April, 2019

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Weekly Domain Name Sales April 17 – 23, 2019

The brisk pace of domain sales in 2019 continued this week with more than 245 domain sales every day in the reporting period. There were 30 or more sales above  $1000 on six of the seven days. More than $100,000 in domain sales (>$100 value) exchanged hands each day. Keep in mind that the NameBio […]

Coming Soon: Operational Improvements to the RSEP Process

For the last several months, the ICANN organization has collaborated with the gTLD Registries Stakeholder Group (RySG) to improve the efficiency and predictability of the process for reviewing registry operator requests under the Registry Services Evaluation Policy (RSEP). Both groups understood that the decade-old process had not been sufficiently updated to meet the needs of the industry following the launch of the New generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) Program.

The RSEP was originally developed in 2006 as a consensus policy through the multistakeholder model. gTLD Registry Agreements identify the RSEP process as the mechanism to add, modify, or remove a Registry Service, which is defined in the Registry Agreement and the Policy. In accordance with its remit, ICANN org evaluates a proposed service for potential significant security, stability, and/or competition issues.

While maintaining consistency with the Policy, these operational improvements will provide the community and registry operators more predictability about when community consultation is needed, and registry operators will benefit from a shorter overall duration for a typical RSEP request. ICANN org is pleased to update the community about its plans to launch these operational improvements in the upcoming months.

Stakeholder Engagement

When the RSEP was developed, only a handful of top-level domains (TLDs) existed and were operated by a small number of registry operators. When the 2012 New gTLD Program launched, more than a thousand new gTLDs and hundreds of registry operators were established, invoking exponentially more RSEP requests. Prior to the New gTLD Program, ICANN org typically processed fewer than 15 RSEP requests yearly. After the introduction of new gTLDs, ICANN org processed over 150 RSEP requests from 2015 to 2016. This increase was largely a result of new gTLD registry operators submitting similar or identical proposed services through RSEP requests to align their offering of registry services with their portfolios of TLDs or the industry. With this increase, ICANN org's ability to efficiently process some of the RSEP requests became challenged.

At the 2016 Global Domains Division (GDD) Industry Summit in Amsterdam, registry operators voiced concerns about the lack of predictability and duration of the process, which typically took around three months for completion. We recognized that the strain on the RSEP process hurt our ability to efficiently and effectively support registry operators. In an effort to better understand the challenges and work together to identify operational improvements, ICANN org took the opportunity to engage with a subgroup of the RySG — the RSEP Improvements Discussion Group — to identify operational improvements in the RSEP process.

Together we agreed to the following principles that should be reflected in ICANN org's processing of RSEP requests:

  • Maintain and promote a secure, stable, and competitive marketplace.
  • Adhere to the existing consensus policy.
  • Ensure predictable and expedient resolution for registry operators.
  • Offer the ability for registry operators to be innovative in a competitive marketplace.
  • Create transparency in the RSEP process.
  • Be consistent across more than 1,200 Registry Agreements.

What is Changing?

In November 2018, the RSEP Discussion Group and ICANN org agreed to a set of operational improvements intended to enable efficiencies and predictability within the process. These operational changes do not impact the substance of the existing security, stability, and competition reviews performed on each proposed service, nor the ability for the community to view and comment on an RSEP request.

  • Efficiency and expediency. Historically, ICANN org has processed certain steps of the RSEP process sequentially, which resulted in a longer duration from the time a registry operator submits its request to the time it can deploy an approved service. After these discussions, we identified steps that can occur in parallel to reduce cycle time. We also identified that with the introduction of new gTLDs, registry operators began to submit similar or identical proposed services through RSEP requests as they sought to align their offering of registry services with their portfolios of TLDs or the industry. With that in mind, we established streamlined request forms and standardized Registry Agreement amendments for these commonly requested services. These changes will enable ICANN org to administer the process with fewer resources and in less time without compromising a substantive review.
  • More predictability. While the above changes more directly impact ICANN org and registry operators, our procedural updates aimed at greater predictability will be more visible to the wider ICANN community. ICANN org has historically published for Public Comment a wide range of Registry Agreement amendments for proposed services, whether or not the proposed service may have raised significant security, stability, or competition issues. We will now focus the use of Public Comment for proposed services that may raise significant security, stability, or competition issues and are, therefore, referred to a competition authority or the Registry Services Technical Evaluation Panel (RSTEP). These changes better align the process with the Policy and provide more predictability to registry operators and the community.

ICANN org anticipates launching the updates to the RSEP process by the start of July this year.

