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February 2002 Archives

February 5, 2002

GA summary 2002-05

This summary covers the DNSO GA mailing list's (and related) discussions and news during the 5th week of 2002. GA list archives are available online at [www.dnso.org]. Please feel free to forward this summary as you believe to be appropriate.

Names Council Changes

Caroline Chicoine and Guilermo Carey are stepping down from the Names Council. The IPC is now represented on the Council by Ellen Shankman (Asia), J. Scott Evans (North America), and Laurence Djolakian (Europe). [www.dnso.org]

Dot-Org Divestiture Comments Process

The GA members' statement on the .org task force's report has been submitted to comments-dotorg last Friday, with a list of those who signed for and against the statement. GA members support the unrestricted character of .org for current and future registrations, emphasize the need for a complete divestiture, and thank Marc Schneiders for his work. [www.dnso.org]

The NCDNHC statement mainly supports the task force's draft, with an emphasis on a noncommercial management organization for .org. Also, the NCDNHC members "oppose any attempt to restrict registrations in .org", and "urge the board to increase competition and diversity", "by ensuring that the market position of existing dominant actors are not entrenched nor enhanced through participation in, taking an interest in, or contracting to deliver critical services to the new .org management organization." [www.dnso.org]

The business constituency's comments agree on that particular point (pretty much verbatim), but support restricted access which is to be "applied in the least interventionist manner by way of ex-post challenge to future new registrations" , and the "sponsored" model for future management of .org. [www.dnso.org]

The gTLD constituency has no comments on the final report itself "that can be meaningfully expressed in a public comment" - whatever the latter part of the sentence actually means. However they are "concerned" by the business and non-commercial constituencies' notes quoted above, and call a prohibition like the one suggested "fundamentally anti-competitive". Also, the gTLD constituency says, excluding certain players could increase prices and hinder the performance of the .org registry because "the limitation may also exclude provision of services by the most efficient and reliable parties." [www.dnso.org]

Milton Mueller replies to this that "if we were concerned exclusively with who was the low-cost provider we might not need to divest .org at all." [www.dnso.org]


(i) WLS. Chuck Gomes of Verisign submitted a revised proposal for WLS, and a document titled "Justification for a registry-based Wait Listing Service". In these documents, Verisign proposes the following process: Questions about the revised proposal should be provided until February 8 (this Friday). Verisign will respond until February 15. Final feedback should be submitted to Verisign until March 1st. [www.dnso.org]

In a follow-up to Chuck's announcement, George Kirikos asks whether existing SnapBack holders are going to be grandfathered into the WLS system, and whether Verisign is continuing the current bulk deletion process. According to George, there have been no such deletions for weeks. There doesn't seem to be any answer on these questions, and no rebuttal of George's claim concerning current bulk deletion practices. [www.dnso.org]

In another note, Kristy McKee argues that WLS "simply adds another layer and increases the amount of money spent". According to her, "those individuals and businesses currently 'pounding' on the whois database will continue to do so". Instead of opening up new business opportunities, she argues, Verisign should improve their current registry system. [www.dnso.org]

Don Brown is not the only one to remark that the new proposal isn't too different from the old one. As he sees it, "the only difference [...] is the marketing spin on the objections". In particular, he disputes Verisign's claims that "offering the WLS at the registry level is the only way to maximize consumer value for such a service", and that "the purchaser is free to decide how much it is worth and to act accordingly": "When there is only one source of supply, [...] the consumer will pay the tax man, because they have no choice." [www.dnso.org]

(ii) Domain hoarding (this is also a deleted domains handling issue, and may be something you want to think about when discussing WLS). Marc Schneiders posted whois output concerning a domain registered with register.com. The domain expired on Feb 21 2001 (two thousand and one). Marc asks in what century the domain is going to be released. [www.dnso.org]

(iii) Names Council Elections. The discussion on Names Council elections continued mainly on the council's own mailing list.

However, there were some notes on the GA list, including two replies (by David Farrar and Don Brown) on the gTLD statement on the elections. Both seem to agree with the gTLD constituency that the motion under debate should be deferred. As David puts it, "terms of office and term limits should not be changed in such a way which affect(s) an incumbent." [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].

In a different part of the discussion, David also argues against Caroline Chicoine's revised motion to waive the provision of the Rules of Procedure for the DNSO, which prohibits a retiring chair from running for re-election. He notes that waivers generally are used in exceptional circumstances, and expresses his hope that there is more than one member of the names council which would be suitable for the job. He also suggests a rotating chairmanship, like it is known from the European Union's Presidency. (This message was also forwarded to the council list.) [www.dnso.org],

To this, Jeff Neuman of Neustar replies that the gTLD response is advocating precisely such a rotating chairmanship. [www.dnso.org]

A Names Council vote on the revised motion is about to be closed on February 5, 2002; results are due on Wednesday, February 6. On the same day, the nomination period for the GA chair begins. [www.dnso.org]

(iv) Renewal after expiry. Abel Wisman asks about Enom charging customers USD 20 surcharge for renewals after expiry date. To this, Rick Wesson replies that "most registrars contain a provision in their registration agreements that reserve(s) the right to charge a customer to 'revive'" such a registration. According to Rick, there "may" be a lot of work involved with this, which justifies the surcharge. [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].

