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ICANN’s Ukraine relief may extend to Russians too

Kevin Murphy, March 9, 2022, Domain Policy

Russian domain name registrants affected by sanctions could benefit from ICANN’s relaxation of its renewal rules.

ICANN on Monday announced that it was classifying the war in Ukraine as an “extenuating circumstance” under the terms of its standard Registrar Accreditation Agreement.

This means that Ukrainians cut off from the internet due to the invasion could be cut some slack, at their registrar’s discretion, when it comes to renewing their gTLD domains.

But ICANN’s executive team was asked, during a session at ICANN 73 later that day, whether the same benefits could be extended to Russian registrants, perhaps unable to pay due to Western sanctions on payment systems.

Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Paypal are among those to restrict Russian accounts in recent days.

ICANN mostly ducked the question.

Co-deputy CEO Theresa Swinehart responded by deferring to the original blog post, and general counsel John Jeffrey followed up by quoting some of the post’s language:

“I think we’re clear in that the events in Ukraine and the surrounding region are now considered by ICANN to be an extending circumstance under the Registrar Accreditation Agreement, under 3.7.5.1,” he said.

The words “surrounding region”, found in the original post alongside “affected region” and “affected area”, seem to be key here.

They could just as easily refer to Russia as they could to places such as Poland and Hungary, which are currently accepting hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees.

It seems the registrars may have the discretion here; ICANN was apparently in no hurry to provide clarity.

The exchange came during a 90-minute session in which ICANN’s executive team were peppered with community questions, many related to the war and how ICANN might be affected by US-imposed sanctions.

Execs said that ICANN would comply with any US laws related to sanctions but that so far it had not seen anything that would affect its ability to contract with Russian companies.

A question apparently related to whether ICANN was reviewing its relationships with law firms and banks that may be involved with Russian oligarchs, much like Tucows is doing, was ducked.

They were also asked how the $1 million ICANN at the weekend earmarked to help keep Ukraine online might be spent, and while CEO Göran Marby alluded to a broad request from Ukraine for satellite terminals, he said it had been less than a day since the resolution was passed and it was too early to say.

“We obviously will focus on what we can do that makes the maximum impact as close to our mission as we possibly can,” added Sally Costerton, senior VP of stakeholder engagement.

ICANN offers $1 million to Ukraine projects, supports Ukrainian registrants

Kevin Murphy, March 8, 2022, Domain Policy

ICANN has allocated $1 million to help protect internet access in war-torn Ukraine.

Its board of directors at the weekend voted to set aside the “initial sum” of money “to provide financial assistance to support access to Internet infrastructure in emergency situations.”

There’s an expectation that the cash will be spent “on support for maintaining Internet access for users within Ukraine”, where the Russian invasion is described as “tragic and profoundly troubling”, over the next few months, the board said.

It’s not clear yet exactly how the money will be spent, though something related to the keeping the DNS up and running would seem to be the most probable. The resolution calls for the CEO to develop a process to figure it out.

Ukraine’s ccTLD manager, Hostmaster, moved its servers into other European countries shortly after the invasion, and signed up to Cloudlflare’s DDoS protection service. It’s not clear whether it had to spend money on these moves.

ICANN’s million will come from its regular operating budget, not the stash it has set aside from its new gTLD auctions. The auction money will probably be spent on similar things eventually, but the process for allocating that is still being worked out in a committee.

ICANN also said this week that it is, as I and others suggested, exercising section 3.7.5.1 of its Registrar Accreditation Agreement to declare the invasion an “extenuating circumstance”, meaning Ukrainians who are unable to renew their domain name registrations before they expire may not lose them.

Registrars now have the option to keep these domains registered after their usual expiration date and ICANN will not send its Compliance enforcers after them.

“We encourage registrars and registries to support this action and take these circumstances into consideration when reviewing impacted registrants’ renewal delinquencies in affected regions,” ICANN said.

It’s the first time ICANN has exercised this power in connection with a human-made disaster. It previously invoked 3.7.5.1 in response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and worldwide in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hostmaster itself has extended the redemption period for .ua domains from 30 to 60 days.

Here’s a way ICANN could actually help the people of Ukraine

Kevin Murphy, March 3, 2022, Domain Policy

ICANN may have today decided to decline Ukraine’s request for Russian and Belarusian top-level domains to be taken down, but there’s still at least one way it could do a little bit to help the country’s citizens.

