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Re: [ga] VeriSign May Ditch Domain Deal

Roeland Meyer wrote:

[him] The whole idea of registry/registrar splitting is a canard.

[me] Vertical integration  is precisely the issue underlying the Microsoft
antitrust suit: you couldn't get Windows without also getting an IE
browser, and since you can hardly get a computer without getting
Windows, Netscape is toast.  The analogy in patent law is that
technology A has a patent, technology B does not, but you can't
buy technology A without also buying technology B -- it's called a
"tie-in." The present situation is not contractual, as when buying a
computer, but rather a bit of marketing and taking advantage of
knowing how consumers think -- which, of course, are themselves
legitimate and essential things to do, but to tilt the playing field itself,
by putting oneself in a position of marketing advantage with the
blessing of ICANN and the DoC, is not legitimate. NSI/Verisign
has at least a psychological tie-in.

Contrary to when I first went on line, nowadays one has a choice of
registrars, and that's a good thing. The trap one falls into is precisely
like the one I did: in those days of INTERNIC and all that, when the
Internet was just creeping out of the military mode to the public, the
idea was that NSI then became "Big Daddy," and everything went
through them.  Because of that, I had absorbed the notion that all of
that was still true: there was only one authentic registry, there was
only one WHOIS data base, etc., and I was blathering some dumb
stuff (and hassling Chuck Gomes) until one kind soul in this bunch
straightened me out.  But there are others out there whose brains
work somewhere nearly as slow as mine, and there are still traps.

One of these is the "one-stop-shopping" mentality.  "If it is known that
Company X is going to be the registry for your domain name, why go
elsewhere for anything?" Another is the recent Verisign/ICANN
agreement -- the whole thing has been publicized so much that whole
world will get the sense that "Verisign is where the action is," and "if I
want something I'd better go to them."  There are more than these few
traps, and I won't try to track them all down here, but since we now have
that agreement, what I say is, "Fellow scientists, the experiment has
started and the pots are boiling: we shall see what we shall see."

(A witch's brew, methinks.)

> All the registrar system did was create a new layer of registry resellers.
> The fundimental provider of service is still the registry and there is still
> only one.

My point exactly.

> It is worse because  registrar agreements bind registrars
> exclusively to ICANN, preventing them from doing business with non-ICANN
> registries, AFAICT. They are still locked into NSI (I don't think that RIPE
> supports registrars, the last I heard). Thus, it only presents the
> appearance of competition and not the fact.

The (at least psychological) marketing edge that Verisign now has is one major
anti-competitive aspect of the Verisign/ICANN agreement.

> What it did do was relieve NSI of many customer service issues by pushing
> most of that out to the registrars. What it ALSO does is add yet another
> layer of profit margins. Thus increasing the minimal cost of doing business.
> Look in your marketing 101 text for channel marketing. It is a very
> effective tool. It actually enhanced NSI's position substantially. NSI
> actually got ICANN to help them set up their market distribution channels.

NSI/Verisign not only remains as "Big Daddy," but has cemented its position
and taken on a marketing partner -- ICANN.

> BTW, I said most of this at the time it happened. It should be no surprise
> to many. Some may disagree ... if it quacks, flies, and swims ... it's a
> duck, IMHO.

I also hear quacking sounds.

Bill Lovell

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