Tell me what you think I should do at ICANN

I am planning to take an open and consultative approach to my new job as general manager of public participation of ICANN, so I figured I might as well start now by asking people what they thought I should concentrate on first with a poll on this website.

I will actually stop writing about ICANN on this blog and move it to a blog I will set up soon specifically for my new role, but since I haven’t actually started working for ICANN yet, in the meantime everything will appear here.

Before getting to the poll though, the results of the previous poll.

Not my most brilliant poll, as was made clear by a fifth of respondents pointing out they didn’t like any of my options. The question was wrong. It was: “In Internet terms, will 2007 be the year of:

But then I listed basically only Net governance issues. The biggest missing topic was, of course, “security”. But I wonder what people wanted to vote on. Probably something like “user-interaction” or “video” or something. Anyway, the results were:

* The mobile Internet (34%)
* None of the above (21%)
* New gTLDs (11%)
* Enhanced co-operation (10%)
* ICANN coming good (10%)
* IGF Rio (10%)
* IPv6 (3%)

Total Votes: 61

Now, as to my new ICANN poll. It is:

What should I focus on first in my ICANN job?

* Making processes clearer
* Online collaboration tools
* Getting ICANN staff to blog etc
* Improve ICANN’s website
* Multi-lingual efforts
* Consultation before making changes

I’ll try to avoid the same issue as last time. If someone thinks an option is missing, stick it on a comment on this post and if I think you have a point, I will add it to the options.

The poll itself should be on the right-hand side of the page (possibly at the bottom). If you can’t find it, it has a whole page here.

Anyway please vote and please do contact me if you are itching to tell me something about how ICANN should be run.

  1. Focus on efforts geared at restoring At-Large Directors to the ICANN Board; the public needs to participate at the Board level.

  2. Well that would be the NomCom review then, no?

    And only two responses in six weeks…


  3. Thanks for asking!

    Your poll includes “Making processes clearer”. But that suggests that the processes exist, and merely aren’t clear enough — i.e. that all that’s needed is public education. It’s sufficeitnly clear that ICANN’s existing procedures don’t comply with its bylaws. What’s needed are *better* procedures and compliance with the existing bylaws, not just more clarity.

    A purported “summary” of the comments on transparency and accountability was posted today by ICANN:

    This summary says, “One common theme was the need for the Board to be held accountable to the community, (Graham, Hasbrouck) although there were few concrete ideas on how this might be achieved.”

    In fact, I gave a specific list of concrete ideas on how this might be accomplished:

    One of these was filling the position to which you have been appointed. I urge you to make the rest of this list your first priorities.

    (The summary also says falsely that, “There was acknowledgement that these processes exist currently in the form of the Reconsideration Committee of the Board and the Independent Review process.” In fact, none of the respondents “acknowledged” that there are duly-adopted independent review procedures in place, and several including myself specifically said there are no such duly-adopted procedures.)

  4. Hey Ed,

    Well, you know that I will look at it and I will do whatever I can to make sure that anything unhelpful will not be repeated.

    But I know already I will never be in a position to go back in time. So if you want to have that fight, have it, but I am not in a position to help.

    I raise this because this is my blog that you are posting to.

    However, from this point on, feel free to contact me, email me, whatever.


  5. To Danny Younger, re: Focus on efforts geared at restoring At-Large Directors to the ICANN Board; the public needs to participate at the Board level. —

    Vittorio Bertola

    At Large Advisory Committee Liaison
    Vittorio Bertola sits on the ICANN board as a non-voting liaison representing the At-Large Advisory Committee. From Turin, Italy, Vittorio holds a degree cum laude in Electronical Engineering from Politecnico di Torino. He deals with the Internet in all its aspects, including technical, business, social and political matters, as an entrepreneur, writer, activist and engineer.

    While working as a freelance consultant in policy and technical projects, he is also a partner in Dynamic Fun, a company he cofounded that lies among the innovation leaders in Italy for what pertains to the usage of wireless and Internet technologies to improve logistical and commercial processes in corporations and to enhance public services. He was previously a promoter of Vitaminic, one of the most successful dot-com companies in Italy, serving as its Vice President for Technology, a position he held from the foundation of the company through its multinational growth and IPO in Milan’s New Market. He previously worked for Omnitel (now Vodafone Italy) and for Politecnico di Torino where, as a student, he was an elected Board Member.

    He is often busy as a conference speaker, a renowned blogger and a writer for Italian newsletters and magazines. He has also dealt for many years with Internet policies at the national and international level. He was a member of the United Nations Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG), appointed by the UN Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan, and is a member of the Internet Governance Consulting Committee of the Italian government, appointed by Minister Luigi Nicolais. He represents the global Internet users on the Board of ICANN, the global policy-making entity for Internet domain names. He is a Councillor of Società Internet, the Italian chapter of the Internet Society, and served as a member on the policy boards of top-level domain names such as .it and .mobi. Over the past ten years, he has promoted a number of online initiatives, which have made him a well known figure on the Italian Internet.

