALAC Jean-Jacques Subrenat

ASO Hartmut Glaser

ccNSO Xiaodong Lee
ccNSO Mary Uduma
ccNSO Keith Davidson
ccNSO Martin Boyle

GAC* Manal Ismail
GAC* Heather Dryden
GAC* Kavouss Arasteh
GAC* Michael Niebel
GAC* Jandyr Ferreira dos Santos

GNSO Wolf-Ulrich Knoben
GNSO Milton Mueller
GNSO James Bladel

gTLD Registries Keith Drazek
gTLD Registries Jon Nevett

ICC/BASIS Joseph Alhadeff

IAB Russ Housley
IAB Lynn St Amour

IETF Jari Arkko
IETF Alissa Cooper

ISOC Narelle Clark
ISOC Demi Getschko

NRO Adiel Akplogan
NRO Paul Wilson

RSSAC Daniel Karrenberg
RSSAC Lars-Johan Liman

SSAC Patrik Fälström
SSAC Russ Mundy

-------------ICANN Liasons:
ICANN Board Liaison Kuo-Wei Wu
IANA Staff Liaison Expert Elise Gerich

*17 July 2014 – The Coordination Group accepted the GAC's request to increase the number of GACrepresentatives in the Coordination Group from two to five.

more news links below (on mobile go to web version link below)

IANA Transition Coordination Group LIVE video Friday, Twitter feed

The second day of the IANA Transition Coordination Group meeting, July 18, 2014, 08:00-17:00 UTC (4 am-1 pm ET) will be streamed live and simultaneously translated (see below). In addition, relevant transcripts and recordings will also be posted to the NTIA IANA Functions' Stewardship Transition website. You can also join the conversation through use of the online discussion forum or ICANN's dedicated IANA Transition mailing list to discuss the transition process. Info also at: Formation of the Coordination Group - ICANN

Here is the full list of the Coordination Group Representatives. The global multistakeholder community will be able to follow the Coordination Group's first meeting through the Virtual Meeting Room and through audio translations into these languages:

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17 July 2014

Google Q2 2014 Earnings Call LIVE July 17 4:30pm ET

Google 2014 Q2 Earnings Conference Call LIVE July 17th, 2014, 1:30 PM PT / 4:30 PM ET (US)
for replay forward video above to 20:30 mark

Press Release
Earnings Slides [PDF 615k]

Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) held its quarterly conference call to discuss second quarter 2014 financial results on Thursday, July 17th at 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time (4:30 p.m. Eastern Time; 20:30 UTC).

"About Google Inc. -- Google is a global technology leader focused on improving the ways people connect with information. Google’s innovations in web search and advertising have made its website a top internet property and its brand one of the most recognized in the world." (source: Google)

Google Registry -- links: https://www.google.com/registry/ and https://www.google.com/registry/domains.html

Google Registrar (beta) d/b/a Google Domains -- links: https://domains.google.com/about/ and https://domains.google.com/about/features.html

more news links below (on mobile go to web version link below)

IANA Coordination Group Meeting July 17-18 LIVE Stream

The first face-to-face meeting of the IANA Transition Coordination Group: London, July 17-18, 2014,  08:00-17:00 UTC (4 am-1 pm ET) at the Hilton London Metropole Hotel. The meeting of the Coordination Group will be streamed live and simultaneously translated into the five UN languages plus Portuguese. In addition, relevant transcripts and recordings will also be posted to the NTIA IANA Functions' Stewardship Transition website. Info also at: Formation of the Coordination Group - ICANN

Information received from ICANN yesterday afternoon: "Full list of the Coordination Group RepresentativesThe global multistakeholder community will be able to follow the Coordination Group's first meeting through the Virtual Meeting Room and through audio translations into these languages:
Join the conversation through use of the online discussion forum or ICANN's dedicated IANA Transition mailing list to discuss the transition process."

more news links below (on mobile go to web version link below)

16 July 2014

Internet Tube, Global Submarine Fiber-Optic Cable Network

Abstraction of Global Submarine Fibre-optic Cable Network

This schematic map shows a simplification of the world’s network of submarine fiber-optic cables.

