ICANN has proposed to give the dot-org bid to ISOC. Despite the IMS/ISC’s strong support from the community and endorsements from captains of the industry, and the fact that it’s run by several people who have build important parts of the Internet’s core foundation, ICANN’s evaluatiors Gartner and Academic CIO have given them “bottom-tier” ratings in technical ability.

In the Gartner report (PDF) after skipping through 20 pages of absolutely useless graphs and stock photography we come to their real reasons for rejecting the IMS/ISC proposal: “Did not demonstrate experience […] Responses were very brief (few block diagrams) and many unknowns remain.” Few block diagrams?! They rejected it because it had too few block diagrams? Although it lauds it as “One of the few proposals that discusses non-technical components of the transition such as staffing” they then complain that “the applicant’s team does not have the demonstrated ability to conduct the type of transition needed”.

NCDNHC’s evaluation (also PDF) states “This applicant’s approach to differentiaton was unique and, to some members of the committee, highly appealing, but also flawed in key respects.” They noted “this is the only applicant [interested] in ‘reducing the number of domains sold’” but complain it is weak in “articulating strategies”, market research and advertising. “We are concerned […] this bidder [will simply] pursue their own notions of what is technically elegant or interesting.”

“This bid has been extremely difficult to quantify. The principals have dedicated their professional lives to the Internet community, and the Comittee has the highest respect for their achievements.” Their open source promise is “a sincere comitment to manage the registry as a public resource” and “their transparency mechanisms are also impressive” but they have “no formal governance or input mechanism” and their bid was “highly personalized in the entreprenurial character of the bidders”. Donating to IETF and IAB showed concern only for the “traditional technical community” not the “broader noncommercial community”.

However, they were number one in public support with a score of 84. Unity Registry was #2 at 28 and Internet Society was #3 at 22. Hm, anyne else see a gap between 84 and 22? They note that the endorsements were “disproportionately of owners of personal and family websites, bloggers and small-scale technical consultants.” Meanwhile, ISOC “does not seem to have sought or received [support] from outside fo ISOC.” Averaging the ratings put IMS/ISC in the number 2 slot, just after Unity Registry so they applied some made up “normalization” to push them down into third place, which they categorized as “middle-tier” (i.e. a B).

This feels like some school assignment where the teacher won’t tell you what she wants, but then fails you because you didn’t include any pictures of flamingos. You could have easily added pink flamingos if you’d know that’s what they wanted, but you were supposed to read her mind to figure that out. Perhaps ISOC is a pretty good mind-reader, but it seems more likely that there was a little bit of talking going on behind the scenes. Now that they’ve learned their lesson, perhaps they’ll try again next time with a joint IMS/ISC/IMC/ISS bid.

ICANNWatch speculates why in an article entitled “Insiders win again?”: “It will also reek of a ‘done deal’ since people have been saying for more than two years that top ICANN honchos wanted to give .org to ISOC to bail it out of its financial hole.” Maybe ISOC wouldn’t need so much money if they didn’t spend it all on sponsoring O’Reilly conferences… An anonymous poster goes so far as to suggest that ICANN commisioned multiple evaluations and picked the one that best fit the result they wanted.

Bret Fausett is also highly skeptical. “I thought someone had hacked my channel and was playing a joke on me.” “While Afilias may well have the best infrastructure, the idea that funds from .org registrants will be skimmed to support ISOC programs is not only bad policy but contrary to what the Board has previously expressed.” Giving IMS/ISC a C grade “at least raises a question with me as to whether the evaluation process had the right set of priorities, since I don’t see how that team could rank below other proposals on the technical side.”

posted August 20, 2002 11:00 AM (Technology) #


Dr. Suess is Fifth Highest Grossing Dead Celebrity
Car Factories and Post Offices
Electronic Pulsing Spam-Killing Superbrain
Introducing… Warchalking! The New Swhack!
IMS/ISC out of the ICANN Running
Fireworks of Failure
Software and Source Code
Vote Hank Perritt
Dear Bigshot
Scientology threatened by “unadulterated cyber-terrorism”

Aaron Swartz (me@aaronsw.com)