Florida Republican Cliff Stearns (a fellow Gator) called ICANN out on its finances , noting that the last balance sheet the nonprofit group showed a $7 million surplus.
“You should take that $7 million and make sure that cyber-squatters are gone,” he said. “I think your job should be not just developing a surplus but actually implementing, making it cheaper for consumers, and actually doing your mission.”
This is what we have been saying for a long time, especially after ICANN reported they lost $4.5 Million in the stock market
ICANN is a NON-PROFIT company.
If it has excess funds it needs to reduce costs, not find something to do with the money.
Under the new gTLD’s proposal, ICANN still has no plans for an excessive funds.
If the amount raised from the new gTLD’s exceed its costs then:
“They will be disposed of in a manner consistent with the community’s feedback”, whatever that means.
There should be no question where the excess money should go, to reduce the cost to the consumer.
ICANN has never understood as the guardian of the domain name system one its major responsiblity is to reduce costs for the consumer.
“You should take that $7 million and make sure that cyber-squatters are gone”
Who would the Congressman consider to be cyber-squatters?
George Kirikos says
ICANN really took a beating today. There’s almost no chance that they’ll be independent of the US government any time soon. The politicians saw through the spin, the misinformation, and found the essence of ICANN. What they found was ugly.
Kudos to the politicians for getting things right! We’re often quick to criticize politicians, but they definitely deserve credit today.
It’s our job to educate Congress as well as the public what is and what is not cyber-squatters.
There is definitely a common ground where domainers and trademark holders can find.
As usual I find myself agreeing with you.
Definitely a good day and those congressman in attendance asking the hard questions deserve credit for doing so.
I wouldn’t applaud yet until I found out what Stearns defined a cybersquatter to be. Like most of the general public, I’m going to guess that he believes you and I and anyone “not using a domain” to be a squatter.
He’s from Florida too. Interesting. You’re a constituent. 🙂
I’m going to see if I can get Phil from the ICA to set up a meeting with him and some other of us FLA domainers.
We have to educate the guy.
I truly believe if I had an hour with the guy, we would come to a mutual agreement
The real credit goes to congressional staffers who prepare/write the congresspersons’ positions. (Congressmen are not that aware until the smart staffers make them aware, they are off fundraising, etc. most of the time.) Those are consistently extremely sharp kids who have a critical role in government that greatly exceeds their youth and experience levels.
Keep your expectations in check on this issue. Do not confuse congresspersons’ political “outrage” and posturing with justice and results. Congress beat up the Big 3 auto makers repeatedly in front of the cameras, then gave them almost all of what they wanted anyway when the cameras went off.
Actually he is not from my district, he represents Central Florida, home of the Gators, at least we have that in common.
Figure it takes a Gator to call ICANN out.
ICANN does not have tens of thousands of American employees.
Think the situations are different but I hear you.
So the USA owns the internet now? That makes perfect sense! What used to be the only place to get away from the government is now ruled by it. Why doesn’t CHINA have anything to say? Who the fuck put the USA in charge of the world??
Real question Josh is who the fuck are you ? Go move to China
So you like having EVERYTHING regulated? You like rules? Go to school NERD. I will pistol whip you with my gun surplus while you surrender to your communist leader.
Here is a simply story of where the internet came from.
The US always had control over it.
Steve M says
ICANN’s arguments are no different than those always clamoring for more liquor licenses: “But just look at the demand! Look how many others want these licenses!”
But does the public–who would be the one actually “served” by these new liquor stores–want any more in their communities?
Are they clamoring for more of them?
Don’t think so.
I know, but it should not be owned by anyone. It should be a completely transparent entity that has no bias for US corporations. This is going to bite you in the ass for thinking the Government doesn’t have US business in mind. Thinking the US is going to help domainers is ABSURD. They will only destroy what we worked for. Think twice before endorsing this crap.
ICANN cannot operate unsupervised.
I’m watching it just now, sounds like they keep saying I-CONN 🙂 …..sounds about right !
I like Mr Stearns questions so far, he’s making them squirm in their seats !
Domain Investor says
The congressmen were also complaining about how Icann were permitting cybersquatters.
I’m fascinated that you openly promote your Google’s earth website (GooglesEarth.com) with adsense on the site.
I’m sorry about mentioning this but you are part of the problem.