ICANN has the power to help make sure Ukrainian registrants’ domain names don’t expire, which would render their email and web sites unusable if they are unable to access the internet to pay for renewals for an extended period.

The Org is able to waive the contractual requirement for registrars to cancel domains that have not been renewed, in the event of “extenuating circumstances”.

ICANN has used this power twice before. The first time when Hurricane Maria hit the Caribbean in 2017. The second was when the ongoing coronavirus pandemic hit the world in April 2020.

In both cases, ICANN invoked section 3.7.5.1 of the standard Registrar Accreditation Agreement and said the circumstances amounted to a “natural disaster”.

But there’s nothing in the RAA that limits “extenuating circumstances” to just “natural disasters”. The term “natural disasters” does not appear in the contract.

The contract says “other circumstance as approved specifically by ICANN” is a good enough reason to waive the deletion requirements.

It appears that ICANN can unilaterally decide whether the war in Ukraine is a sufficiently “extenuating circumstance” to give Ukrainian domain name owners a break when it comes to renewals.

10 Years Ago… new gTLDs, ICANN pay, DNS abuse and ethics

Kevin Murphy, October 11, 2021, Domain Policy

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I’ve been in a reflective mood recently, and it’s a slow news day, so I thought now might be a good time to launch a new, irregular feature — a trawl back through the DI archives to see what we were all talking about a decade ago this month.

In many respects, the conversations haven’t changed all that much in the last 10 years. Some are being repeated almost verbatim today. Others seem almost laughably naive with hindsight.

New TLDs

We were just a few months away from the opening of the first big new gTLD application window, but in October 2011 many of the rules of the program were, remarkably, still up in the air.

ICANN still hadn’t decided how much an application would cost. It had yet to decide how it would subsidize poorer applicants.

No Trademark Clearinghouse supplier had yet been found, and there was still some confusion about how the application process would work, and how it would be communicated to potential applicants.

The industry was awash with speculation, as it had been for the whole year, about who might apply for a gTLD. In October, there were stories about potential applications from New South Wales, Orange, Corsica, and BITS.

Afilias was offering $5,000 for new gTLD ideas.

But perhaps the strangest idea was a pitch from CentralNic to the super-rich. For $500,000, it would apply for your family name as a new gTLD. This came to nothing in the 2012 round, but CentralNic’s site is still live.

While new gTLDs were still in the future, October 2011 saw the ongoing sunrise period for the previous round’s .xxx, auctions following the recent launch of .co, and the creation of two new ccTLDs.

Abuse

October 2011 was marked by the registrar community reluctantly agreeing to enter talks with ICANN to renegotiate their standard Registrar Accreditation Agreement, which would ultimately lead to the current 2013 RAA.

The move came as the Governmental Advisory Committee was on the warpath on behalf of its law enforcement allies, demanding more action from the industry on DNS abuse and threatening legislation if it didn’t happen.

Imagine that.

Meanwhile, Verisign asked ICANN for more powers to take down abusive domains, which faced immediate pushback from registrars and others, before the request was retracted mere days later.

The Revolving Door

There was a lot of talk during and around ICANN 42 about conflicts of interest, particular with regards the emergence of a so-called “revolving door” between ICANN’s top brass and the domain industry.

It had been just a few months since chair Peter Dengate Thrush had, on the eve of his retirement from the board, pushed through final approval of the new gTLD program and promptly took a top job at portfolio applicant Minds + Machines.

It looked rotten, and ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom, who had himself announced he was quitting just months earlier, had made its his personal mission to reduce at least the perception of conflicts of interest at the Org.

He ruled out being replaced by a fellow director, threw money at consultants, and said the next CEO should be an industry outsider.

It was probably all pointless.

As it turned out, the guy who replaced Beckstrom, Fadi Chehade, put in a few years in the corner office before prematurely quitting for private equity, where he now runs the company that owns Donuts, itself run by Chehade’s ICANN number two, Akram Atallah.

The amount of revolving door action at less-senior levels has been so frequent since 2011 that I don’t even keep track of it any more.

ICANN Pay

ICANN gave its top execs big pay raises. Along with death and taxes, this is a universal constant.

Pirate Bay founder says ICANN won’t let him be a registrar

Peter Sunde, co-founder of the controversial Pirate Bay file-sharing web service, says ICANN is unfairly refusing him a registrar accreditation and he’s not happy about it.

