We just finished the board meeting where I was officially appointed to the board of ICANN. In addition, I was appointed to the Audit Committee, the Committee on Reconsideration and the Finance Committee.

The Audit committee is "responsible for (1) recommending the selection of external auditors to the Board, (2) receiving, reviewing, and forwarding to the Board the annual financial report of the external auditors, and (3) such other matters as may warrant its attention."

The Committee on Reconsideration is "responsible for handling requests for reconsideration of ICANN Board and staff actions. Consisting of five Directors, the Reconsideration Committee has the authority to investigate and evaluate requests for reconsideration and to make recommendations to the Board of Directors, which ultimately determines how to resolve such requests." Anyone can lodge a reconsideration request by sending email to reconsider@icann.org. A reconsideration is basically a complaint about some staff or board action or inaction. Now that we have an Ombudsman, Frank Fowlie, if the reconsideration response is not satisfactory, you can escalate to him.

The Finance Committee is "responsible for consulting with the President on ICANN's annual budget process; reviewing and making recommendations on the annual budget submitted by the President; and developing and recommending long range financial objectives for ICANN."

16 Comments


When will you be at the ICANN office in California ?

When will you be publishing the ICANN employee time
records and expense accounts ?

What do ICANN employees do all day ?
What are their office hours ?

Where is the ICANN organization chart ?
Who reports to who ?


What IPv6 address space has ICANN been allocated ?

What IPv6 servers and services does ICANN operate ?

What IPv6 address space does the ICANN Board use ?

What native IPv6 facilities are available at ICANN meetings ?

I don't know when I will be at the ICANN office in California. Most of the board activity is at the meetings, on the phone and on email.

You can find a lot of the finance related information in the form 990's which can be found one financials page. It may not be as much detail as you like, but the 990 together with the budget will give you a pretty good sense of where the money goes. You can find a list of the staff the staff page. There is an org chart on the web page, but it's not a staff or reporting chart. Why do you want to know who reports to who beyond the names of the senior staff? Basically, all of the Senior staff report to the CEO and the CEO reports to the board. The Ombudsman reports directly to the board.

I believe that many of the ICANN staff are geographically distributed and since they get requests and have activity in a variety of time zones, many of them don't have traditional "office hours."

As for IPv6, I don't yet have enough knowledge about the status to give you an educated response.

Also, while I understand the necessity for acountability and good financial planning (I will be more involved once I start active duty on my committees) I think that there are a lot of other important issues we should all be talking about such as how and to who should new TLDs be assigned, how much information should be in whois, how should ICANN respond to WIPO's request, etc. Also, I'm not sure how important it is to know the details of staff reporting lines... ICANN has a CEO and he's doing a pretty good job. I'm not sure what the point of micromanaging is. I think the key is to make sure that ICANN is meeting its goals and being responsive within a reasonable budget. At this level, I think the board and the public can be quite involved in expressing their views. If you really are interested, read the strategic report. This is an attempt to get comments on the general strategy before jumping into budgeting. I think the previous process was to go directly to budgeting which provided the public less access to the planning process.


Where are the 8 ICANN offices going to be located ?

What will be the hours of those offices ?

Will the ICANN staff at those offices have "traditional office hours" ?

What does the ICANN staff do all day ?

Why does the U.S. Government handle the .US TLD ?

Why aren't ALL TLDs handled like the .US TLD ?

What does ICANN do ?

If the ICANN budget is doubled again, will it become
more clear what ICANN does ?

"how much information should be in whois"

Are you aware that the whois protocol is NOT the same
as the DNS protocol ?

Are you aware that the LDAP protocol is NOT the same
as the DNS protocol ?

Are you aware that ICANN claims to NOT be involved
with "content" ?

Are you aware that ICANN claims to ONLY be involved
with the DNS ?

Why would ICANN have anything to do with "whois" ?

Why would you (as an ICANN Board Member) state that
you think it is important to be involved with something
that is NOT the DNS ?

Does ICANN plan to regulate the content of LDAP servers ?

"how and to who should new TLDs be assigned"

Are you aware that TLDs exist to support SLDs ?

Are you aware that CISCO/Linksys has the .LAN TLD as
part of every wireless access point router they ship ?

Did ICANN assign the .LAN TLD to CISCO/Linksys ?

Did ICANN select the .US TLD Registry ?

Are you aware that modern DNS software points directly
at the TLD servers and does not use any root servers ?

Are you aware that the .NET servers use the same IP
addresses as the .COM servers ?