*Data: The map uses data sourced from cablemap.info. Each node has been assigned to a country, and all nodes located in the same country have been collapsed into a single node. The resulting network has been then abstracted. For the sake of simplicity, many short links have been excluded from the visualization. For instance, it does not show the intricate network of cables under the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the South and East China Sea, the North Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea. The map instead aims to provide a global overview of the network, and a general sense of how information traverses our planet. (The findings reported below, however, are based on two analysis of the full submarine fiber-optic cable network, and not just the simplified representation shown in the illustration.)

The map also includes symbols referring to countries listed as “Enemies of the Internet” in the 2014 report of Reporters Without Borders. The centrality of the nodes within the network has been calculated using the PageRank algorithm. The rank is important as it highlights those geographical places where the network is most influenced by power (e.g., potential data surveillance) and weakness (e.g., potential service disruption).

Findings... The United States is by far the most connected country in the world, with submarine cable landing points on both coasts that connect it to most other continents. On the other side of the Atlantic, are the second and third most central parts the global network: the United Kingdom and Senegal. The UK has been a pioneer in laying submarine cables since the second half of the nineteenth century, and still controlled almost half of the world’s submarine cables in the 1920s. Senegal is where most of the southern Atlantic cables land, and it will be followed by Nigeria when new cables become operative this year (i.e., the WASACE cable, integrated in the “under construction” section of the “Capes” line in the illustration). Others will soon connect Latin America with Angola and South Africa as well (i.e., the BRICS Cable and SACS cables, again in the “under construction” section of the “Capes” line in the illustration). Europe dominates the immediately subsequent position in the rank. The two most central East-Asian country are China (17th), followed by India (29th), twelve positions below.

Looking at the network at a more fine-grained scale, Alexandria (Egypt) is the world’s most central node, immediately followed by Singapore and Fujairah (United Arab Emirates). The city of Fortaleza in Brazil and the town of Bude in Cornwall (United Kingdom) are the most central single points in Latin America and Europe respectively, and Accra (Ghana) dominates the Sub-Saharan African list. The importance of being central in the submarine fibre-optic cable network... there are no countries with low-cost Internet access that aren’t also relatively well-connected...
*source: Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford University, England (UK)

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15 July 2014

French Proposal to Reform "Malfunctioning" ICANN and Internet Governance

Graphic of French Proposal for World Governance of the Internet
French Proposal for World Governance of the Internet

"The reform of the governance of the Internet remains to be done, starting with ICANN, still a U.S. private monopoly, which is gaining power but not responsibility" -- excerpt from French Senate Report

French Senate Press Release - Internet: the [French] Senate wants to democratize Internet governance"The mission states that the European Union has a role to play today: a new model of Internet governance , respectful of human rights and freedoms and able to restore confidence in the Internetshaken by voluntary diminution of online security and malfunctions of ICANN..."

In a report published on July 9, 2014, the French Senate proposed a new form of internet governance (see graphic above). The French Proposal includes specifics to reform or replace ICANN with "WICANN -- World Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers" which "would be responsible for IANA functions assumed by the current ICANN" and would be overseen by GIC (see above) the Global Internet Council -- "leverage the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), ... to erect a World Council of Internet (Global Internet Council - GIC ), responsible for ensuring compliance with the principles of NETmundial [pdf] on behalf of the international community . This transformation could be done by the treaty already mentioned to establish the principles of NETmundial."

Excerpt from link providing further background information: EU internet governance: Franco-German alliance | EurActiv: ".... “Internet governance has become a geopolitical issue. It is a new global battleground,” said Senator Catherine Morin-Desailly... The [French] Senate wants to improve internet governance through “an international treaty open to all states and an online ratification process for internet users.” It also wants to transform the Internet Governance Forum into a World Internet Council, which would control the conformity of decisions regarding internet governance. The report also proposes to restructure the ICANN, a non-profit organisation that coordinates the Internet's global domain name system. It would become the World ICANN (WICANN), conform to international law instead of California law, and be accountable to the World Internet Council. An independent and accessible appeal mechanism would be set up to allow revision of WICANN decisions. On 26 June, the French Secretary of State for Digital Affairs, Axelle Lemaire, took an assertive stance against ICANN. In a press release, she said that she did not see ICANN as “a suitable body to discuss internet governance...”

