Verisign questions ICANN’s letter posting policies

Company suggests ICANN is only posting letters that “will advance its positions”.

VerisignVerisign has sent a letter to ICANN questioning why it isn’t publishing certain correspondence on the web site.

ICANN has a section on its web site where it publishes many letters it receives and sends.

But Verisign says ICANN hasn’t published three prior letters the company sent regarding the proposed new domain registry agreement. The company says it is aware of other letters sent to ICANN regarding the registry contract that have not been published.

Verisign’s latest letter has been “published” because the company submitted it to the comment board about the contract.

The new letter includes three previous letters the company sent to Verisign’s general counsel dated February 20, February 15, and January 30. Verisign did not receive a response to the letters, nor were they published.

The February 20th letter criticizes ICANN for what it says is a lack of transparency and selective disclosure of correspondence related to the new TLD program. Verisign points out that ICANN published the Verisigns’s January 8 letter declining to participate in ICANN’s contractual compliance audit (which was negative for Verisign) but hasn’t published Verisign’s recent letters about the registry agreement.

“Because ICANN has published no criteria on how it decides to make letters public, we are left to conclude that ICANN posts only those letters it believes will advance its positions and withholds those thought to be critical,” the company wrote.

A quick look at the correspondence page shows that ICANN does publish critical letters, but it’s also true that none of Verisign’s letters included in the post have been published.

I have reached out to ICANN for clarification on what its rules are (if any) for publishing correspondence on its web site.


  1. says

    VeriSign is echoing my past concerns. Indeed, I asked a question in one of the ICANN Public Forums last year, and then followed it up with a formal DIDP request, see:

    Request 20120315-1 has my question, and ICANN’s feeble reply, which is inconsistent with ICANN’s bylaws that state it should operate “to the maximum extent feasible in an open and transparent manner.”

  2. John Berryhill says

    It would seem this is because ICANN opened a public comment period on the agreement, and has made ALL of the correspondence received on that subject available in the place where the public comments are received and published.

    What Verisign is saying amounts to “why didn’t our comment get its own special place.” If the point was that they wanted their letter published on the ICANN website, then there was a process for doing that, and doing that for EVERYONE who wanted to comment on the contract.

    • says

      @ John Berryhill – was thinking the same thing — it kind of annoys me when a company submits a letter when there’s an open comment period. That said, many of these letters were sent before the comment period opened. To me that’s different.

  3. John Berryhill says

    It may be different. However, the objection is still “ICANN isn’t publishing our letters on their website.”

    Is Verisign publishing it on theirs?

    What is the issue, pick one or more:

    1. ICANN is ignoring Verisign;

    2. ICANN isn’t publishing every piece of mail they receive;

    3. ICANN is making it difficult for people to find out that Verisign has issues with the proposed registry contract; or

    roll your own.

    The motivation here is that Verisign wants to use ICANN’s correspondence page as their soapbox. Did anyone ever think that every piece of correspondence to and from ICANN is published on that page? I never did. Perhaps what ICANN believes is of interest to the community in connection with the proposed registry contract is broader than the concerns of one entity who spent a lot on litigation with ICANN to get the contract they have.

  4. John Berryhill says

    And, finally, did they submit this to the ICANN Ombudsman?

    That’s what he’s there for.

  5. Frantisek Mrazek says

    Well Verisign is in domain world the most important company, like 95% of importancy of all companies combined…

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