ICANN will try and kill future comment periods

David Olive, Senior Vice President, Policy Development Support published a blog post called “Public Comment Guidelines for the ICANN Organization“.

There was not obvious reason for David to write this post now as no discussion has been made on changing the ICANN bylaws or how Comment Periods work.

I am pretty certain that ICANN is not too happy with the 3,200 comments about the .org renewal that ICANN’s Ombudsman called SPAM and the (deserved) criticism ICANN received in the comments and for subsequently ignoring these comments.

This post is ICANN informing us that they will bury the comment periods as much as they can.

So not only they will not be collecting any feedback from announcements, blog posts, social media campaigns, regional newsletters, and mailing lists but ICANN thinks “There may be circumstances where an alternative to Public Comment may be more appropriate. Alternative mechanisms include consultations or surveys for more targeted audiences and must be approved by ICANN org executive team members.”.

David ends the post informing us that more changes are coming to Comment Periods in the near future:

“As ICANN evolves, the Public Comment process will adapt as well. The Public Comment team has been working with the Information Transparency Initiative team to develop an improved Public Comment feature based on input from the ICANN community. We look forward to testing it in early 2020.”

I guess the Comment Period changes will not get a Comment Period, will they?

So ICANN will try and kill future comment periods as much as they can.

Here is one single excerpt from the ICANN Bylaws on how ICANN Comment Periods should be really working on Specific Reviews (Under ARTICLE 4 ACCOUNTABILITY AND REVIEW):

“At least one draft report of the review team shall be posted on the Website for public review and comment. The review team must consider the public comments received in response to any posted draft report and shall amend the report as the review team deems appropriate and in the public interest before submitting its final report to the Board. The final report should include an explanation of how public comments were considered as well as a summary of changes made in response to public comments.”


About Konstantinos Zournas

I studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London, UK and I am now living in Athens, Greece. I went online in 1995, started coding in 1996 and began buying domain names and creating websites in 2000. I started the OnlineDomain.com blog in 2012.


  1. Who is paying these guys off, this is like 3rd world politics type deals going on here?


  2. There are a couple of things in the Olive’s post to note. First, it says there will still be comment periods for registry base agreements. So this wouldn’t have avoided the .Org comment situation.

    Second, it appears they are working on a way to bring the commenting process out of the last millennium. It’s set up kind of like an old BBS and they are working to update this. A simple form will suffice.

    • The ICANN response system is not dramatically different than the one USPTO uses for user feedback, eg for fee increases see https://www.uspto.gov/about-us/performance-and-planning/public-comments-setting-and-adjusting-trademark-fees

      It’d be interesting to see the outcome of such user feedback for a government organization, as opposed to ICANN.

      The issue is that ICANN now wants to outright discount commentary that displays a uniform position by copy/pasted responses. That, according to the bright minds that discounted the 3,000 comments that were against the .ORG contract, indicated spam.

      If you read the responses to the USPTO opposing the fee increase, there is no doubt a number of key points are replicated, and so is the language.

      Think about it: When we vote at the polls, all votes look the same and count the same. ICANN now wants to remove domain investors from its list of valid voters!

      • “Think about it: When we vote at the polls, all votes look the same and count the same. ICANN now wants to remove domain investors from its list of valid voters!”

        Good point!

    • Konstantinos Zournas

      They are working to reduce the number of comment periods and also make it harder for someone to comment.
      Don’t be surprised if they have someone delete these “SPAM” comments. These are comments we will never see.
      The old BBS style is more transparent than what the new system will be.

  3. Sounds like the same tactics use by China and Trump—Shut the F us up!!

  4. I still can’t believe they ignored all the comments on the .org contract renewal and that the ombudsman didn’t find anything wrong with that.

    • Money talks my man, there are bigger players with deeper pockets in play, if they raise all .orgs by $1, that is tens of millions in someones pocket.

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