April, 2017

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M3AAWG Appoints Dr. John Levine Liaison to ICANN

Dr. John Levine Liaison

The Messaging, Malware and Mobile Anti Abuse Working Group (M3AAWG) recently appointed Dr. John Levine Liaison to ICANN. The ICANN organization welcomes this appointment and thanks M3AAWG's Board of Directors for this decision.

This appointment will allow the portion of the operational security community represented by M3AAWG to have more visibility of, and participation in relevant policy development processes. This can provide for increased representation of the operational security community in policymaking and in the discussions that take place within the broader ICANN community.

This appointment will allow the portion of the operational security community represented by M3AAWG to have more visibility of, and participation in relevant policy development processes. This can provide for increased representation of the operational security community in policymaking and in the discussions that take place within the broader ICANN community.

David Conrad, ICANN Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, stated that "M3AAWG's Liaison brings many years of technology and Internet security expertise to the ICANN community, and will be a bridge between the operational security community and ICANN, both the community and the organization." On the appointment, Jamie Hedlund, ICANN's Chief Contractual Compliance Officer, said "I'm pleased M3AAWG has made this appointment as I am optimistic it will increase M3AAWG's participation in ICANN's policy work, which will certainly enrich the discussions within the ICANN community. This will bring enormous benefits to the ICANN organization, Board and community."

M3AAWG was founded in 2004 with the initial purpose of working toward combatting spam and helping to protect end-users. As malicious activity evolved, M3AAWG expanded its remit to work on threats like botnets, malware, denial-of-service attacks and other forms of online exploitation. Today, M3AAWG is one of the largest global organizations working on online anti-abuse, with more than 200 worldwide members. M3AAWG members include registry operators such as Afilias and Verisign; registrars like GoDaddy, Tucows, 1&1 Internet SE, and Blacknight (as a frequent guest); as well as technology companies, Internet service providers, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry (LACNIC), and security companies and security research groups – all of which are interested in safeguarding the online ecosystem.

Congratulations to Dr. Levine on his appointment and best wishes for success in his new role. We look forward to M3AAWG's increased participation in ICANN.

Complaints Office Update: Objectives & Next Steps

Recently, I was appointed ICANN’s first-ever Complaints Officer. I am honored to have been selected, and excited to build out this important new role.

The Complaints Office is being built to help the ICANN Organization with its effectiveness and to provide additional transparency and accountability, all in service of ICANN's mission. As the Complaints Officer, I will be working to address complaints about the ICANN Organization, collecting data about complaints received across the organization and working to address any issues. The data that is collected will be analyzed to identify complaint trends, so that any systemic issues can be looked at and proactively addressed.

Since I started working in this role in late March, I’ve been focused on defining the objectives and guidelines of the office, designing the complaints process and developing the implementation timeline.

The Complaints Office will:

  • Provide a centralized location to submit complaints related to the ICANN Organization.
  • Receive complaints, research them, collect facts, and review, analyze, and resolve issues as openly as possible.
  • Help the ICANN Organization build on its effectiveness, and contribute to increased transparency from the Organization.
  • Aggregate the data from received complaints to identify and solve any operational trends that should be improved.

The Office will focus on reviewing verifiable information to ensure recommendations and resolutions are based in fact. It will strive to be open and transparent, responsive and accountable to all parties, and to make recommendations that are constructive and actionable. And, above all else, the office will act with the utmost integrity in service of ICANN’s mission.

Complaints Process and Implementation Timeline

I’m still working on finalizing the full complaints process. This includes defining that process, identifying the specific steps and protocols, developing tools to support intake, management and reporting of complaints, and evolving communications to raise awareness and gather feedback from the community and staff.

The full complaints process is targeted for launch in mid-July 2017, however, I expect it to evolve over time as we gain experience and hear from the community and staff about what is and isn’t working. In the interim, any complaints related to the ICANN Organization, such as how a request has been handled, a process that appears to be broken, insufficient handling of an issue, or something that may be indicative of a systemic issue, can be submitted to complaints@icann.org. This information is also available in the Complaints section of ICANN’s website (see: https://www.icann.org/complaints-office), where I will continue to publish updates and information as it becomes available. However, do keep in mind that the office is being built in real time and it may take a little time to work through initial submissions. However, please do not let this deter you from submitting any complaints that you may have.

I look forward to providing additional updates, the first of which will be a Frequently Asked Questions document that will be published shortly on the Complaints webpage. If you have a question prior to publication, or after, please email it to complaints@icann.org. Over time, and as new questions are received, the Frequently Asked Questions document will be updated so that others may benefit from the additional information.

I am truly excited about this opportunity and look forward to helping establish this new avenue for the community to have their voices heard.

What is New with ICANN Reviews?

ICANN's Bylaws require that ICANN conduct regular reviews across the organization and on specific subject areas. These are an important part of ICANN's continued effort to serve the global community within its mission and scope. In an effort to make it easier to follow the ongoing work of the respective reviews, we will be providing regular updates to the community.

The Multistakeholder Strategy and Strategic Initiatives (MSSI) team is responsible for facilitating the reviews in coordination with identified internal teams and the community, depending on whether it is an ICANN-Specific or Organizational Review. Organizational Reviews assess ICANN's Supporting Organizations (SOs) and Advisory Committees (ACs) to determine how effectively they operate, how well they achieve their purpose and how accountable they are to the multistakeholder community. Specific Reviews address a range of specific topics, such as Accountability and Transparency (ATRT), Consumer Choice, Confidence and Trust (CCT), Security and Stability (SSR), or Registration Directory Services (RDS). The timing of the respective reviews is mandated by the Bylaws. Reviews deliver findings and recommendations to help improve ICANN and its SOs and ACs. They are mandated by the ICANN Bylaws and are critical to maintaining a healthy multistakeholder model, but they only work if we have community participation.