The ICA Just posted this comment about today hearing:
“”””Congressional ICANN Oversight Hearing Has A Bipartisan Theme –
It’s Too Soon To End U.S. Oversight
On Thursday, June 4th the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet held an oversight hearing on “Issues Concerning the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers”. The hearing was remarkable in a number of ways. First, given the technically arcane nature of its subject, the turnout was spectacular – more than half the Subcommittee’s members on a morning when other hearings competed for their attention, and a SRO crowd in the very large hearing room of the full Energy and Commerce Committee. Second, there was remarkable bipartisan agreement expressed, with Member sentiments falling on a continuum between extreme concern and “over our dead bodies” as regards the prospect of termination of the Joint Project Agreement (JPA) between the U.S. and ICANN on September 30th.
The witnesses appearing before the Subcommittee were:
Fiona Alexander, Associate Administrator, Office of International Affairs, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
Paul Twomey, Ph.D., President and CEO, ICANN
Kenneth J. Silva, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, VeriSign
Christine N. Jones, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, The Go Daddy Group, Inc.
Sarah Deutsch, Vice President & Associate General Counsel, Verizon Communications
Thomas M. Lenard, Ph.D., President and Senior Fellow, Technology Policy Institute
All witness statements as well as streaming video are available at http://energycommerce.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1642:energy-and-commerce-subcommittee-hearing-on-oversight-of-the-internet-corporation-for-assigned-names-and-numbers-icann&catid=134:subcommittee-on-communications-technology-and-the-internet&Itemid=74 .
Subcommittee Chair Rick Boucher stated at the onset that the hearing would focus on whether ICANN had become sufficiently transparent and accountable to let the JPA terminate; and concerns regarding the proposed introduction of new gTLDs – including enhanced competition, brand protection, and stability and security. Other Subcommittee members used their opening statements to raise concerns about ICANN’s burgeoning budget and staff; question ICANN’s priorities and whether it really cared about average Internet users; express the view that full independence would threaten national and global cybersecurity; and note the possibility of potential capture by the ITU or other entities. While several Members noted that ICANN’s performance has improved, the prevailing view was that JOA termination was premature and that at least short term extension, coupled with some modification of terms, was in order.
Fiona Alexander performed the thankless task of delivering the Department of Commerce’s views while new Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information Lawrence Strickling awaits Senate confirmation. Not only was she a stand-in but she could not indicate the Obama Administration’s position on JPA extension because that is not fully developed (and even if a decision has been made, it could hardly be announced in advance of the June 8th closing of the public comment period that is supposed to inform and influence the decision). We were concerned by language in her prepared statement noting that even if the US does not extend the JPA it will still participate in ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) and will also be able to file comments in ICANN’s public consultation processes – Mr. Strickling made a similar observation at his Senate confirmation hearing, but these are hardly reassuring words for those who are familiar with ICANN decision-making processes, and most certainly do not equate to a formal oversight role.
Paul Twomey, whose departure as CEO later this year is already public knowledge, made his usual case for JPA termination to a highly skeptical Congressional audience – adding the new twist that an extension of U.S. oversight would indicate a lack of confidence in its private sector model and therefore encourage the international community to propose alternatives. None of the Subcommittee members appeared swayed by it.
Most telling, perhaps, were the positions taken by ICANN’s largest registry and registrar contract parties, VeriSign and GoDaddy. Ken Silva noted that “while ICANN has continued to make progress in certain areas…the basic circumstances giving rise to widespread community concerns over the expiration of the JPA remain largely unchanged and further progress is critical prior to an expiration of the agreement and end to all governmental oversight of ICANN.” Christine Jones was even more blunt: “ICANN has not yet achieved competition, nor the private, bottom-up coordination and representation called for in the ICANN bylaws. The JPA between ICANN and the Department of Commerce should be extended or modified, or renewed and modified, to stress the need to correct these deficiencies and require a clear roadmap from ICANN as to how it will regain the confidence of the community on which its existence relies…Unfortunately, ICANN has yet to commit to or is unable to commit to openness, transparency and accountability.” When your largest business partners take you to this type of task in front of Congress you really have major problems.
The temperature in the hearing room rose by several degrees once the prepared statements were completed and questioning began. Chairman Boucher found it particularly disturbing that ICANN had never taken action against an accredited registrar engaged in cybersquatting. Ranking Republican Cliff Stearns honed in on ICANN finances, questioning whether ICANN’s fees, budget and staffing were consistent with its non-profit status, as well as what ICANN would do with the more than $90 million in application fees for new gTLDs it anticipated receiving. Former full Committee Chair John Dingell resurrected the issue of the .com contract, with Christine Jones weighing in that the manner in which it was reached was “not transparent”. Multiple Members questioned whether new gTLDs would truly introduce new competition and if ICANN was adequately addressing the problems they might introduce.
The hearing ended with Chairman Boucher noting that the record would be kept open for thirty days and that ICANN could anticipate receiving additional written inquiries.
What does all this mean for the termination or extension of the JPA? Too much should not be read into this particular episode because many Congressional hearings involve dramatic posturing and it is the Obama Administration, not Congress, which will make the ultimate call. But the strong bipartisan concern about the inconsistency of ICANN’s rhetoric with the reality of its performance is hardly confined to this Subcommittee – on May 19th, Senators Olympia Snowe and Bill Nelson, both serving on the Senate Commerce Committee, sent a joint letter to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke expressing the view that “ICANN has considerable work ahead to reach the point where it can stand alone as a stable, accountable, transparent and, most importantly, secure global organization” and essentially endorsing the view that the JPA be at least temporarily extended “to allow time to design and deploy new accountability mechanisms for ICANN”. Post-hearing press reports indicate that Chairman Boucher will be joining other Committee members in their own letter to the Commerce Department recommending a one-year extension.
In short, if the Administration permits the JPA to terminate in less than four months it is on clear notice that such actions will unleash a strong bipartisan backlash from the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.””””
Domain Investor: You are apart of the problem! And you said it right there. You think I am cybersquatting by having a legitamate blog about a product that I openly endorce and support. There are other google earth blogs that have similar domain names ogleearth.com and gearthblog.com !! You think they are cybersquatters? You think people who support a product and write about it are cyber-squatting? Please, you obviously know nothing about our industry.
Michael, I know that you are all for ICANN being regulated, but I am meerly trying to give insight in to reasons why it should not be regulated. If the government had it their way they would give all domains containing the word verizon to verizon, and to some of you that is fine. But to some people FREE SPEACH is important.
REDBULLSUCKS.COM was lost to UDRP, lh.com lost to UDRP, ROCKY.COM TO UDRP. AND thousands of other unregulated reverse hi-jackings that the government doesn’t care about overseeing because they think it is good. For every point they have there is always a counter point, and having no middle ground on this issue thinking it is for the better is simply being naive. I will stand by you Berkins, but I want you to be a little more on the domainer side, and less on the side of corporate USA.
“This is going to bite you in the ass for thinking the Government doesn’t have US business in mind.”
huh, I’m a US business and so are most domainers making a living and thus concerned with these changes. I think you mean “big business”. We are a multi-billion dollar business segment according to some reports. I think we’ve got a little weight as a large group but not very well organized atm. Josh, nothing with that much money involved will go/goes unregulated. . . especially under the current regime.
Domainer B says
Josh wrote: “So you like having EVERYTHING regulated? You like rules? Go to school NERD. I will pistol whip you with my gun surplus while you surrender to your communist leader.”
What makes me think that Josh watches Fox News and has personally autographed 8x10s of Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter and Bill O’Reilly on his wall?
Why are you questioning my political views? I’m not dem nor am I republican. I simply don’t like beuracracy. I have the best interest of domainers, and I hate to say it but domainers are pushovers. Our biggest asset is the ICA and barely anyone I talk to is active with them. Sorry for being a jerk, but that’s who I am. I just want the free Internet protected — is that so bad?
M. Menius says
What a righteous day. The notion that ICANN can be entrusted to operate independently is pathetically absurd.
Congresswoman Eshoo from Silicon Valley did not pull any punches either.
You could see Twomey squirming in his seat as he flat out lied about things.
Josh – you should seriously educate yourself on what this is really about. ICANN’s “Bottom Up” decision making is a farce, and THAT is exactly the problem.
Every penny that ICANN gets comes from people that register domains – like us. WE have ALL the skin in the game but NO voice in ICANN…. that is not “Bottom Up” in even the vaguest sense, now is it?
What ICANN wants is to remove ALL oversight so that they can continue the self serving crap they have done for years already.
