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Re: ten years worth of research into the possible future ofthe net
Well Esther, the text below may have been easier to read as an HTML page, but
this is what you requested...the LIVE links for those mentioned below may
still be found in the HTML version of this page at
Some Ideas for ICANN
Sorry my response took so long Esther.
I confess I have not followed all ICANN-related developments in detail up to
now, though I am vaguely aware of various ongoing conflicts with the present
domain registrar and the USA government (DOJ and Commerce), as well as
financing difficulties for ICANN.
Below is a hurried summary of ideas which I feel might offer something to
ICANN's present and future (due to time constraints I have included very few
supporting references here):
Table of Contents
* Possible financial (and 'soft money') support devices for ICANN
* Raising ICANN's profile and perceived importance among the populace
* Widening and improving the definition of ICANN's stated goals to gather
mass support of all kinds
Possible financial (and 'soft money') support devices for ICANN
Hopefully there will develop a consensus among private concerns and/or
political ones to suitably finance ICANN soon. If not, perhaps ICANN can
continue to seek financing on its own (as well as increase pressure on the
sources mentioned before to reverse their decisions).
#1: Other potential sources for funds for some non-profits may be available
at the links below:
PhilanthropySearch - The First Search Engine for the Non-Profitand
Funders Online - Search Europe's Online Philanthropic Community.
(I hope the links haven't broken since I found them).
#2: Utilize affiliate and/or reverse affiliate programs where possible; web
sites/shareware/freeware authors which volunteer to show ads for ICANN
sites/services for free...
In a 'reverse' affiliate program ICANN itself might receive payments either
financial or in like advertising from other organizations in either or both
profit and non-profit seeking ventures.
Yes, to fully exploit this ICANN might have to further develop its own web
site-- but ICANN may be in a unique position to do so, and enjoy resources
far beyond what other orgs might today. Perhaps not in money, but in
influential associations and promotional and deal-maker friends, who perhaps
might be able to not only raise ICANN's profile with the public in a
beneficial manner (adding to your negotiating clout), but arrange many
lucrative deals as well, which would not necessarily rile the feathers of
[jump off sources include........."[affiliates programs]...are not used
widely enough, even though they are one of the most effective Web marketing
tools...An affiliates program is a way for sites to pay for incoming
"[the]...Future of Affiliates Programs...[includes]...a central site that
manages affiliates programs....the payments will be centralized so that
payments of a single cent become feasible...integrated with micropayment
schemes...used not just for the sales of products but also for the sales of
content and services...Advanced programs will support multi-level referral
fees.... increased focus on the life-time value of a referred customer
instead of the narrow focus on immediate sales..."
Many affiliates programs of the future will continue to operate somewhat
outside of direct monetary transactions (such as banner/advertising exchanges
or higher frequency news updates or wider/deeper access to otherwise
restricted content) due to substantial indirect benefits which may be
realized for all participants, such as building and maintaining brand
recognition and traffic, customer loyalty, and more.
-- "Affiliates Programs" (Sidebar to the section on Web marketing in Jakob
Nielsen's column on Web research); Alertbox July 1999, useit.com]
#3: Also do not neglect the possibility of willing and able volunteers to
maintain a more ambitious site for ICANN, or perhaps serve as temporary or
low cost help around the offices. I assume you're familiar with the various
co-op programs various corporations have with college students and others.
#4: Maintain a policy to periodically give any surplus monies possibly
collected to various charities or use in providing online access to
disadvantaged schools. Note this policy should help encourage donations or
Keep in mind that the process of gathering financial support can also be
helped by having a higher profile for the organization, and a better known
definition of its aims (see below).
Ideas for ICANN Contents
Raising ICANN's profile and perceived importance among the populace
You probably have associates much better versed in marketing and promotion
than I to help here. But here's a few ideas anyway. Several are pretty
innocuous and shouldn't raise anyone's hackles. And most all could easily fit
with the suggested expanded agenda for ICANN.
#1: Publish a regular email newsletter from ICANN.
