ICANN CEO explains domain “hogging” comments made during the Davos Annual Meeting.
ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé has responded (pdf) to a letter from Internet Commerce Association (ICA) regarding domain “hogging” comments he made in a Huffington Post interview.
In a video interview with Huffington Post in January, Chehadé said:
“The reality is, the more there are names, the less people will actually be hogging names in order to charge a lot for them. Because if somebody took your name on dot-x, you can go get another name on dot-y now.” and “We went from twenty-something top-level domains … to hundreds now… We think it will actually reduce cybersquatting eventually.”
ICA and many domain name investors took issue with this.
ICA’s February 6 letter pointed out that new top level domain name registries are taking a similar role to domain investors by holding back or charging premiums for domain names. Chehadé responded that this is indeed the case, and that he was actually referring to this in the original interview:
As you might have gathered from the reporter’s questions, some people have asked whether the new gTLD program might have created an opportunity for “land grabb[ing]” by industry insiders. It was not my impression that the question being asked referred to established practices in the secondary market; rather, I believe the reporter was inquiring about some of the very practices by registries you cited in your letter. My response — that alternatives are available in different gTLDs — was intended to try to allay the concern that the program was creating artificial scarcity of domains, not to criticize participants in the marketplace. Registry operators and registrars have the freedom to be innovative both in service offering and pricing. With the introduction of new gTLDs, the marketplace will effectively decide whether the practice of, e.g., holding back or selling “premium” registrations will be successful or not.
Chehadé said he also wasn’t equating cybersquatting with legitimate domain name investing.