Skip to main content

President's Corner: Finances & Planning for the Next Two Years

One of my personal priorities for my role in ICANN is continuing to improve ICANN org's efforts to be transparent, accountable and accessible. In this spirit, I am sharing something the Executive Team and I have been spending a lot of time lately, and an area of great focus for us in the coming year. By now I hope you have also read the blog by Cherine on this topic.

As I mentioned in the recent Quarterly Stakeholder Call, we saw slower funding in the first quarter of FY18 by $1m versus our approved budget, with lower domain name registrations than planned. So, we believe the FY18 funding could remain flat compared to FY17's funding, instead of the growth budgeted in FY18. We need to make some changes to address that. And, at the same time, we are currently planning for the next two years out – FY19 and FY20. We are also forecasting lower funding for FY19 compared to the approved FY18 budget. As Cherine mentioned, there is also a discussion going on about the Reserve Fund, and we need to factor that into our planning.

As a non-profit it is important that we stay within our budget. That takes some work but I feel confident the ICANN community will support us in this effort. The reality is, ICANN has a significant budget but not an infinite budget. We need to make some changes, and can't do everything we are asked. You as the ICANN community will feel the impact of some of those changes. We have already begun addressing this by focusing on finding efficiencies where possible.

For example, when someone leaves ICANN org, we are taking a close look at the vacancy, the team's needs and other people's availability and skills before deciding if we are going to fill the role. We are also looking at our staff travel practices for ICANN meetings and other ICANN org commitments, reviewing our language services support levels and offering, and trying to consolidate our collateral and the volume of reports. We are looking at what projects we could delay or stop, and reviewing things with a fresh set of eyes – just because we've always done something a certain way, doesn't mean that's the right choice now. These are just a few examples. We are examining a lot of our internal policies and spending levels, and looking closely at how we do things to make sure we do the right thing, in the most efficient way. It is important that we govern our work to our means.

I wanted to share this with you now, to let you know you will occasionally be seeing some changes in how we operate. Some will be bigger than others, and for the ones that impact you, you will be asked to participate in public comment periods, discussions around priorities and strategic planning, and sessions with ICANN org to help us understand what is most important to you. There will be a budget out for public comment mid-January 2018 and I hope you will review and participate actively.

Of course, you are in charge of the final version of the budget. I look forward to the result of your input.


    john berard  14:33 UTC on 19 December 2017

    I feel your pain, but nipping-and-tucking at the edges (as with travel) is not likely to get you where you want to go. And cuts to the largest cost items, historically people and real estate, can be counter-productive as companies are usually locked into space, making employees the only short-term target. Either way, it is not easy to cut one's way to profitability when revenues are trending down. Getting revenues up is a far better choice. Perhaps it is time for ICANN to play a more active role in promoting gTLDs.

Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as"""" is not an IDN."