For the latest developments on currently active reviews, please see the compiled list below. If any of these reviews interests you, we urge you to either get involved or encourage interested parties to participate:

Shape the future of the New gTLD marketplace:

Please share your public comment on the Draft Report and Recommendations of the Competition, Consumer Trust and Consumer Choice Review Team (CCT-RT) as it works towards developing its Final Report and Recommendations. The CCT-RT has extended the public comment period deadline to 19 May 2017. Learn more about CCT-RT findings and recommendations via the recorded CCT-RT webinar discussion (available in English, Arabic, Spanish, French, Russian, and Chinese).

Improve ICANN Transparency and Accountability:

How well has ICANN implemented community recommendations from the second Accountability and Transparency Review? Is ICANN effectively facilitating public comments in its decision-making process? Apply to be considered for the Third Accountability and Transparency Review Team (ATRT3) which will explore these questions and many others. This is an opportunity to contribute to ICANN's ongoing accountability and transparency by assessing its existing initiatives and making recommendations for how it can improve.

Help improve ICANN's Office of the Ombudsman:

Have you ever interacted with ICANN's Office of the Ombudsman? Do you feel there is opportunity for improvement? Please take 10-minutes to participate in this survey and provide your input on the ongoing assessment of ICANN's Office of the Ombudsman. This assessment is part of the overall objective to enhance ICANN accountability alongside the IANA stewardship transition and is also in line with the recommendation issued by the Second Accountability and Transparency Review Team (ATRT2), see Final Report Section 9.3. See the announcement to learn more.

Should the ccNSO Review be deferred?

The ccNSO would like to defer the ccNSO Review by twelve months to August 2018, in response to concerns about bandwidth. ICANN Bylaws Section 4.4(a) provide the Board with the ability to consider timing of organizational reviews based on feasibility. Please learn more and submit your public comment to provide input as to whether the forthcoming ccNSO Review should be deferred as proposed.

Follow progress of the At-Large Review:

The independent examiner ITEMS has published its Draft Report and Recommendations for the At-Large Review and held an open public session at ICANN58 to discuss their findings. The community provided fifteen public comments that will now be considered by ITEMS as it prepares its Final Report and Recommendations. The ICANN Board will consider the public comments along with the Final Report of the Independent Examiner and the views of the At-Large community on the usefulness and feasibility of the Independent Examiner's recommendations, as it considers action on the Final Report.

Follow progress of the second Security, Stability, and Resilience of the Domain Name System Review (SSR2):

The SSR2 Review Team held their first face-to-face meeting at ICANN58 and a public consultation on issues and topics to consider incorporating into the SSR2 review. Follow the latest progress of the second Review Team focusing on the Security, Stability and Resiliency of the Domain Name System and share your input on the security issues you feel need to be addressed by emailing: input-to-ssr2rt@icann.org. The next face-to-face meeting will be in Madrid, 14-15th May 2017. View the SSR2 wiki for details on how to observe this meeting.

These reviews are of vital importance to the ICANN community and to how we operate, and they only work with your participation. For more information on all reviews, please click here.

Security, Stability and Resiliency of the Domain Name System (DNS) Review Team (SSR2): Follow Our Progress

SSR2 Review Team members at ICANN58 (L-R): James Gannon, Ramkrishna Pariyar, Žarko Kecić, Denise Michel, Jabhera Matogoro, Geoff Huston, Kerry-Ann Barrett, Kaveh Ranjbar, Emily Taylor, Alain Aina, Boban Krsic, Cathy Handley, Eric Osterweil, Mohamad Amin Hasbini. Not pictured: Noorul Ameen, Don M. Blumenthal.

On behalf of the SSR2 Review Team we'd like to update you on our work so far and tell you how you can get involved. The SSR2 Review Team is reviewing security, operational stability and resiliency matters relating to ICANN's coordination of the Internet's system of unique identifiers. (Our detailed mandate can be found here.)

Here are some highlights from the Review Team's work so far:

  • At ICANN58 we met face-to-face for the first time and held a community engagement session. Many thanks to everyone who came to this session and contributed to the discussion.
  • In March, we announced our leadership selections, agreeing by consensus to leadership by three co-chairs.
  • We are currently drafting our work plan and terms of reference, which we expect to finalize and publish in the coming weeks – watch the SSR2 wiki.
  • As mandated by ICANN's Bylaws, we are reviewing the first SSR Review Team's recommendations. We are in the information-gathering phase, assessing the status and impact of these recommendations.
  • We are also doing a lot of "homework" – reviewing a substantial number of reports and background materials – to prepare for our in-depth work.

Our next face-to-face meeting will be in Madrid on 14 and 15 May, just after the ICANN DNS Symposium. Information on how to observe this meeting in person or remotely is included below.

We need you to help us carry out a successful review!

We encourage contributions and comments from the community throughout the review process. Please give us input on ICANN's role and the issues you see facing the security, stability and resiliency of the DNS.

Here's how you can get involved:

  • Share your input with us. Send an email to input-to-ssr2rt@icann.org. (Note: This is a publicly archived mailing list.)
  • Become an observer. Review Team meetings, whether in person or online, have a dedicated Adobe Connect room for observers to participate. Learn more.
  • Attend the face-to-face meeting in Madrid. The agenda and remote participation information will be posted here. Check back regularly for updates.
  • Follow our work! Bookmark the SSR2 wiki to make sure you stay informed of our progress and upcoming meetings.

6th Registration Operations Workshop (ROW), Madrid, 12 May 2017

The Registration Operations Workshop (ROW) was conceived as an informal industry conference aimed at providing a forum for discussing the technical aspects of registration operations in the Domain Name System (DNS).

