Despite the clear findings in this case, it is far from certain that Amazon will eventually get hold of its namesake top-level domain.
The .xxx domain was finally approved, but remains the only time in which ICANN hasn't doubled-down and found another way to reject an application.
The .africa case is still in legal limbo four years later. And the .inc, .llp and .llc case remains stuck in an internal investigation that has been going on for nearly a year.
That investigation is being overseen by the very people implicated as responsible for breaking the bylaws in the first place: ICANN general counsel John Jeffrey and Board Governance Committee chairman Chris Disspain.
When it comes to the .amazon decision, ICANN is caught between a rock and a hard place: the world's governments on one hand and a rich and powerful American corporation on the other. As we noted back in 2015: "Typically in these situations, ICANN makes the wrong decision."
And so it has done again. But the real, deeper issue is not what the right decision is – because there is no truly correct answer – but that ICANN has again made a decision based on its own internal, secret decision-making and then distorted its processes, ignored its rules and broken its own bylaws to get there.
As with the .africa case, if ICANN had simply followed its own procedures it would likely have arrived at the exact same point and the same decision, but with a body of work that would hold up to independent scrutiny.
As it is, the ongoing immaturity of the organization – coupled with an endemic lack of accountability and the petty, small-minded attitude held by senior executives and lead board members – has meant that the organization has, yet again, thoroughly embarrassed itself. ®
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