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[ga] GA summary 2002-02

This summary covers the DNSO GA mailing list's discussions during 
the second week of 2002.  List archives are available online at 
<http://www.dnso.org/clubpublic/ga/Arc09/maillist.html>.  Note that 
a new volume of the archive has been begun.


The election for the GA representative to the NC Transfer Task Force 
ended on Thursday 10 January 2002.  The candidates were Dan 
Steinberg, Eric Dierker, and Jeff Williams.  Dan Steinberg was 
elected. Details on the vote are available from 

The vote for the GA chair and alternative chair began Saturday 5
January 2002, and was finished on 12 January 2002. The candidates
were Kristy McKee, Thomas Roessler, Alexander Svensson, and Eric
Dierker. Thomas Roessler and Alexander Svensson were elected.
Details on the vote are available from


(i) domain-policy archives.  According to a message from Chuck 
Gomes, in reply to a question from Patrick Corliss, the 
domain-policy mailing list was shut down by Verisign for legal 
reasons in May 2001. 

There was some debate on whether or not this had actually been 
said before in public.

(ii) .org divestiture.  Marc Schneiders posted the final version of 
the final draft of the .org NC task force report, plus a 
supplemental report from the GA representative which lists remaining 
concerns with the current text. 

(iii) Deleted domain name handling.  This was certainly the week's 
dominant topic.  

Genie Livingstone gave a summary of data gathered from tracking of 
expiring domains.  According to him, "most dropped domains in 2001 
were originally registered at Netsol Registrar. 99.9% of dropped 
domains were NOT re-registered at Netsol Registrar." "This might be 
one interesting premise motivating Verisign to try to recapture the 
monopoly," he writes.  His message goes on to list some more 
concerns he has with practices of Verisign's registrar division. 

Don Brown summarized what he believes to be "a few fundamental 
hurdles which need to be met before anything else is important" with 
respect to the waiting list proposal: "1. The WLS proposal 
essentially puts monopolistic power in the hands of one entity (the 
Registrar) and thwarts all competition." (I suppose this should have 
been "the registry".) "2. The theory behind this WLS proposal is 
that it addresses technical issues, which cannot otherwise be 
addressed on a technical level." Don then demands that the technical 
difficulties be solved in a way which does not affect the business 
model.  As his third point, he notes that "the name space belongs to 
the public - not the registrars". 

In a more fundamental part of the thread, Chuck Gomes asks whether
or not it is "okay for a property manager to have a waiting list". 
To this, George Kirikos replies: "IF the LANDLORD allowed such a 
thing in their contract with the property manager, it would be 
perfectly legitimate. HOWEVER (and read this part, as it's 
important), it is NOT OK for the property manager to create a 
waiting list on their own volition and keep all the money for 
themselves, behind the back of the landlords!" He also notes that 
"in most cases where there's a waiting list, though, there's a 
definite end to the lease term." To this, William Walsh follows up 
to say that "Verisign is creating a situation in which a domain name 
has more value to the Registry and Registrar if the registrant does 
NOT renew the domain, and creates a problem in that the Registrar 
will be incentivized to not provide as strong a renewal notification 
service as they would otherwise be under incentive to do."

However, Verisign's proposal wasn't the only one to draw criticism: 
In fact, the "registry re-circulation system" (RRS), proposed by 
Peter Girard of Afternic.com, forwarded to the GA on Monday, and 
covered in the last summary, drew some criticism, too: George 
Kirikos complains that replacing "one monopoly (Verisign's WLS) with 
another (a cartel of registrars doing an auction) isn't a solution 
which promotes competition".  He also notes that the proposal "gives 
all the value of the domains that are auctioned to the registrars", 
who have however done nothing to create that value (he says). He 
then introduces the "Let's make George Kirikos a Multi-Millionaire" 
proposal.  After all, he didn't do anything to contribute to 
domains' value, just like registrars....

In another reply to the Afternic proposal, Darryl (Dassa) Lynch 
writes: "I can't see any reason for Registrars or the Registry to be 
benefiting from the consumer market value for renewed/deleted 


A comment from Ron Wiener of Snapnames.com (the folks who own the 
technology Verisign has licensed for the WLS) was forwarded by Ross 
Wm. Rader.  One of his points is this: "It seems to me that there is 
a distinction between the WLS (as proposed) and the RRS (as 
proposed), in that the WLS allows registrars to capture "backup 
demand" for any name throughout the entire year. The RRS only allows 
the capture of demand during a portion of the 45-day grace period 
window, which inherently means it would be primarily of interest to, 
and accessible to, speculators, not mainstream consumers." 

Rick Wesson has asked the community to develop a "concise list of 
requirements for proposals to solve the issues with a registry 
deleting domains in batch".  He hopes for a consensus document on 
the requirements to be used when proposals are evaluated.

