ICANN has announced that sandwiches have been banned from the forthcoming ICANN 56 public meeting in Helsinki.
The move has been made in response to recent controversies over the availability of “inappropriate” foodstuffs during coffee and lunch breaks at the thrice-yearly policy meetings.
“The board has listened, and the board has acted decisively in response to community concerns,” ICANN chair Steve Crocker said at a packed press conference today.
“Starting with ICANN 56, our meeting venues will be sandwich-free zones,” he said.
ICANN has had to take on new caterers to supply non-sandwich-based refreshments and will incur a one-time early termination fee of $242,000, according to its contract with its former supplier.
“It’s a small price to pay to make sure we only provide appropriate snacks for our valued stakeholders,” he said.
DI has obtained a copy of the proposed Helsinki menu, which has been approved as “100% fine” by ICANN’s board and Ombudsman, as well as the legal and compliance departments and external auditors.
You can read it here (pdf).
The unexpected sandwich ban surprised many community leaders.
“The ICANN board is totally missing the point here,” said GNSO chair James Bladel. “The PBJ-WG clearly and unanimously recommended that the prohibition should only apply to cheese sandwiches.”
“It’s just another example of top-down, unilateral regulation,” he said.
Critics noted that, due to pressure from the French government, the ban does not apply to filled baguettes.
But Crocker denied government meddling had created a loophole, noting that all baked goods containing fillings comprising over 32% dairy-based solids would still be captured by the ban.
“Naturally, we couldn’t ban all baguettes,” he said. “That would be a ludicrous thing to do.”
He advised all ICANN 56 delegates to show up early to sessions in order to speed up the new mandatory sandwich-screening bag checks.
ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade has distanced himself from comments in which he seemed to equate domain investing with “cybersquatting”.
In January, Chehade said in a Huffington Post interview that new gTLDs would help prevent domain “hogging”, which was widely interpreted as his taking a dim view of domaining.
When asked about his remarks last month, he did not backtrack.
Now he has backtracked, responding to an angry letter from the Internet Commerce Association, which represents many of the largest domainers.
In March 24 letter (pdf) published over the weekend, Chehade said that he interpreted the HuffPo interviewer’s question to refer to the practice of registries holding back premium domains, rather than secondary market activity:
I regret that the ICA interpreted some of my comments in the interview as expressing a “disdainful view” of domain investing. As you might have gathered from the reporter’s questions, some people have asked whether the new gTLD program might have created an opportunity for “land grabb[ing]” by industry insiders. It was not my impression that the question being asked referred to established practices in the secondary market; rather, I believe the reporter was inquiring about some of the very practices by registries you cited in your letter. My response — that alternatives are available in different gTLDs — was intended to try to allay the concern that the program was creating artificial scarcity of domains, not to criticize participants in the marketplace.
Was this a fair interpretation of the interviewer’s question? Is this just a misunderstanding?
Watch the two-minute video above to make up your own mind.
Addressing the ICA’s concerns that he had equated domain investing with cyberquatting, Chehade wrote:
We are in complete agreement that there is a very important legal distinction between registering generically-termed domain names and cybersquatting.
A convicted fraudster reportedly escaped from a UK prison by typosquatting.
Neil Moore was serving time on remand when he used a smuggled mobile phone to register a domain name that looked a lot like that of the UK court service, according to local media reports.
The domain, registered last March, was hmcts-gsi-gov.org.uk, a typo of the genuine hmcts.gsi.gov.uk.
Had Moore registered the name after last June, when Nominet enabled direct second-level .uk registrations, he would have been able to get a much more convincing typo.
He populated the Whois with the name of his case’s investigating officer and the address for the Royal Courts of Justice.
He then emailed the prison from his new domain with instructions for his bail.
Prison staff fell for it and he was released.
The scam went unnoticed for three days until his lawyers went to interview him. He handed himself back in to police hours later.
Moore was in prison for socially engineering over £1.8 million ($2.6 million) out of major firms by pretending to be bank staff.
He’s fessed up to several counts of fraud and one count of escape from lawful custody. He’ll be sentenced in April.
Five years ago Domain Incite published its first story, with the introductory line “Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?”
I went on to describe how I’d registered the name domainincite.com and thrown up a live, resolving web site in less than one hour.
But that wasn’t quite the beginning.
What I neglected to mention were the eight hours I spent sitting with my father that weekend, brainstorming domains that captured the slightly acerbic tone I expected to use and which were also available at a reasonable price.
That was also when we came up with the tag line “domainincite.com n. because all the good domains were taken”, which has sat at the top of DI’s “About” page since day one.
Dad died last October, and I’d be lying if I said I’ve had an easy time getting over it.
Watching somebody you love dying of cancer is, needless to say, traumatic. Many readers will understand this all too well.
It can leave you with their final weeks indelibly at the forefront of your memories, whereas you should be remembering the enjoyable times you spent together.
I wouldn’t dream of blaming Dad for my eventual choice of domain, but we had fun collaborating on its conception.
That was something we did together, which gives DI’s birthday this year a bittersweet flavor for me.
Here’s your daily WTF moment, courtesy of ICANN’s official YouTube account.
If you’ve ever wanted to see ICANN chair Steve Crocker without his trousers — and let’s face it, who hasn’t? — now’s your chance.
Don’t ask. I’m just as baffled as you.