Chehadé Criticises Domainers, and Domainers and Allies Kick Up Stink

Fadi Chehadé imageParts of the domain name world have acted with incredulity to the ICANN CEO and President’s comments on people “hogging names in order to charge a lot for them.” Obviously Fadi Chehadé’s comments were aimed at domainers, and some in the media as well as domainers are not happy.

Chehadé explained to the Huffington Post at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, how we “went from twenty-something” TLDs to hundreds thanks to one simple change.

“The reality is, the more there are names, the less people will actually be hogging names in order to charge a lot for them,” Chehadé told HuffPost Live at Davos on Saturday. “Because if somebody took your name on dot X, you can go get another name on dot Y now.”

Chehadé also said the ability to type a web address in different languages like Arabic provides people with more power to obtain unique domain names.

“These are powerful things we did,” he said. “To globalise the domain name system, to open it up, to allow for a lot of new innovation.”

“Innovation will flourish on a broader domain name system,” he added.

Part of the criticism comes because ICANN profits from domainers. A small amount of every domain registration goes to ICANN, hence adding overall a lot to the ICANN bottom line with the view that it’s hypocritical.

But in reality this criticism is unjustified. There are all sorts of comparisons that could be made, but to say that the supplier of every service or product approves of every way the product or service is used is wrong. But rarely will the supplier stop supplying if the use is within the laws.

There are even those that directly benefit financially from domainers that don’t approve of their actions. One mid-tier registrar told this writer some time ago the wholesale registry fee for domains, that is the fee charged to registrars, should be much higher to get rid of domainers. Undoubtedly this registrar’s business and personal finances would suffer significantly.

A higher registration fee would have little impact on companies and others wanting to use domain names, apart from domainers, cybersquatters and typosquatters, as a domain name is such a small price in the cost of building a website, operating an email server and other uses of domains. The registrar speaking off the record believed that higher registry fees would also largely end cybersquatting and typosquatting, two blights on the industry.

To call Chehadé’s comments “pretty ignorant” as one domainer-friendly commentator did is pretty ignorant in itself. ICANN has lots of questions to answer, and an obviously important role to play, but Chehadé, whether you agree with him or not, raised a point that many in the industry agree with. It’s just not one that you’d expect someone in his position to say.