#2: Establish associations with 'how-to' content producers that help web
newbies and author want-to-be's, by setting up a 'portal' of sorts to help
streamline web publishing and domain name acquisition for novices.
#3: Showcase every week or so an article or idea sent in by site visitors, as
the 'winner' of a regular contest for such.
#4: Showcase every week or so a valuable web site which can't be found in
most major search engines because it doesn't have its own unique domain name
(this encourages more open search engines and better algorithyms, as well as
earns ICANN friends among the 'unwashed masses' of web authors; it might also
help ease the coming shortage in domain addresses until the addressing space
can be expanded).
#5: Sponser or promote periodic contests (like a recent one in Britain) where
several people are equipped with a net client, so much credit, and must
acquire certain items online within a given period of time...only they are in
competition not only with one another but with others OFF-line for the lowest
cost total costs for things like loans, autos, homes, etc., all using
identical starting specs for the items to be acquired (this raises the net's
profile as well as ICANN's and increases urgency for both consumers and
businesses to go online-- IF the online shopping results in better bargains).
#6: Bestow an annual or seasonal award for most innovative net developments
in several categories to raise the profile of both ICANN and deserving small
developers and individuals (only press releases may be involved, though cash
awards would be nice too).
Expanding or refining ICANN's agenda may also help in many matters (see
Ideas for ICANN Contents
Widening and improving the definition of ICANN's stated goals to gather mass
support of all kinds
Align your overall policies and strategies with emerging future trends to
garner extra support both financial and credibility-wise from the development
community and other important organizations.
Note that encouraging/supporting most of the items below might be no more
difficult than prominently linking to appropriate sites from your own high
profile web site. Be sure to include redundancies however, to better weather
censorship and other adversities. To go further and perhaps enjoy greater
direct benefits, ICANN could themselves maintain regularly updated reference
pages and tables regarding some of the matters listed below.
Somewhat conservative aims
#1: Encourage development of global 'virtual markets' for everything which
might be affected by net development, in order to provide more lead time and
warning to business, social organizations, and government about approaching
socio-economic dislocations. Example: real estate prices in metropolitan
areas, Wall Street stocks, used autos, government credit ratings around the
world, etc., etc.
#2: Support full and open disclosure about how personal information is used
by all organizations, who it is sold or traded to, and when.
#3: Support open search engines-- discourage discrimination against small
site owners in databases which effectively censor sites simply because they
exist on low cost or free domains (like AOL etc.)
#4: Support content ownership rights for individual web site authors in
#5: Support open global competitions offering substantial monetary rewards
for comprehensive solutions to particularly thorny net-related software or
policy problems, both to accelerate innovation and create new opportunities
#6: Support expansion of opportunities for all with encouragement of open
source, open standards, open search, micropayments, anonymous electronic
cash, easy and convenient announcement and distribution outlets for new
software and multimedia from all sources, and affiliate programs.
More radical aims
#1: Support free speech, full disclosure, and fact gathering worldwide.
#2: Encourage realtime net video/audio feeds from every public location in
the world, the better to keep crime, media mistakes, and government
propaganda everywhere better under control.
#3: Support practical division of the internet into different classifications
or spaces, for reasons of stability, child protection, and free speech.
(note this basic concept comes from someone other than I, but I don't have
the proper citation at hand).
The different official spaces or internet regions could more easily allow
browsers to warn users which section of the net they were venturing into, or
even prevent children from accessing inappropriate sites, while not
restricting adult use of the net.
Business, government, and consumers could enjoy more stable and reliable
software and net connections, with less worry of hacking or encountering new
and buggy wares.
The Public Space would be something akin to what we have today-- a largely
unregulated, unfiltered net. Subsets of the Public Space could be Minors
Space for children and another Space dedicated to Business, Consumers,
Entertainment suitable to all audiences, and Education materials.
Note that Linux open source releases generally maintain a stable older code
set and a newer experimental set. With Net Spaces, innovative beta ware
availability might be restricted to the Public Space, and only allowed into
the other Spaces after it was judged sufficiently reliable and useful.