Look for additional details about the operational improvements to the RSEP process in the updated RSEP Implementation Notes and RSEP Process Workflow. As we prepare to deploy these improvements, we will provide launch announcements along with updates to the RSEP process webpages. In our commitment to operational excellence, ICANN org will monitor the impact of the RSEP process improvements and work to ensure the changes track to the intended outcome. 

Wake up people! ICANN and the registries want to steal your domain names!

This is not just about .asia that no one cares about. Not even .org. It is about ICANN and the legacy registries starting an attack on all our domain names. It started with Verisign asking a few months back to be able to raise .com prices again after the US department of commerce forbid any …

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Weekly Domain Name Sales April 10 – 16, 2019

With more than 250 domain sales every day in the reporting period (and more than 350 on two days) the pace continues strong in the first half of 2019. There were 25 or more sales above $1000 every day in the reporting period. There were 25 or more sales above $1000 every day in the reporting period. […]

Verisign .com monopoly reports an operating margin of 65.4%

The Verisign .com monopoly reported a huge operating margin that was 65.4 percent for the first quarter of 2019. Instead of being grateful for this gift that it is being given they are asking for .com price increases. It is time that the .com contract is put up for grabs for a more competitive price. The …

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Raising Awareness About Registrant Issues and Challenges

Today, the ICANN organization Registrant Program published the second edition of a report on Issues and Challenges Impacting Domain Name Registrants [PDF, 263 KB] containing updated data from the ICANN Global Support Center (GSC), the Contractual Compliance department and the Office of the Ombudsperson. The report also provides observations of issues and challenges impacting registrants based on our review of these datasets. We encourage you to take a look at the report and share any data you might have regarding issues impacting registrants to inform ongoing conversations and work.

What else has the Registrant Program been up to?

At ICANN64 in Kobe, we held a lively open session for the community aimed at identifying and raising awareness about issues and challenges that registrants are facing. Click here for the session presentation and audio recording. We also held a productive Q&A session with members of the At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC).

Also, we are currently holding discussions with members of the Non-Commercial Stakeholder Group (NCSG), who hold very strong and informed opinions about registrant issues, in an effort to facilitate mutual collaboration and information sharing among the community about registrant issues. Of course, we're also striving to work closely with and get feedback from the ICANN Registrar Stakeholder Group who interact with registrants (their customers!) on a day-to-day basis.

Information about the Registrant Program, and common issues and challenges that they are having were (and will continue to be) presented and discussed at recent relevant events. These events include: the Nordic Domain Days, Middle East DNS Forum and the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum.

We recently published and disseminated educational materials for registrants about domain name renewals and expiration, and the importance of renewing domain names well before they expire! Additionally, we updated and added new content for registrants related to the role of ICANN in the broader DNS ecosystem, clarifying what ICANN does and does not do.

We are continuously developing educational content such as FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions), infographics and other helpful information. This material is guided by information provided by departments across the ICANN org that interact with registrants and from community feedback.

What's Next? An Invitation to Collaborate

We invite all community members and ICANN newcomers to engage with us and actively participate in our ongoing cross-community dialogue about registrant issues and challenges. This invitation is particularly important for those who are passionate about helping registrants. We will continue to work towards helping educate registrants and raising awareness about reducing issues and challenges that registrants are encountering when managing domain names.

My comment about price increases on Kevin Murphy’s post

Kevin Murphy wrote a blog post “ICA rallies the troops to defeat .org price hikes. It won’t work” that mentioned a few opinions that I don’t agree with. Kevin said that “the retail price of a .org (currently around $20 at GoDaddy, which has about a third of all .orgs) would be unlikely to rise …

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Rick’s Asheville Meetup Grows to 70 and About to be SOLD OUT!!!

Morning Folks!! Perhaps The most compact but most qualified domainer show ever is surpassing all expectations!! The appetite for a professional domain show is more than I ever anticipated. And to add to that they have to come to Asheville. Definitely a place not on the beaten track. You have to make an extra effort to […]

Namecheap opposes domain name price increases

Namecheap is the first registrar that I see opposing the removal of price caps on several legacy top level domains such as .org, .info and .biz. (Also don’t forget .asia.) If you see any other registrars opposing these huge price increases please let me know. Namecheap has emailed 200,000 of their .org, .biz and .info …

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Chair’s Blog: A Preview of the Istanbul Board Workshop


From 1-3 May, the ICANN Board will convene in Istanbul, Turkey, for its third Board workshop of calendar year 2019. We’ll use this time to discuss and deliberate on some important topics, such as Internationalized Domain Names, the subsequent round of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs), the development of the FY21-25 Operating & Financial Plan, .AMAZON and more.

During the workshop, we will hold three public sessions, including a public Board meeting. I highly encourage you to join if you are able. Instructions on how to dial-in to these listen-only sessions is available here.

Wednesday, 1 May, will kick off with a meeting of the Board Governance Committee.  Then, Tripti Sinha and Chris Disspain will lead a training session on the Board’s decision-making processes, followed by a session, led by Avri Doria, about how the Board and the community could work together on prioritizing the recommendations coming out of the various ICANN reviews. This last session stems from community discussions at ICANN64 and will help us prepare for a follow-up community session at ICANN65 in Marrakech, Morocco to further discuss the issues of prioritization and affordability of review recommendations.

The rest of this day will be dedicated to Board committee meetings, including the Board Technical Committee (BTC), Board Accountability Mechanisms Committee, Anti-Harassment Working Group, and Board Finance Committee.

On Thursday, 2 May, after my opening and introduction, the Board will talk with Göran Marby, ICANN President and CEO, about the progress he’s made toward his goals and priorities for the ICANN org.  Akinori Maemura will then lead our first public session of the workshop, where the Board will be considering approving the updated Guidelines for the Implementation of Internationalized Domain Names Version 4.0.  The BTC will then present to the full Board its recommendations on the advice laid out in RSSAC 37 and RSSAC 38 during another session led by Akinori.

Following a lunch break, Ron da Silva will lead two sessions. The first is a final Board review of the public comments made on the FY20 Operating Plan & Budget, and the second is an update on the development of the FY21-25 Operating Plan & Financial Plan, which will underpin our new Strategic Plan. After this, Avri and Göran will host a session focused on preparations for the subsequent round of new gTLDs. To close out the day, we will meet with the ICANN org staff based in the Istanbul office, followed by an engagement event with local community members.

Friday, 3 May, will start with a review of the resolutions that we plan to vote on during the Board meeting, which will take place shortly after. I hope you will be able to join us for the public Board meeting. After the meeting, Becky Burr and Göran will update the Board on the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation and Phase 1 & 2 of the Expedited Policy Development Process. After this update, Maarten Botterman will host a public session to give an update on the status of the Board’s FY19 priorities. Next, Brian Cute will join us remotely, to present the progress made thus far in developing a Governance Plan to improve both the efficiency and effectiveness of our multistakeholder model.

Then, Göran will update the Board on the status of the .AMAZON applications.  The ICANN Board passed a resolution, on 10 March 2019, calling on the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO) member states and the Amazon Corporation to engage in a final effort that allows both parties to work in good faith toward a mutually acceptable solution regarding the .AMAZON applications, and if one is reached, to inform the Board of that solution by 7 April 2019. The Board did not receive a mutually acceptable solution nor a joint request for extension of that date.  Ten days later, on 17 April 2019, the Amazon Corporation submitted to the ICANN Board its own modified proposal for how it will address the concerns of the ACTO member states.  Accordingly, and in line with the process and timetable outlined in the 10 March 2019 Board resolution, the next step is for the ICANN Board to consider the proposal forwarded by Amazon Corporation.

In the final session of the day, Lito Ibarra will present the Board Risk Committee’s risk report.

These workshops are an important opportunity for the Board to come together and discuss a range of issues and topics, and our schedules are designed to cover as much ground as possible. While our agenda is very full, I’m confident that our Istanbul workshop will be a productive and constructive three days.

For those of you participating in the Global Domain Division’s Industry Summit and the ICANN DNS Symposium in Bangkok, Thailand later this month, best wishes for productive meetings. 

A Conversation About Evolving The Effectiveness of Our Multistakeholder Model

At ICANN63 in Barcelona, Spain, the ICANN Board asked the community for feedback on Strategic Objective #2 concerning ICANN's governance in the draft ICANN Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2021-2025. Specifically, the community was asked how to improve the effectiveness of ICANN's multistakeholder model (MSM) of governance. Based on the community's response at ICANN63, we held a session at ICANN64 to continue the conversation. I was asked to serve as an independent facilitator to build on the conversation that began at ICANN63.

On 14 March 2019 in Kobe, Japan, that conversation began in earnest about how we can evolve our multistakeholder model to make it more effective. The stated goals of the conversation are: 1) to develop a list of issues that challenge the effectiveness of ICANN's multistakeholder model; and 2) to create a work plan based on those issues that will become part of ICANN's Operational Plan in December 2019.

The energy in the session was palpable. Voices from long-time ICANN community members, as well as more recent members, contributed to our issue identification exercise. The comments offered were candid and clear. Statements ranged over a number of topics from how ICANN was originally set up, to how incentives don't exist to create conditions for compromise, to the importance of informed policy-making, and the need for greater participation of NextGen members in the work of the ICANN community.

