Dear ccTLD Constituency,
I am pleased to have the opportunity to run as a candidate for the Names Council. I've been working with ccTLDs and with domain name governance issues for at least three years, and here is a chance for me to really help.
The ICANN structure presents tremendous challenges to the ccTLDs, especially ccTLDs with limited resources, and that's many of you. The ICANN *will* change things for ccTLDs, no question. If elected to represent ccTLDs on the Names Council, I see my job as making sure that they don't make changes that are harmful or unfair to ccTLDs.
As President of the IATLD, I think we've already done a pretty good job. Our call for support of RFC 1591, which got so much support from so many of you, was really about making sure that ccTLDs were treated fairly, that they were consulted about changes, and that they gave their consent before new rules were imposed on them.
I want to continue that good work. When you cast your votes for Names Council, please select my names as  - your first preference, so I can continue protecting the interests of ccTLDs. Please make me your choice because:
1. I'm not afraid to argue difficult positions, and I'm not afraid to take strong steps to make sure that your position is heard. When the IATLD was told that we couldn't join a "closed" meeting with ICANN at the first ICANN meeting in Boston, I sent strong faxes to all of the participants. After learning where the unannounced meeting was to be held, I sat outside the door of the meeting room until they let me in to make our case for continued recognition of RFC 1591.
2. Although we don't always agree on issues, I have good working relationships with most of the people on the Names Council and the ICANN Board. When I speak, I will be listened to.
3. I am dedicated to the interests of ccTLDs. As far as I'm concerned, they built the global Internet. ccTLDs are more important than trademarks; they're more important than registrars. Their concerns must be listened to, and I will make sure that they are.
4. I can listen. I understand that English is not everybody's first language. Although I am an American and a New Yorker, I have a diverse background. I lived in Kenya for much of my childhood, then in England for 3 years, a year in Iran, three years in France. I understand that not everything works according to the American way. When you email me with questions or concerns, I will listen, I will respond.
5. I will represent the global Internet on the Names Council - not a regional group. In fact I don't represent a particular ccTLD. I won't vote for something that's good for North America but bad for ccTLD interests in general. If the IATLD represents any group, it's mostly ccTLDs from small and developing territories - in other words, those ccTLDs that find it hardest to be heard.
But why should you vote at all? Because - let's face the facts - although ICANN talks about being global, in fact it exists mainly to respond to a shortage of gTLD names in the U.S., and to deal with the fight between Network Solutions and the U.S. Government.
ICANN has not addressed the problems faced by ccTLDs as domain name competition heats up. There is nothing on the ICANN agenda to deal with any issues that concern most other areas of the world. For instance, has anyone ever heard ICANN talk about multilingual DNS? On the other hand, they are very keen on first-world concerns, such as trademark problems. ccTLDs need a strong voice in ICANN.
If you can't make me your first choice (for instance if you're giving your first preference to your regional representative), then I urge you to give me your second choice; believe me, it will help. I also urge you to consider giving one of your top preferences to Nigel Roberts, who has helped organize this election and has been very helpful with the IATLD.
Looking forward to your help,
Antony Van Couvering