There’s been a rumor going around for at least a month that Bill Clinton is being lined up to provide the keynote address for the next ICANN meeting, to be held in San Francisco in March.
I’m not going to pretend to have any inside information, but I’ve heard it from so many people recently that I thought it was worthy of a post.
One reason the rumor may have been reinvigorated this week is the revelation of the hefty sums ICANN is charging its top sponsors for the San Francisco meeting.
As I reported earlier in the week, VeriSign appears to have paid up $500,000 to get one of two top-tier Diamond-level sponsorship deals for the meeting.
Clinton, like many former world leaders, can command powerful sums for public speaking engagements, reportedly up to $350,000 a gig a few years ago.
ICANN, of course, was the brainchild of the Clinton administration in 1998.
While the US government’s attitude to ICANN’s activities has changed over the years, the organization was formed largely to introduce competition in the registrar and registry markets.
Since these are two likely results of the approval of the new TLDs program, Clinton’s appearance at the meeting where it will possibly happen would be appropriate.