Sunde told DI at the weekend that his application for his new registrar, Sarek.fi, to obtain accreditation was recently denied after over 18 months on the grounds that he lied about his criminal convictions on his application form.

He denies this, saying that his crimes were not of the type ICANN vets for, and in any event they happened over a decade ago.

He thinks ICANN is scared about doing business with a disruptive and “annoying” “pain in the ass” with a history of criticizing the intellectual property industry.

Would-be registrars have to select “Yes” or “No” to the question of whether any officer or major shareholder of the company has:

within the past ten (10) years, has been convicted of a felony or of a misdemeanor related to financial activities, or has been judged by a court to have committed fraud or breach of fiduciary duty, or has been the subject of a judicial determination that is similar or related to any of these;

Sunde was convicted by a Swedish court of enabling copyright infringement via the Pirate Bay in 2009, and was sentenced to a year in prison — later reduced to eight months on appeal — and hundreds of thousands of dollars of fines.

The Pirate Bay was a web site that collected links to BitTorrent files, largely copyrighted movies and music.

Because he was not based in Sweden, Sunde avoided jail for several years despite an Interpol arrest warrant.

He eventually served five months of his sentence after being arrested in 2014.

He checked “No” on his registrar accreditation application form, on the basis that he had not been convicted of fraud or any of the other listed financial crimes, and certainly not within the last 10 years.

But ICANN took a broader interpretation, and refused him accreditation due to the Pirate Bay conviction and his Interpol status in 2014, he says.

Since then, the Org, including CEO Göran Marby (with whom he had a brief email exchange) have been ignoring his emails, he says.

Sarek.fi has already been accredited to sell ccTLD domains by the likes of Nominet, Verisign and Donuts, but ICANN’s rejection means the company won’t be able to sell gTLD names.

Sunde says he’s now faced with the likelihood of having to leave his own company in order to secure accrediation, though he’s not ruled out pursuing ICANN through its own appeals process.

He says he suspects ICANN just doesn’t want to do business with him due to his reputation as a disrupter. He’s attended ICANN meetings in the past but wants to get more involved in the policy process.

“it’s really a way for ICANN to make sure that an annoying person with media influence and with a dislike for centralised organisations and monopolies to be there to raise concerns — that they just proved valid,” he told DI in an email.

I take quite an offence to their denial. Not just on the basis of their interpretation of the law (copyright infringement is not fraud, i would have been convicted of fraud then…) Not just because it seems that it’s ok to be a murderer the past 10 years. Or a wife beater. Or a neonazi. These things that are a bit worse than being an internet activist, caring about the free and open internet. The biggest offence I take is to their obligation to the general public to have a broader membership than what they allow today.

Sarek.fi’s business model is to charge a flat fee above wholesale cost for every domain registered.

It’s Sunde’s second domain business. He launched Njalla, a Tucows reseller with a focus on protecting the privacy of registrants, in 2017.

ICANN finally cans Net 4 India

iCANN has terminated Net 4 India’s registrar accreditation, after many months of criticism and foot-dragging and a recent sharp uptick in customer complaints.

The move comes after an unprecedented four concurrent public breach notices over 20 months, almost four years after the company entered insolvency proceedings — grounds for termination which ICANN became aware of almost two years ago.

ICANN has received over 2,600 customer complaints over the last year, and almost 1,000 of these were submitted in February alone, according to the organization.

“The termination of the RAA is due to Net 4 India’s repeated and consistent breaches of the RAA and failure to cure such breaches despite multiple notices from ICANN and opportunity to cure,” ICANN said in its ginormous 59-page execution warrant (pdf).

Among the charges ICANN levels at Net4 is its failure to operate a functioning Whois service, something it’s warned the company about 30 times since November.

This hindered ICANN’s ability to investigate the more serious charges — that Net4 transferred some of its customers’ domains to a different registrar, OpenProvider, without their knowledge or consent, in violation of ICANN transfer policies.

The registrar also failed to enable its customers to renew their expired domains or transfer them to other registrars, also in violation of binding policy, ICANN said.

ICANN said:

Currently, more than 400 cases remain unresolved; and hundreds of complaints are still under review, which, once vetted, will become more new cases. In addition, ICANN Contractual Compliance continues to receive more than 20 new complaints each day. And it is not known how many more complaints are pending with Net 4 India that have not yet been brought to ICANN’s attention.

