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ICANN Surprises DotTV With Criticism, Denial

November 20, 2000|KAREN KAPLAN

Meanwhile, two other groups of companies led by Idealab-backed DotTV applied for the suffixes .nom and .pro.

Neither proposal fared well in reviews conducted by ICANN staff members and a group of outside advisors. The reviewers said the DotNom Consortium's application was technically weak, and that the business plan submitted by the DotPro Consortium wasn't specific enough.

After striking a high-profile deal to register Internet addresses that end in .tv--the suffix assigned to the Pacific Island nation of Tuvalu--and signing up more than 100,000 customers in six months, Pasadena-based DotTV surely wasn't expecting criticism from ICANN.

So when DotTV executives stepped to the microphone to address the ICANN board during the three minutes allotted to each applicant, they lashed out at the group that had insulted their proposals.

ICANN's review process had "glaring deficiencies," including "a fundamental lack of due process," said DotTV Chief Executive Lou Kerner, speaking on behalf of the DotNom Consortium. He said the reviews were hastily done to accommodate an "accelerated timeline" and that three minutes of speaking time was "not an appropriate amount of time given the $50,000 application fee" paid by the applicants.

Kerner's comments, and others made later by DotTV Chief Operating Officer Craig Frances on behalf of the DotPro Consortium, received some applause from members of the audience. But they were not at all well received by members of the ICANN board, who implied that their comments were little more than sour grapes.

Board Chairwoman Esther Dyson admonished Kerner, noting that by criticizing ICANN instead of defending his application, he "didn't spend his time well." Fellow board member Alejandro Pisanty told Kerner he had sacrificed his lunch hours to read his application twice and then asked sarcastically whether he should read it again.

When the board voted the next day, neither DotNom nor DotPro was a contender. Representatives from ICANN had no comment on the matter.

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