Breakway county code chief Willie Black, chief of the UK registrar Nominent, sounded a conciliatory note towards ICANN today. Having read the riot act to ICANN in Los Angeles, and with the ccTLDs unanimously voting to withdraw from the key DNSO support organisation, Black thinks ICANN is much more prepared to do business now. However he staked his claim for formal representation on the main ICANN board for the country code registrars, and representation as a fully fledged support-organisation status.
"The discontent is less than it used to be," he told us today. "There's a good positive approach from Lynn," he says, which is in marked contrast to the "military" manner of his predecessor as ICANN CEO, Maximum Leader (and now presumably Maximum CFO) Mike Roberts. "Stuart knows he isn't going to browbeat two hundred and fifty countries into the ground," said Black.
"Because we pay a third of the piper, it's fair that we should have some say in the tune," he told us. "Less and less ccTLD representatives have stopped going to DNSO meetings - I didn't go to the last few," he said. "ICANN is appearing to be much more reasonable to the ccTLDs now."
"I don't know if standing up and shouting had an effect - but I'd like to think we pushed them in the right direction!", he chuckled. He didn't characterize the breakaway as going nuclear, and dismissed the idea that the move had been made with ICANN's blessing, as an email reported at ICANNWatch suggests.
The ccTLDs will not be leaving ICANN, he stressed. But the price of good relations seems to be fully fledged support-organisation status for the country code registrars, and at least one seat on the board. As the ccTLDs provide a third of ICANN's operating income, it's easy to see grounds for the ccTLDs discontent in the labyrinthine ICANN process.
Black said the country code chiefs haven't discussed what they'd need to be mollified: "we haven't looked that far ahead," he says. More important than the number of board seats is the issue of support organisation status, which would give the registrars the "ability to be able to be seen." So how many board seats would he like to see, exactly? "More than zero," he told us. "At least one board member - three is a moot point,"
Black had a harsh words for the private Idealab sponsored domain alternative new.net, comparing them to script kiddies. "Anyone who tries to intefere with the world root is tantamount to writing a virus," he says. And unsurprisingly is scornful of suggestions that other alternative roots could provide a working alternative.
"There'd be chaos," he said. "You'd simply be transferring the problem from one domain to the root." ®