The termination notice contains 10 pages of complaints from Net4 customers, saying their domains could not be renewed or transferred. Some came from non-profits and hospitals. One registrant said he was contemplating suicide.

Net4’s customer service was non-responsive in each of these cases, the complainants said.

While some of Net4’s problems could be chalked down to coronavirus-related restrictions, the company has been in trouble for much longer.

It entered insolvency proceedings in 2017 after a debt recovery company called Edelweiss bought roughly $28 million of unpaid debt from the State Bank of India and took Net4 to court.

ICANN did not find out about this until April 2019 — it’s probably not a coincidence that this was the same month Net4 was late paying its first ICANN invoice — and it issued its first public breach notice in June that year.

Insolvency is grounds for termination in itself under the Registrar Accreditation Agreement.

It’s never been clearly stated why ICANN did not escalate at that time. Had it done so, it could have saved Net4’s customers from a world of hurt.

The Indian insolvency court admitted last month that it had no jurisdiction over ICANN or the Registrar Accreditation Agreement, both of which are governed primarily by California law.

Nevertheless, the court asked ICANN to not terminate Net4’s contract until after April 25, to give the company time to get its house in order.

But the termination notice, issued on Friday, will see the RAA cut off March 13. ICANN notes that it hasn’t heard from the court-appointed resolution professional, to whom previous breach notices were addressed, since mid-January.

Affected domains — there are still thousands under Net4’s accreditation — will be moved to another registrar under ICANN’s De-Accredited Registrar Transition Procedure.

Net4 could have a say in where its domains wind up. It’s already an OpenProvider reseller so that’s a possibility. Otherwise, ICANN will pick a beneficiary from a queue of qualified candidates.

ICANN declares coronavirus a “natural disaster” to protect expired domains

Registrants unable to renew their domain names when they expire may not lose them, following a decree from ICANN today.

The organization has declared the coronavirus a “natural disaster” and invoked part of the Registrar Accreditation Agreement that permits registrars to keep hold of domains that have come to the end of their post-expiration renewal period.

Under the RAA, registrars have to delete domains a maximum of 45 days after the reg period expires, unless there are “extenuating circumstances” such as an ongoing UDRP case, lawsuit or technical stability dangers.

There’s no accounting for natural disasters in the contract, but ICANN has the discretion to name any “other circumstance as approved specifically by ICANN” an extenuating circumstance. That’s what it’s done here.

It’s invoked this provision once before, following Hurricane Maria in late 2017.

ICANN said that policies to specifically protect domains in the event of natural disasters should be considered.

The new coronavirus exception applies to all registrars in all gTLDs, although implementation will vary by registrar.

The announcement follows Verisign’s announcement last week that it is waiving its registry-level restore fee for .com and .net domains until June 1.

ICANN enters talks to kill off Whois for good

Kevin Murphy, October 23, 2019, Domain Tech

Whois’ days are numbered.
ICANN is to soon enter talks with accredited registrars and contracted gTLD registries with the aim of naming a date to finally “sunset” the aging protocol.
It wants to negotiate amendments to the Registrar Accreditation Agreement and Registry Agreement with a view to replacing obligations to publish Whois with obligations to publish Registration Data Access Protocol data.
In letters to the chairs of its registrar and registry constituencies this week, ICANN CEO Göran Marby wrote:

The primary focus of the amendment is to incorporate contractual requirements for the Registration Data Access Protocol (RDAP) into the Registration Data Directory Services. This should include definition of the plan and provisions to sunset the obligations related to the WHOIS protocol as we transition Registration Data Services to RDAP.

For avoidance of doubt, people will still be able to look up the contact information for domain name owners after the change, but the data they see (very likely redacted for privacy reasons nowadays) will be delivered over a different protocol.
The contract amendment processes involve both registry and registrar constituencies to nominate a few people to engage in talks with ICANN negotiators, which is expected to conclude within 90 days.
When they come up with mutually acceptable language, the amendments will be open for both public comment and a vote of registries and registrars, before going to the ICANN board of directors for final approval.
The voting process is complex, designed to avoid capture by the largest registrars, and based on a balance of the number of voting registrars and the number of domains they collectively manage.
The contractual changes will come as no surprise to contracted parties, which have been on-notice for years that Whois is on its way out in favor of RDAP.
Most registrars already operate an RDAP server in parallel to their old Whois service, following an ICANN deadline in August.
We could be looking at the death of Whois within a year.