Will the new .NET Registry also be handling the .COM
Registry functions ?

Will two companies be jointly operating the .NET and
.COM servers ?

Will the .NET and .COM servers be any-casted, as was
done with the root servers, without any "permission"
from ICANN ?

What does ICANN do, again ?

It's good to tease out the details, but it's a bit hard to see exactly where your questioning is going. I think your point is that a function that should be pretty simple has become quite complicated. Is that it? That's fair enough.

What is your issue with the .us TLD? Do you think it should be operated by someone else? Do you think that would make things work better?

Do you think Network Solutions should be allowed run the .com domain unfettered by any regulation? That's what it sounds like from your line of questioning. If you think that, fair enough, but I (speaking for no one but myself) can see why ICANN might not agree with your point of view.

Finally, it would be nice to put a name to the questions you are posting. Maybe there is some professional reason why you don't want to put up your own details, and if you explain that, fair enough. The reason I mention it is that some people might think you have an interest or agenda which you are not disclosing (not that there's anything wrong with having an agenda, but it's only fair to Joi and other people reading this to be open about it).

> Why does the U.S. Government handle the .US TLD ?
Since when is Neustar the US Government ? I thought that they were originally a spinoff of Lockheed Martin...

> Why aren't ALL TLDs handled like the .US TLD ?
Yep. Let's sidestep their respective national stakeholders and restructure the ccTLDs like .UK, .DE, .JP, .CN etc., or TLDs like .COM or .NET so that they are all handled by Neustar, an US corporation, and more closely resemble the current .US TLD structure — i.e. registrations under a limited number of second-level domains, like CA.US, K12.US, KIDS.US etc.

> What does ICANN do ?
Uh. Ever read their name ? "Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers"

> If the ICANN budget is doubled again, will it become
> more clear what ICANN does ?
Doesn't this also depend on the intelligence of the subject ?

> Are you aware that the LDAP protocol is NOT the same
> as the DNS protocol ?
Are you aware that the whois protocol (RFC954) is not the same as LDAP (rfc2251) ?

> Are you aware that ICANN claims to ONLY be involved
> with the DNS ?
Are you aware that ICANN is, er, involved with the assignment of names, i.e. the process of registering domain names ?

> Why would ICANN have anything to do with "whois" ?
Are you aware that the name and address of a domain name registrant are usually made public via a "whois" database queriable using the "whois" (rfc954) protocol ?

> Why would you (as an ICANN Board Member) state that
> you think it is important to be involved with something
> that is NOT the DNS ?
Uh, perhaps because the Internet community has deemed desirable that some information about a particular domain name's registrant -- e.g. its name or e-mail address -- be made publicly available ?

> Does ICANN plan to regulate the content of LDAP servers ?
What makes you think that a TLD's whois database backend must be implemented using, say, LDAP ?

> Are you aware that TLDs exist to support SLDs ?
Are you aware that second-level domains exist to support third-level domains ?

> Are you aware that CISCO/Linksys has the .LAN TLD as
> part of every wireless access point router they ship ?
Are you aware that there is no reference at all to a .LAN "TLD" [sic] in the Internet's root name servers databases ? What makes you think that ".LAN", or any arbitrary symbol I might install on a system never referenced by the Internet DNS might be cosidered to be a "Top-Level Domain" ?

> Did ICANN assign the .LAN TLD to CISCO/Linksys ?
Have you ever tried to locate that ".LAN" name somewhere on the Internet ?

> Did ICANN select the .US TLD Registry ?
What are you trying to suggest? That ICANN somehow brazenly sidestepped or ignored the public and private stakeholders in that ccTLD ?

> Are you aware that modern DNS software points directly
> at the TLD servers and does not use any root servers ?
Are you aware that this is impossible, as such software then wouldn't be able to resolve the new TLDs like .MUSEUM or .AERO that are added to the Internet's root servers ?

> Are you aware that the .NET servers use the same IP
> addresses as the .COM servers ?
What is so surprising about it ? Are you aware that the same company — i.e. Verisign — is currently the registrar both for the .COM and .NET TLDs ?

> Will two companies be jointly operating the .NET and .COM servers ?
Why "jointly" ? No firm decision has been reached yet as to whether Verisign will continue to operate the .NET registry, or to which competitive bidder that responsibility will be transferred.

> Will the .NET and .COM servers be any-casted, as was
> done with the root servers, without any "permission"
> from ICANN ?
Care to explain why anycasting might affect or impact the nature of the DNS service ?