The sixth ROW will be held in Madrid, Spain, on Friday, 12 May 2017, from 13:30 to 17:30 CEST (15:30 – 19:30 UTC). It will commence shortly after the Identifier Health Technology Initiative workshop, and prior to OARC 26. All events will be held at Hotel NH Collection Madrid Eurobuilding in Madrid. The current ROW agenda is as follows:

  • RDAP extension proposals for federated authentication, object tagging, and regular expression searching
  • RDAP implementation in the gTLD space
  • Impact of ICANN SLA monitoring on gTLD WHOIS services
  • Contact object management by registrars
  • Syncing delegation information from DNS operator
  • Extending RDAP query parameters to enable result sorting and paging
  • RDAP test suite

Speakers include individuals from CentralNic, CloudFlare, ICANN, IIT-CNR, Verisign and Viagénie. Attendance to the workshop is free, but registration required.

The ROW Series workshops are sponsored by Verisign and ICANN.

ICANN Publishes ICANN58 By the Numbers Report

Today, ICANN published the results of the ICANN58 By the Numbers report that details the technical, demographic and attendance statistics. This report summarizes our statistical data from ICANN's second Community Forum of the new meeting strategy. This report is part of ICANN's commitment to transparency.

Report highlights include:

  • 2,089 checked-in participants, with 1,012 listing their region as Europe
  • 31% of attendees participating for the first time
  • 348 sessions held, for a total of 642 hours
  • Top three sessions by attendance:
    • Opening Ceremony
    • Public Forum 1
    • Public Forum 2
  • 2,094 unique mobile app visits
  • 78,587 schedule website page views
  • 9 terabytes of data as network downloads

Link to ICANN58 By the Numbers report [PDF, 8.96 MB].

If you have questions, please email: mailto:mts@icann.org

Public Comment Close Date Extension: GNSO Community Comment 2 (CC2) on New gTLD Subsequent Procedures Policy Development Process

At the request of the ICANN community, the public comment period for the GNSO Community Comment 2 (CC2) on New gTLD Subsequent Procedures Policy Development Process has been extended to 22 May 2017 23:59 UTC.

Upcoming ICANN Technical Events in Madrid in May 2017

Here in the Office of the CTO (OCTO), we're busy getting ready for several technically themed events coming up in Madrid, Spain, in May.

12 May Identifier Technology Health Indicators (ITHI) workshop
12 May Registry Operations Workshop (ROW)
13 May ICANN Domain Name System (DNS) Symposium
14–15 May DNS Operations, Analysis, and Research Center (DNS-OARC) workshop

Two ICANN-sponsored events are taking place on 12 May. The day starts with a workshop on OCTO's Identifier Technology Health Indicators (ITHI) project, which is developing metrics to measure the health of the Internet's unique identifier system. After those metrics are defined, ICANN will measure and track them to see the evolution of the "State of Identifier Technologies." This is one of several workshops we are holding to engage with the community to develop those metrics. Registration is free. If you're interested in attending, contact Alain Durand (alain.durad@icann.org).

The sixth Registry Operations Workshop (ROW) follows the ITHI workshop later that afternoon. The ROW is an informal industry get-together that provides a forum to discuss the technical aspects of registration operations in the DNS. This session will focus on the Registration Data Access Protocol (RDAP). Registration for this event is free as well.

The ICANN DNS Symposium will be held on 13 May. OCTO's SSR team has previously held similar events, but they were focused on the security, stability and resiliency of the Internet's system of unique identifiers that ICANN helps coordinate. This event is the first organized by ICANN with a technical focus on the DNS as the theme. When we began to put the agenda together, we quickly realized we could fill an entire day just describing all the DNS-related projects and activities happening within ICANN. So for this first ICANN DNS Symposium, we've decided to update the community on just that.

Come join us for presentations from a number of different ICANN departments. The agenda [PDF, 451 KB] includes highlights of recent areas of research by the OCTO team, a presentation by the DNS Engineering team on the architecture of the L-Root server, an overview of the Service Level Agreement (SLA) monitoring system by the Global Domains Division, and an update on what's happening at Public Technical Identifiers (PTI) – the group that provides the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions. We're especially interested in the community's feedback, so we've included time at the end of the day to listen to you. Registration is free! For more information, see the ICANN DNS Symposium webpage.

Finally, ICANN is pleased to be a significant sponsor of OARC 26. The DNS Operations, Analysis, and Research Center (DNS-OARC) workshop runs 14–15 May 2017. The agenda is filled with compelling content related to DNS operations, analysis and research. You can find more information on the OARC 26 webpage, including a link to register.

All events are collocated in the same venue, the NH Madrid Eurobuilding Hotel and occur just after the Global Domains Division Summit, also being held there.

We hope to see you!

Why I stood up to Legitscript

A client of Epik recently pointed out to me that I have apparently annoyed the people at Legitscript. They referenced this post that appears on the Legitscript blog:

https://www.legitscript.com/blog/2017/03/us-registrar-epik-plays-dangerous-game/

Since their attorneys will likely advise them to take it down quickly, I kept a copy should anyone need to see it later on.

Up until today, I had not even noticed their blog post. Now, having seen it, as I am not so easily bullied or intimidated, I herewith post an open letter to both Legiscript and to their sponsors.

To start, here is the full text of my ICANN complaint response:

My official response to ICANN’s complaint from Legitscript – Case ARO-840-05646:

Hello,

Further to your Notice, I am getting back to you with our findings.

Per your request, I am attaching the full transcript of the correspondence with Mr. Horton of Legitscript related to the domain names in question. This conversation is logged in our online support ticketing system and was handled by a staff member, Matheus Leite.

