If you’re a big international organisation you need to be good at communicating.
ICANN, unfortunately, doesn’t have an exactly stellar track record in this area. One of the organisation’s biggest critics, Kieren McCarthy, was hired by the organisation to improve things, but he left a couple of years later (though he hasn’t left the organisation alone!)
ICANN wants to appear to be an international organisation that “cares” about its stakeholders and it goes through the motions of doing this from to time. But its communications and transparency, or lack thereof, are constantly causing it and its stakeholders headaches.
Bulgaria wants an internationalised domain name. They want a particular string as they, the Bulgarian internet users and government, think that the string they’ve chosen is the right one. ICANN / IANA refuses and when Bulgaria asked why they were stonewalled. ICANN’s CEO finally made a clear statement about the situation earlier this week, but whether a sovereign nation will accept what he was saying or not is another matter.
I’ve personally asked about the redelegation of a ccTLD (no prizes which one) and was also stonewalled until I pushed the matter in the public forum, via Twitter and by almost harassing the organisation’s CEO. I never really got a clear reply, but I did get a reply.
Fast forward to this week.
ICANN sends a letter to the government of Senegal to complain about conditions in one of the hotels during the ICANN meeting earlier this year. The wording of the letter was anything but diplomatic and probably should never have been sent – at least not to the government!
ICANN then pulled the letter from their site, though of course anyone who cares about the situation already has seen it and might even have a copy of it.
ICANN then issues another letter which is a rather clumsy apology.
I tweeted the other day:
“transparency? *cough* So they wrote it, sent it, published it – got negative comments + removed it from site …”
I should probably post the modified and improved (?) version of events now ..
Considering how strained ICANN’s relations with the GAC are at even the best of times is this kind of hamfisted and unprofessional behaviour what we’re all paying for?
I genuinely feel sorry for any member of ICANN’s staff who might feel embarassed by this week’s mess. They deserve better.