Page Two

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2004-02-26 Print this article Print

GoDaddy was one of three registrars that sued ICANN in July 2003 to block the WLS; the others were Dotster Inc. and eNom Inc. In November, a federal judge denied the registrars request for a preliminary injunction against ICANN. Then in December, Jones said, the registrars dismissed the case. She declined to offer details about the dismissal, citing confidentiality requirements. But registrars are continuing to pressure ICANN to stall and possibly abandon the service, alleging that giving VeriSign the exclusive authority to manage the back-ordering of registered domain names amounts to an abuse of monopoly power and hurts consumers since they must pay a fee higher than a domain-name registration to back order a domain name that they may never get.
Early last week, a coalition of unnamed registrars threatened legal action against ICANN if its board were to approve the WLS. The letter from Derick Newman, a partner at Newman & Newman Attorneys At Law LLP in Seattle, alleges that the service would violate state and federal consumer protection and unfair competition laws. Newman declined to provide the names of the registrars he is representing.
"At first blush it sounds good," Newman said of VeriSigns proposed WLS. "But its just a big scam against consumers, and no one gets anything for the money theyre paying." Newman said the registrants of the most sought-after domain names will never let them expire, especially since they would be informed if someone else buys a WLS subscription on the name. Also, many registrars already have created their own competitive back-ordering services, Newman said. An ICANN spokesman said the organization does not plan to respond to the registrar coalitions letter. The WLS would not preclude registrars from running their own back-ordering services, Twomey said. ICANNs focus has been on ensuring that any VeriSign-run service offers equal access to domain-name information for all registars. "This all comes down to money, and it all comes down to which segment of the renewal market various people are targeting," Twomey said. "I dont think ICANNs role is to determine who should be making money in a particular segment and who shouldnt be." In response to Newmans letter, VeriSign spokesman Tom Galvin pointed to the federal judges November decision, saying it sides with ICANN and VeriSign on much of Newmans arguments. Said Galvin, "We have spent over two years working with ICANN and the Internet community on the WLS, and we look forward to a resolution." The wait listing service, once approved by ICANNs board, also must be approved by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Editors Note: This story was first published on Feb. 25, and then later updated to include comments from ICANN President and CEO Paul Twomey.

Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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