The entire French Senate report is here (pdf) -- 398 pages long -- in French. However, if you are using the Google Chrome browser you can access the report and other information at the links below, utilizing the Google translate function to read in English or other available languages (excerpts below):

1. Globalizing Internet governance on the basis of the principles of NETmundial

a) Formalize the existence of a speaker system for a distributed and transparent governance

b) Transform the World Council of IGF in the Internet, and legitimate global governance fora coordinator

2. Rebuilding ICANN to restore confidence in the system of domain names - "The reform of ICANN is now accepted as necessary by all parties, even those who are not considering global ecosystem evolution of Internet governance."

a) For a WICANN assuming the IANA functions under supervision World - For a WICANN assuming the IANA functions under World supervision - "Probably the IANA / ICANN / NTIA system has worked technically, but it is not tenable politically or institutionally. It creates distrust where there should be trust. This is to reinforce the satisfactory technical operation of the domain names while ensuring its long-term resilience, which involves considering the occurrence of events certainly rare but possible: internal fraud, conflict of people in the management, attempted takeover by stakeholders ...

"Your mission considers that the legal status of ICANN, a California corporation, unable to inspire a lasting confidence in the system of domain names and, by extension, throughout the Internet. In the Affirmation of Commitments that binds ICANN -- U.S. Department of Commerce is an obligation to it have its headquarters in the United States. This provision may not be included in the new statement of commitments.

"It could be envisaged to transform ICANN into an international organization: this requires an intergovernmental treaty, which can be written with the participation of stakeholders. The management of air or sea, global resources also has likewise been entrusted to international organizations, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO)...
"Another solution could be to redesign ICANN on a hybrid legal basis, based on the model of the International Committee of the Red Cross: although under Swiss private law, the ICRC is accorded international legal personality as well as intergovernmental organizations under a statute often called sui generis... This "Swiss option" had also been considered by the President of ICANN... 

"This World Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers on the Internet ( World ICANN or WICANN) would be responsible for IANA functions assumed by the current ICANN. It would retain a multi-functioning and "bottom up " comparable to ICANN today. As envisaged by one of the options considered by the working group of the UN Internet Governance in 2005, the role of states there would be twofold:

"-  a supervisory changes in the root, replacing the Department of Commerce of the Government of the United States. This role (veto or approval) would be attributed to an oversight committee whose members are appointed by the World Council of Internet among the representatives of the signatories of the Treaty establishing the principles of NETmundial, marking the critical nature of States to map the Internet that draws the DNS root file, or otherwise designated by the World Council of the Internet as a whole, provided a specific veto is recognized territory to which the geographical extension affected by the change. According to your mission, involving only signed treaty country supervision root file would be provided that would allow the United States to accept such a shared supervision of ICANN . Signatory governments could thus assert their sovereignty, provided that they do not undermine the principles enshrined in the NETmundial;

"-  an advisory capacity to the Board of Directors of this WICANN, comparable to the role of the GAC today... It is indeed important to implement the requirements set in Sao Paolo in accountability that WICANN "Independent checks and balances, as well as review and redress.""

b) Ensure accountability of WICANN and a real right of appeal [accountability and a real right of appeal -- both completely absent from ICANN today]

c) Avoid conflicts of interest [a very interesting read--this section of the French Senate Report acknowledges and points out many of the conflicts of interest rampant within ICANN, including its Board of Directors]

For a full list of all proposals within the French Senate Report, go to Domain Mondo's full list of all proposals.