#4: Support expansion of opportunities for all with advocacy for new
geophysical state laws forcing all 'obsolete' technologies to be
re-classified as 'open source' available on the net and ripe for further use
and/or development within that model (just think how such 'free' tech could
help the developing countries, as well as entrepreneurism and the poor
worldwide). [jump off sources include...
The mounting case for obsolete technologies being released into a free/public
domain/open source project classification all their own
At several points in this timeline I write about a vast amount of so-called
"obsolete technology" becoming categorized as something akin to a universal
store of materials, devices, and software accessible for virtually free to
all human beings everywhere by a certain point in future history. A vast
royalty-free library/catalog from which anyone may draw upon via a nanotech
replicator to reproduce various goodies for need or want.
Such largess becomes a form of official Do-It-Yourself 'welfare' and 'social
security' for citizens of the far future, helping provide a sort of 'ultimate
safety net' for everyone.
Though (as of 1999) it will be centuries before the most idealistic form of
this system may become available to us, already some present-day observers
are wondering aloud if we shouldn't create some sort of legitimatized system
for making 'obsolete' technologies available to those who want or need them.
Simsom L. Garfinkel of the Boston Globe gives the example of the advanced
Improv spreadsheet created by Lotus Development on Next computers (and then
MS Windows 3.1 PCs) many years ago, and then abandoned to the dustbin of
history, for apparently no good reason.
"...After a lot of searching I found somebody who had an old copy, and I
bought it for $75. I'm pleased to report that the program runs like a champ
under Windows '98.
Unfortunately, that's the end of the story. I'm legally prohibited from
making copies of Improv for my friends and coworkers. Improv is protected by
copyright, and even though Lotus no longer sells or supports the product,
that protection still holds. This is a kind of crime against society...."
Garfinkel argues that when a copyright owner of something like Improv fails
to continue support and/or improvement of that product, or even stops
distribution altogether, the copyright should go into the public domain so
that the product may still serve those who find it useful, and perhaps even
regain ongoing support and improvement from other parties. After all,
Garfinkel points out, copyright laws only exist in the first place to
encourage authors to produce new and improved works; if they don't do that,
then aren't the authors reneging on their part of the social contract?
"...Dozens of software publishers have gone out of business and taken their
wares with them. Just imagine what the world would be like if instead of
killing their products, these companies had been forced to release them into
the public domain. Today there would be more than a dozen free word
processors and spreadsheets available for Windows, giving Microsoft a real
run for its money. And if the companies had been compelled to release the
source code for these products as well, then enterprising hobbyists would
have ported these applications to the Linux operating system. ..."
Garfinkel does seem to make an excellent case-- and brought up a new point I
hadn't previously considered myself about the issue: namely, that such
'obsolete' products going into a public domain/open source code mode might
furiously increase competition in the commercial sectors as well, leading to
higher quality and lower prices across the board, plus prodding commercial
ventures to take feature sets to whole new and higher levels than they might
otherwise do, thereby greatly reducing the types of product stagnation we
seem to have suffered in computer operating systems and applications the past
ten years or so.
Note too that this release of obsolete tech into the public domain might also
help control the future growth of monster corporations as well, similarly to
the proposal for a reduction in patent lifespans made in the timeline for
this purpose (mega corporations beyond the power of world governments to
control or regulate could pose a serious threat to human rights and welfare
in coming centuries).
-- "Copyrights and wrongs When firms abandon products - and toss away the key
- users are the losers" By Simsom L. Garfinkel, PLUGGED IN, 02/18/99, This
story ran on page C04 of the Boston Globe on 02/18/99.]
Ideas for ICANN Contents
I hope you found something useful here Esther. Good luck with ICANN! :-)
-- J.R. Mooneyham
PS: Much more information and supporting references for much of the above may
be found in my futurist project online (http://future.web.com is an
illustrated online book detailing probable technological advances and their
likely socio-economic impact in the decades and centuries ahead. Alternate