A November 27, 2012 article on Slate ICANN, Make a Difference by Sascha Meinrath and Elliot Noss makes a suggestion of what can be done with the $100,000,000 plus of “Excess funds” anticipated by ICANN. While the philosophy behind how to use the funds can be rationally debated, perhaps we should first look at why ICANN, presumably a non-profit organization supporting the Internet, is ending up with these vast sums. Considering this is money being sucked out of large corporations who get their funds from consumers, is this in the consumer’s best interest?
The domain name market, or perhaps better called the domain name racket, sucks an annual rental fee from domain name holders that when multiplied hundreds of millions ends up being a lot of money. Spending a few million to bid on a TLD would easily return to the investor many times over in annual rental fees.
Domain names, formally a free service operated by just one man, have exploded into a multibillion dollar industry because of a rental policy. It is wildly assumed that this is the way it has to be because of the technology of the Internet. However, this is just policy and technology can easily eliminate the rental model.
Why would ICANN want to change from a rental model to an ownership model when they would rather deal with “excessive funds” and have a history of self-generosity? It is reasonable to assume that they have no desire to change the model. The only solution is to have it forced upon them.
ShofarDomain is building an RFC compatible domain name system that allows rented ICANN sanctioned domain names to continue as is. Those that want to submit to annual wallet sucking rental fees may continue in that financial surgery. However those who prefer the concept of paying once and owning a domain may find the ShofarDomain model preferable.
With the ShofarDomain ownership model “excessive funds” is unlikely because they are never spent in the first place. When free market completion replaces a monopoly we assume that most consumers might be less inclined to support organizations that turn their dollars into “excessive funds.” The ownership model for domain name is an idea whose time has come.