Groundhog Day: 10,000 reminders of why ICANN’s public comment period on the .xxx domain is stupid

We knew – and we suspect that ICANN knew – that calling for public comment on the future of the .xxx domain after ICANN was slapped on the wrist for its mishandling of the .xxx top level domain proposal was a useless delaying tactic. Now we have confirmation. As we approach the comment deadline (May 10), we have a flood (6,000 and counting) of comments from the same rightwing religious groups that mobilized against .xxx back in June and July of 2005. We also have another 150 comments from the Free Speech Coalition – a group of online porn providers who also didn’t like the idea 5 years ago and mobilized against it.

The 6,000 “Christian group” comments are generated by an astroturf campaign led by Pat Trueman of www.pornharms.com, and disseminated through groups such as the Family Research Council, American Family Association, Morality in Media, and Concerned Women for America. Trueman was in the room in June 2005 with the top officials of NTIA when the Bush administration decided to trigger the famous Michael Gallagher letter that pushed ICANN into delaying and then killing the .xxx proposal – breaking all of ICANN’s new TLD process rules in the process.

The AFA has emailed all of its 2.4 Million members with a Call to Action, which has generated about 5,000 comments in the last 24 hrs. At the end there is a tick box where members can pledge “I will pray for Rod Beckstrom.” How sweet.

On the other side of the ledger, a causes.com group in favor of forcing all porn sites to register in the .xxx domain now has 289,000 members.

Now, all of these comments are completely irrelevant (or should be) to the question before ICANN. The question before ICANN is this: its treatment of the .xxx last time around was ruled by an independent panel to be a breach of international law and a breach of its own process, and those breaches took place precisely because of the lobbying and influence of these same groups. Now ICANN has to decide how to conform to the IRP decision.

So what is ICANN going to do? Listen to the Hecklers Veto? Well it did that in August of 2005 and in March of 2007. After it did, ICM Registry challenged the legality of its decision and complained that the decision was inconsistent with ICANN’s own TLD approval procedures and bylaws. An independent review panel ruled in ICM’s favor. Now here we are again in the exact same place we were five years ago.

Groundhog Day.

All we need now to complete the picture is “several governments:” who are firmly opposed to it, to complete the full set.

ICANN should have known this would happen. What does it say about its sincerity toward its accountability procedures?

18 comments

  1. Anonymous

    It is NOT about the string .XXX.
    It is ALL about allowing OUTSIDERs into the cozy
    CARTEL.
    ICANN will never allow outsiders to exist. By
    definition that would negate or dillute their
    fantasy “Community”.
    If ICM Registry with .XXX (or any string) were
    allowed “in”, that would blow the whole ISOC
    ICANN Community Mantra thing. Vinton Cerf will
    never allow that.
    It is his way, or the highway.

  2. Anonymous

    As an adult webmaster (been in the industry for over 9 years), I can only see disadvantages.
    First of all the proposed .xxx tld will do NOTHING to keep children safe. The only effective way to control what your children get to see on the web is white-listing, not black-listing. So creating a .xxx tld in the hopes you can block it to protect your children doesn’t make sense.
    There are 1000s established adult sites out there using .com domains. As long as those exist, it will be impossible to block porn by blocking sites in the .xxx tld.
    And no one in the adult industry has any intention to abandon their established sites. Why would we destroy our own investments?
    If you really want to protect children, you might want to consider setting up a .kids tld, with nothing but sites aimed at children. That way, parents can block everything except the .kids sites.
    Second, The adult industry never asked for the .xxx tld. In fact, adult webmaster have been and still are fighting AGAINST it. The .xxx tld was proposed by the ICM, a private organization with no ties to the adult industry and with only one goal: making money off of adult webmasters.

  3. Anonymous

    The truth is this is nothing but a money grab by Stuart Lawley and ICM Registry. Nobody wants it and nobody sane thinks it will do anything to protect children from adult content. It wont.
    If ICMRegistry REALLY want to protect children they would be pushing the .kids domain, but there’s not much money in that since kids don’t pay for content.
    There is no ROI in marketing adult to people with no credit cards, as an industry we would like nothing better than to to get the free adult content off the net but we haven't yet reached that level of technical sophistication, which we will.
    When the adult industry, George Bush, and the religious right ALL agree on something…it’s probably a bad idea.
    The one thing ICMRegistry will not address is the fact that we, as an industry do NOT want this and according to ICANN's own rules, that is the main requirement for a new tld.
    Yes they slipped it by at first, they even tried bribing industry people to support it (like the FSC) and they have failed even after offering the FSC a “donation” of 8.00 per domain sold. The FSC is not a coalition of website owners, it is the industry trade association that includes website owners as well as adult video company owners, performers and other professionals.
    IF ICANN does the right thing this will be put to bed once and for all as an epic FAIL on the part of ICMRegistry.

