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Re: Re[2]: [ga] serious participation in ICANN processes

>My own situation might be unique (is it?) but nonetheless frustrating ... I
>was the first to register "edu.com" And we owned and operated the site for
>some months before getting a matter-of-fact letter from NSI telling us that
>they had reconsidered issuing this domain name.

Your situation sounds somewhat unique in that they told you that you would
get the domain again if it were reissued.  However, there are a number of
similar problems such as domain hijackings, domains released in error then
registered by another party, etc.  I was involved in 12 different incidents
of this type back with NSI where NSI gave me a free domain but gave me no
other recourse.  NSI released Example.com and took it back and ICANN lost
e.com and took it back.

More recently there have been a number of cases where domains were
incorrectly dropped by one registrar and then registered by someone else
through another registrar.  Some of these have resulted in conflicting
claims by the different parties.  Generally the registrars are left to
handle these matters between themselves.  Most of the cases I have heard of
involved NSI registrar and payment processing (since they were the only
registrar with renewals until recently) where the domain is released even
though the owner claims payment was made.  The losing person complains to
NSI, NSI then checks for an error (maybe), NSI notifies the new registrar
and asks for the domain to be returned (maybe).

Since there is no standard for handling these cases the response by the
registrars has varied.  Some request different levels of verification from
NSI.  Some allow the new domain owner to file a rebuttal.  Others simply
take the domain away without any other action.  At least one case with
races.com the new registrar refused to relinquish it.  Not long after this a
number of high profile domains were released by NSI and were owned by CNet
(I believe welcome.com was one of them).  as a result many people see the
system as unfair, capricious, and favoring big business because the
registrars may base their decisions on who is more likely to sue.  Here is
one story about some of the shared registry cases:

Where people have contacted ICANN in these cases the staff says that ICANN
does not get involved.  However, many domain holders expected that ICANN
would be the main arbiter of such cases.  Certainly I expected ICANN to
develop a process to review such matters since the registrars often have an
interest in the outcome.  I view this function as a very high priority in
managing a shared registry system and is particularly important in the thin
registry model we now have.  At the same time ICANN is seen as getting
involved in issues which are viewed as well beyond their mandate.

If we are keeping score I will give ICANN 0.5 points for getting involved
with the shared registry system prior to their official designation of
authority in Nov. 1999 and -1 point for not setting up a system to handle
these situations for a total of -0.5.

Russ Smith

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