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Blame Yourself, Not ICANN

Domain name owners have traditionally complained that ICANN does not listen to us, and there is indeed plenty of evidence demonstrating the group’s obliviousness to community input [PDF]. Nevertheless, as domain owners, we need to begin giving ourselves a share of blame too. It’s time to reflect on our failures so we can come up with an actionable solution.

In short, yes, ICANN does need to listen to us, but there are a few steps we ought to be taking ourselves.

1. Community members should start listening to each other. Right now we aren’t. Consider:

a. There is limited dialog in blogs [PDF], especially across viewpoints and disciplines.

b. Everyone is his own sole expert. Other disciplines build on the shoulders of giants from within and outside their industry. We do not, as evidenced by:

i. Scarcity of collaboration.
ii. Scarcity of referencing others’ analytical work.
iii. A wealth of representative rationalization, whereby we only accept models that fit our prior beliefs.
iv. Lack of a multidisciplinary collaboration platform.

c. We suffer from the “not invented here” syndrome, as evidenced by our insistence on our own valuation and appraisal models despite the existence of long-established financial and statistical models. We also use our own models of risk diversification when instead we could adjust established models to fit our industry’s needs and spare ourselves a poor reinvention of the wheel.

2. We need to aggregate views using prediction markets when a single action plan is needed.

3. We need to better classify valuable information generated by domain name blogs and forums through an information authentication mechanism [PDF].

4. Conference presenters should post online, at least, their PowerPoint presentations. They can be used as proof of quality information to ICANN, the industry, and outsiders.

By Alex Tajirian, CEO at DomainMart

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Care to explain your points a bit Kevin Ohashi  –  May 5, 2009 7:35 PM

Care to explain your points a bit more?
1.a. limited dialog between who?  Domainers and ICANN?  Domainers amongst themselves?  Domainers to some other party?

1.b.  Domain names aren’t a science that you can ‘build on the shoulders of giants from within and outside their industry.’  Everyone is a sole expert because there are so many different things going on and no ‘right’ way to do it.

1.c.  Still haven’t seen any good appraisal model, statistical or otherwise that can ‘accurately’ value a domain name.  Are you going to claim your own is the answer?

3.  Academics come with all sorts of information, there isn’t a unified academic front presenting information about any topic.  To claim academia is an answer here is pretty naive.  ‘Evidence suggests that unwelcome views get edited out’ what evidence?  Isn’t this exactly the kind of claims you’re against?

You make a bunch of sweeping statements but present very little in terms of real evidence for your arguments, which presents a credibility issue.  I am all for getting ICANN to listen more to our interests, but I haven’t seen anything particularly useful here to that end.  I see leaders within the industry organizing and rallying domainers to action when ICANN presents something against our interests and asks for feedback.  I see more and more domainers attending their meetings to try and get our interests across.  I see plenty of dialogue on blogs about these issues and some people are taking action.  Sedo has stepped up in a big way for ICA without Michael Collins from what I am to understand and those with the most to lose have the largest incentive to keep that organization going.  Cooperation in this industry is very difficult but there are only a few big fish and a lot of small ones, as long as the biggest ones can agree on a few key interests, I see organizations like the ICA sticking around to represent them.

Mission Accomplished! Alex Tajirian  –  May 26, 2009 10:30 PM

Kevin, you raise interesting questions and present a different view. Thanks!

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