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[registrars] Nominalia & registrars coalition re: registry/tld proposal


Mike and all,

Nominalia would like clarifying its posistion regarding the proposed
"registrars consortium". We apologize for not being able to attend
last Friady's teleconf, but both Jordi Hinojosa and myself had other
appointments we could not reschedule.

* Nominalia supports the idea and the proposal for an open,
non-discriminatory coalition of ICANN-accredited registrars building a
registry aimed to aperate an open and generic TLD. Desptie the fact
that Nominalia disagrees with some of the apparent choices being made
(see below) we are prepared t sign into that effort .

* Nominalia will not be involved in the discussion and preparation of
the application. The main reason (even if not the only one) is the
fact that *I* am a member of the ICANN BoD. I beleive, and Nominalia
agrees, that even if I abstanin in the Board vote, any direct
involvment of Nominalia as such, or the mere perception of such
involvement, in a given application, any direct participation in its
formulation could in fact play *against* such application. And this
regardless of the fact that I am not a shareholder nor a director nor
a manager or employee of Nominalia. But this issue of choosing
registries and TLDs wil be a heated one, and the more safeguards we
all take, even excessive, the better.

* Nominalia will like neverhteless joining the registrars consortium
proposal, though. Numers matter, and registrar wide support, when we
talk about a registrar-based application, is critical. Our request, if
the rest of the group so accept, is that the final or near final
proposal be submitted to Nominalia as late as you feel confortable
about our inability to use it in a competintg proposal. We give up any
right to ammend or even comment it and only will decide to join in
(the most probable decision, only a crazy proposal, very unlikly given
the people involved in the proposal, could lead us to decline).
Therefore, we request you to join the application once completed,
without any chacne to influence or modify it. Indeed, Nominalia will
contribute financially to the application process, with the same
amount as the other signatories. As we will not be involved in the
"cooking", at no rate, we don't see the need to sign a Non-disclosure
agreement (we will know nothing about the process) or non-competition
clause (we wil p have no advatadge to take profit of, and, by the way,
we are not applying this time)

* Nominalia is not applying in order to become a registr for this
selection process scheduled to end on November 20th. As members of
CORE we have encouraged CORE to apply itself (but CORE as such would
be subject to the NDA and NCA imposed by the registrar consortium).
Perahps Nominalia will contribute some technical work to the CORE
application, if so requested by the CORE team (but only in this
specific technical issues). I will personally play no role there,
besides the impulse I gave to the decision to apply on bahalf of
Nominalia. In case (not very likely) the current EC-PoP process,
jointly with the EU insitiutions, finally decide to apply for .eu
(.eur) under the socalled gTLD process, Nominalia willl encourage such
applciation and support it both technically and financially, if so
required. No other involvment will be considered at this stage.

Hope this helps, both in clarifying our position and in advancing the
registrars consortium application. We also hope you understand why we
prefer, this time, to keep a distant and low profile, while supporting
the initiative. And we also hope our position is acceptable for the
rst of the participating registrars.

Best regards,

Amadeu

OS: and now some commments we would like making before clsoing our
mouthgs until Speteber 30th ;-))

* Nominalia has a consistnet record of supporting open-membership,
registrar based entities as the best otpion in order to run TLD
registries. What has been called the Nominet model ()Nominet is the
.uk registry). Or the CORE model.

* As a second option for registires, after being open and
non.cdiscriminatory associations of all accredited registrars, we have
also a strong preernece for non-for.profit strucutres. We acknowledge
that ost US-based registrars have a strong bias agaisnt this model,
mostly because of their (bizarre, in our mind) assumption that
non-for.-profits would face difficulties in gathering enough funding
to run the registry and keeping it alive and performant. We submit
that this bias is unwarranted (take Nominet, CORE, DENIC, the .de
registry or RIPE NCC, the European regional IP addresses registry for
clear examples of the contrary). This feature is less importnat in our
view htan the previous one (the open and non discriminatory character)
so we will not insist. We simply want to go on record as supporitng a
model that we deem far superior to the one proposed in many respects.