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14 July 2014

Rap Genius Changes Name To Genius.com, Raises $40 Milliion

So much for ICANN, its pathetic new gTLDs, and the new gTLD hucksters -- dot Com ain't dead baby! --

TechCrunch has the news, Y Combinator's Hacker News has the insight --

Rap Genius Raises $40M, Changes Name To Genius [genius.com], Launches Embeddable Annotations | TechCrunch: "Rap Genius made three big moves today to further its goal to annotate the world. The founders tell me it’s raised a $40 million Series B led by Dan Gilbert and joined by previous investor Andreessen Horowitz at a valuation under $1 billion. It also changed its name to Genius.com and is launching embeddable annotations so any website can hover over text and see explanations and background info on what that text means. You can see a demo run of the embeds on Business Insider’s deep dive into the company. Genius‘ big new investor Gilbert is the founder and chairman of Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans, plus the majority owner of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers. He’s know to many as a champion of Detroit’s rebirth. The new funding brings Genius to $56.8 million in total, which it plans to spend hiring engineers, designers, and community leaders. The new Genius name will make it more accessible and intelligible to communities reading and writing annotations outside of rap...." (read more at the link above)

I wonder how much it cost them to get the domain name. | Hacker News: "I wonder how much it cost them to get the domain name... Probably under $100k... Location location location, am I right? Even if it was more, that's your brand. As we've seen that search engines can make or break you, this is one of the few things you can control... I'd be very surprised if 100k did the job. I would bet under $500k though. Still worth it..."

"Still worth it" say the innovators, founders, and venture capitalists -- for a dot Com domain name!

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13 July 2014

Beats sues for Seizure of Domain Names before Apple Deal Final

Before the deal with Apple has closed, Jimmy Iovine's and Dr. Dre's Beats filed a trademark infringement action on July 9, 2014, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Chicago), case 14-cv-5209. According to the complaint the Defendants are individuals and business entities who "upon information and belief, reside in the People’s Republic of China or other foreign jurisdictions" and conduct business throughout the United States through the operation of the fully interactive commercial websites and online marketplaces.

Beats sues Chinese counterfeiters for billions as Apple sale nears completion - Apple Insider: "... In addition to seeking an importation ban and cessation of sales into the U.S., Beats is asking for the forfeiture of all profits realized from the sale of counterfeit headphones ... [but] will accept $2 million for each incident of infringement and $100,000 per domain name. The company also wants internet registrars to seize the offending domain names and turn them over to Beats's control... A nearly identical lawsuit filed in 2013 resulted in an order for the seizure of some 1,472 domain names, 50 PayPal accounts, and 14 "online marketplace accounts."..." (read more at appleinsider.com link above)

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11 July 2014

Bitcoin Domain Names Soar in Value Compared to the Virtual Currency

"Entrepreneur Niko Younts said he sold the BitcoinWallet.com name in January for $250,000 -- 23 times what he paid a month earlier. Investors buying bitcoin-related Web addresses in hopes of a fast resale are fueling a domain-name boom. Some 3,290 names ending with .com or .net and containing “bitcoin” have been registered since May 12, according to Verisign, which operates a registry for those top-level domains." (source infra)

Bitcoins, Domain Names, and Virtual Asset Values -- interesting story at Bloomberg news about the soaring prices for Bitcoin related domain names even as the value of the virtual currency has dropped --

Bitcoin Domain-Name Prices Defy Drop in Virtual Currency’s Value - Bloomberg: ".... “What you are seeing is all the media hype around bitcoin, and everyone is trying to grab the domain names,” Allen said... Some domain-name owners are willing to wait for the industry to mature. Charlie Shrem, who co-founded startup BitInstant LLC ... said in an interview, he’s declined all offers for names such as ... watchbitcoin.com that he owns. “I’ve gotten offers in the tens of thousands,” he said. “But if someone’s offering this much, what will someone else offer?”" (read more at link above)

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Vint Cerf on Internet Governance, ICANN, ITU

Internet Governance is Our Shared Responsibility (August 13, 2013)
I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society, 10 ISJLP ___ (2014), Forthcoming 

Vinton G. Cerf 
Google, Inc.
Patrick S. Ryan 
Catholic University of Leuven (KUL) - Interdisciplinary Center for Law and Information Technology (ICRI); Google Inc.; University of Colorado at Boulder, Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Program
Max Senges 
Google, Inc.