    Vittorio Bertola was selected as non-voting liaison to the ICANN Board by the At-Large Advisory Committee in December 2006. Board liaison terms end (subject to possible re-appointment) after the conclusion of ICANN’s annual meeting each year.

  6. I’ve just re-read my post and I don’t think I was fair there, Ed. It was the end of a very long day.

    Yes of course I will consider your points. Although I have to say the message is pretty aggressive and lacking in solid detail i.e. “With immediate effect, require all ICANN bodies to operate transparently, to the maximum extent feasible.” Yes, but how precisely? Alot of material is posted on the Net which in many ways makes the various bodies transparent. But it is the wrong kind of transparency.

    Anyway I intend to be very open about my plans and ideas, so you should be able to follow my thought processes and what I am doing. And I will always welcome comments, especially ones that are constructively critical.

    I should explain that my slightly petulant comment above was trying to say that I think the only way to get some useful change will be to concentrate on making the process better from this point on, rather than look backwards. I have no powers of review, I don’t have any right to force consideration or decision – you need to talk to Board members for that.

    However what I will do is find any lessons there may be from your particular case and try to make sure they are learnt.


  7. What about “making people aware of ICANN and what it does” – very few people are aware that ICANN even exists, let alone it’s purpose and how it affects them.

  8. Good point. I agree.

    Have added it as an option.


  9. Absolutely agree with the public awareness issue. You’ll only get increased public participation after raising the profile not of Icann *per se* but its roles and responsibilities within the wider context of intenet governance.

    The issues are foremost, and will inevitably lead to public involvement if they are raised across a wide range of media, not just the electronic.

    Good luck, Kieren!

  10. this is random but I am writing a research paper for my journalism class on Jayson Blair. I used your Jayson Blair web cite as a reference. (Found it through google) You may have lost interest but there is alot of updating you could do. ie. the book Blair wrote: Burning down my father’s house.

  11. You’re right of course. I have let the Blair site fall by the wayside. It was taking a huge amount of time and I was very busy.

    But I am sure I reviewed the book and linked to others that had reviewed the book, and reviewed the reviews of the book.

    I do keep an eye out for Blair but he’s not done all that much of significance for the past year or so.


  12. You should immediately take interviews will each ICANN organizational member ‘Mano-a-mano’, with an accompanying pod-cast, for-the-record.

    Your line of questioning should be to the point:

    What do you have to gain by working for ICANN?
    What do you have to offer ICANN (The Public via ICANN)?
    What does the Public have to gain from your relationship with ICANN?
    What are ‘Your’ ambitions for the Internet?
    What will the Internet look like when you’re done with ICANN?

    Publish a list (Report) of those whom are non-compliant (no-comment), in particularly ICANN Officials.
    That’s transparency, that’s up front. They can then ‘spin-it’ for themselves.
    That’s what you should do. That’s a good start, by covering your own ass.

  13. LOL.

    So you’re suggesting that my first job be to go around the ICANN offices sticking a microphone under people’s noses and insist that they justify their existence?

    If my job title was “general manager of staff intimidation” I might well agree with you, but I think I will stick with slightly more effective and less aggressive methods of persuasion if you don’t mind.


  14. 😉 Well you’re the Man now!
    ICANN’s very own Simon Cowell (TV’s – American Idol Host)

    Welcome to Washington Baby!

    I want to be a friend, so I’ll just say: “I told you so” now (to cover your ass),
    so after the fact, we need not mention it.

    Cheers Kieren, best of luck in your new capacity.

  15. I live in India and many people here are not aware of the country code extensions. I mean that people are prefixed their mind with the .com extension and they are not aware of the fact that a cctld exists. Who should take the initiative to spread awareness of the cctlds? Whether Icann have the right to advice the government to initiate awareness campaigns on domain extensions?

    sorry if the questions seems very silly. I do not know much about Icann and I wish all people should be aware of all the extensions (cctld, gtld, and other third level domains) and be benefited.

  16. Hi Vidya,

    Not silly at all – in fact very astute. There are a range of political sensitivities surrounding what ICANN should and should not do, in particular surrounding country code top-level domains.

    Those sensitivities are beginning to be addressed as people learn to start working with one another and the power struggles over the Net start sliding into the background.

    There are in fact lots of organisations that are working toward promoting their own country’s Net domains but there is often a terrible lack of communication between them. ICANN can play a role in this by acting as the meeting spot and co-ordinator between these groups.

    That is part of what I will be trying to do – just get people into meetings (offline and on) and make the introductions and then hopefully the rest will take care of itself.

    If you want to know more you could come to ICANN’s Lisbon meeting at the end of this month, or if that’s not possible, follow events online through the participation website at


Comments are closed.