(v) Russ Smith on Verisign. Russ Smith of consumer.net sent four messages complaining about Verisign's business practices. [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].

February 12, 2002

GA summary 2002-06

This summary covers the DNSO GA mailing list's (and related) discussions and news during the 6th (and the beginning of the 7th) week of 2002. GA list archives are available online at [www.dnso.org]. Please feel free to forward this summary as you believe to be appropriate.


There were no ongoing General Assembly votes during the week covered.

The names council's vote on a possible waiver of rules of procedure was finished on February 6, with 10 votes in favor, 9 against, and one abstention. As pointed out by Louis Touton (and noted earlier by Danny Younger), this means that the waiver was not formally accepted during this vote. Also, as Touton points out, the Names Council "may not formally act through a vote conducted by e-mail alone." [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].


(i) WLS. Abel Wisman presented a first draft of a response to the revised WLS proposal. This draft contained various questions collected from various mailing lists. Independently of that, Thomas Roessler prepared another (considerably shorter) list of questions, and, finally, George Kirikos submitted no less than twenty questions. Alexander Svensson eventually created a compilation of all the different sets of questions, which was then submitted to Verisign. [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].

Danny Younger sent a pointer to the registrars' set of questions. [www.dnso.org]

(ii) Structure Task Force. Danny Younger commented on the structure task force's work. He notes that version 5 of the task force's draft was posted on January 17, that it had seen practically no comments from the DNSO. Version 6 (which was supposed to be based on comments received) is still missing. According to Danny, this is proof for the "continued failure" of the task force approach. Also, he demands that the TF should focus on restructuring the DNSO. As Danny puts it, "none of us care much about the BC's and IPC's opinion about the future ALM." [www.dnso.org]

In a follow-up, Peter de Blanc points out that he disagrees (!) about the possible ability of the at-large to become a "possible financial force within ICANN." As an example, he takes just one US dollar per member. [www.dnso.org].

Alexander Svensson replies that small membership fees are hardly practical, since sending such donations to the US directly would create banking costs which make any payment unpractical. As examples, he lists GhanaExpress and NigeriaDirect, where a transfer of $ 1 would generate a fee of $ 12. He concludes that collecting small fees directly would generate prohibitive transaction costs. [www.dnso.org]

Mike Roberts suggests that the only option which may be implemented ("an imperfect, but feasible option") is "a self-organized initial cohort of ALSO participants who are willing to pay a membership fee by credit card." He quotes "a sustaining individual membership" as a "general type of minimum test." [www.dnso.org]

In a follow-up message, David P. Farrar asks for a reference about the board indicating a minimum threshold of 5,000 members for a viable at-large organization (which was also mentioned by Mike). David estimates that the "chances of getting 5,000 people to initially pay $ 25 is near zero." He suggests a lower fee and a lower threshold. [www.dnso.org]

(iii) Transfer Task Force. Danny points to discussion notes from the task force's latest conference call. The notes were pointed to the registrars list by Ross Rader. [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].

(iv) Webcast of Accra meetings. Ben Edelman pointed out that the Berkman Center's staff will not be present in Accra, and that ICANN itself should be contacted for webcast details. [www.dnso.org]

February 19, 2002

GA summary 2002-07

This summary covers the DNSO GA mailing list's (and related) discussions and news during the 7th (and the beginning of the 8th) week of 2002. GA list archives are available online at [www.dnso.org]. Please feel free to forward this summary as you believe to be appropriate.

"I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter." -- Blaise Pascal


There were no ongoing General Assembly votes during the time covered.

Call for Sponsors

Names Council chairman Philip Shepard published a call for sponsors for the webcasting of DNSO meetings in Ghana. [www.dnso.org]


(i) Lending of Registry Access. Alexander Svensson forwarded an advisory from ICANN on inappropriate lending of registry access. This advisory elaborates on some obligations registrars have under the agreement. The advisory points out that "at least one registrar access-lending scheme currently in operation raises significant issues under these provisions of the RAA." [www.dnso.org]

(ii) Read-only access to the names council list. Danny Younger asked what happened about Alexander's January 8 request for read-only e-mail access to the Names Council list. In a reply, the DNSO secretariat pointed out that such access "is already done through a transparent access to archives". In a follow-up, Alexander pointed out that his request was about e-mail access, _not_ web access. [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].

