ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is the regulatory body in charge of handeling DNS, amongst other things.
History (very general)
-Earth is molten mass
-[bunch of unimportant crap happens]
-computer networks appear
-People get mighty tired of trying to remember what john's computer's IP address is over at some other college.
-People start making HOST files, so they can type in "john" and not x.x.x.x -Some people start downloading their host file every day from a server somewhere, because this is easy.
-The number of computers in this host file gets to be some whackey ammount, and life gets hard for everyone. Not to mention there are many host files floating around, and ouch people's heads are hurting. -Some smart guy decides to come up with DNS, so that hostnames will logically make sense, and so that organizations can keep track of their OWN servers. -Life was good.
-Around this time, standards started arising as to how we should regulate these host names (now ICANN is responsible for these standards). This is where .org, .net, and.com came from. Also, money was charged for processing fees to add new domains.
-Then the internet booms, these hostnames get very expensive, and all the good names get taken (thus people come up with weird names like yahoo and google).
-Consequently, prices got a bit cheaper, but now people have to register things like "HolyMotherOfGodAllTheNamesICouldThinkOfWereTakenAndIHadToRegisterThis.com".
-Which brings us to now, where everyone has decided to hate ICANN
Now, some people think that maybe ICANN should have created more top level domains (like .xxx for pr0n and whatnot). Others think that they should have broken it down more to begin with (pamanderson.porn.com.us or something). And others have no sugesstions other than that something has to be done, and ICANN isn't doing it.
HOW TO TELL ICANN TO SCREW OFF:
you can call them, OR
you can use another database. That's right, you have options. There are a whole lot of optional databases, most of which include the current DNS names you know and love (or hate). All it requires to switch over is to change your DNS server. I suggest taking a look at www.youcann.org. They are selling or giving away domain names on their database for cheap or free.
THE BAD NEWS:
Nobody will be able to go to your new host name if they aren't using this new database, and most people have no idea such a thing even exists. Also, these databases ARE still charging money, and they are a bit disorganized.
THE GOOD NEWS:
This is slowly changing. Some ISPs are already using the youcann database. With every screw-up that ICANN makes, people get one step closer to moving over to a different database.
DNS is a very well-designed system, and so-far (even though nobody saw the web explosion coming) it has withstood the tests of time. ICANN's rules and regulations, however, were not well thought out at all, and they have not stood the test of time. Because of this we will probably see a new databasing structure arise in the next few years, or at least a more enforced dns structure. Orgs like YOUCANN are a nice alternative to ICANN, but they are still very sloppy and have little planning for the future.
I personally belong to a small group of people that use our own DNS server, which will do lookups for normal DNS, youcann, and our own private network. So far It's been great.
401.   What is the Fly Over Zone?
391.   Is E.B. White of Strunk and White fame the same one who wrote Charlotte's Web?   [overcode/2003-11-03]
378.   What is the meaning of MSD in relation to OpenPGP/GnuPG/PGP?   [jake/2003-09-22]
329.   How do I get music for my experimental noise club?   [jake/2002-10-05]
327.   What is a great little script to use when airboxing (wardriving, warchalking, etc)   [jake/2002-10-05]
326.   How do I make an RJ-45 connector into a hardware loop back device (is that an ethernet jammer in your pocket) ? (or how the hell do you boot an Indy with out an ethernet cable)   [jake/2002-10-05]
316.   Ericsson Test Mode - Cellular Wiretaping   [brad/2002-05-15]
305.   Why was strick's workstation at Versant named GWARN?   [strick/2002-01-23]
301.   Where can I find an interview with noted security researcher Gene Spafford?   [rupe/2002-01-09]
293.   where can i find data about the most common names in the USA?   [jesse/2001-12-05]
290.   what is the maximum temperature for a socket 370 pentium 3?   [jesse/2001-11-27]
259.   What is #temp   [ross/2001-08-10]
225.   What do I use to write cool Palm software?   [combee/2001-11-01] ( combee/2001-09-21 )
218.   how do I make my page appear in web search results?   [josh/2001-05-08] ( strick/2001-05-08 )
184.   Just how many people are their, anyway?   [les/2001-02-22]
171.   How do I read a huge file line by line in Python, without loading the entire thing into memory first?   [rupe/2001-02-01] ( enki/2003-10-20 )
126.   How can I distribute the DeCSS algorithm via DNS?   [rupe/2000-09-28]
112.   Where can I find information on older SGI systems?   [rupe/2000-07-09]
96.   Where can I find information on in-vehicle computer systems?   [rupe/2000-05-24]
76.   How can I run my 486 25 at 247 mhz?   [jj/2000-04-16]
58.   How can i see how different background and font colors look?   [jamison/2000-02-12]