So now we know who's who in the tree (ICANN, Registries, Registrars, Resellers and You) we can see how the influence the landscape and who has control of what. In a nutshell:
So you as a customer will rely on your Registrar (or Reseller) to represent your needs and solve your problems for you, though they may have to do this at the Registry or ICANN level.
The crazy thing about this is that the Registrars (or Resellers) which are purely commercial entities have voting rights at the registries and ICANN to influence overall policy in the domain space. In some registries (e.g. Nominet for UK), they have voting rights based on the number of domains they manage. So the bigger the commercial entity, the more influence on policy. Hmm. Would you trust a for profit company to represent your best interests? Perhaps. But when your interests diverge, will they represent you or themselves?
Imagine this problem - the domain name space is being filled with squatters, domain speculators, parked/advertised domain names, etc. Now as 'you' the consumer of domain names or visitor to sites online, this is probably not a good thing. You can't get the addresses you want because they are taken, and when you do browse the net you often come across pointless, cluttered sites that offer nothing but invitations to buy them and ad links to other services.
So what would 'you' like. Probably to get rid of all this junk domain space to free it up for use by people who want to publish actual sites or services online, not just profit from the namespace.
But what about the Registries, Resellers, Regsitrars and even ICANN? Well unfortunately they get paid for every domain name sold. If you were to cut all these domains out each of these bodies would see a substantial drop in revenue. For ICANN or the Registries, this might result is less resources to support or manage the name space. For Registrars and Resellers (and some private sector Registries), this would lead to lower sales and profits and 'shareholder value'.
So if you were running a company would you push for something that was better for your customers, but resulted in a 25-50% fall in sales? Hmm. Perhaps not.
The fact that some Registrars like us (but not us, we don't do this!) are actually taking available domains out of circulation, so customers can't get them, and then advertising on them for profit is extraordinary. We're crapping in our own garden!
At Gandi we do believe that our industry needs to clean itself up and not accept this 'pollution' of our own domain name space. Gandi has always stood against these activities and will not engage in them. But as an industry we have to grow up and accept lower sales volume for the sake of maintaining a useable and available name space that is in the interest of all internet users, and not just the commercial companies that have privileged access to domain buying and domain information.
If we just go all out for profit, much like the current man made global pollution problem, we'll just trash our own domain name space.
So when you buy a domain name, you are in effect taking a vote for the company that you want to represent your interests in the definition of global domain policy. Think about it.