In reply to this, George Kirikos lists various requirements, two of 
which are these: 1. Equal opportunity for any registrar to acquire a 
deleted name.  "No current business model that is in place must be 
forcibly required to change [...], unless it can be proven that they 
have caused the abuse through their choice of business models." 2. 
"Registrants should continue to have the ability to register an 
expired name at a registrar's normal price for a brand new 
registration for ALL deleted names."

 From a registrant point of view, Bret Fausett lists six 
requirements, including: Registrants shouldn't need to pay fees to 
more than one registrar to get a deleted domain; registrants should 
be able to place the order with one visit of the registrar's web 
site; expiration dates listed in the whois should have some meaning; 
"the current registrant should make his or her decision to renew 
blind to the value placed on that domain name by prospective 
registrants".  (I find the last one particularly interesting.) 

Elliot Noss of Tucows sent a long message to the GA list in which he 
looks at various aspects of the deleted domains issue.  First, he 
considers who may claim the right to expired or expiring names.  He 
concludes that "the competing claims of registries and registrars 
are likely subordinate to those of registrants," in the end of the 
day.  "Accordingly, any solution should start with this 
underpinning," he says.  In the second section of his document, Noss 
emphasizes that he believes that the issues of registry load and 
expired/expiring domain allocation should be considered separately, 
and that the technical side of the problem can be (and actually 
mostly has been) solved without touching the allocation question. He 
then elaborates on "the inefficiency of flat pricing", and argues 
that the combination of flat-priced supply and variable-priced 
demand has lead to a robust secondary market, and to a "significant 
amount of the current CNO namespace sitting unused".  He warns that 
these effects should not be magnified by solutions for the "expiring 
market".  Noss concludes by stating that the WLS proposal is 
unacceptable to him, and then suggests what he calls "two important 
modifications" to Afternic's RRS proposal: Make all names available 
for bidding, and give the existing registrant an opportunity to 
accept bids at any time (with registrars and registries getting 
their share of the money, too). 

In follow-ups, George Kirikos and Don Brown argue that, if there's 
no technical need for changing the "expiring market", this market 
should be left alone for the moment, and more pressing problems 
should be addressed first.  As Don puts it: "I am in favor of 
'healthy' change, but I don't view any change with respect to the 
after-market to be either healthy or warranted at this time."

In another follow-up to Elliot Noss' message, Don Brown points out 
that part of the process "to introduce more efficiency into the 
systems and procedures" concerning deleted domain names should be 
"the adoption of specifications or policy" in the sense of 3.7.5 of 
the RAA (Registry-Registrar-Agreement):  Such policy does not 
currently exist.

In his comments on Elliot Noss' proposal, Chuck Gomes of Verisign 
agrees with most of the points Elliot made.  In particular, he 
"definitely confirms" that the WLS proposal and the technical 
problems the registry has with deleted domain names are not directly 
connected, and can be dealt with separately.  However, he believes 
that the WLS could "still make some positive impact in this regard, 
but it certainly does not solve the whole problem".  He also points 
out that, while the registry problems do not affect day-to-day 
business of registrars anymore, "there has been and continues to be 
a growing impact on registry operations and registry costs".

He then suggests that WLS would still be "a valuable service for 
consumers", and that a 12-month test could be useful.

Also on the deleted domains topic, the registrars' constituency held 
a conference call.  Various draft notes of the conference call are 

(iv) Working groups, sublists, etc.  As a spin-off from the deleted 
domains thread (which, bad enough, seems to have mostly killed that 
thread), some discussion on working groups and sublists came up, 
including on-list straw polls on whether or not the GA should start 
a working group on the deletion issue, or whether people like the 
WLS.  David Farrar writes about these: "Could I suggest both this 
poll and the previous one while well intentioned lead to the GA 
being more dysfunctional.  Many do not subscribe here to see 40 
people vote on a list." 

	    Announcements from the new Chair and Co-Chair

In two short messages to the GA list, the new Chair and Alt.Chair 
have pointed out what their immediate plans are. These include:

 - Enforce list rules, including the posting limit.  (Alexander will 
   be the list monitor.)
 - Try to attract discussions and participants from various 
   constituencies to the GA.
 - Concerning GA working groups and sublists, a "show traffic, get 
   group" policy will be followed for the moment: If sustained 
   discussions on some topic become too much, and participants desire 
   it, the chairs will try to organize a new mailing list for these.
 - Concerning task forces, there's nothing which prevents the GA 
   members from discussing topics.  According to the "show traffic,
   get group" policy, "mirror working groups" may be established. 
   The GA rep to task forces has the responsibility to inform task 
   force members of the GA's discussions.


Good night,
Thomas Roessler                        http://log.does-not-exist.org/
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