concern - please read

LG lmg67lmg67 at
Mon Feb 19 21:18:54 CET 2007

To the IETF Committee:
  Hi, my name is Laurie Goldberg and about one year ago I got involved in buying, selling, and developing domains. I got involved out of great interest, and out of the possibility of supplementing my near poverty-line teacher's salary that has me living paycheck to paycheck.
  My mother loaned me money to invest in domain names because I really believed that this could help me find my way out of being poor and to pay off a variety of loans. The category that interested me most was/is IDN's. It made sense to me to have DNs in the user's language, and so I did hours and hours and hours of research, for months, before I started investing. 
  There is one more category that I really liked and felt has a lot of potential for the internet/e-commerce world, and that is symbols/special characters. It is this which I am writing to you about today.
  I want to paste here a quote from someone on the IETF thread:
  "What John says is that we who look at this problem so far have not
> seen enough evidence that these classes really are needed so that
> they should be included. We are using an inclusion based algorithm
  > this time."
  I'd like to provide some strong evidence that these classes ARE needed, from people like me on the outside.
  My first question is, what are the standards for "really needed?" Have you spoken to Johns and Marys out there, many of whom are like me, that want to find a way to use the internet to start up some kind of business for themselves and perhaps provide a better life for themselves and their families? Does the difference between near poverty and a higher socioeconomic status qualify as "really needed?" For me it sure does!
  And why does something have to be "really needed" in order to include it and allow it to resolve in the browser? Can it be "really wanted?" If there is a large group of people (relatively speaking) who VERY MUCH WANT the symbols/special characters, does it matter so much to include them? Does it cause harm to include them? I genuinely don't understand the issue here. If there are gun symbols, a Nazi symbols, it makes sense to ban those, but the rest? A Euro symbol? A heart? A flower? A peace sign? What in the world is the point of excluding these?
  If someone wants to sell clothes on the internet that have hearts on them, and they want to have the heart symbol in their URL, what is wrong with that? Who is getting hurt from it? It may bring more people to her website! It's capitalism at its best!
  The symbols are unique, and those who have them -- just like those who have,, and other valuable domain names in English and other languages -- they will be lucky because symbol domains are interesting, clever, eye-catching, and can be a big draw for someone wanting to use one to advertise their website.
  Of course I am someone (of many) who bought some symbols and therefore my interest in keeping them included is very strong. Please note that I emailed Verisign BEFORE I bought any, and asked if these symbols will be allowable as IDNs, and I received an email back reassuring me that that is the case. She even showed me a list of which symbols were NOT allowed, so I would know not to buy those, and said the rest of them are. How can you go back on that now, for what reason? (I am sure I didn't delete that email, if you'd want to see it.)
  So clearly I feel very upset to have spent dollars that are very precious to me with the WRITTEN REASSURANCE that I am making a STABLE investment (and Verisign gets their information from what your committee is doing, of course). 
  I don't want to make this email too long because then people's eyes glaze over. But when you asked, "Are these really needed?" you are asking people who are sitting on the same committee as you are, in the same world as you are (like if I asked a very broad question to a group of teachers...I would need to extend the scope of my questioning to involve people whose worldview would be quite different from mine - THEN I might get a true indication of opinion). If you ask would-be entreupeneurs (a flower shop - www.✿flowers✿.com, or a site urging creative, original ideas for peace www.☮.com,  or a site telling people to get out and vote! www.☒☑.com,) there are SO many original and creative ways to use symbols that will give flair and uniqueness to people who are developing websites and are trying to stand out in a crowd. Isn't that what we DO in America? in any democracy? 
  You are making a decision that has strong financial ramifications for a large group of people now and even more in the future. Please don't think that the idea of symbols is not a big deal. Much of my money will have gone down the drain if you exclude them (AND my renewal dates are in less than a month so I am panicking because I do not know whether to attempt to renew any of them. Can you imagine spending much-needed money for renewals and then weeks later the symbols are canceled? But what if I don't renew them, and symbols are saved, and I have wonderful and fun names that I know others will want to buy and I could have started to make a little better life for myself. What should I do? You can see the dilemma.)
  For me, these symbols mean a way out of near poverty. It will be devestating to exclude them when there's really no reason to. And when many people (on a forum I'm on) also own and need and want them, and 1000s will end up using them, all over the world. 
  I am happy to answer any questions or do anything else that you would like if it will make a difference. If your mind is made up and symbols are OUT and nobody else's opinion matters, please please tell me because then I will not renew them and I will tell the forum as well. It will save a lot of money that would go to waste. If hearing from me has given you some things to think about and maybe you'll end up moving in the other direction, please let me know this too, so I'll know to renew them. 
  I can't urge you enough to rethink your position and allow these innocuous symbols/special characters to become a part of the internet ecommerce world. It will make an enormous difference to many people.
  Thank you for your time.
  Laurie Goldberg
  St. Louis, MO

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