Abstract: This essay looks at the the different roles that multistakeholder institutions play in the Internet governance ecosystem. We propose a model for thinking of Internet governance within the context of the Internet's layered model. We use the example of the negotiations in Dubai in 2102 at the World Conference on International Telecommunications as an illustration for why it is important for different institutions within the governance system to focus on their respective areas of expertise (e.g., the ITU, ICANN, and IGF). Several areas of conflict (a "tussle") are reviewed, such as the desire to promote more broadband infrastructure, a topic that is in the remit of the International Telecommunications Union, but also the recurring desire of countries like Russia and China to use the ITU to regulate content and restrict free expression on the Internet through onerous cybersecurity and spam provisions. We conclude that it is folly to try and regulate all these areas through an international treaty, and encourage further development of mechanisms for global debate like the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). 

Cerf, Vinton G. and Ryan, Patrick S. and Senges, Max, Internet Governance is Our Shared Responsibility (August 13, 2013). I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society, 10 ISJLP ___ (2014), Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2309772

Free Download here: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2309772

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10 July 2014

Spatial distribution of geotagged Wikipedia articles (map)

Map of spatial distribution of geotagged Wikipedia articles

This map points out the highly uneven spatial distribution of (geotagged) Wikipedia articles in 44 language versions of the encyclopaedia. Slightly more than half of the global total of 3,336,473 articles are about places, events and people inside the red circle on the map, occupying only about 2.5% of the world’s land area.

The map is based on Wikipedia data dumps encompassing 44 languages from November 2012. We excluded articles with more than four geotags, which typically consist of lists of geographic features. In the remaining data, we chose the most frequent geotag. If all geotags occurred only once, the first geotag (typically the most important one) was chosen as representative for the article. Additionally, we gathered article metrics such as number of characters and words in the article, the number of links to other Wikipedia articles, the number of external links and the number of in-article references. We mapped the article locations on top of a dataset that we obtained from Natural Earth using Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion map projection that has little distortion of shape and area and highlights that there is no ‘right way up’.

The map highlights the fact that a majority of content produced in Wikipedia is about a relatively small part of our planet. This finding supports previous work on the geographical biases of Wikipedia. Consider for example this visualization of the state of Wikipedia in 2010. We know that different language versions have varying shares of geocoded articles. English, Polish, German, Dutch and French are the Wikipedias with the largest numbers of geotagged articles. Since all these languages are spoken in Europe they may make a significant contribution to the dominant position of this continent in the above map.

By contrast, other continents are much less represented in the world’s most prominent digital repository of human knowledge. As we pointed out in the post about Africa on Wikipedia, the whole continent of Africa contains only about 2.6% of the world’s geotagged Wikipedia articles despite having 14% of the world’s population and 20% of the world’s land.

Further exploring the two groups represented in the map above (the inside and the outside of the red circle), we find that Wikipedia articles inside the circle have had a head start: they are on average a bit older than those outside. Especially in 2005 and 2006, editing activity about this European area picked up much faster than in the rest of the world.

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09 July 2014

IANA Transition Coordination Group Meeting July 17-18 Streamed Live

IANA transition update -- ICANN: The Coordination Group is comprised of 27 individuals representing 13 communities, and includes direct and indirect stakeholders. The first face-to-face meeting of the Coordination Group will take place in London from 17-18 July at the Hilton London Metropole Hotel and will be streamed LIVE.

COMMUNITY and NAME OF REPRESENTATIVE (nominated by their respective communities as of 2 July 2014 at 23:59 UTC):

ALAC _____; ALAC _____; ASO Hartmut Glaser; ccNSO_____; ccNSO _____; ccNSO _____; ccNSO _____; GAC _____; GAC _____; GNSO Wolf-Ulrich Knoben; GNSO Milton Mueller; GNSO _____; gTLD Registries Keith Drazek; gTLD Registries Jon Nevett; ICC/BASIS Joseph Alhadeff; IAB Russ Housley; IAB Lynn St Amour; IETF Jari Arkko; IETF Alissa Cooper; ISOC Narelle Clark; ISOC Demi Getschko; NRO Adiel Akplogan; NRO Paul Wilson; RSSAC Daniel Karrenberg; RSSAC Lars-Johan Liman; SSAC Patrik Fälström; SSAC Russ Mundy.