In the meantime, in the wake of this escalation to ICANN, I have evaluated the content of Mr Horton’s claims. We believe there is sufficient debate on the standing of Legitscript to warrant taking a light hand when it comes to the disposition of the sovereign property of registrants. While we certainly would never condone distribution of “fake pills”, we have no way of adjudicating whether or not the identified domains are in fact engaged in such a practice. Unlike child pornography, where the assessment is obvious and enforcement is swift, online pharmacies require professional evaluation by a competent expert.

As for whether or not Legitscript is competent, a cursory review of the history of the Legitscript entity reveals ample evidence that the group is a proxy for US pharmacy interests, and that they use heavy-handed influence tactics without regard to due process through a court of law where the registrant’s case can be tried and the evidence examined by competent persons who are subject to providing due process. Here is one of many examples:

https://www.pharmacycheckerblog.com…s-by-john-horton-president-of-legitscript-com

As a matter of policy, Epik does not host any of these sites. The domains in question are owned by 4 registrants, none of which are affiliated with Epik in any way other than as customers of the registrar. These registrants do receive WDRP notices per the RAA although they use a 3rd party privacy proxy.

As for RAA compliance, we are confident that we are in full compliance of 3.18 of the 2013 RAA:

3.18.1 Registrar shall maintain an abuse contact to receive reports of abuse involving Registered Names sponsored by Registrar, including reports of Illegal Activity. Registrar shall publish an email address to receive such reports on the home page of Registrar’s website (or in another standardized place that may be designated by ICANN from time to time). Registrar shall take reasonable and prompt steps to investigate and respond appropriately to any reports of abuse.
3.18.2 Registrar shall establish and maintain a dedicated abuse point of contact, including a dedicated email address and telephone number that is monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to receive reports of Illegal Activity by law enforcement, consumer protection, quasi-governmental or other similar authorities designated from time to time by the national or territorial government of the jurisdiction in which the Registrar is established or maintains a physical office. Well-founded reports of Illegal Activity submitted to these contacts must be reviewed within 24 hours by an individual who is empowered by Registrar to take necessary and appropriate actions in response to the report. In responding to any such reports, Registrar will not be required to take any action in contravention of applicable law.

3.18.3 Registrar shall publish on its website a description of its procedures for the receipt, handling, and tracking of abuse reports. Registrar shall document its receipt of and response to all such reports. Registrar shall maintain the records related to such reports for the shorter of two (2) years or the longest period permitted by applicable law, and during such period, shall provide such records to ICANN upon reasonable notice.

As you can see from the attached correspondence, the complainant received a prompt reply.

There is ample evidence in this case, and from observations from similar cases, that Legitscript wishes to serve as jury and executioner without being subject to due process.

As we are not in a position to adjudicate whether or not any of the 4 registrants are engaged in an illegal activity, we have referred the complainant to the court system which can adjudicate in these matters.

In the meantime, after reviewing the list of alleged abuse domains, we have taken the domain myxanaxpills.com offline as this domain trespasses on a registered trademark, and is a violation of Epik’s published terms of service. To secure the domain, the TM holder (not the complainant) should pursue UDRP, arbitration or court order.

We will be happy to promptly respond to any and all correspondence from ICANN on this matter. In the event of an adjudicated outcome from a recognized court we will be happy to comply with any takedown request.

In the meantime, we ask ICANN to kindly request the complainant to secure a judgement in a competent court.

Regards,
Rob

The case was closed by ICANN on March 21, 2017.

Now, let me address the blog commentary.

(1) I do genuinely care about people’s wellbeing. My wife is a physician with a successful medical clinic, Naturomedica.com, on the eastside of Seattle. I am also an avid student of health issues and am generally vigilant to matters of personal health. I am rarely sick, avoid vaccines, and rarely take a pill other than nutritional supplements from reputable sources.

(2) I have no way to gauge who is involved in selling genuine therapeutics and who is not. The supplement industry has the same issue where there is much in the way of supplements sold with questionable efficacy. I imagine that businesses that engage in such, will not be in business for long. Caveat emptor.

(3) We are a registrar for relatively few of these types of domains. As far as I know, we don’t host pharmacy sites. As such, this is not about money. It is actually about principles. In particular, it is about due process.

(4) My issue with Legitscript is that they are more than likely serving as a proxy for big pharma They are routinely engaging in bullying tactics, moral suasion and false presumption of guilt.

To be clear, I do genuinely believe that the world does need a qualified global procedure for prosecuting fake pills. Last month I met with the executive team of the World Chambers Federation and ICC International Court of Arbitration, albeit this was for DigitalTown.com, the other company I lead as CEO. Since WIPO does not adjudicate decisions on fake pills, perhaps another entity should. That entity should be competent to test for efficacy of therapeutic claims and also be competent for evaluating whether a branded good is in fact an imposter.

In the meantime, here is what I advise to domain industry stakeholders:

(1) Encourage the ICA to show backbone. Yes, Phil Corwin, this means you. I do love your work, but you need to guide the stakeholders in achieving due process.

(2) Invite and encourage the registrar industry to fight fire with fire. May truth and due process prevail. Registrars have a duty to protect legal registrants. It comes with the job.

(3) When the class action starts for Legiscript, please contact me. I have put them on notice that I object to their false accusation and public presumption of guilt without due process. They are unaccountable thugs.

And I close with a thank you to ICANN for serving as stewards of the industry. While your ongoing interrogatories can at times drive me up the wall, I believe you did get this one right. See you in Madrid for GDD Summit.

Q&A: What the Retirement of Google Site Search Means for ICANN

ICANN’s Community Collaboration Services team provides digital services to the ICANN community, which includes the ICANN organization and community websites. Google recently announced a change in direction that affects the entire ICANN website ecosystem. As director of this group, I’d like to share the impact of this change – and the steps ICANN is taking to minimize the disruption.