(iii) Whois task force. Danny Younger asked for public access to the raw survey data. [www.dnso.org]

(iv) Redemption grace period. Ross Rader posted a link to a discussion paper from ICANN, on "Redemption Grace Periods for Deleted Names." In that paper, a solution for the problem of unintentional domain registration deletions is suggested: Any "delete" of a domain name results in a 30-day grace period, during which the domain name will be in registry-hold mode and removed from the zone file, yielding the domain unresolvable, so registrants notice that they have a problem. During that grace period, "registrants could redeem their registrations through registrars." [www.icann.org]

William Walsh replied that "it should be stated that the registrar can only redeem the registration for the original registrant." [www.dnso.org]

Harold Whiting suggested that there should be uniformity with respect to the current registrar-dependent "grace period": "If all registrars are mandated to follow the same procedure during the 45 day window and delete names uniformly, we solve not only the 'mistakes' but also the hoarding issue." According to him, the proposal adds "another layer of opportunity to manipulate the system." [www.dnso.org]

Abel Wisman elaborates on the point that redemptions would lead to registrants paying "renewal fees, plus a service charge, to the registry operator." He sees a connection to the WLS proposal, which would create an additional demand for such a redemption grace period. William Walsh followed up on this message to suggest that the service charge be removed from the proposal. [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].

Genie Livingston points out that, in Verisign's answers to questions about WLS (see below), there is indeed a pointer to the redemption grace proposal: According to their Q&A document, Verisign had suggested a 15-day registry hold period. "In the revised WLS proposal, this provision was removed because ICANN is going to take the lead in the process that hopefully will lead to such a procedure." If ICANN process on this takes longer than implementation of WLS, Verisign "would be willing to consider implementing an interim procedure to provide for this need." [www.dnso.org]

Don Brown says that he is in favor of the redemption grace period document, with some modifications: The suggested grace period "should be a 'minimum' period for the domain name to be on-hold"; the grace period should be longer when considering the effect of DNS cache expiration; the domain should be on hold the day following expiration; on-hold status should be reflected in whois information; the grace period should not be conditioned upon payment of a fee to Verisign registry by registrars; pricing for the service fee is to be based on Verisign's cost; only the original registrant should be permitted to redeem a domain; there should be a policy to prevent hoarding; there should be a fine or other monetary penalty for infractions. [www.dnso.org]

Marc Schneiders pointed out that some registrars he has checked have an "auto-renew" option, which, he says, fully takes care of the problem discussed in the ICANN document. He also asks for facts and figures to back up the "anecdotal evidence" which "indicates that a significant portion of the demand for registration of deleted domains involves domains that the former registrant did not intend to have deleted." (Quote from the ICANN document.) [www.dnso.org]

Alexander Svensson points out that "e.g., register.com's service called SafeRenew is simply an attempt to charge the credit card the renewal fee" - an attempt which would of course be subject to the possibility of failure. Alexander also quotes a message from Dave Crocker to the ncdnhc-discuss list where Dave estimates the core costs for domain registration to be $0.5 - $2. As Alexander says, "the late renewal fee should definitely be less." Also, "the only ones negatively affected are companies and individuals trying to make a business out of the current situation where at least some domains are deleted without the owner realizing it." [www.dnso.org], [www.icann-ncc.org].

Elisabeth Porteneuve suggests that we learn from other than domain name services. As an example, she quotes public services in France, where suppliers are allowed to charge subscribers' bank account periodically. (BTW, it works similarly in Germany.) Elisabeth suggests that "a 'long term option' based on a kind of automatic periodical payment could be added to registrant's choice." [www.dnso.org]

(v) Verisign responses to questions received regarding the revised WLS proposal. Verisign posted their response to the revised WLS proposal as a 25-page PDF document. [www.dnso.org], [verisign-grs.com].

In follow-up messages, Harold Whiting and William Walsh both agree that the paper "is an excellent exercise in answering by not answering." (William's wording.) [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].

Genie Livingstone points out that the WLS proposal does not bring any solution to the problem of deleted domain hoarding at registrars. Unless this is resolved first, Genie finds WLS unacceptable "in any shape or form." [www.dnso.org]

Finally, Chuck Gomes announced that, responding to a request by the registrars' constituency, Verisign is extending the deadline for comments on the proposal to 7 March 2002. [www.dnso.org]

(vi) Structure; At Large Membership. Danny Younger quoted the idea "to involve ISPs in support of the At-Large membership," and elaborates on some details of it. [www.dnso.org]

Danny also pointed out that Philip Sheppard has published v6 of the structure task force report. Danny considers that report "garbage." [www.dnso.org]

In the subsequent discussion, Chuck Gomes of Verisign writes: "Regardless of whether you like Danny's choice of words or not, it appears to me that what he is saying is probably quite accurate, at least with regard to the fact the report is primarily one prepared by Philip. I know for a fact that the gTLD Registry Constituency submitted fairly significant comments to the TF only to be largely ignored." [www.dnso.org]