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08 July 2014

Matt Cutts Advice on Google Resources (Before Going on Leave)

Before Matt Cutts left to go on leave from Google through October, 2014, he left some words of advice on his blog: Matt Cutts On Leave: ".... how should [anyone]... communicate with Google about search topics or find out about new things in search?

"A: I’m so glad you asked! There’s still tons of ways, from our webmaster forums to Office Hours Hangouts where you can ask questions to experts. On the social side, instead of sending SEO-related comments to me on Twitter, you can ping the Google Webmaster Central account. Likewise, make sure you follow Google Webmasters on Google+. A bunch of different Googlers will continue to speak and answer questions at search conferences too. For broader search-related news, read our Webmaster blog or Inside Search blog. To understand how Google thinks about search, we’ve made hundreds of webmaster videos and they’re designed to be evergreen. Our web documentation is superb: Google Webmaster Central is the best place to start. From there, you can find our Webmaster Academy, our help documentation, and our SEO beginner’s guide. We even made a mini-site about how search engines work. One of the most important ways to hear from Google is to add and verify your site in Google Webmaster Tools. That’s the primary channel to find out about issues with webspam or other errors or notices." (read more at first link above)

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07 July 2014

Social Media, Marketing, Internet Advertising, Maximizing Returns (video)

WPP's Martin Sorrell: How to Maximize Social Media Returns - video below

WPP Plc CEO Martin Sorrell discusses social media and marketing with Bloomberg's Stephanie Ruhle. (Source: Bloomberg June 30, 2014)

WPP plc - Wikipedia: "WPP plc is a British multinational advertising and public relations company with its main management office in London, United Kingdom, and its executive office in Dublin, Ireland. It is the world's largest advertising company by revenues, and employs around 162,000 people in 3,000 offices across 110 countries. It owns a number of advertising, public relations and market research networks, including Grey, Burson-Marsteller, Hill & Knowlton, JWT, Ogilvy Group, TNS, Young & Rubicam and Cohn & Wolfe"

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05 July 2014

Akamai Report, State of the Internet, Q1 2014

Akamai Report, State of the Internet (below) covers Internet Security, Internet Penetration, Connection Speeds, Internet Broadband Connectivity, Mobile Connectivity, Mobile Traffic, Mobile Browsers:

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03 July 2014

ICANN Told To Nix .Wine and .Vin by US Congresswoman Anna Eshoo

In a letter to ICANN's Fadi Chehade, Silicon Valley's Representative to the US Congress, Anna Eshoo, has reiterated her concerns about ICANN's new gTLD domain names program, and specifically, that .wine and .vin, (both of which were objected to by the governments of France, Spain, Portugal and others) be "permanently withdrawn from consideration" --

"Since ICANN first announced its plans to launch new gTLDs, I’ve expressed concerns regarding the economic impact, the potential for consumer confusion, and the increased cybersquatting that could occur without proper checks and balances. While I do not oppose the outright launch of new gTLDs, each application must be carefully scrutinized and take into account the concerns of impacted stakeholders. . . . I urge you to advocate for the .wine and .vin gTLDs to be permanently withdrawn from consideration…. "(emphasis added) -- full letter below:
Copy of  Letter from Congresswoman Eshoo to ICANN’s Fadi Chehade re: .wine and .vin

source: ICANN

Rep. Eshoo serves as the Ranking Democrat Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Communications and Technology for the 113th Congress. Serving in Congress since 1993, she represents California's 18th congressional district which includes part of Silicon Valley and includes the cities of San Jose, Redwood City, Sunnyvale, Mountain View and Palo Alto.

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02 July 2014

This is IANA, this ICANN, see the DIFFERENCE?

This is IANA:

This is ICANN:


Separating IANA from ICANN, the path forward: "... the global multistakeholder community should not allow the issues of ICANN accountability and reform to delay the IANA transition. This is easily resolved by separating IANA from ICANN as soon as possible. It appears many nations and others in the global multistakeholder community are beginning to see this as the best and most prudent path forward. Once the IANA technical functions are separated from ICANN, that fact will actually assist the process of how to make ICANN, or its successor, accountable in the public interest to the global multistakeholder community, in its policy-making and administrative role...." (read more at the link above)

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