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Bladel quits as Council chair as GoDaddy ruled “ineligible” for election

Kevin Murphy, June 14, 2017, 09:32:04 (UTC), Domain Policy

GNSO Council Chair James Bladel has resigned, after it emerged that GoDaddy, his employer, is not eligible for office under registrar rules.

He will continue to occupy the post on an interim basis until a new election is held.

Bladel was elected to represent the Registrars Stakeholder Group on the Council back in 2013 and was elected by the Council as chair in late 2015.

However, the RrSG has just discovered that he’s actually ineligible for elected office under its charter because GoDaddy is also a dot-brand registry.

The RrSG charter states that in order to avoid conflicts of interest, a registrar that also has a Specification 9 exemption from the registry Code of Conduct in an ICANN registry conduct may not hold office.

GoDaddy signed its .godaddy registry agreement, which includes the Spec 9 exemption, in July 2015. The gTLD is not currently being used.

GoDaddy is of course the largest registrar in the industry, but it appears its ability to wield power in ICANN’s policy-making bodies now appears to be hamstrung by its foray into new gTLDs.

Bladel’s resignation is not expected to have any significant impact on GNSO Council work.

He’s been reappointed by the RrSG executive committee on an interim basis until elections can be held for a replacement. His term is due to expire in November anyway.

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Comments (3)

  1. James Bladel says:

    Hi Kevin. A couple of clarifications:

    “Bladel quits as Council chair…”
    Not exactly. I resigned as RrSG Councilor, but was immediately re-appointed by the ExCom, pending a Special Election. I’ve proposed that this doesn’t necessarily impact the Council leadership, or our own election calendar (scheduled for later this year).

    “He will continue to occupy the post on an interim basis until either his term expires or a new election is held.”
    I won’t be able to remain an “interim appointment” for that long, a Special Election (under the RrSG Charter) will be required at some point. The ExCom is working on this.

    “GoDaddy signed its .godaddy registry agreement, which includes the Spec 9 exemption, in July 2015.”
    More precisely, we executed the Spec 13 exemption, which our Charter treats as equivalent to Spec 9.

    Hope this helps clear up a confusing (and somewhat absurd) situation.

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