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ICANN 72 has lowest turnout since records began

Kevin Murphy, November 1, 2021, 20:30:39 (UTC), Domain Policy

Last week’s public ICANN meeting saw the fewest attendees since the Org started compiling and publishing statistics over five years ago.

According to a new blog post from meetings veep Nick Tomasso, there were 1,305 attendees at ICANN 72, which was the sixth consecutive public meeting to take place on Zoom due to the pandemic.

That’s smaller than the 1,330 who showed up virtually for the mid-year meeting, which typically have fewer attendees than the end-of-year AGM.

In fact, it’s the lowest number of documented attendees since ICANN first started regularly publishing the stats, with ICANN 55 in March 2016. That meeting was in Morocco, was hit by fears of terrorism, and still managed 2,273 attendees.

Even the 2017 meeting in Johannesburg, a long-haul flight for most ICANNers, attracted more people.

Last week’s meeting took place on Seattle time. This was fine for ICANN’s west coast staff, but meant sessions kicked off towards the end of business hours in Europe and in the middle of the night in east Asia.

But Tomasso reports that 22.1% of “real time” attendees were from Asia-Pac, with 20.8% coming from Europe. North Americans accounted for 35% of participants.

Participating in ICANN 72 was free, only requiring an account on ICANN’s web site. But there were no free flights or hotels, and the only thing in the virtual schwag bag was an origami fish or something.

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Comments (4)

  1. Rubens Kuhl says:

    Virtual meetings also come at unhappy hours for those not in a similar time zone.

  2. Seun Ojedeji says:

    Apart from timezone, with countries opening up many people are resuming their normal work life while for some their pay job is now turned to remote which could make participation at ICANN meetings difficult; No way to justify for a leave in order to focus on an ICANN meeting in such cases 🙂

  3. Alfredo Calderon says:

    What is lacking in the preliminary is a detail of participation by session. As well stated the ICANN72 Virtual Annual General Meeting not actually a 4-day event. It was actually, spread with 3-weeks of activities that usually take place as part of a f2f meeting.

    Additionally, the timezone issue impacts participants as we return to ‘normal’. Most interested participants have working hours that conflict with attending the sessions thus, the decrease. Even those that are not in their working place, still have to meet virtually, which has increased in the later part of the Pandemic. Thus, decrease participation.

  4. Kevin Murphy says:

    Think about the time zone issue this way:

    There are hundreds of European community members who would quite happily spend about $5,000 a head to fly to the other side of the world for a week, but are unwilling or unable to log in to a Zoom session that starts at 6pm.

    That says something.

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