Oddly, ICANN has requested comments and volunteers to help it develop a gTLD Marketplace Health Index. The request raises more questions than it could possibly answer:

  • Doesn’t ICANN already know whether the industry that it created and regulates is healthy? If it does, then what is the point of this new bit of busywork? If it doesn’t know, why doesn’t it? ICANN is trying to break free from U.S. government oversight, and part of that process is to show that it is competent to run the industry without a safety net. If ICANN doesn’t even know if the industry is healthy, why would anyone think that they are ready to transition away from the Department of Commerce?
  • On a certain level, why does ICANN care? If it did its job and only approved registries run by financially stable organizations with no history of cybersquatting, there wouldn’t be any possibility of industry illness.
  • How can a marketplace that allows for the use of trademark data to result in increased prices for brand owners ever be considered healthy?
  • Can’t ICANN pay for this work, and wouldn’t the outcome be more trustworthy? Does ICANN really want all of its competing, warring clans to opine on whether or not the industry is healthy? Anyone with an axe to grind can submit a comment. Anyone without an axe to grind is likely either new to the industry or ICANN.

ICANN may want to focus on the IANA transition morass and finding a new CEO, before it invites the community to opine on whether or not the new gTLD industry that it created has the flu (which it does).