Spam is not our problem, major domain firms say ahead of ICANN 66

Kevin Murphy, October 21, 2019, Domain Policy

Eleven of the largest domain name registries and registrars have denied that spam is something they should have to deal with, unless it’s used to proliferate other types of abuse such as phishing or malware.
In a newly published “Framework to Address Abuse” (pdf), the companies attempt to define the term “DNS abuse” narrowly to capture only five (arguably only four and a half) specific types of online threat.
That abuse comprises malware, phishing, botnets, pharming and spam.
The companies agree that these are activities which registrars and registries “must” act upon.
But the document notes that not all spam is its responsibility, stating:

While Spam alone is not DNS Abuse, we include it in the five key forms of DNS Abuse when it is used as a delivery mechanism for the other four forms of DNS Abuse. In other words, generic unsolicited e-mail alone does not constitute DNS Abuse, but it would constitute DNS Abuse if that e-mail is part of a phishing scheme.

In other words, registrars and registries should not feel responsible for the billions of spams sent every day using their domains, unless the spam runs further malware, phishing, pharming or botnet abuse.
The signatories of the framework are Public Interest Registry, GoDaddy, Donuts, Tucows, Amazon Registry Services, Blacknight, Afilias, Name.com, Amazon Registrar, Neustar, and Nominet UK.
It may seem like they’ve presented a surprisingly narrow definition, but it’s in line with what current ICANN contracts dictate.
Neither the standard Registry Agreement nor Registrar Accreditation Agreement mention spam at all. Six years ago, ICANN specifically said that spam is “outside of ICANN’s scope and authority”.
Under the RA, registries have to oblige their registrars to ban registrants from “distributing malware, abusively operating botnets, phishing, piracy, trademark or copyright infringement, fraudulent or deceptive practices, counterfeiting or otherwise engaging in activity contrary to applicable law”.
They also have to maintain statistical reports on the amount of “pharming, phishing, malware, and botnets” in their zones, and provide those reports to ICANN upon demand. A recent audit found that 5% of registries, mainly dot-brands, were not doing this.
However, ICANN’s Domain Abuse Activity Reporting system, an effort to provide some transparency into how gTLDs are being abused, does in fact track spam. It does not track pharming, which is a fairly obscure and little-used form of DNS attack.
The DAAR report for September shows that spam constituted 73% of all tracked abuse.
The ICANN board of directors today identified DAAR as one of a few dozen priorities for the coming year.
Similarly, the cross-community working group known as the CCT Review Team, which was tasked with looking into how the new gTLD program has impacted competition and consumer trust, had harsh words for spam-friendly registries, and provided a definition of “DNS Security Abuse” that specifically included “high volume spam”.
The review recommended that ICANN introduce more measures to force contracted parties to deal with this type of abuse. This could include incentives for registries to clean up their zones and abuse volume thresholds that would automatically trigger compliance actions.
The new framework document comes in the context of an ongoing debate within the ICANN community about what “DNS abuse” is.
Two partners at Interisle, a security consultancy that often works for ICANN, recently guest-posted on DI to say that this term has become meaningless and should be abandoned in favor of “security threat”.
They argued that the definition should include not only spam, but also stuff like IP infringement, election interference, and terrorism.
But the main threat to contracted parties probably comes from the Governmental Advisory Committee, backed by law enforcement, which is pushing for stronger rules covering abusive content.
During a webinar last week, the US Federal Trade Commission, the FBI, and Europol argued that registries and registrars should be obliged to do more to combat abuse, specifically including spam.
“Whether or not you call it phishing or spam or whether it has a malware payload or not, ultimately it’s all email, and email remains the most common tool of cybercriminals to ensnare their victims, and that’s why we in law enforcement care about the domains used to send emails,” said Gabriel Andrews of the FBI’s Cyber Initiative Resource Fusion Unit, on the call.
Registries and registrars countered, using the same language found in the new framework, that generic spam is a content issue, and outside of their remit.
The two sides are set to clash again at ICANN’s annual general meeting in Montreal next month, in a November 6 face-to-face session.
While 11 entities signed the new framework, it’s arguably only nine companies. Name.com is owned by Donuts and both Amazon firms obviously have the same parent.
But it does include the two largest registrars, and registries responsible for running several hundred commercial gTLDs, dot-brands and ccTLDs.
While none of the signatories of the framework have a particular reputation for being spam-friendly, other companies in the industry — particularly some of the newest and cheapest new gTLDs — tend to attract spammers like flies to a turd.
Some of the signatories are perhaps surprising, given their past or ongoing behavior to tackle content-based abuse in their own zones.
Nominet, notably, takes down tens of thousands of domains ever year based on little more than police assurances that the domains are being used to sell counterfeit merchandise or infringe copyright.
The .uk registry also preemptively suspends domains based on algorithms that guess whether they’re likely to be seen as encouraging sexual violence or could be used in phishing attacks.
Donuts also has a trusted notifier relationship with the movie and music industries that has seen it take down dozens of names being used for mass copyright infringement.
PIR has previous endorsed, then unendorsed, the principal of a “UDRP for copyright”, a method of giving Big Content a way of going through due process to have domains taken or suspended.
Outside the spam issue, while the new registry-registrar framework says that registries and registrars should not get involved in matters related to web site content, it also says they nevertheless “should” (as opposed, one assumes based on the jargon usually found in internet standards, to “must”) suspend domains when they’re being used to distribute:

(1) child sexual abuse materials (“CSAM”); (2) illegal distribution of opioids online; (3) human trafficking; and (4) specific and credible incitements to violence.

These are exceptions because they constitute “the physical and often irreversible threat to human life”, the framework says.
Ultimately, this all boils down to a religious debate about where the line is drawn between “DNS” and “content”, it seems to me.
The contracted parties draw the line at threats to human life, whereas others want action on other forms of abuse largely because registries and registrars are in the best position to help.

After .org price outrage, ICANN says it has NOT scrapped public comments

Kevin Murphy, October 11, 2019, Domain Policy

ICANN this evening said that it will continue to open up gTLD registry contract amendments for public comment periods, despite posting information yesterday suggesting that it would stop doing so.
The organization recently formalized what it calls “internal guidelines” on when public comment periods are required, and provided a summary in a blog post yesterday.
It was very easy to infer from the wording of the post that ICANN, in the wake of the controversy over the renegotiation of Public Interest Registry’s .org contract, had decided to no longer ask for public comments on future legacy gTLD contract amendments.
I inferred as much, as did another domain news blogger and a few other interested parties I pinged today.
I asked ICANN if that was a correct inference and Cyrus Namazi, head of ICANN’s Global Domains Division, replied:

No, that is not correct. All Registry contract amendments will continue to be posted for public comment same as before.

He went on to say that contract changes that come about as a result of Registry Service Evaluation Process requests or stuff like change of ownership will continue to not be subject to full public comment periods (though RSEP does have its own, less-publicized comment system).
The ICANN blog post lists several scenarios in which ICANN is required to open a public comment period. On the list is this:

ICANN org base agreements with registry operators and registrars.

The word “base” raised at least eight eyebrows of people who read the post, including my two.
The “base” agreements ICANN has with registries and registrars are the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement and the 2012/2017 Registry Agreement.
The RAA applies to all accredited registrars and the base RA applies to all new gTLD registries that applied in the 2012 round.
Registries that applied for, or were already running, gTLDs prior to 2012 all have bespoke contracts that have been gradually brought more — but not necessarily fully — into line with the 2012/17 RA in renewal renegotiations over the last several years.
In all cases, the renegotiated legacy contracts have been subject to public comment, but in no cases have the comments had any meaningful impact on their ultimate approval by ICANN.
The most recent such renewal was Public Interest Registry’s .org contract.
Among the changes were the introduction of the Uniform Rapid Suspension anti-cybersquatting policy, and the removal of price caps that had limited PIR to a 10% increase per year.
The comment period on this contract attracted over 3,200 comments, almost all of which objected to the price regulation changes or the URS.
But the contract was signed regardless, unaffected by the comments, which caused one registrar, NameCheap, to describe the process as a “sham”.
With this apparently specific reference to “base” agreements coming so soon thereafter, it’s easy to see how we could have assumed ICANN had decided to cut off public comment on these contentious issues altogether, but that appears to not be the case.
What this seems to mean is that when .com next comes up for renewal, it will be open for comment.