What is Google changing?

Google recently announced that starting 1 April 2017 (or at the end of any existing contracts), it would begin retiring a commonly used paid product called Google Site Search.

Up to now, Google has offered two search products:

  • Custom Search Engine is a free offering that gives basic search functionality, but requires Google branding and display of ads. It limits the number of searches to 100 per day.
     
  • Google Site Search was a paid version with added functionality, including the ability to use ICANN branding and eliminate ads. It allowed an unlimited number of searches per day. This is the product Google has withdrawn from the market – and the impacts are not trivial for ICANN and for anyone visiting our websites.

How does this change affect ICANN websites?

When you run a search on an ICANN webpage, you have been using either Custom Search Engine or Google Site Search – depending on where the page lives. Google’s licensing is by website (called a collection). The good news is these ICANN websites already use the free version, so nothing changes:

Three ICANN websites use the paid version, so they will be downgraded to the free version: 

If ICANN takes no action, how would the search experience change for visitors to these three websites?

Currently, you can run an unlimited number of searches on any of the three websites set up with the paid search offering. Your search results display with ICANN branding and without ads. ICANN chose this version of the Google search product because we felt these options provided you with the best search experience. 

With Custom Search Engine, your search results would include ads. ICANN branding would still be possible, but it would come at a functional cost – a limit of 100 searches per day. This query cap would be inadequate for a site visited as frequently as www.icann.org. After reaching the limit, all search queries would return a “500 error,” which is a generic error when webservers can’t fulfill requests.

Secondly, because the downgrade of our search collections would require ICANN to take manual steps, the affected sites would be at risk for service disruption.

What steps is ICANN taking to minimize problems?

With a site that has as many visitors as icann.org, we cannot passively wait for the search to be downgraded. Internally, we are working to ensure the downgrade is seamless:

  • ICANN has been able to suppress ads on the three affected sites by leveraging our nonprofit status.

 

  • We can address the 100-query limit by purchasing additional capacity, which we can enable once the websites have been downgraded to Custom Search Engine.

 

  • We’re being proactive. ICANN is controlling the timing of the migration of our three websites. We will perform the conversion to Custom Search Engine during a maintenance window so we can limit the impact to users.

 

  • As a long-term strategy, ICANN is investigating potential replacement solutions for our existing search ecosystem.

Are there any caveats to be aware of?

We’re taking every precaution to ensure a smooth transition, but our approach does have constraints:

  • Each site must be reindexed. We expect the impact to be minimal because we are testing against full copies of the affected sites.
     
  • Initially, Google site rankings could change – with some search results appearing slightly lower in the list.

When is this change happening?

On 1 April 2017, Google stopped offering new purchases of Google Site Search. Existing sites can continue to use it until their contracts end. ICANN’s sunset dates are:

  • icann.org         1 July 2017
  • IANA                1 July 2017
  • At-Large          30 July 2017

Rest assured that the Community Collaboration Services team is doing all we can to make the transition as seamless as possible. We understand that this is not a perfect solution, but for now it is the best option. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email me at mark.segall@icann.org.

The Chairman’s Blog: Reconsideration Requests, the Board Governance Committee and the Empowered Community

In February this year, the Board passed a resolution to move reconsideration requests out of the Board Governance Committee (BGC) and create a separate Board committee specifically devoted to oversight of ICANN’s accountability mechanisms, including the reconsideration responsibilities. The BGC’s reconsideration responsibilities are specified in ICANN’s fundamental bylaws, so this change requires affirmative approval by the Empowered Community. This recommendation is out for public comment now, and will be closing 10 May 2017. I want to make sure that everyone knows about this from the beginning, because it’s the first time the Empowered Community power may be used.

One of the BGC’s primary role is the administration of the Board’s internal structure. Each year, it polls Board members on their preferences for committee memberships and their interests in the positions of Board chair and vice-chair, and then offers potential slates to the Board for their consideration. The BGC is also responsible for helping the Board implement its Conflicts of Interest Policy, which has included the use of Conflicts and Ethics subcommittees to help Board members evaluate how potential or perceived conflicts of interest might impact decisions. In its role of enhancing Board effectiveness, the BGC has overseen the development of training opportunities for Board members. In addition to these, and other governance-related activities, the BGC has also handled appeals when someone challenges one of the Board’s or ICANN Org’s decisions. This appeals process is known as “reconsideration.”

Over the past several years, the number of reconsideration requests has grown. Moreover, during the Enhancing ICANN Accountability work, the ICANN community proposed enhancements to the Reconsideration Process, including expanding the times when reconsideration can be sought and placing more direct responsibility on the BGC for substantive work in resolving requests within a shorter time frame.

The Board fully supports improvements in the reconsideration process and has focused on how best to continue to implement the recommendations of the Cross Community Working Group (CCWG) on Accountability. In anticipation of increased future workloads, as well as a need to have a group that is focused on the appeals process, the Board recommends moving the reconsideration process into a committee responsible for the oversight of ICANN’s accountability mechanisms. You can read about the resolution and our rationale for putting it forward in a blog that BGC Committee Chair Chris Disspain and I posted in February.

After the public comment period, the Board will review the proposed Fundamental Bylaws amendments, and, if approved, the Empowered Community will then have an opportunity to consider whether it supports the amendments. It will be up to the Empowered Community to choose how to approach this task. One possibility includes hosting a Community Forum on the amendments to the Fundamental Bylaws during ICANN59 in Johannesburg, South Africa, in June 2017.

Information on the Empowered Community can be found in Article 6 of ICANN’s bylaws, and information on the Fundamental Bylaws Approval Process can be found in Annex D, Article 1.

