The thing about ICANN is not merely the $186,000 entry fee, it’s the system they have created for qualifying organizations who might own those domains. All other issues aside, it’s impossible for small business to qualify.
One might argue that it’s good to be so strict with the vetting process. We certainly don’t want to risk failure when so many “member” businesses will be depending on a given domain to stay up all the time.
The problem, in my opinion, is the trend. We are seeing legislation (like ICANN, SOPA and PIPA) setting up organizations with deep pockets to take over the internet resource. The internet has been invaluable for leveling the playing field for small business. For better or worse, they can market at a reasonable cost, connect intimately with customers and potential customers, and reach markets that were closed to them before.
The big boys dismissed it as a nuisance. Never really taking an interest. Now, the Internet is being recognized as an ultimate form of Democracy and free market. Rival fledgling monopolies are being formed. Getting air time will soon be like getting space on TV or radio – expensive. Cost prohibitive for many of the smaller organizations we want to succeed.
Maybe this is just another example of the natural cycle playing out, but I really hate to lose the freedom of the internet.
I wrote a short summary about ICANN and gTLD’s back in July for anyone who’s interested.