Community members also shared their thinking on this topic in the sessions between the ICANN Board and the Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees (SO/ACs), as well as some constituency groups, which were held earlier in the week at ICANN63. Listening to community members from across the stakeholder spectrum, there was clear and consistent recognition of the "pain points" in the system: decision-making and policy processes take too long, resources are stretched too thin, there are too many work streams, and volunteers are feeling exhausted and burned-out.

It is often said that the first step in solving a problem is recognizing that you have one. The first step has been taken.

For the ICANN64 session, we began the exercise of creating a list of issues that the community believes must be addressed to improve the effectiveness of our multistakeholder model. I want to thank all of you who offered your thoughts. I have captured those inputs, along with the community member inputs made during the community sessions with the ICANN Board. That information is included in the public comment period.

Next Steps

  1. A Public Comment period to continue developing the issues list is being launched today and will be open for forty days. The Public Comment proceeding can be found here. Comments will be reviewed and incorporated into the issues list and an updated issues list will be published prior to ICANN65 in Marrakech, Morocco.
  2. Webinars to review the final issues list and to develop the work plan will be held in mid-May and in June, during Prep Week for ICANN65 (details to come).

Continue to check this site for updates on activities and the Evolving MSM process. If you want to share your thoughts on any of these materials, you can post them to this publicly archived email list, which you can subscribe to here. I will also be sharing my updates to this list.

Evolving ICANN’s Multistakeholder Model

Open Date: April 25, 2019 Close Date: June 4, 2019
Originating Organization: Multistakeholder Strategy and Strategic Initiatives (MSSI)
Categories/Tags: Strategy
Brief Overview:

This public comment supports the Draft ICANN Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2021-2025. The Draft Strategic Plan includes a set of five strategic objectives. Strategic Objective #2 addresses ICANN Governance and aims to improve the effectiveness of ICANN’s multistakeholder model. The strategic objectives provide guidance for establishing Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results-oriented, and Time bound (SMART) operating goals and plans to fulfill the vision and deliver on the mission over the five-year horizon of the Strategic Plan.

At ICANN64, to develop a plan to support Strategic Objective # 2, the community engaged in a facilitated conversation about how to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of ICANN’s multistakeholder model of governance. Building on the conversation at ICANN64, this public comment invites the community to further define issues that challenge the effectiveness of ICANN’s multistakeholder model.

Link: https://www.icann.org/public-comments/evolving-multistakeholder-model-2019-04-25-en

Say “No” to unlimited price increases on .org, .info, .biz and .asia domains!

The ICA has created an easy-to-use Form for you to submit your objections to ICANN regarding its proposed removal of all price caps on several domain name extensions. Although the form focuses on .org you can also use this form to create a similar comment for .info, .biz and .asia. The link for the .org …

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Efty acquires competitor DomaHub

Efty announced it has completed the acquisition of competitor DomaHub Domains LLC. DomaHub is domain name management software maker. DomaHub was founded in 2016 by Wonmin Lee and Wonkyu Lee as a platform that allowed users to rent their domain names for variable short periods of time. They continued to expand on their initial idea and the company …

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ATRT3 Review Team Makes Progress at First Face-to-Face Meeting

The third Accountability and Transparency Review Team (ATRT3) had its first face-to-face meeting in Los Angeles on 3 – 5 April 2019.

The main objectives of the meeting were to:

  1. Develop and prioritize scope items for our review, as guided by ICANN’s Bylaws (see Article 4, Section 4.6);
  2. Agree on our approach to work; and
  3. Make substantive progress towards developing our Terms of Reference and Work Plan.

We successfully met all of these objectives, and we’d like to thank our review team colleagues for their hard work and important contributions. The meeting archive and associated materials are available here.

Our Scope and Approach to Work

After identifying and prioritizing our scope items through a series of brainstorming exercises, the team agreed to conduct our work in four work parties: Board, Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), Reviews, and Community. Each work party will finalize the detailed objectives of their work in the coming weeks. Work party objectives will be guided by ICANN’s Bylaws to include, at a high level:

  • Board: Assessing and improving Board governance.
  • GAC: Assessing the role and effectiveness of the GAC’s interaction with the Board and with the broader ICANN community.
  • Reviews: Assessing and improving the processes by which ICANN receives public input, and assessment of ICANN’s implementation of ATRT2 recommendations.
  • Community: Assessing the extent to which ICANN’s decisions are supported and accepted by the Internet community, and assessing the policy development process to facilitate enhanced cross community.

As they are finalized, work party resource requests will be tracked here, where you can also see membership details of each work party.

