Markets in Internet Domains

ISOC, which owns the .org Internet domain, wants to sell the address to a company called Ethos, which wants to go into a for-profit business managing Internet domains or Internet addresses. ICANN has to approve the sale before it can go through.

The free market competition that would result from the sale and others like it is supposed to knell the end of the Internet. The Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board likes the idea.

They’re both wrong, and they’re both being hysterical about it.

ICANN, and ISOC, come to that, have done a fine job of managing the domains within their purview. I’m not sure that’s a thing needing fixing, so I’m spring-loaded against the sale of any their domains to Ethos or any other organization.

Competition? Of course. Let Ethos generate its own domain or suite of domains to compete with the .org domain. Let Ethos and other private enterprises create their own domains or suites of them to compete with the existing ICANN-overseen domains like .com, .edu, .[whatevs].

Simply passing a domain from one manager to another does nothing for competition; that’s just a game of Two-Card Monte.

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