back to article ICANN CEO criticizes domain 'hoggers'

ICANN's CEO has infuriated domain investors by dismissing them as domain "hoggers" in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Talking about the introduction of hundreds of new top-level domains, and prompted by the interviewer about the risk of "landgrabs" under the new names, Chehade gave what some feel was a …

  1. Mark 85 Silver badge

    So it boils down to money and who (in the C-suite) gets it?

    Obviously. I wonder how many of the domain investors would allow the same scrutiny to their salaries and perks? Or to their actions? Yes ICANN oversees, but I wonder if there were no ICANN what kind of a mess we'd have out there. Ah.... greed and capitalism* at it's finest.

    *Disclaimer: I'm far from being a socialist and mostly I'm a capitalist. But there instances (more and more it seems) where the greed exceeds anything else.

    1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: So it boils down to money and who (in the C-suite) gets it?

      It's just the digital equivalent of real estate investors only with less work. Gobble up as much choice property as fast as you can and wait. I'd guess part of this is that they aren't terribly happy at how easy it is to create more choice property. Of course they could try to limit hogging would be to disincentivize domain parking but I don't know how one would actually go about doing that.

      As far as it being capitalism, it really isn't since there isn't really any ability of anyone else to set up competition to ICANN regardless of how much capital they have. That's because ICANN isn't a natural monopoly nor did it become one in the more traditional means but it is a de jure monopoly. If you want to compete with ICANN, your options are few and may be limited to exactly the same as what North Korea does.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: So it boils down to money and who (in the C-suite) gets it?

      The world probably relies more on standard metre, kilogram and ampere than on ICANN but I don't think a team from NIST or the NPL are flitting between plutocrat love-ins on $1m salaries

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jelousy from shakedown artists?

    How do these euphemistically-named "domain investors" manage to convince themselves that they constitute "the community [ICANN] is supposed to be serving"? Buying hundreds of domain names cheaply in the hope of making a fat profit charging a fortune to the handful of poor saps who actually need and want to use a few of them is hardly a business model to make their kids proud of Mum or Dad, IMO.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Jelousy from shakedown artists?

      Not to mention those happily selling thousand of domains to spammers and phishers without any control.... while being paid with what is actually criminal money. They should be fined together criminals using the domains they sold.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Jelousy from shakedown artists?

        Or inventing a 2week "grace period" where you can register a domain name but not pay anything.

        Which allows network of pairs of squatter companies to shuffle registrations for millions of domains between themselves without every having to "invest" a cent.

  3. SImon Hobson Silver badge

    The truth often hurts

    Well if the complaints were as vociferous as stated, then it suggests he hit a raw nerve. He's (almost) quite right - there is no shortage of domains, only a shortage caused by speculators hording them to create scarcity.

    Where I think he is wrong though is in his statement that if you can't get "dot-x" you can go to "dot-y". It doesn't really work like that in a world where people expect you to be on a "dot-com". So if mynewbusinessname.com is taken, it's no good getting mynewbusinessname.anythingelse because customers won't find you. Instead, when a customer types in mynewbusinessname that you;ve spent lots of money promoting - they'll instinctively add .com - or their browser will automatically try it - and find themselves on a link-spam page (or worse).

    In reality, you now need to find somethingnooneelsehasthoughtof.com and now register a multiple of additional tld variations for no reason other than to stop some spammer squatting on the other variations and trying to monetise your name. In other words, all these new tld constitute a shakedown where businesses have to register extra domain names merely to protect their name.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: The truth often hurts

      Nice domain name, this.

      Be a shame if anything happened to it...

    2. Jonathan Richards 1

      Re: The truth often hurts

      > it's no good getting mynewbusinessname.anythingelse because customers won't find you.

      Err... have you looked at how most Web users actually navigate? If they aren't following a link from some social media post, it's odds-on that they will type what they think is your business name into Google[1]. I just tried this with a domain name I made up on the spur of the moment. GoogleTM, he say:

      Showing results for startupfunders.com

      Search instead for startupfunder.co.uk

      Thus, I don't think that it's the case that you must have {whatever}.com in order to make your website findable.

      [1] Other search engines are available: you and I know this, but the people I'm talking about don't. Many think Google is the Internet (Sandberg, S., 2015)

  4. Number6
    Coat

    Not for Profit

    Well, if ICANN is not for profit then clearly they have to spend all the money that comes in, hence the execs getting paid lots and having big travel budgets.

    Mine's the one with the fee-reduction plan in the pocket.

  5. meh115

    Get your community right and check your domainer privilege

    "Chehade's comments at an elite meeting of the world's business and political leaders in Davos will serve only to highlight the gulf between ICANN's leadership and the community it is supposed to be serving"

    Excuse me? the domainers are _HARDLY_ the community ICANN's supposed to serve.ICANN's supposed to be a steward of identifier systems, not a commodities market for greed-ohs who speculate on strings or create pet rock vanity labels. It's about time someone at ICANN stood up for the public interest. Frankly, the organization would be better off with less financial support from domainers. Fewer reasons for confliction and more clarity regarding its community are a welcomed change.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Entitlement

    ICANN and the new TLD owners, and the squatters within all the TLD's, are prime examples of the entitlement mentality. Everyone's out to extract rents, not provide a service. Sure didn't take long either.

  7. Phil Koenig

    Take that to it's logical conclusion...

    Yes, it's true that a large portion of ICANN's revenue comes from sleazy businesses that provide no value to anyone but a tiny handful of stupid opportunists.

