ICANN's Economic Reports: Finding the Missing Pieces to the Puzzle
Progress & Freedom Foundation Progress Snapshot Paper, Vol. 5, No. 4, April 2009
10 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2009
Date Written: April 1, 2009
The global business community and a number of national governments have expressed significant concerns about ICANN's proposal for processing large numbers of applications for new Top Level Domains (gTLDs) such as .BLOG, .NYC or .WEB. The community has been especially concerned about the economic reports used by ICANN to justify its decisions as to whether, and how, to implement applications for new gTLDs. Among the greatest sources of concern has been the failure of ICANN staff to issue a complete public response to the ICANN Board's October 2006 demand that ICANN Staff commission an independent study by a reputable economic consulting firm or organization to deliver findings on economic questions relating to the domain registration market.
Instead, ICANN has published three "economic reports" that respond only in part to the Board's demand for an economic study of the "full market" (as ICANN President and CEO Paul Twomey put it):
In many ways, these reports have raised more questions than they've answered. The scope of their findings is much more limited than required by the original mandate of the Board.
A timeline of events relevant to these economic studies is included as an appendix to this article. This timeline reveals a number of anomalies and potentially inconsistent statements that ICANN needs to address properly. Answers to these questions would provide important insight into the development of the new gTLD process.
The issue of how, and even whether, to launch a new gTLD application process is too important to proceed unless the ICANN Board can assure the community that the actions of ICANN Staff on new gTLDs will be based on objective factual analysis is for the Board to investigate any unpublished economic studies, reports, opinions that might have informed ICANN Staff's decision-making.
Keywords: ICANN, ICANN timeline, appendix, timeline, BLOG, .NYC, .WEB.,Top Level Domains, gTLDs, CRAI Report, CRAI, CRA, CRA International, Carlton Report, Dennis Carlton, Paul Twomey, Charles River, Bylaws, .BIZ, .INFO, .ORG, registry agreements, Vertical Separation, GNSO Council, Eric Bruner Williams
JEL Classification: D23, D45, D73, D79, D8, K1, K2, K11, L82, L86, L96, O34, O39, O3
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation