As the ICANN meeting wrapped up with ICANN punting on making any meaningful decision after a 5 days of committee, subcommittees, working groups, advisory board meetings, public comment sessions and Board meetings, my feeling leaving Colombia is that the meeting amounted to All Talk and No Action.
For those of you who have never attended an ICANN meeting (which is free to attend) there are typically 6 or more opened or closed sessions going on at the same time, for 5 days from 9am to 6pm.
Moreover for days before and after the 5 days official meeting period, there are committee and other ICANN meetings.
So even if you wanted to, there is no possible way that you and three of your closest friends could attend all sessions and meetings.
Some of the sessions I did attend included a meeting of registrars in which an FBI spokesman was asked about the domain name seizures by the ICE and responded to the effect:
“All I know is what I read in the news, it wasn’t us, I don’t know anything else about it, I don’t know what the basis for it was, what determination they made or what the future plans for more domain seizures is”
Thanks for that.
In another session that seemed to be 3o minutes long was dedicated to the report of the Ombudsman, however all I can tell you is I think the word “ombudsman” was repeated around 100 times in the 30 minutes, which is more times than I have heard that would spoken in my 52 years on earth combined and I’m an attorney by trade (you can read the transcript below).
Honestly hearing that word repeated 4 times in one sentence gave me an instant headache.
But that report is representative of much of the ICANN meeting; a LOT of words that don’t mean much of anything.
Again check out the transcript below of the report of the Ombudsman and tell me what was accomplished.
So over the 5 days there were Millions and Millions of words spoken, in many languages but at the end of the day as far as I could tell all of those million words, probably tens of millions of words, lead to NO definitive meaningful action by the Board.
I have heard that ICANN spent $3 Million on the meeting.
I have also heard that over 1,200 people attended the meeting,
Figuring that people come from all around the world, I think a ballpark figure of $1,000 per person just in probably low but we will go with that for now.
That’s $1.2 Million.
Although most would expect Colombia to be “cheap” its really not at all and hotels, food and drinks are on par with prices you would find in much of the US.
So figure $200 a night for a hotel, although many were much higher and you have another $1,000 for hotels if you just stayed for the 5 nights.
That’s another $1.2 Million
If you eat 2 meals a day, have a few cocktails at night, and most seemed to have well more than a couple, we will call that another $150 a day.
That another $1 million
I don’t know what .Co spent on their party but it certainly was expensive complete with Fireworks.
Then there was all the sponsors booths, giveaways, payments to ICANN for sponsors, the VeriSign party (that I wasn’t invited to), the .shop party, music night, and assorted parties and social gatherings throughout the city.
All totaled I would say at least $10 Million was spent at this meeting by ICANN, the sponsors and the attendees.
Its seems like an awful lot of money to spend, in hard economic times, when nothing got decided.
Although some feel like much was accomplished at the meeting, my view is much different.
And can be summed up in a few simple words:
All Talk, No Action.
See you in San Fransisco.
As promised here is the transcript of the Ombudsman’s report with all Q and A mercifully omitted:
“The office of the ombudsman is probably — this office of the ombudsman is probably the most scrutinized and evaluated ombudsman’s office in the world, not only against international standards but
also against standards that were developed within this office as I did my doctoral dissertation.
The difficulty in putting this particular office uniquely into a cache of one of the various ombudsman associations that exists is that it is an executive ombudsman office. It is created by a legislative body, being the table, and performs a specific function of answering questions about fair treatment within the community.
There is no specific ombudsman association in the world that caters exclusively to executive ombudsmen.
The United States Ombudsman Association and the International Ombudsman Association reflect either end of the spectrum. The United States Ombudsman being the classical or governmental ombudsman and the International Ombudsman Association being organizational ombudsmen who have very different characteristics of dealing usually with staff issues, client issues and who do not formally report. So
there are elements of both.
In the work that we’ve done in the evaluation of this office of the ombudsman, we have developed a checklist of the 50 top characteristics found across all ombudsman associations and have classified where this office fits in those. That has been reviewed by an independent third-party evaluator who has provided a commentary and who’s put — that’s available on the Web site.
Very early in the development of the office, I contracted with an evaluator from the International Standards Association, ISO — our organization, excuse me. They have two standards that deal with complaint handling: One for complaints internal to an organization and one complaints external. ISO 10,002 and 10,003. The evaluator went through our framework and our process and confirmed that the
ICANN office of the ombudsman met all international standards with respect to complaint handling.
My advice is that the office in and of itself is meeting all international standards, meeting all national standards and is a leader across the globe in the evaluation of standards for ombudsman
I think there are weaknesses, and those were addressed in the commentary.
I think one of the weaknesses that does need to be addressed in terms of how international bodies look — or state bodies or national bodies look at the use of having an ombudsman as a structure in their organization or government is the linkage between the board and the ombudsman.
I think one of the weaknesses that needs to be explored is the recommendation process. The Bylaw 5 is very, very clear, that the ombudsman is to make a report to the board and provide recommendations on how the ombudsman thinks matters should be dealt with.
A weakness in this organization is the reply back or the follow-up action. Normally where there is a statement legislature who has an ombudsman, the ombudsman will be authorized by law to demand or reply and report on the implementation of recommendations within 30 days.
Obviously, in an executive ombudsman framework where the legislature and the ombudsman are much more closely attached, that becomes more difficult.
But I think part of the ATRT review and the review being taken up at this point should include an evaluation not just of the ombudsman but the relationship between the ombudsman and the board of directors. And that will provide for a much more healthy and curative result to complaints that come through the office of the ombudsman.”””
I know if you made it this far you now have a headache too.
See you in March