Next Steps

We are on track to adopt our Terms of Reference and Work Plan by the Board-directed timeline of within 60 days of the face-to-face meeting, i.e. by 5 June 2019. Once adopted, these items will be publicly posted on our wiki, as well as sent to the ICANN Board and Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees.

We plan to socialize our Terms of Reference and scope during ICANN65 in Marrakech, where we will also seek input from the community to help us shape our findings and draft recommendations. Community input is key to the success of this review. Please, do let us know via our mailing list at input-to-atrt3@icann.org (publicly archived) if you would like to set up a consultation with us in Marrakech. We welcome your feedback to this mailing list any time throughout our work.

Become an Observer

All of our meetings are open and available for observers to join. Send a request to mssi-secretariat@icann.org to receive calendar invites to our meetings and to subscribe to our mailing list (read only).


The ATRT review team is mandated by ICANN’s Bylaws (Article 4, Section 4.6) to review “ICANN’s execution of its commitment to maintain and improve robust mechanisms for public input, accountability, and transparency so as to ensure that the outcomes of its decision-making reflect the public interest and are accountable to the Internet community.”

Learn more about ATRT3 here.

Capacity Development Community Survey Results

Capacity development has become an increasingly important part of regional engagement for the ICANN organization. Preliminary qualitative data collected from the regional engagement teams indicate requests for technical and leadership training are increasing. This encouraged us to augment the informal knowledge we have of our community with clear quantitative data. We wanted to assess individual and community group priorities on a global scale and at ground level in the regions as well.

We carried out a survey in January 2019 to gather this critical data. Responses have provided the ICANN org's regional engagement teams with the necessary additional information to set targeted priorities and facilitate discussions with the community that will inform future regional engagement strategies.

Here are some highlights from the survey results:


Capacity Development Community Survey Results by Region
Capacity Development Community Survey Results by Sector
Capacity Development Community Survey Results by Community Involvement

Responses by Community

Capacity Development Community Survey Results by Community


The survey indicates a noticeable increase in demand for all types of education and learning. "Increasing ICANN/DNS Knowledge" was the highest priority for a majority of the survey respondents, with "Personal Skill Building" the second priority.

Capacity Development Community Survey Results learning Area Priority

Within the high-level categories, we ranked four subcategories from highest priority to lowest. The questions were analyzed across sector, community involvement, and community group, with consistent results across the rankings.

Each group chose "Increasing ICANN/DNS Knowledge" as the highest priority category. They also prioritized knowledge building relating to "Internet Governance" and the "ICANN Ecosystem".

Capacity Development Community Survey Results Increasing ICANN/DNS Knowledge

The high-level category of "Personal Skill Building" rated as the second priority by respondents. Within this category, skill building for drafting policy was the highest priority. These results were consistent across all segments of responses including, region, sector, community participation, and community groups.

Capacity Development Community Survey Results Personal Skill Building

We recognize that capacity development is an overriding priority in all regional communities. ICANN is currently developing its next five-year Strategic and Operating Plans. This new research will provide ICANN org with the necessary guidance to allocate resources for capacity development around the world as part of that planning process.

In addition to this research, surveys following each training opportunity will be carried out to ensure these areas are being sufficiently addressed and participants are finding value in the experience.

If you have any further questions about the data, please contact Jeannie Ellers of the Global Stakeholder Engagement team at (gse_planning@icann.org).

Mike Mann sells 7 domains for $122,700 in March (LinkChecker[.]com, AmVis[.]com)

Mike Mann reported selling 7 domain names in March for a total of $122,700. Prices started at $7,800 and went up to $40,000. Mike Mann sold 7 .com domains. The average reported domain sales price was $17,529. But this is the average of just the reported sales. He didn’t share any of his lower sales …

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Weekly Domain Name Sales April 3 – 9, 2019

Another week has rolled around, so this is the time to take a look at NameBio listed domain sales (of value $100 and above) for the 7 day period from April 3 – 9, 2019 inclusive. With more than 280 sales each day the pace continues strong in the first half of 2019. See the discussion […]

Constantine Roussos and DotMusic win the rights to .Music domains!!!

DotMusic Limited managed to win the exclusive rights to the .music extension and domain names outbidding 2 giants: Google and Amazon. There were originally 8 competitive applications in contention. The contention was resolved a few days back in a private auction between the 8 parties. No details of the auction came out because of the …

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Rick Schwartz reveals domain name purchase prices from the 1990’s

Rick Schwartz revealed on Twitter some of his domain name purchase prices from the 1990’s. He started by saying that domain name acquisition cost has nothing to do with sales price, something that I completely agree with: “I have no issues publishing prices I paid for my #domainnames. Most think it will affect their #sales …

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