Wish you were here: An account of ICANN55 in Marrakech from two policy nerds

What happens when you send two legal/policy nerds to one of the most beautiful and culturally rich cities in North Africa for a six-day ICANN conference? Camel rides, food poisoning, and a lot of domain sticker trading, apparently.

We sent Statton Hammock, VP of Business and Legal Affairs, and Jeffrey Eckhaus, SVP of Market Development and Policy to ICANN55 in Marrakech, Morocco. This is what they took away from the experience:

Morocco played host to wonderful conversation around domains and even better food.
The turnout might not have been huge for ICANN55, but the meetings were productive and the food was delicious nonetheless.

Statton Hammock, VP, Business & Legal Affairs

  • In a momentous move, the ICANN board approved the proposed plan to transition the IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) function permanently to ICANN. The proposal will now be sent to the NTIA (National Telecommunications and Information Administration) for approval.
  • Got food poisoning on the third day. No fun.
  • Jeff and I both held separate meetings with domain industry folks to share Rightside’s views on domains and how to grow the industry. We received some really good feedback as a result of these meetings.
  • It’s odd dining again at restaurants where smoking is permitted and where there are ashtrays on the table.
  • ICANN’s new reputedly no-nonsense President and CEO Goran Marby made his first appearance at this meeting. He officially takes over in May.
  • Rode a camel. #bucketlist
  • The conference was thinly attended due to distance and cost but was advantageous for small group interactions.
  • Marrakech reminds you of Palm Springs, California in terms of climate and vegetation.
  • Rightside TLD stickers were very popular.
Twitter was aflutter with Rightside domain stickers following the ICANN55 conference.
Rightside domain stickers were a hit at the ICANN55 conference, as evidenced by this Tweet.

Jeffrey Eckhaus, SVP, Market Development & Policy

  • The IANA functions that Statton mentioned is a major accomplishment. We are one step away from transitioning control of the internet from the US to a global multistakeholder model. The US government must still relinquish control and the target date for this transition is September 2016.
  • This ICANN meeting was a little more focused on policy than business development and we expect this trend to continue at ICANN 56, with the first official all policy meeting structure.
  • There were still some excellent meetings, and the discussion on China and the surge in domain name sales there dominated. I even had the privilege of attending a China night in Marrakech.
  • We endured six legs and 40 hours of travel and made it back safe and awake only to be undone by Daylight Savings Time.

Send comments to blog@rightside.news.

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