FairWinds Partners

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FairWinds Partners, LLC.gif
Type: Privately held
Industry: Domain Name Consultation
Founded: 2006
Founder(s): Josh Bourne
Phil Lodico
Headquarters: Washington, D.C.
Country: USA
Website: www.fairwindspartners.com
Blog: gTLDStrategy.com
LinkedIn: FairWinds Partners
Key People
Joshua Bourne and Phil Lodico, Managing Partners

FairWinds Partners is a domain name consulting firm co-founded by Managing Partners Josh Bourne and Phil Lodico in 2006. The firm aims to help its clients to increase their revenue using their domain names, provide relevant information regarding the latest online technologies and opportunities, and help clients to protect their domain investments. Fairwinds Partners is located in Washington, D.C. [1]

FairWinds Partners submitted 107 applications to ICANN's New gTLD Program on behalf of its clients.[2]

Services

Fairwinds Partners provides the following services to its clients:[3]

  • New gTLD Services
  • Strategy Development
  • FairWinds Intelligence
  • Proactive Advisory
  • Domain Name Recovery
  • Outsourced Administration Solutions
  • Domain Name Acquisitions and Divestitures
  • Advocacy
  • Social Media Brand Protection Strategy and Services

CADNA

The co-founders of FairWinds, Joshua Bourne and Phil Lodico, also co-founded the Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA), a non-profit advocay group dedicated to combating domain name abuse by increasing people's awareness and encouraging Internet users and stakeholders to take action to be able to stop all illegal internet activities such as cybersquatting and trademark infringement.[4]

The distinction between their businesses has been criticized, given that FairWinds is offering new gTLD consultancy services and CADNA has been leading an oppositional effort against the new gTLD program. This line has not always been clear, such as when FairWinds seemingly changed their approach to utilize their CADNA association to highlight that they are able to help brands defensively submit applications for gTLDs and Brand gTLDs. They explicitly noted that some brands should be choosing to apply for generic strings in an attempt to head-off any moves that their direct competitors may make for the same string; the brand could then choose to opt-out for a 70% refund should it find that its competitors did not apply and it is no longer interested in the string.[5] FairWinds is not the only consultancy service that will likely profit from defensive registration, despite the fact that ICANN led an outreach effort to educate brands that defensive registration is not necessary. The widespread perception that defensive registration was necessary was seen as a failure on ICANN's part, and it was largely addressed only after the new gTLd program was approved and high level critics, such as when Secretary Lawrence Strickling of the U.S. Government, called on the organization to rectify the situation.[6]

ICANN Involvement

FairWinds is a member of the Business Constituency within ICANN. The firm is represented by Phil, who was also a member of the Nominating Committee (NomCom) in 2009.[7] Josh and Phil are actively involved in the different activities, meetings and policy development process of the ICANN through CADNA. In 2009, Josh, who serves as President of CADNA, asked the United States government to conduct a full-scale audit on ICANN's structure, governance and oversight mechanisms. According to him, "ICANN is broken" and his reasons why it is necessary to examine the operations of the international Internet governing body which included:[8]

  • The Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO), which is responsible in developing ICANN policy, does not represent the needs and interest of internet users with accuracy and fairness.
  • ICANN is not independent because it follows the proposals of policy making groups and it lacks internal accountability mechanism to ensure honest operations,
  • ICANN is not transparent, avoiding public accountability by not disclosing the transcripts of board meetings.
  • ICANN is more interested in making a profit than working for the benefit of Internet users by raising fees on domain name registration and renewals
  • ICANN is not accessible. The general public and internet users are not properly informed about the operations of the internet governing body.
  • ICANN fails to address numerous issues that corrupts the internet particularly the safety and stability of the internet and the inaccuracy of information of the Whois database.
  • ICANN's proposed gTLD expansion program is poorly conceived. Appropriate and cost-effective security and risk analysis was not conducted.
  • ICANN is risking cybersecurity, national security, and global security by expanding the numebr of gTLDs through its harmful policies.
  • ICANN is not looking at itself critically
  • ICANN's relationship with the US government does not span all relevant agencies and suggested that the Department of Homeland Security should have joint jurisdiction over the Joint Project Agreement and IANA contract with the Department of Commerce.

In 2011, CADNA also actively provided comments and suggestions regarding ICANN's new gTLD expansion program particularly on the issue of .brand gTLDs. The advocacy group asked ICANN to determine a schedule for the second round of Applications for new gTLDs to ease the pressure and anxiety among brand owners. In a statement, Josh said, "The fact that ICANN has only offered one opportunity to apply for new gTLDs has created a sense of chaos among brands, who feel as though ICANN is forcing them into making a 'now or never' decision that could impact both them and their consumers. Knowing that they will have the opportunity to apply again after having the chance to see if new gTLDs become valuable will go a long way toward relieving that anxiety." [9] Josh previously commented that ICANN failed to accomplish some of its responsibilities in the Affirmation of Commitments with United States Department of Commerce.[10]

References