    Now that ICANN's CEO has just learned this obvious little detail, it's time to do away with the various ICANN policies that are anti-internet-user and pro-opportunist-value-destroyer.

    Eh, where's my flying pig icon...

  8. Dazed and Confused

    Would someone like to explain to me please

    Just what is the difference between a cybersquatter and a domain investor?

    Is it the price of their suits?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Would someone like to explain to me please

      A domain investor has more expensive lawyers than the people who want the domain.

      A cybersquatter has less (and fewer) expensive lawyers than the people who want the domain.

  9. JakeMS

    Times like this...

    Is when I laugh the most about domain squatters, they buy a domain for say, £10, then want you to pay £1,000 or more for the exact same domain, for the simple reason "We got it first".

    Domain squatting will become harder with all these new extensions in place, after-all, paying for the same domain for each and every extension now would be quite expensive!

    Hope to see them gone forever, what right do they have to hog random domains they have no real interest in?

    If they were actually using the domains for either personal or business use and wanted a lot of money for you to buy it from them, fair enough, they have built up a reputation for the domain, but as they are 9 times out of 10 simply sitting on a buy this domain page then there is no real justification for the price hike other than greed.

    1. Jonathan Richards 1

      Re: Times like this...

      Exactly. The value of a domain name is based solely on its availability, or scarcity. With a larger number of top level domains, the value is diluted, in exactly the way that the value of a currency is diluted when central banks create more money.

      Has anyone ever asked Sir Tim whether he foresaw (or is now pleased to see) a market in names for sites on his WWW? Assignment: Team Register :-)

    2. Vic

      Re: Times like this...

      Hope to see them gone forever

      No chance. There's way too much money in it.

      A few years ago, I was approached by a domain squatter to build him a new capture system - the old one was now being outpaced by others in the same game. Technically, it looked like an interesting job. My refusal was on ethical grounds...

      Vic.

  10. Richard Cranium

    There is a solution

    More TLDs does nothing useful. What do you think would happen if you registered microsoft.archi (as an example new gTLD, available now for USD119...) Would their lawyer keep quiet and say "fair enough, my bad for not getting in first"?

    In any case what's the recognition factor? If Google returned two search results: microsoft.com and microsoft.archi which would you choose to click?

    There is a problem with domain name squatters and I have a solution. At present we pay an annual fee for use of a domain. I'm not altogether sure what happens to that fee, the amount of work involved for the registrar is small. Compare .co.uk fees with .com - why is .com about 3 times the price for doing essentially the same task?

    Anyway: how to solve the problem. Do away with the annual fee. In order to "own" a domain the registrant should make a loan to the registrar of a substantial sum, lets say USD1000. There is no need for any annual billing process so the cost of providing the service is lower and would come from interest on that $1000 deposit. The registrant can choose to relinquish the domain at any time and will get his $1000 back.

    How many squatters would wish to lock up a million dollars in their "investment" of 1000 domains? Some no doubt, but surely even they would cast a critical eye over their holdings and weed out the less attractive names, freeing them up for others to use.

    1. BoldMan

      Re: There is a solution

      Your .com costs x3 your .co.uk? You need to use a different domain registrar!!!!

      1. M Mouse

        Re: There is a solution

        OK, I'll take the bait... what do you pay for each, and which registrars do you use ?

        Also, are you getting some 'bulk buyer' eate (because for multiple domains some will drop costs on a tiered basis, so bulk use is lower per domain)... ?

        Finally, show any Sales tax / VAT separately, for what you pay.

        Genuine query.

        FWIW I recently used 123-reg to renew a domain. Cost (2 years) £6.98 + £1.40 VAT = £8.38

        Typical renewal fee for any .com is around $ 13 - 15 whereas a transfer may cost $ 9 - 11

        I don't have any firm figures in my e-mail on my phone to quote actual fees paid but clearly, for me, it could cost 50% - 150% more for a .com for 1 year.

        1. M Mouse

          Re: There is a solution

          OK, just saw how this is now "old news", so doubt either earlier posters will spot these comments...

          Have to assume original poster pays through the nose for .com domains at a firm like Network Solutions or the like, rather than one of the other big firms (name.com, mydomain.com, etc).

    2. Cooper

      Re: There is a solution

      Are you in the band Richard Cranium, in the Austin Area?

  11. Nunya Biznas
    FAIL

    Funny

    A while back some "domain investors" (mmm smell that buzzwordy legitimacy) tried to sell me variants of my domain that they had registered (mine is a .net, purchase price $7.00) for insane prices up to $5000usd, luckily my domain is a personal use domain and i swiftly told them where to shove their offer. Now someone is calling them useless scumbags and they are crying about it, if only someone could bottle those tears... Two pints please bartender!

  12. WatAWorld

    What is this new 'domain investing' and how is it different from the cybersquatting?

    "particularly connecting domain investors with cybersquatters"

    What is the difference?

    Why do we need two terms?

    Is it domain investing when you do it, and cybersquatting.when someone else does it?

  13. Sandtreader

    Sir Humphrey

    It's one of those irregular verbs: I invest; you squat; he is a bounty-seeking lowlife who gums up the works for legitimate commerce.

  14. Cooper

    Parasites aren't investors...

    I don't think you can equate domain squatting to real-estate investment. If you rent every room at Disney for the month of July so that you can charge families 10 times the normal price you are not an investor you are a parasite! Is a ticket scalper a "venue event seat investor"?

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