Joi Ito wrote @4:
Also, while I understand the necessity for acountability and good financial planning (I will be more involved once I start active duty on my committees) I think that there are a lot of other important issues we should all be talking about
Completely agree. Anyway, my main concern, currently, is that new TLDs of dubious value — e.g. .WEB — might be approved in a haphazard fashion in the name of "innovation". In general, I haven't seen very convincing arguments as to why new TLDs are needed at all; I fail to see what additional image benefit a .WEB TLD, for example, might bring. Is such a TLD really necessary to project an impression that a site is Internet-connected, hip, or web-ified ? Does a domain name ending with .COM — pronounced "dot-com" — sound too "brick and mortar" ;-) ?

One would think that the really creative or innovative way to get around name collisions would be to come up with hitherto non-existent domain names, and then register them under an existing TLD like .COM — e.g. EBAY.COM, GOOGLE.COM, A9.COM...

From the point of view of domain name owners, new TLDs are generally just a nuisance, as they increase the cost of brand name administration, by possibly requiring to register and keep track of domain names across an ever increasing array of TLDs — e.g. IBM.COM. IBM.NET, IBM.BIZ, IBM.INFO, IBM.WEB etc. — with little added value, throwing in the occasional burdensome arbitration process to battle cybersquatters.

I can however understand the point of those proposing new TLDs, as it would ensure them a steady stream of revenue. For the Internet in general, however, I suspect most new TLDs are just zero-sum or even negative-sum games...

From a budgeting perspective, please keep an eye on expenses — e.g. conferences sponsored by ICANN — that might be outside ICANN's direct remit (address and name allocaction) I can understand, however, that discussions encompassing multiple network layers, beyond names and addresses, might take place among attendees at ICANN meetings. This might even be desirable, as the Internet's movers & shakers / gurus / influential people attending ICANN's meetings haven't necessarily got the same as those who attend e.g. the ITU, IETF or W3C meetings... IETF is techie-heavy, W3C isn't the best place to discuss e.g. VoIP, ITU is too government/telco-centric... There should thus definitely be room for some unofficial "mission creep", both for ICANN and the attendees, but within reason ;-)

"As for IPv6, I don't yet have enough knowledge about the status to give you an educated response."
XXXXXXXX

Are you saying that you do not regularly use IPv6 ?

If that is the case, then how could you **know** what is
in the IPv6 DNS or on web-sites hosted by IPv6 servers ?

What if a different set of TLDs are in the IPv6 DNS ?

How do IPv4 users access IPv6 Domain Name Servers ?

How do IPv4 users access IPv6 Web Servers ?

How do IPv4 users know what is on the IPv6 network ?
and, more importantly, why would an IPv4 user be
qualified to regulate something they do not use ?

> why would an IPv4 user be qualified to regulate something they do not use ?

Perhaps because Joi is in a position to gather opinion from a large and varied spectrum of stakeholders, is capable of listening, and has demonstrated that he's able to understand and reason intelligently about the multitude of issues facing the Internet, unlike one ignorant commenter around here whose neurons are obviously misfiring ?

Thank you for answering all of those questions MV. ;-)

Yes. I agree that mission creep, budget inflation and other things are things to watch out for. I can confirm that the staff and board are quite focused on keeping the mission focused and we have enough to do already without increasing the scope of the mission. Vint and Paul have stated publicly many times that ICANN is focused on names and numbers and the root servers. One of the most difficult things about ICANN is that since they need to listen to all of the constituencies, simple things become very complicated.

As for new TLDs. Yes. There are many people who believe we don't need new TLDs and many people who say we need them. It's a very complicated issue, but people are pushing ICANN to move quickly on this. We are currently actively working on a set of propsals for sTLDs. I have a pile of white papers that I have to plow through on this issue. I'll try to post something intelligent, once I've completed reading them and talking to some of the different constituencies.

Mr. Question Guy:

As for IPv6. That is not an area of expertise that I currently have. I am in the process of learning more about it and am having some people coach me as I set up a test machine to mess around with routing. Generally speaking, the board and the non-voting liaisons represent a wide variety of geography and expertise. Usually, I turn to Steve Crocker, John Klensin, Susanne Woolf and of course Vint Cerf technical issues I don't understand. However, we usually have enough time before the board has to discuss anything so I will do my homework and understand as much as possible on my own before issues come before the board. There has not been any IPv6 board resolutions since I joined (3 days ago). The board is not here to manage ICANN directly, but rather to represent a diverse set of views. Although I will try to learn as much about everything as possible, I will have to focus mainly on issues that require board action. If you can describe the motivation of your questions maybe I can direct you to the right person to answer them or try to find out myself. As Antoin says, I'm not sure where you are going with these questions.

