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[nc-transfer] GA input on WLS

To the Transfer TF: On behalf of the GA, I'd like to ask the Task Force to pay particular attention to the aspects of deleted domain handling and the WLS proposal described below. Most what's mentioned below is not new, and has been said elsewhere before.

Regards, Thomas Roessler
(Chairman, DNSO GA)

1. Impact on competition between registrars. (See also: RC position paper regarding the proposed Wait Listing Service; GA feedback submitted to Verisign.)

Consider any registrar who has hoarded expired domain names. Such a registrar could wait for WLS subscriptions being made through it. Once a WLS subscription for a hoarded domain name is there, the domain could be relased - and immediately re-registered through the same registrar, due to the WLS subscription. If a WLS subscription is made through a different registrar, nothing happens.

Rumor of this could be expected to quickly spread in the community: If you want to back-order a domain name which has expired, but is not available, go to the old registrar for your WLS subscription.

Ultimately, this approach to selling off hoarded domain names (which would be economically quite attractive at least to Verisign, and - at sufficiently high WLS prices - possibly also for other registrars) could lead to a _significant_ increase in the cost for registering an expired domain. It would also skew competition between registrars as far as registrations of these domains are concerned - effectively, potential registrants would be forced to go to the "old" registrar.

The conclusion from this scenario would be to hold up WLS until the hoarding problem has been solved (1) on the policy, and (2) on the implementation side, i.e., until the currently-hoarded domain names have been released to the public.

2. Grandfathering current subscriptions. (See also: RC position paper; GA feedback submitted to Verisign; VGRS response to General Counsel's Analysis.)

In the earlier GA response, and the Registrar Constituency's position, there are concerns on the impact an implementation of the WLS proposal may have with respect to those who are currently offering special services aimed at registering deleted domain names. In particular, it is noted that only current SnapNames subscriptions are grandfathered.

In its response to General Counsel's analysis, VGRS writes: "Regarding the possible exclusions of names associated with other deleted name registration services, VGRS only proposed excluding SnapNames names because VGRS is not aware of any other paid-up contracts on specific, identifiable names providing for reasonable customer expectations and thereby opening up the door to potential lawsuits."

The GA's members are not convinced by this argument, and ask the Task Force to investigate the impact an implementation of the WLS proposal under the conditions currently suggested may have on legitimate interests of existing deleted name registration services, such as eNom, NicGenie, IARegistry, AWRegistry, Signature Domains, INWW, OnlineNic, AddressCreation, AllDomains, EastCom, PayCenter, ExpireFish.

3. Background material

* Verisign GRS material on the proposal: http://www.verisign-grs.com/wls.html

* Registrar Constituency comments: http://www.dnso.org/clubpublic/ga/Arc09/msg01524.html

* General Assembly comments: http://www.dnso.org/clubpublic/ga/Arc09/msg01355.html

* ICANN councel's analysis of the WLS proposal: http://www.icann.org/minutes/report-vgrs-wls-17apr02.htm

* Verisign's response: http://www.icann.org/minutes/response-vgrs-wls-21apr02.htm

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