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Here's the The Lowdown from DN Journal,
updated daily
to fill you in on the latest buzz going around the domain name industry. 

The Lowdown is compiled by DN Journal Editor & Publisher Ron Jackson.

Attempt to Silence Prominent ICANN Critic George Kirikos Fails as Legal Proceeding Filed Against Him By Former ICANN Ombudsmen Frank Fowlie is Withdrawn

If you are a domain owner odds are you owe George Kirikos a thank you. The Toronto, Canada based domain industry veteran has probably been the single most vigilant individual in our space when it comes to keeping an eye on ICANN and sounding the alarm when the oversight body is about to take any action that treats domain registrants unfairly. 

As accurately noted on his website, Kirikos was a leader in opposing and helping to derail VeriSign's SiteFinder program. It was also his analysis of ICANN's flawed contacts that led to a major public outcry against potential unrestricted price increases for domain names by registry operators. Many of the concerns he has expressed over the years about ICANN's lack of accountability, questionable policies and myriad other issues have reached the ears of politicians in Washington, D.C. who now express many of the same reservations.  

As you might expect, some at ICANN have not been pleased with Kirikos continually holding their feet to the fire, with the organization's former ombudsman Frank Fowlie being a 


prime example. In an attempt to silence Kirikos, Fowlie went so far as to file what appeared to be an ill-founded human rights complaint against Kirikos at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario in February 2011. Wrong move

There is nothing Kirikos takes more seriously than free speech and he immediately fought back with the help of his Torys law firm attorneys. On a page at his website that details the entire affair, Kirikos reported Tuesday (May 31) that Fowlie had withdrawn his complaint. Kirikos said, "I considered this matter to be entirely frivolous and totally devoid of merit. Indeed, Mr. Fowlie withdrew the case before my formal response to the HRTO was even filed, after he was advised by my great attorneys, Andrew Bernstein and Yael Bienenstock, that we would be filing to dismiss the matter and that there would be no mediation. In particular, I'd like to note for the record that I did not agree to settle the matter with Mr. Fowlie. Free speech rights are highly protected in Canada, and I will always vigorously defend my constitutional rights."

Kirikos also noted that this was not the first time Mr. Fowlie has unsuccessfully filed complaints against others. One highly publicized case involved an embarrassing peccadillo between Fowlie and Air Canada. He struck out in that attempt as well with first, second and third rulings all going against him. Kirikos uncovered another complaint that Fowlie had filed against the non-profit Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC). That one was also withdrawn.

Kirikos concluded, "I shall continue to comment on ICANN-related matters, and other matters of public interest, despite this outrageous attempt to censor me by former ICANN Ombudsman Frank Fowlie." I for one am glad that Kirikos will continue to "keep an eye on the store." It is often thankless and tedious work (which is why few will take it on) but as history has shown, Kirikos's diligence has paid big dividends for all of us. 

One other note today - Frank Schilling's new domain monetization service at InternetTraffic.com has been the subject of a lot of discussion since it was unveiled last month. Many who have been accepted on the platform are reporting significant revenue gains. If you are among the many who would like to hear more about InternetTraffic and hear it straight from the horse's mouth, Michael Cyger has just posted an in-depth video interview with Frank at DomainSherpa.com (audio and print versions of the interview are also available). Check it out if you want to know what the buzz surrounding the new service is all about.

(Posted June 1, 2011)

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