Joi Ito wrote@13:
As for new TLDs. Yes. There are many people who believe we don't need new TLDs and many people who say we need them. It's a very complicated issue, but people are pushing ICANN to move quickly on this.
I understand that ICANN is being pushed, but adding new TLDs is definitely an issue that deserves a careful and extended consideration, and decisions should not be rushed.

Most proposals for new TLDs will introduce only a few dozens of them at most. What do such proposals deliver, ultimately ?

  • Do they provide a real solution to the scarcity of domain names, enabling a registrant to choose another TLD if her preferred name — ending e.g. in .COM — is already taken ? if only a few dozen new TLDs are introduced, collisions might be minimized, but will certainly not be eliminated.

  • Do such proposals keep domain names memorable or mnemonic, by limiting the number of new TLDs that will be created ? Hardly, if dozens of new TLDs are introduced. Today, the ".COM" ending is an implicit information that has, for a human, almost zero cost to remember when parsing a domain name. Just like the fact that one hardly notices that English sentences usually begin with a capitalized letter, the .COM suffix has become "transparent" and doesn't tax the memory anymore. The picture would be different if dozens of TLDs were in common use, as people would need to correctly remember both the name and the TLD part.
  • Adding only a few dozen new TLDs is thus only a half-baked solution that will sacrifice mnemonic simplicity, while not fundamentally resolving the name collision problem.

    If people really cared about name scarcity, they should propose a scheme without any à priori limits on "TLDs", e.g. by eliminating the whole notion of a TLD altogether.
    Ultimately, DNS is just a tool to translate human-readable names into IP addresses. When one considers that there are more than 20 million names registered under .COM, it's obvious that the orderly, balanced hierarchical tree model originally envisioned for domain names and ccTLDs has failed.
    Eliminating the need for TLDs means that one should allow millions of names to be registrable at the root level. Though that number might seem large, it's no more difficul trom an IT point of view to architect a database of millions of names at the root level than at the subsidiary .COM level. Given enough money, one could also architect a system capable of coping with the hundreds of millions of domain names like 1-212-123-4567 or 1-800-FLOWERS, which telephone subscribers or telcos might register at the root level once they realize the convergence potential between domain names and telephony.

    After a few thousand reserved or sensitive names — e.g. country name or government-related — have been set aside as protected/unregistrable by all the ccTLDs in various languages, all the other root-level names should be made available on an auction basis, a bit like radio spectrum licenses. This initial auction mechanism will introduce some economic order into the gold-rush name grab anarchy that would occur if registrations were handled on a first come first served basis (FCFS). The auction proceeds could be used e.g. to finance an enlarged root server IT infrastructure, capable of coping with millions of names in the root instead of the current few hundred.
    The auction period would last a few weeks, and end when the new, unrestricted root domain becomes operational. Once the new root is operational, domain name registration would revert to the usual FCFS procedure.
    Current TLDs like .COM, .NET etc. would continue to exist, and a company who lost the auction for its root-level name — e.g. http://ibm/ — could continue using its well-known .COM domain name — e.g. http://ibm.com/, or even initiate legal action against the new registrant to protect its trademark, should post-facto litigation be deemed as less costly than bidding in an expensive name auction.

    The elimination of the obligatory requirement to register a domain under a TLD would rid us once and for all of the distortions and conflicts pertaining to the provision of monopolistic registry services. I believe that a non-profit entity subject to globally acceptable governance standards should be in charge of the natural monopoly which the root registry constitutes, eliminating the historic distortion that put Verisign in charge of the huge .COM registry. In such a scheme, commercial registrars will continue to operate in a competitive market environment, being those necessary agents that will provide the intermediation services between the registrant/end-user and the non-profit internationalized root registry.

    By embracing the huge variety that will be brought about by the unrestricted registration under the root, we might indeed forsake the mnemonic character of a domain name. We'd however gain in exchange a naming space that will not be subject anymore to artificial TLD constraints, but rather to — more palatable to most people ? — real-world intellectual property, trademark and brand protection constraints and disputes.

    MV: I'm not ignoring you. You have made some thoughtful points, but I have to rush to a meeting. More later on TLDs...

    "Usually, I turn to Steve Crocker, John Klensin, Susanne Woolf and of course Vint Cerf"

    100% insiders.

    You will certainly get a pure ISOC view there.

    Your brain will be washed to a crystal clear state.

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