In a different message, Danny points out that he believes that the task force's chair (Philip) demonstrates business constituency bias, and asks for Philip to be replaced. [www.dnso.org]

On the other hand, Philip claims that the current draft reflects input from all constituencies. [www.dnso.org]

To this, Chuck objects that "it certainly does not contain input provided by the gTLD registry constituency." [www.dnso.org]

(vii) A somewhat different approach to ICANN structure. A message from ICANN director Andy Müller-Maguhn made it to the GA list through several forwarding layers. According to Andy, Joe Sims was in Brussels today for some closed door meeting with the European Commission, where he presented plans for a complete restructuring of the ICANN board, without an at large participation, and with "parts of the DNSO." Apparently, Andy was not able to get hold of any details. [www.dnso.org]

February 26, 2002

GA summary 2002-08

This summary covers the DNSO GA mailing list's (and related) discussions and news during the 8th (and the beginning of the 9th) week of 2002. GA list archives are available online at [www.dnso.org]. Please feel free to forward this summary as you believe to be appropriate.


The nomination period for the Names Council chair was ongoing. The gTLD registry constituency has nominated Cary Karp. Philip Sheppard of the Business Constituency, the current chair, is available for a second term.


(i) Deleted domain handling; supplemental information on domain name redemption. ICANN published a supplemental paper which detailed the proposal in various points: Registrar processes remain mostly unchanged, registries should be allowed to take a "cost-recovery service charge", and registrants should be able to choose the renewing registrar. [www.icann.org]

Genie Livingstone was not the only one to mention domain hoarding as a problem which should be addressed first. However, Genie produced a sample of 100 4-letter domains being in "on hold" status, beginning with the letter "A", in order to understand what currently happens. The result was that a particularly large number of the domains investigated is held by Verisign Registrar, with Register.com following on the second place. [www.dnso.org], [www.eyeondomain.com].

Harold Whiting followed up to notice that "as of a few days ago, NSI registrar was backlogged with over 1.3 million names that are overdue for deletion." He suggests a Uniform Registrars' Deletion Policy which should be mandatory for registrars. He suggests that, upon expiration, a domain should immediately be put "on hold", and become unusable for a (uniform, I suppose) period not less than 40 days. After that period, domains should be returned to the registry and become available for re-registration. However, "registry shall queue all names marked for deletion using the standard '5 day hold' process used now." [www.dnso.org]

William Walsh replied that this proposal would tie up some of registrars' capital for a 45 day period, which would hurt smaller registrars. While the same is the case with the current grace period, that one is optional, while Harold's proposal would make it mandatory. [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].

Abel Wisman pointed out that a possible solution to this problem may be to charge renewal fees to the registrar on the 45th day of expiry, unless a domain is returned to the registry. Fees would then be non-returnable. [www.dnso.org]

(ii) Structure. After the board's retreat over the week-end, a restructuring proposal done by ICANN's Lynn was posted. According to this proposal, the current board of directors would be replaced by a (smaller) board of trustees. Some trustees would be appointed by governments (one trustee per geographical region), some would represent so-called policy councils (replacing the current supporting organizations, and being lead by "steering groups" which would replace the current councils), and some would be co-opted by the board. In particular, there would be no more "at large" elections.

Constituencies would be replaced by "forums", and would not automatically send representatives to the steering groups.

The board of trustees would be expected to make policy decisions by itself, as opposed to the current board's mission (as far as theory is concerned).

See [www.icann.org] for details, and [www.icannchannel.de] for a nice chart of the suggested structure done by Alexander Svensson.

Alexander also provided some preliminary comments, noting, in particular, that "the Board seems to elect itself according to this proposal." He also asks how non-commercial and individual users make sure their voice is heard: Assuming that they have indeed representatives in the steering groups (the proposal reserves seats for non-commercials and individuals in the steering group of the generic TLD names policy council), they would have to convince the remainder of the steering group, which could then write a recommendation for the board. The board, in turn, could ignore such recommendations. Alexander concludes that, "to have an influence on the ICANN process, having a seat on the board and/or the new nominating committee seem to be good places." [www.dnso.org]

(iii) Registrar data accuracy. Danny younger forwarded an excerpt from a New York Times article on registrar data accuracy. In the article, the counsel of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property claims that many registrars did not reply to a message from the committee which requested information "about whether and how the companies verify customer data." [www.dnso.org]

Rick Wesson replied that "we" (we being Alice's Registry) "responded and sent a lengthy letter discussing how difficult it is to identify invalid addresses. There is no known method of verifying a snail mail address in over 100 countries." [www.dnso.org]

About February 2002

This page contains all entries posted to No Such Weblog in February 2002. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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