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Your first look inside ICANN’s new global HQ

Kevin Murphy, June 20, 2012, Gossip

After over a decade, ICANN moved its global headquarters from the LA suburb of Marina Del Rey to a new location a few miles down the road in Playa Vista this week.

Now, thanks to the magic of Facebook, I can bring you the exclusive first photograph from inside the building.

Methane Alarm

Playa Vista, it turns out, already had substantial build-ups of methane before ICANN showed up.

I can’t help but feel that the new tenants can only exacerbate things.

It’s well known to environmentalists that bovine flatus is a leading cause of atmospheric methane. I sincerely hope that Playa Vista’s ecology can handle its new influx of concentrated bullshit.

The TLD Song: an instant classic

Kevin Murphy, June 18, 2012, Gossip

I may not agree with all of Lauren Weinstein’s views on ICANN’s new generic top-level domain expansion, but damn, the man can spoof a Gilbert & Sullivan song.

Check out Weinstein’s blog for the lyrics and a downloadable MP3.

Kudos, sir.

Venue has “more reservations than bedrooms” for ICANN Prague

Kevin Murphy, June 9, 2012, Gossip

Anyone fancy a twos-up with another ICANN attendee in Prague?

The Hilton Prague Hotel has apologized for screwing up delegates’ reservations for the June 23-28 public ICANN meeting, and has reconfirmed the reservations of those affected.

But it’s told ICANN that it still doesn’t have enough rooms for that week. In a letter to ICANN meeting organizers, dated June 6, the hotel wrote:

The Hilton Prague still has more reservations than bedrooms for the period of the ICANN meeting, but both the Hilton Prague and ICANN event organizers are together working on minimizing the overbooking situation in order to be able to accommodate as many ICANN attendees as possible.

Not exactly encouraging, is it?

The overbooking problem seems to have been caused by the hotel running a special ICANN reservation system in parallel with its regular system, but not correctly linking the two.

Speculating, this might mean that only those who booked through official channels were affected.

Speculating further, it might also mean that those who booked independently are at risk of losing their reservations, should the Hilton decide to prioritize known ICANN delegates.

Even if I’m wrong on both counts, it does appear that not everyone who booked at the Hilton for the meeting will be staying where they hoped.

Hilton Prague screws over ICANN delegates

Kevin Murphy, June 2, 2012, Gossip

Lots of people attending ICANN’s public meeting in Prague later this month are complaining that the venue, the Hilton Prague Hotel, has rebooked them into hotels miles away.

It’s not clear how widespread the problem is, but I’d guess dozens of people are affected, judging by the chatter.

Amusingly, given recent events, it appears that a technical glitch with the hotel’s booking system is to blame.

One attendee, who was bumped to a hotel an hour’s walk away from the venue, was told the rebooking was “due to the unexpected circumstances with the reservation system”.

The Hilton is the venue and the first-choice hotel for the week-long meeting. ICANN had negotiated a special rate for attendees.

It’s not the first snafu to hit a meeting hotel recently. Last October, the venue one of the hotels chosen for the meeting in Dakar, Senegal, was slammed as smelly, dirty and insecure by many delegates.

However, with regard to the Prague snafu, I’ve been unable to confirm whether ICANN has filed an official complaint with the Czech minister of telecommunications yet.

While DI is attending Prague, your humble reporter is not affected by the mix-up. I’ll be sleeping on public transport and doing my morning ablutions in McDonald’s as usual.

Ombudsman reports on ICANN 43 “girls” scandal

Kevin Murphy, April 4, 2012, Gossip

ICANN Ombudsman Chris LaHatte has delivered his official report on the ICANN 43 sexism controversy.

As you may recall, during the ICANN 43 meeting in Costa Rica last month, domain name lawyer John Berryhill complained to LaHatte about a booth operated by Czech ccTLD operator CZ.nic.

Marketing ICANN 44, which CZ.nic is hosting in Prague this June, the booth offered cartoon postcards advertising “girls” as one of several reasons — alongside “beer”, “culture” etc — to attend the meeting.

Berryhill complained that the cards objectified women and were inappropriate for an ICANN meeting.

LaHatte writes:

The complainant says the use of the postcard was demeaning to women and an unnecessary objectification of them.

After some discussion, they [CZ.nic] understood the way in which this was seen, from another perspective, and quickly agreed to remove the postcards as an option in the kiosk display. What they saw as a light-hearted tribute to attractive woman in the Czech Republic, they then were able to see as offensive to others. Because they were so ready to perceive and accept the alternative view, it was not necessary to take any further action

A presentation by CZ.nic later in the week at the Costa Rica meeting eschewed any mention of the cards in question.

In the interests of disclosure, since first reporting this story I’ve discovered that Berryhill discovered the postcards via one of my own tweets, so I’m probably partly responsible for creating my own controversy here.