ARI Registry Services has tested ICANN’s digital archery system and concluded that it’s little better than a “lottery”.
The company today released the results of a network latency test that it conducted earlier this month, which it says proves that applicants in North America have a “significant advantage” over others in securing a place in ICANN’s first new gTLD evaluation batch.
ARI basically tried to figure out how important the geographic location of the applicant is on digital archery.
It concluded that the further away you were, there was not only more network latency, as you would expect, but also that the latency became less predictable, making archery less about skill and more about luck.
According to the company (with my emphasis):
The conclusion is simple; the closer an applicant is to the ICANN Data Centre in Virginia, the greater likelihood of repeatable results, allowing a significantly higher chance of calibrating the network latency and thus setting a low Digital Archery time. It is therefore a significant advantage being located as close as possible to ICANN’s Digital Archery target or employing an organisation who is.
It is ARI’s contention that the frequency and size of network changes seen in networks outside North America mean the greatest influence on an applicant’s Digital Archery shot is luck. The further one is from North America, the greater the influence luck has on an applicant’s Digital Archery shot. Those applicants without the resources to access systems or representative organisations within North America are to all intents and purposes, playing a lottery, hoping that latency remains consistent between their calibration tests and their actual shot. The applicant’s ability to influence this game of chance reduces the further they are from North American networks.
While it might read for the most part like a technical white paper, make no mistake: this is a strongly political document.
By putting this information out there and linking it directly to the legally scary word “lottery”, ARI knows that it is putting ICANN in a very uncomfortable position.
The reason ICANN settled upon the digital archery system in the first place — rather than the preferred option of random selection — was because gambling is illegal in California and the organization’s lawyers were worried about nuisance lawsuits.
ARI has, essentially, just given fodder to the kinds of legal vultures that will be thinking about such lawsuits anyway.
The company is one of the strongest opponents of digital archery. In a recent interview with DI, CEO Adrian Kinderis called for batching to be scrapped in favor of a single evaluation period of 10 to 12 months.
You can read ARI’s 19-page report here.