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Namecheap escalates .Org challenge

Registrar files rebuttal, moving toward Independent Review Process.

Logo for .org domain, featuring a blue circle with white letters spelling ORG

Namecheap has filed a rebuttal to ICANN’s board decision on its reconsideration request over the new .org contract. It is also filing for Independent Review, starting with the voluntary Cooperative Engagement Process (CEP).

The registrar is challenging ICANN’s staff deciding to remove price caps from .org domain names.

In the rebuttal (pdf), Namecheap summarizes its argument that is bolstered by the proposed agreement by Public Interest Registry to sell to a for-profit private equity company.

First, ICANN’s reliance upon Professor Carlton’s 2009 analysis is misguided because it is an opinion not based upon evidence or facts, but relies upon outdated and incomplete assumptions. Second, ICANN claims that the Base RA was developed through the ICANN policy process, however there is no evidence to suggest that those participants intended or considered the Base RA to apply to legacy TLDs (rather it was clear the intent was to develop an agreement for new gTLD registries only). Third, ICANN’s failure to incorporate essentially unanimous public comments in support of price caps shows that ICANN will do as it pleases regardless of whether it solicits public comments. And finally, the recent purchase of Public Interest Registry (PIR), the operator of the .org TLD by an equity firm and its subsequent conversion into a for profit, along with the intermingling of ex-ICANN executives and industry insiders requires that ICANN review this purchase in detail and take necessary steps to ensure that .org domains are not used a source of revenue to support expansion by PIR or payment of dividends to PIR’s shareholders (which are against the original nonprofit origins of the .org TLD).

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Author: Andrew Allemann

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