Think we are ignored by ICANN now? Take away the oversight and you might as well just grab your ankles because you aint seen nothing yet.
M. Menius says
Participants in the hearing just gawked when Paul Twomey’s $800,000 per year salary was announced, and that ICANN currently have a $41,000,000 SURPLUS. Yes, you read that right! It was discussed that for a “non-profit”, they look more like a for profit corporation. Especially considering that ICANN stand to take in potentially $90 million more in applicant fees in the first year alone on the new gTLD orgy.
The congressman asked Twomey “What are you going to do with all that money”? And then suggested to Twomey why don’t ICANN invest their (our/your) surplus money into fighting cybersquatting. The insinuation was clear. Almost complete consensus within the room that ICANN need continued oversight.
Incidentally, I’ve never seen/heard Mr. Twomey before, but am surprised at his odd arrogance in this forum. It’s as if he’s reading from a practiced script that doesn’t quite fit the nature of the questions being asked. Somewhat indignant demeanor when pressed for details and examples. Strikes me as the type CEO who likes to make important decisions in a vacuum, but who has very little real comprehension of ground level realities.
The panelists are on point, very articulate. And hitting on all cylinders. The similarity of expressed concerns between the panelists, congress, and domainers is incredible. And therein lies ICANN’s failure, i.e. creating internally driven policies that bear no relation to the huge outside consenus of internet users and observers.
Here’s the video in two parts. Gets good at about 1 hr 30 mins into the hearing.
Video 1: http://energycommerce.edgeboss.net/wmedia/energycommerce/2009.06.04.sc.ti.wvx
Video 2: http://energycommerce.edgeboss.net/wmedia/energycommerce/2009.06.04.sc.ti.2.wvx
After watching that hearing I think ICONN are going to be put on an even shorter leash…..just as well, they need it.
They seem much more interested in their own agenda of making more money from what I can see…non-profit corporation my arse !
Josh, the proper word is ACCOUNTABLE not “regulated”. ICANN is barely accountable now on paper and they desperately seek zero accountability which would be a disaster for everyone. They must be accountable to registrars and registrants at a minimum. Thank goodness someone in power finally recognizes this.
With googlesearth.com its clueless clowns (kinder than jerk as you call yourself) like you that gave rise to the CADNAs of the world that so seriously jeopardizes non-TM infringing domains in the first place. Keep a watchful eye over your shoulder for that blanket carrying gang in search of a party. In the meantime, get an education in business and law.
And ICANN has some supporters too in the form of Al Gore and Vint Cerf known to many as one of the fathers of the Internet, in acknowledging the success of the group’s multi-stakeholder, bottom up governance!!!
“What we have all those years later is an organization that works,” Gore said. “[ICANN] has security as its core mission, is responsive to all global stakeholders and is independent and democratic. We should make permanent those foundations for success,” he said. Cerf, who long-served as ICANN’s chairman and is now Google’s chief Internet evangelist, argued the past decade has shown the ICANN model has worked. “The ICANN of today is larger, more capable, more international, and better positioned to fulfill its mandate.” ICANN has benefited from a joint project agreement with the U.S. government, which is slated to expire in September, but “the time has now come to conclude it,” Cerf said.
Dan Anderson says
“But to some people FREE SPEACH is important.”
Tara Sev says
ICANN has fallen apart, where is the US oversight when you need it.
There is not point in congress pointing out ICANN mistakes unless they are going to do something about it.
If US oversigt is not going to get involved, than maybe we should push for its indepence suggested by the EU to have some new form of change.
ICANN is a nonprofit organization? BULLSHIT! Oh please, who are these people trying to fool? Every time you register a domain name you will see a 25 cent ICANN fee added to your order. Sounds like a profit bearing company to me considering how many domain names are registered on a daily basis worldwide. I want to own my domain names outright and not LEASE them anymore from some invisible bullshit organization. We do not own our domain names at the present time people. We are leasing them! It shows you how stupid people buying into some false sense of security. When I buy my domain name I want to own it FOREVER! Not lease it forever. I am actually in the process of acquiring an attorney to sue ICANN. What gives this entity ANY rights whatsoever to keep collecting money from me if I was smart enough to come up with a unique domain name? NONE! I want to expose this ICANN entity from the top to the bottom.
ICANN fee is $.20 per domain, per year.
They operate under the authority of the US Government, which is what gives them the right to collect the money from you.