ICANN is having a big rethink about how it decides where to drag the community to on its thrice-yearly meetings.
A proposal published tonight would reduce the number of cities it visits between 2014 and 2016 from nine to seven, meaning Africa and North America would both lose a meeting.
ICANN says its meetings are getting bigger and it’s getting harder to find suitable locations that it hasn’t already been to:
As ICANN Meetings have increased in size and scope, the number of facilities capable of hosting an ICANN Meeting has decreased considerably. In addition, the number of facilities that actually meet all of the established meeting location selection criteria is very limited.
ICANN Meetings have already been held in more than 40 different cities worldwide. It is becoming increasingly difficult to identify new hosts, as well as new host cities with the appropriate facilities.
Under the new proposal, ICANN would pre-select conference centers worldwide that are big enough, are easy to get to, have decent internet access, have plenty of nearby hotels and so forth.
It reckons it could save money by negotiating multi-year deals with such venues, but that this would mean a reduced number of locations.
Under ICANN’s current plan, 2014-2016 would see two meetings in Europe, two in North America, two in Asia-Pacific, two in Africa, and one in Latin America. Each would be in a different city.
The new plan would increase Europe and Asia-Pacific to three meetings each, but in four countries instead of six. Africa and North America would both lose a meeting. Latin America would still have one meeting.
ICANN wants to know what you think about this idea. I can see it being divisive along predictable lines.