* Much more critical than the for-profit/not-for-profit distinction is
the announced feature of the proposed corporation: unqeual equity,
and, even more troubling, unequal voting rights. We can't see any
intellectual justification for thosse choices. Not only they are
unnecessary to gurarantee adequate funding and fiar functioning of the
corproation. But they are inhernenlty unfair and disturbing to the
very function of such corporation: running a registry in an equitable
way to all registrars, all registrants. Resigstrars business is
registering domains, servicing registrants, and their profits should
be related directly to those facts. This should be the only interest
they should have in the registry. "Doubling" registration amounts into
equity leads to more than potential distortions. Granting unequal
voting rights is somehting that go directly against our beliefs.

* The gloor-and-ceiling privisions about differnetiated voting rights
are only a partial solution. 10% voting rights might seem a very
little share. Except when you take into account houw many registrars
being accredited by ICANN are members of the constituency or take
active part in this consortium effort. A farily reduced part, to say
the least. In this regard unequal voting rights is even more troublesome.

* To make things more difficult, one of the accredited registrars, one
of those likely having the largest share and the largest voting
package, currently ownsd the only gTLD registry in operation, and will
likely still own it by the time the appŮication is filed, evaluated
and eventually approved. NSI as a registrar is a fundamental part of
this effort. And no accredited registrar could be excluded for any
reason. But  asytem granting "special" rights, among others, to the
current "registry" (not just to any of the registrars i) si  something
that should be very carefully discussed. Nominalia does not beleive
that TLDs compete one agaisnt each other form the demand-sdie point of
view (certainly not once the registrations is performed), but
registries tend to behave as if they compete form the supply side. And
many people do not share our point of view and firmly believe that
"more TLDs means more competition " (this could be the case, but it is
not at all a given). In this perspective, once again, the PR effects
of a proposal where the "incumbent monopolist" in the gTLD reigstry
arena also "appears" to have "special ground" in the alleged
"competitor" is not somehting that would play in faov rof the
proposal. This is also true regarding the assumption, publicly made by
some registrars, that NSI-the-tegistry would cooperate form the
"technical" point of view in the consortium proposal. Once again,
given the current (mis?)understandings regarding DNS-based
competition, this "cooperation" could easily play against the
consortium proposal, not in favour.

* Nominalia fails to undersnta d the logics of the Non-disclosure
agreements and non-competition agreement being proposed. For one
thing, we encourage CORE to provide the registrars consortium all
usefull information, technical and other (the famous "random snake"
for inital registrations; any poclicy consideration regarding
protection of famous tradmearks etc). Rhe registry as such has no
independent views, interests and goals other than allwoing registrars
to regiser with new TLDs in a competitive environment. If this is the
case, we gain form sharing, not excluding knowledge.  Moreover, NDAs
have a solid hisotry within the recent DNS hisotry, one that makes us
specailly aware of its inherent risks.....

* Nominalia cannot help but stating its surprise by the fact that many
of the above facts were explained as a "given" form day one, or at
least sicne we first heard about it. We accepty the mojority's view,
but we feel unconfortable when asked to join processes where some
diecisons sem beyond any possible discussion.

* Besides all these, most of the participants in this effot know for
sure our commitments to a registar-based competition model,
centralized and non-propiretary whois, need to provide for data escrow
at both the reigstrar and registry levels, need to protect IP rights
thoufh UDRP, need to provide a "famous trdemark" e°protection
mechanism, as imperfect as it might be, need to reduce the impact on
personal data to the minimum required, conveneinece to exclude
registrars, with their priviledged access to the registry database
form any kind of domain name trafficking, etc, etc. In this regad we
trust most of the particiats to the consortiyum effort to provide
sensible solutions to these and other questions.

Best regards,

Amadeu



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