  4. Anonymous

    ICANN is driven by legal CYA.
    ICANN has now turned their focus on working
    directly with ONLY Government-backed groups.
    There are FTC legal reasons for that.
    The commercial (capitalist) side of the domain
    industry and new GTLDs can now progress
    WITHOUT ICANN.
    As a Non-Profit Public Benefit corporation, ICANN
    has stretched the legal boundaries to their limits.
    Just like PBS and the Corp. for Public Broadcasting
    they can not cross certain lines. The U.S. Postal
    Service is a similar structure to ICANN. It is a
    PRIVATE COMPANY run by the U.S. Government.
    USPS has to be careful competing with FedEX &
    UPS.
    .XXX is alive and well in the NON-ICANN .NET
    run by Capitalist Pigs that Mike Roberts eschews.
    ICM Registry can not force ICANN to wallow in
    their pen.

  5. Anonymous

    NOTE: The NON-ICANN Capitalist-driven domain industry is JUST NOW (2010) getting started.
    .CO run by NeuStar and 10 Registrars is the first
    example. ICANN is NOT involved.
    .XXX is in market trials direct to consumers.
    ICANN is NOT involved.

  6. Anonymous

    The deadly (and deceptive) game that the ISOC-ICANN Lib-Tards catch people in is that
    “Community BS Mantra”.
    They eschew governments yet turn (secretly) to
    partner with governments at every turn.
    Capitalists don't pay close enough attention and
    write them off as Non-Profit NGOs.
    Vinton Cerf is of course the grand master of that
    game. Stay tuned as NSF Genie and BBN and
    others re-emerge from the shadows with their
    new distractions for “The Community”.
    ICANN of course taxed the Capitalist Verisign and
    .COM population and laughs all the way to the
    bank and their next lunch in Palo Alto cafes,
    Santa Cruz, Venice Beach, Geneva, etc.
    Life is literally a bowl of cherries. You paid for.

  7. Anonymous

    IF true FREE Market forces are allowed to work
    the ISOC-ICANN will find themselves with NO networks and de-routed.
    .ORG will fade from the root zone.
    Lynn St. Amour will be sitting their sucking her
    thumb (watch the videos) wondering where her
    $17,000,000 per year went and the parties in
    Geneva.
    The ISOC is not dumb, just like PBS, they will
    turn to governments to fund them, as E-ssential.
    YEP, can't live without that good old ICANN
    Religion.

  8. Anonymous

    ICM Registry has made so many strategic errors, it is hard to count them all.
    1. Playing ball with ICANN and assuming it is a fair
    and level playing field. WRONG
    2. Selecting Affiliates as the Registry. Hal Lubsen
    and Lynn St Amour running .XXX ? Uh HUh
    3. Having academics and lawyers as the lead
    spokespeople instead of Larry Flint, Hef, etc.
    4. Not understanding (in depth) the emerging
    competitive domain industry run by Rodney,
    and greasing the palms of the “right” professors.
    5. Ignoring that Cerf calls the shots and being
    a Postel alternative like ICM Registry (was) does
    not gain Vint's favor.

  9. Anonymous

    In the same thread, Karl Auerbach wanders into
    all four corners of the court room confusing
    everyone. He then looks out the window and hints
    there may be a “technical solution” OUTSIDE of
    ICANN.
    DOH!! really Karl ?
    Meanwhile, AOL drops ICANN. It gets ugly from
    here.
    PayWalls at 11
    Anyone need a .XXX Router ?

  10. Anonymous

    AOL DUMPS ICANN
    AOL was one of the First Golden 5 Registrars secretly selected
    by Mike Roberts to launch ICANN.
    AOL now has other plans and a new CTO
    Gounares joins AOL from Microsoft where he was a Corporate Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Microsoft's Online Services Division. During his tenure at Microsoft, Gounares led significant strategic and technical operations for some of the company’s most important projects including Microsoft’s global advertising platform, Bing search, MSN and Microsoft Virtual Earth.

  11. Anonymous

    One of the UNDER-Reported ICANN and Verisign
    stories happened years ago with AOL (aka America
    Online).
    AOL started to realize THEY could Clone .COM and
    RE-charge for resolution. AOL had a lot of eyeballs,
    just like OpenDNS and Google DNS.
    Verisign rushed in and convinced AOL to partner
    with them. In exchange for NOT entering the
    Verisign turf, AOL got sweet deals hosting
    Verisign at their colo centers.
    It was unclear how much if any role ICANN played
    in the secret deals. At the end of the day there was
    wide-spread agreement between major “insiders”
    NOT to give other players any ideas about
    CLONING COM << Low hanging fruit. Just ICANN gets to tax .COM - CaChing CaChing

  12. Anonymous

    ICANN plans to RE-BID .XXX to the LOWEST Bidder
    A Zero-Cost Bidder is known to be waiting in the wings
    ICM Registry will be out-bid