Elise Gerich to Leave ICANN After Seven Years of Service

I want to let you know that Elise Gerich has decided to step down from her role at ICANN as Vice President, IANA Services and President, Public Technical Identifiers (PTI) in October 2017.

Until she leaves, Gerich will continue to oversee the IANA department and PTI, and has committed to working with ICANN and our various community partners and their leadership teams to ensure an efficient and seamless transition of duties. Gerich, Göran Marby, ICANN’s President and CEO, and I are all fully committed to ensuring that the IANA functions continue to operate smoothly and in service of our community.

Gerich has been with ICANN since May 2010, serving as VP, IANA Services, before assuming the additional role of President, PTI, in October 2016. During her tenure at ICANN, she has overseen several important organizational milestones: receiving the EFQM Commitment to Excellence recognition in 2013, the allocation of the last blocks of unallocated IPv4 IP addresses to the Regional Internet Registries, the launching of the Root Zone Management System (RZMS), which provided a more automated system for handling root zone requests, and, of course, managing the IANA functions during the transition of the stewardship of the IANA functions contract. These are just a few of the many achievements related to IANA under Gerich’s guidance and direction. During her remaining time, she will be leading the IANA functions through another major milestone, with the rollover of the root zone Key Signing Key (KSK) scheduled to occur on 11 October 2017.

I know that Elise did not come to this decision lightly, but I also know that she has great confidence in her team’s continuing ability to perform the IANA functions seamlessly under a new team leader. While we will miss her greatly, she is leaving behind a well-established and high performing organization for which we are very grateful.

When I asked her about her time at ICANN, she said, “My decision to leave was a difficult one, but this seems like a good time for a hand-off, as the new affiliate PTI is established and stable. And in October, we will have achieved a major milestone with the rollover of the root zone Key Signing Key (KSK).” She added that, “It has been a privilege to work for ICANN and I specifically want to commend my team for their constant commitment to excellence and dedication to serving the community.”

I am grateful to Elise for her partnership and contributions over the last seven years and for helping with a smooth handover. I hope you will also join me in thanking her for her dedication and service too!

We will be posting a job description shortly and will conduct an open search for her replacement.

In the meantime, I want to reiterate that we are committed to continuing the high performing service of the IANA functions that everyone has come to expect during this transition and beyond.

President’s Corner: Catching up with Stakeholders

It was great to see so many of you in person during ICANN58 in Copenhagen. With more than 2,500 registered attendees, and more than 300 sessions, we were all very busy, and I thank you all for your hard work and focus. I also want to thank our generous hosts from Copenhagen’s business and government communities, who helped make the meeting possible. We released the ICANN58 survey results last week, as well as the Post-ICANN 58 Policy Report, if you want to read up on what took place during the meeting. And if you haven’t had a chance, I highly encourage you to read the ICANN Org Report to the Board that we prepared before the meeting.

We’ve been busy working through our FY18 planning and reviewing the public comments for the budget as they come in. That public comment period is closing on 28 April, so if you are interested in submitting comments, please make sure you do so before then.

I recently attended World Hosting Days (WHD), an annual industry event, which was held in Germany this year. I met with many stakeholders and visited the WHD exhibition, where many ICANN contracted parties and stakeholders had booths showcasing their latest innovations and offerings. While there, I participated in a Q&A session where we touched on the importance of ICANN’s work to the operations and business future for hosting companies, and discussed subjects ranging from IPv6 to the KSK Rollover.

I also got to take part in one of the world’s leading and fastest-growing civil society-led conferences, RightsCon. Outside of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), RightsCon is the largest gathering of civil society stakeholders that are active in Internet issues. I joined a panel titled “Taking Forward the Multistakeholder Debate,” that featured an excellent discussion about where and how multistakeholder approaches can be applied, with frequent reference to ICANN’s model, including our successes, challenges and desire for continuous improvement.

The ICANN community was well represented at RightsCon. The Non-Commercial Users Constituency (NCUC) sponsored their own panel on domain industry developments. Members of At-Large, ICANN fellows, the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs), the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) and numerous business stakeholders – including major Internet companies and Internet Service Providers – were all well represented. At ICANN’s booth, community members and staff kept busy, engaging and interacting all throughout the conference. We held an informal meet-up with ICANN stakeholders, making use of the comfortable bean bag chairs and enjoying the informal setting; for me, this was a highlight.

I also had the pleasure of meeting with members of the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) at ARIN39 and the North American Regional At Large Organization (NARALO) while in New Orleans last week. It was very rewarding for me to interact with these two key community groups and participate in brainstorms, sessions and Q&As.

2017 has been a busy year for me, as I strive to meet and work with members of the multistakeholder community all around the world. In the next few months, I will be in Beijing meeting with members of the multistakeholder community, at a Board workshop in Geneva, the Global Domains Division (GDD) Summit in Madrid, and soon after to a regional RIR meeting with LACNIC in Iguazu Falls, Brazil. And of course, I hope to see many of you, whether in person or remotely, participating at ICANN59 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Improving Contractual Compliance

About ten days ago, members of the Registry Stakeholder Group (RySG) and the Intellectual Property Constituency (IPC) submitted a document entitled, “Joint Recommendations for ICANN Compliance.”  A few months into my new role leading Contractual Compliance and Consumer Safeguards, I appreciated the constructive input from these two constituencies.

At a session at the Non-Contracted Parties House Intercessional 2017 in Reykjavik, in sessions at the ICANN58 Community Forum with the At-Large Community, the Registry Stakeholder Group, the Registrar Stakeholder Group, the Security and Stability Advisory Committee, the Business Constituency, the Intellectual Property Committee, and the Governmental Advisory Committee in Copenhagen, and during formal and informal calls with community members, there were lively discussions regarding the need for improvements in Contractual Compliance.

