RE: [ga] ICANN benefits
>Let's see. You think that less that 2 years is enough time to "fix"
>substantial, global infrastructure problems, particularly when ICANN has no
>control over the technical standards? How unfortunate.
The issue involves services offered by the Registry and the Registrars.
ICANN is the manager of the shared registry system and has agreements with
the Registry and the Registrars. ICANN has the authority under these
agreements to set standards and requirements for the Registry and Registrar
to follow as it relates to WHOIS.
The main issues are:
-A standard format for the output. Currently this involves a text file
output. ICANN could have instituted a standard format for this out. If
this had been done at the start of the planning for the shared registry
system then there would have been little or no impact on the registrars
since they would have taken this into account when they developed their
systems. Now, if a standard format is required, most registrars will have
to go in and adapt their system. This is poor planning and will result in
wasted resources. Further, standardization would provide a cost savings for
the registrars and other companies (such as hosting companies) because other
tasks could be automated in an easier fashion such as the authorization for
-"Advanced" features such XML or non-port 43 standards. These would take
longer to implement. I am not aware of any requirement placed upon ICANN to
wait for IETF standards but it is probably advisable that they do. I don't
see implementing these features as a major failure of ICANN.
-What information should be in the WHOIS database. This is more of a policy
issue and would take longer but ICANN was very late in starting. In a
previous ICANN meeting Roberts stated essentially that the WHOIS has been in
place for a long time and ICANN hadn't taken steps to look at the issues.
It was, therefore, a lower priority than other this that ICANN has taken
I guess you can call it global since there are registrars all over the world
and I guess you could call in infrastructure since it is WHOIS. If you are
trying to imply that it is some kind of major technical obstacle then I,
unfortunately, do not understand.
NSI and Register.com have several million domains. Tucows has 2-3 million
and Bulk Register between 1-2 million. Most other registrars have
substantially less. I never ran a WHOIS server but sites I operate make a
large number of queries (privacy.net and network-tools.com). At one point
ARIN wanted me to run my own WHOIS because my sites made so many queries.
They were prepared to GIVE me the whois software and let me access the
database. Many of the very small registrars would be able to get by with
this. There are significant scaling problems as the registrar grows but, in
order to get that many names, they have to have many paying customers. I am
not aware of any technical limitations in providing a WHOIS database
service, only resource limitations.
The main point of contention with the general public is the requirement to
show all the information about all the contacts and the owner. There is a
general argument that this information must be made available because of
technical issues and/or intellectual property issues. I am a Tucows
reseller and deal with a number of people who register domains. Many of
these customers would not know how to respond to technical questions. If a
router goes wild or if you wanted to find out who was hosting an
"infringing" we site you would get the most reliable information by using
the IP address database to see which ISP owned the network. These WHOIS
databases, unlike the domain name WHOIS databases, are verified to a certain
extent. Once this is taken into account the issues surrounding what
information should be required in the domain WHOIS databases narrows
What it comes down to is that if ICANN took the initiative to institute
things like the UDRP and the Verisign deal then they should have had time to
more on the WHOIS issue by now. Since they take credit for the shared
registrar system they also get credit for the poor planning in instituting a
standard WHOIS format from the start.
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