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Chehade joins Twitter

Kevin Murphy, July 9, 2013, Gossip

ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade now has his own Twitter account, the organization has confirmed.

Here he is, tweeting this morning:

And here’s ICANN confirming it:

And here’s somebody who is definitely not Chehade, but is quite amusing anyway:

Innovative Auctions hires storied new employee

Kevin Murphy, June 15, 2013, Gossip

Innovative Auctions, which is running private new gTLD auctions, has hired a poker-playing former Google engineer and grandson of Nobel-winning economist Milton Friedman.

Patri Friedman becomes the company’s 11th employee, according to an Innovative blog post.

According to his Wikipedia page, Friedman has had some success playing high stakes poker and was once a software engineer for Google, but his most recent gig was with the Seasteading Institute, where he’s still listed as chairman.

Seasteading is an ambitious project to create a floating libertarian nation state off the coast of Northern California, like something out of Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash. Really.

At Innovative, he’ll be in charge of user experience and documentation, which seems quite dull in comparison.

Innovative has so far carried out just six new gTLD auctions. Presumably, it’s expecting to manage many more.

No Las Vegas, alas. ICANN picks LA for 2014 meeting

Kevin Murphy, May 22, 2013, Gossip

ICANN has picked Los Angeles for the third of its three 2014 public meetings.

The decision was approved by its board of directors at its retreat in Amsterdam last week.

As you may know, ICANN’s meeting schedule cycles through its five geographic regions, and North America’s next turn comes next year, picking up hopes that it might finally choose Las Vegas.

Alas, we get LA instead.

According to the board’s resolution, the cost of holding a meeting in LA should come in a couple hundred grand below the price of holding it elsewhere, presumably due to reduced travel expenses.

It will be the fourth time ICANN has gathered community members in its home town, but the first time since 2007. Back when ICANN did four meetings a year, LA was the home of its annual general meetings.

Recent North American meetings have been held in Toronto, San Francisco and Puerto Rico. The Mexico City meeting in 2009 counts as Latin America on ICANN’s map of the world.

Singapore and London have already been named at 2014 venues for Asia and Europe respectively.

Verisign (or a domainer) needs to put this on a T-shirt

Kevin Murphy, May 2, 2013, Gossip

If I don’t see somebody wearing this on a T-shirt at the next ICANN meeting I will be very upset.

Keep .com

Credit: an anonymous artist.

Chehade promises to cure herpes

Kevin Murphy, April 1, 2013, Gossip

ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade has promised to find a cure for herpes by the end of the year.

Delivering an impromptu keynote speech at the National STD Prevention Conference in Atlanta today, Chehade also apologized for the continuing existence of the pernicious viral infection, which he blamed on predecessor Rod Beckstrom.

“I came here to listen,” he told an audience of confused gynecologists. “And I’ve heard what you have said. Herpes simplex is a problem, I know this now. I’m on your side.”

“I therefore commit ICANN to curing herpes by the end of the year.”

“But we can’t do this alone,” he continued. “I therefore call on all stakeholders to work together on this important initiative.”

He added that the ICANN board of directors reserves the right to create its own cure and implement a mandatory vaccination program, should the community fail to come to agreement.

Chehade’s speech came at the tail end of a tiring outreach tour that has seen him address community members from all corners of the globe.

But reaction from the assembled physicians, epidemiologists and obstetricians was enthusiastic.

“He said everything I wanted to hear,” one beaming attendee told DI after Chehade’s 20-minute standing ovation died down. “Who knew Eugene Levy knew so much about herpesviridae?”

“I’ve no idea who that guy is,” said another delegate. “He just kinda wandered on stage and started talking. But I like him a lot.”

Herpes is an aggressive sexually transmitted viral infection, symptomized primarily by unsightly, weeping sores on the lips and genitals.

Some ICANN community members have already questioned whether finding a cure is within ICANN’s narrow technical mandate.

“This is mission-creep, pure and simple,” academic or something Milton Mueller blogged. “The cure for herpes, along with All Other Things, should be subject to free market forces.”

Mueller pointed to Chehade’s surprise appearance last week at the National Congress of Theoretical Physicists, during which he committed ICANN to preventing the heat death of the universe, as further evidence that ICANN is acting outside its remit.

Members of the domain name industry also expressed outrage.

Donuts, which has applied for .herpes, claimed Chehade’s speech threatened to interfere with its business model.

“If ICANN cures herpes, who’s going to defen… who’s going to register a .herpes domain name?” CEO Paul Stahura said.

The trademark community cautiously welcomed Chehade’s plans, but said they did not go far enough to protect rights holders.

“For too long, herpes has caused irritation for many in the IP community,” said Intellectual Property Constituency chair Kristina Rosette. “Not to mention widespread squatting problems.”

But ICANN should take care to protect the rights of HerpesTM, a popular brand of canned soup in Latin America, she added.

Meanwhile, DotConnectAfrica pointed to a throwaway line in Chehade’s speech as unambiguous proof of an illegal conspiracy against its .africa bid involving ICANN, DI, the Freemasons, the Illuminati, the Rosicrucians, the Bilderberg Group and the Ku Klux Klan.