To help us succeed in making desired changes, I asked for examples of where we could do better, as well as specific and concrete recommendations that we could implement. I was specifically asking for more than general statements such as “ICANN isn’t transparent” or “ICANN is bad at compliance”. The RySG-IPC Joint submission, which I understand was underway before these recent discussions, includes recommendations that are clear and specific and can be assessed for feasibility, cost and effort. And that’s just what we in Contractual Compliance will do.

There is another effort underway that also recommends improvements to Contractual Compliance. In the “Competition, Consumer Trust and Consumer Choice Review Team Draft Report of Recommendations for New gTLDs,” the Review Team seeks input on recommendations related to Contractual Compliance. In particular, Recommendation 23 urges ICANN to “Include more detailed information on the subject matter of complaints in ICANN publicly available compliance reports.”  The draft recommendations are now out for public comment. This is an excellent opportunity for community members to provide input just as RySG and IPC representatives have done. (Full disclosure – I am a member of the CCT-RT).

If you have examples of where Contractual Compliance could improve, especially on its commitment to transparency, and specific and concrete recommendations on how to improve ICANN’s Contractual Compliance function, please consider submitting them to the CCT-RT Public Comment forum. Alternatively, please submit them by email to me at jamie.hedlund at icann.org. Once the public comment period on the CCT-RT’s closes, we will review all of the input we receive and provide a report on changes that we will undertake as well as a rationale for not undertaking others. Please send us your good ideas!

Community Anti-Harassment Policy

The ICANN Board unanimous passed a resolution at ICANN58, effectively putting into place the new ICANN Community Anti-Harassment Policy that not only supports ICANN’s Expected Standards of Behavior, but now gives community members recourse if they identify or are victims of inappropriate behavior or harassment.

Frequently, offenders are unaware that their behavior is offensive or inappropriate, possibly due to differences in cultural or social norms. It is important to consider that the behavior may not be intentional or malicious. For that reason, the Anti-Harassment Policy complaint procedure begins with the option of confronting the offender to resolve the issue informally. If the behavior is unintentional or unwelcome, merely identifying the behavior as offensive or inappropriate often results in a change in behavior, and very likely, an apology.

The role of the Ombuds in dealing with inappropriate behavior or harassment is first and foremost to address the issue as informally as the circumstances allow. There is clearly a continuum of severity that must be considered. The Ombuds will not treat an inappropriate comment the same way as an allegation of sexual harassment or assault. One complaint may call for an informal intervention, where the next may call for the involvement of law enforcement. The Ombuds will also take into consideration whether the reason for the complaint is a one-time event or a recurring behavior.

The policy further authorizes the Ombuds to impose sanctions on an offender if deemed necessary. Though considered to be an action of last resort, the sanctions do serve to remind community participants that they will be held accountable for their actions and there may be consequences imposed. With an extensive background in harassment training and policy implementation, I understand not only the impact harassment has on an organization, but more importantly, the often-devastating impact it has on the victim. There is no place for harassment, bullying or any other type of inappropriate behavior in today’s world.

It is important to note that ICANN staff (employees and contractors) are covered by internal policies against harassment, and the Ombuds does not have jurisdiction.

In closing, I would like to once again remind everyone to act professionally, embrace diversity and human rights, and above all, treat others with respect. Together we can make ICANN a safe and harassment-free environment for all.

New Contracting Statistics Released

Software Automation Solutions That Can Save Your Startup

Automation is a hot trending topic, especially in startup environments, where it has been linked to productivity, efficiency, and agile development business processes. In 2016, InfoWorld quoted automation as an imperative step in “better software testing”. With only 28% of the companies automating more than 50% of their processes, in a survey by XBOsoft, how does this impact the growth in startups worldwide? If your company hasn’t considered cutting down on manual processes yet, start with these 3 types of software automation that can literally save your startup.

#1. Marketing Automation Software

It’s no hidden fact how efficient a marketing automation software solution can be. Aaron Aders believes this type of process is like “working with thousands of couriers that deliver the right content at the right time” (source: Inc.com). Your message and products get delivered fast, accurately, here and now to the right audience, with the right amount of effort and focus.

Key points to consider when using this automated process include the software basics, marketing funnel characteristics, and funnel segments. First, identify a software you are comfortable working with. Then, divide your marketing funnel by leads and prospects. Last, but not least, the funnel segments, where audience specs makes the difference: TOFU (top of funnel), MOFU (middle of funnel), and BOFU (bottom of funnel). Create the content, set the deliverables and let the software do the work. Examples include Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Act-On, Hubspot etc.

This type of software automation will greatly help with Sales, Marketing, as well as aid your team in managing everything accordingly.

#2. Payroll Software Automation

Cashflow is an important aspect in any company, and delivering payments on time can increase values such as happiness and loyalty among employees. 2017 is bringing new light into the payroll matter, highly encouraging startups to use payroll software for better financial management. NextPayments, an Australian company investigates on innovation in payroll options, such as intelligent banking, custom on-location ATM machines, and ways to manage employee payments with just a few clicks. The service is currently available in Australia and New Zealand, with plans to expand worldwide.

Meanwhile, in the US, a study by the National Small Business Association shows that over 40% of companies invest 80+ hours in this process, time which could be put to better use.

Time-Spent-With-Payroll-Study

 

This list of payroll software companies explains better how to save time and energy in dealing with accounting. Some of the tasks payroll software automation can cover include calculating taxes, filling tax forms, making deposits, calculating employee pay, workers compensations, and bonuses. Even more, if your startup is joining the remote revolution and has international team members, a payroll software can ease the process with conversions and country-specific taxes or forms.

Examples of software: Zenefits, Patriot Payroll, JustWorks, Gusto, and more.

