ICANN variant project update

Andrew Sullivan ajs at anvilwalrusden.com
Wed Feb 22 13:25:00 CET 2012

Hi John,

Before beginning, I should note that, while ICANN paid me as a
consultant on the variant issues project report, I don't speak for

On Tue, Feb 21, 2012 at 06:39:20PM -0500, John C Klensin wrote:
> Do you believe that characterization is reasonable and, if not,
> why not?

I don't think the report ignores the first of your bullets, and I
think the report directly addresses the second.  

On the first point, the report explicitly notes that the entire
business is terribly complicated and seems inevitably to lead to
difficulties; moreover, it makes distinctions that do not easily admit
of treating every claim of "variant" as the same.

On the second point, the report notes quite explicitly that blocking
might appear to be the safest and most reversible activity; but one
still needs some way of deciding what to block.  Simply allowing
anyone to object can't work, because of the obvious commercial
incentives for incumbent TLD operators just to claim that everything
is a variant of what they're doing.

I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable discussing the plan on this list;
it's open for public comment, and probably comments about whether it
ought to proceed the way it is proposed ought to go to the public
comment forum.  To be fair, the plan includes study of feasibility of
some things I think the report describes in pretty grim language.
Therefore, it seems to me that a specific study of the feasibility of
some of those items will quickly reach the conclusion, "infeasible",
and be done.

I hope this answers your question.  I'm not sure this list is the
ideal venue in which to discuss the development in ICANN.  I think the
ICANN vip list is still open, and it might be a better place to have
continued discussion.  Certainly, if you have concerns or feedback,
you might consider sending that into the public comments on the plan.
Indeed, you might simply consider posting the body of your email
directly into the ICANN public comment area.  For what it's worth, the
report didn't receive much in the way of comment, and some of the
comments were completely irrelevant (and one of them was internally
contradictory).  I believe that ICANN ought to hear as much as
possible about this (or any) topic from informed people, and that
therefore it would be good to get more comments into the public
comment area.  Staff reads every one of those comments, and in my
experience they take them very seriously.



Andrew Sullivan
ajs at anvilwalrusden.com

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