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ICANN heads to Mar-a-Lago for budget crisis talks

Kevin Murphy, April 1, 2018, 00:01:10 (UTC), Gossip

Cash-strapped ICANN has invited select community members to emergency budget talks at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, DI has learned.

The three-day summit next week will address how best to spend the organization’s $138 million annual budget, along with its $236 million auction proceeds war chest and its $80 million of leftover new gTLD application fees.

“Recent public comments have made it clear than many valued ICANN community members have misunderstood our FY19 budget,” CEO Goran Marby said. “I believe a long weekend of intensive discussions at Mar-a-Lago should persuade the community that we’re actually on the right track.”

To encourage participation from an increasingly weary volunteer pool, attendees will be treated to complimentary spa treatments, golfing, and the most beautiful pieces of chocolate cake, he said.

DI has managed to obtain a preliminary agenda for the summit, which can be read here (pdf).

Business-class flights and three nights’ accommodation at the exclusive members club will be covered by ICANN.

Mar-a-Lago, purchased by Donald Trump in the 1980s, is a “six-star” resort in Palm Beach, Florida. It was originally a five-star hotel, until 2004 when Trump purchased the one-star hotel next door and knocked through.

Marby defended the choice of venue, pointing out that the guest list is to be strictly limited to the ICANN board of directors, industry CEOs, and members of the Intellectual Property Constituency.

DI understands that the IPC will be permitted to invite members of the Non-Commercial Stakeholder Group to attend, should they require golf caddies.

To ensure gender diversity, all attendees will be able to bring along their spouses or partners. ICANN will make up any shortfall by hiring decorative females from a pool of Trump litigants.

A small support team of 50 ICANN staffers will also be available to hand out fresh towels, collect empty glasses, and so on.

Remote participation will be available via AOL Instant Messenger.

Chief financial officer Xavier Calvez declined to disclose the cost of the summit, citing privacy concerns caused by “GDPR or something”, but DI understands it is to be accounted for as a line item in ICANN’s Federal lobbying disclosure.

Calvez said ICANN has managed to negotiate “substantial” bulk discounts on the usual $200,000 Mar-a-Lago membership fees and $2,000-a-night room rates.

The cost will also be offset by sponsorship contributions from ICANNwiki and the National Rifle Association, he said.

Registry and registrar CEOs polled by DI this weekend were split on whether they would attend.

“Of course I’m going,” Blacknight CEO Michele Neylon told us by phone from an airport lounge in Kigali.

But .xyz chief Daniel Negari said he would attend only if he can secure sufficient funding for his bus fare to the airport.

Among the cost-cutting proposals on the menu, DI understands, is a request to consolidate all current and future policy working groups into a single, unified WG.

Sources say this would have the added benefit of reducing the annual policy implementation budget to zero dollars between now and, at the earliest, 2045.

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Comments (17)

  1. fizz says:

    What an extravagent waste of our renewal fees, I’m dropping my entire portfolio in protest, that’ll teach them!!

    PS: Didn’t realise that AFD was based on UTC time lol

  2. Snoopy says:

    It’s like a simpsons episode where it is said in jest but you know it is probably very close to the mark.

  3. David Taylor says:

    Excellent Kevin Flights booked but only because no Adobe Connect on offer. That was the pivot point for me. I’m not bringing golf clubs though – one has to draw the line in the bunker somewhere and Michele had already left for the airport.

  4. Rubens Kuhl says:

    I’ll be filing a DIDP to know how much you have been paid to moderate the domain investors session.

  5. Jeffrey Sass says:

    You had me at “beautiful chocolate cake” (and AOL instant messenger). 😉

    • James Bladel says:

      AOL is only a trial platform being evaluated by SSAC and the CTO. Also in consideration is WebEx, along with two tin cans and a piece of string.

      • Benedict says:

        Fake news James. After careful consideration we’ve chosen Geoff Huston Shouting as our preferred secure remote communications platform.

  6. James Bladel says:

    I respect the guy, but have no interest in seeing the Ombudsman in a wet t-shirt.

    Please tell Michele to leave those photos off his social media feed.

  7. Olivier Crépin-Leblond says:

    I must protest. Once again, Advisory Committees are not included in the discussions. Especially for day 0 which, I note, doesn’t include outreach either.

  8. Caddies Association says:

    The Caddies Association comes forward to note that only Contracted Parties are part of their staff. It regrets hiring is soaring since ICANN has declared declining revenue. Newcomers from BC and RySG join the ranks in bulk.

  9. Hey hey Heey says:

    They have my blessing … BTW .. is Domain king gonna attend too …
    Wish him A Merry 1of April

  10. Vanda Scartezini says:

    Guess for reducing budget purpose LA office will be good enough!
    I am in favor to discuss expenditure with those contributing with the amount of money but exclude views from advisory groups reduce the chance of open mind

  11. Carlos Raul says:

    Anybody needs a diversity caddy?

  12. Will they finally announce that a wealthy Russian now owns .Трамп after bidding under a fake name?

  13. Bob says:

    I’m concerned there may not be enough time allocated for Galas and Breaks…..

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