#3. Task Automation Solutions

A few years back, IFTTT was one of the most efficient task automation tools available on the market. Today, a few more emerged, such as Zapier, Integromat, and Workflow, because work doesn’t happen on your PC alone, but also on your other devices.

Incorporating cloud-friendly task automation solutions can help workflow among your team members, as well as aid in the overall business flow. Nowadays, such solutions must be app-friendly, and easy to use with add-ons. The main purpose is to deliver an action with just one tap. Customizable integrations should also address time, task management, software development, and sales.

Takeaways

Marketing automation helps you identify the right funnel and deliver your content to the right audience. Payroll automation keeps your employees happy and loyal, while task automation solutions accommodate with the workflow. Consider these 3 types of automation software solutions to save time, energy, resources, and money.

Image: Pixabay.

The post Software Automation Solutions That Can Save Your Startup appeared first on Domain & SEO News.

ICANN Clarifies its Position in Response to Purported Threats Posed by Children-Related New gTLDs

Recently, the Children’s Charities Coalition on Internet Safety raised concerns that new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) may become new grounds for the functioning and distributing of child abuse content. ICANN wants to confirm its position.

Child abuse and child pornography is a crime. It is illegal and as such there are many appropriate, already available, forms of law enforcement mechanisms to address issues like these. All ICANN’s contracted parties are required to abide by the laws of countries they operate in and laws that address these areas.

This is not an issue ICANN takes lightly. The organization’s authority, with respect to registries and registrars, is derived solely by contract, and ICANN acts as an administrator of those contractual arrangements. There are safeguards in the new gTLD Registry Agreements (RA) related to highly-regulated or sensitive strings which were incorporated, as identified by the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC).

As an organization, ICANN is governed by a bottom up, consensus-driven multistakeholder model. The ICANN organization cannot unilaterally impose guidelines or requirements on registries, registrars or other stakeholders in a top-down manner. Policy recommendations, as per ICANN’s bylaws (see section 6.1)  are developed and refined by the ICANN community through its Supporting Organizations and influenced by Advisory Committees – all comprised of volunteers from across the world – in a "bottom-up," multistakeholder, open and transparent process. Each Supporting Organization has its own specific policy development process.

For anything unlawful, we rely on courts and governmental regulatory authorities to police illegal activity. As an organization, ICANN does not require registries to regulate web content, but some registries have voluntarily promised the community that they would do so and have asked ICANN to make these commitments enforceable via the registry agreement.

ICANN is cognizant of the seriousness of this issue and others, which is why we have been working closely with the public safety community, including law enforcement, to ensure that they understand and make correct use of policies and processes. ICANN and the Governmental Advisory Committee’s (GAC) Public Safety Working Group have been working together to create awareness on how to participate in ICANN and engage effectively in the GAC and ICANN’s policy making processes. One of the main areas of work has been capacity building within law enforcement agencies and the review of the Domain Name System (DNS) and its impact on public safety.

Additionaly, ICANN takes steps to remind all new gTLD registry operators of the Governmental Advisory Committee’s view expressed in Buenos Aires Communiqué on the importance of protecting children and their rights, consistent with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. (For more on this important topic, see entry #13 in Annex 1 to ICANN NGPC Resolution No. 2014.02.05.NG01 at http://www.icann.org/en/groups/board/documents/resolutions-new-gtld-annex-1-05feb14-en.pdf.

ICANN’s mission is to ensure the stable and secure operation of the Internet's unique identifier systems. As a global organization, we aim to realize our mission through our multistakeholder model, which depends on open, inclusive, transparent and accountable engagement, participation and policy development contributions from all stakeholders, ranging from businesses to governments to individual Internet users.

A equipe da ICANN para América Latina e Caribe (LAC) lança um novo recurso estratégico regional

Você sabia que a comunidade da LAC apresentou sua estratégia regional pela primeira vez em abril de 2013, no ICANN46, em Pequim? E que os projetos estratégicos regionais se distribuem em quatro áreas principais? E que a equipe e a comunidade da LAC na ICANN viajam pela região quatro vezes por ano para divulgar os principais tópicos relacionados à infraestrutura crítica do DNS? Talvez você já conheça essas atividades, mas sabe por que a estratégia foi criada e como pode participar?

Para responder a essas perguntas, a equipe da ICANN para a LAC publicou um novo documento descrevendo sua estratégia regional, com destaque para alguns dos nossos projetos mais importantes, e explicando como você pode participar e ficar por dentro das últimas notícias regionais. Esse recurso está disponível em inglês [PDF, 213 KB], espanhol [PDF, 205 KB], português [PDF, 204 KB] e francês [PDF, 204 KB].

Se tiver dúvidas, entre em contato com um dos funcionários indicados no documento. Não se esqueça de assinar nosso boletim informativo regional mensal para receber as notícias mais recentes sobre a implementação da estratégia.

ICANN’s Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) Team Launches a New Regional Strategy Resource

Did you know that the LAC community presented its regional strategy for the first time in April 2013 at ICANN46 in Beijing? That the regional strategy projects fall into four key areas? That ICANN's LAC team and community travels across the region, four times a year, to provide outreach on key topics related to the critical infrastructure of the DNS? Or maybe you were aware of these activities but didn't know why the strategy was created or how to become involved?

As a starting point, to answer these questions, ICANN's LAC team has published a new trifold to describe its regional strategy. The trifold highlights some of our most prominent projects and explains how you can participate and stay informed on the latest regional news. This resource is available in English [PDF, 213 KB], Spanish [PDF, 205 KB], Portuguese [PDF, 204 KB] and French [PDF, 204 KB].

If you still have questions, please contact any of the staff members listed in the trifold and don't forget to subscribe to our monthly regional newsletter to receive the latest news on the strategy implementation.

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