RE: [registrars] North American Seat
Dear Ross - I appreciated seeing your responses. It is helpful to get clear
positions from the candidates, and therefore I would appreciate elaborations
on several which are unclear.
On #5, you claim not to have represented Liberty since Q2, 2000. However, in
mid-Q4 of that year, I know that you were discussing Liberty's services and
pricing with RegistryPro. So, how can you say that you were not
On #6, you state that you have worked extensively on constituency issues. I
know that you have been very active on the transfers issue, which is very
important to the core business of Tucows. What issues have you worked on -
and what have you achieved for the constituency - on issues that do not
directly affect Tucows' business?
On #8, I agree that Donny asked a great question that leads to a broader one
about the sunrise names. A number of Afilias' sunrise names - even those
registered by the legitimate trademark holders - had erroneous information
(often by mistake/accident). This is par for the course for a new registry,
but Afilias and Liberty would not allow clerical changes to be made, despite
complaints from WIPO, the IPC, various registrars and registrants. So, the
additional question for you, is how would you deal with the policy of fixing
clerical errors if you had adequate proof of intention of the registrant to
make such change?
Sent: Monday, December 10, 2001 9:19 AM
To: Donny Simonton; email@example.com
Subject: Re: [registrars] North American Seat
> I have some questions for each of the two candidates for the North
> American seat. I would appreciate it if you would respond to each of
> the questions at your earliest convenience. Just so you know I am very
> straight and to the point, so I expect your answers to be the same way.
Donny, you've asked some pretty penetrating and valid questions. Hopefully
our responses live up to the requirements you've specified and allow you to
cast an informed vote.
> Ross Rader -
> 1. What exactly do you do as Director, Innovation & Research at tucows?
> And please tell me that you didn't create that title yourself?
I run the Policy, Research and Innovation Group. Briefly, this team is
responsible for keeping an eye out on what might be happening tomorrow and
making sure that it doesn't bite us in the ass. PR&I is largely a corporate
development function that evaluates the landscape, looks for new opportunity
and tries to keep the organization headed roughly in the most advantageous
direction. Part of this role includes the policy and public affairs work
that I do within ICANN, CIRA and other DNS related organizations on behalf
of Tucows. The title originated with two consultants that we retained last
year to tell us what the preceding sentences meant. I was pushing for
something closer to Jordyn Buchanan's title ;)
> 2. If I had $5000 US, how many shares of tucows stock could I buy? And
> why can I buy so many shares? Would I expect to actually make money if
> I invested $5,000 in tucows? Or would my money be blown like my
> investment in fogdog.com which is now worth $3.47.
Not that I'm qualified to give you investment advice, nor would the SEC
appreciate it if I did but some quick tips. First, the number of shares that
you can buy in any given public company is a function of the amount of funds
that you wish to invest, the current share price of the security you wish to
invest in and minus any associated brokerage fees. ;) As far as whether you
will make money from purchasing Tucows stock or not, that completely depends
on whether or not you sell it at a higher price that what you bought it at.
I'm not quite sure what this has to do with the NC election, so might I
suggest that you consult with an investment advisor for a serious answer to
> 3. The disclosures that you sent out say that you don't own any shares
> in any registrar. Does this include Tucows? Have you ever owned shares
> in any registrar? If you do buy shares, will you disclose this as well?
Yes, no and yes. I do hold options in Tucows, but they have not been
exercised. I have never owned any shares in any registrar, but if the
constituency feels that my personal investments is an important item for our
NC reps to disclose, I will abide by the policy and disclose any securities
transactions that I might make that may put me in a possible conflict of
> 4. Do you now or have you done any consulting work?
I have done some minor work for one of my former employers in the past. This
was a short-term gig through which I did some marketing collateral design
work for high-speed business data products. A long time ago I also did some
informal Mr. Fix-it type consulting for area businesses and individuals
(installing hardware and software, fixing printers etc.)
> 5. I understand that tucows is the owner of Liberty RMS, which if I
> understand correctly is the company that basically registers the domains
> for the .info gTLD. When .info first launched we all remember how much
> fun we had with the servers not being able to handle the load on the
> first day. Thus, in my opinion causing Afilias and the .info domains an
> extraordinary amount of bad publicity and because of this many customers
> do not trust Afilias. In your opinion what would you have done
Its a great question, but I wasn't involved on the Afilias/Liberty registry
side of the final launch actually. My involvement in the project had pretty
much ended by the close of Q2 last year, certainly prior to the signing of
the final contract between Afilias and Liberty. Ram Mohan of Afilias or
Naomi Rose of Liberty would be able to give you a much better answer that I
could hope to. My current work with Afilias is limited to representing
Tucows at the registrar-member meetings.
>From a registrar perspective, hindsight being what it is, I would have
placed more emphasis on the development of our off-line processing systems
(i.e. - order batching in event of registry failure).
> 6. You seem to spend a lot of time on various icann issues. What do you
> and your company stand to gain through your participation? What is your
> primary motivator for being here and being involved? What does winning
> the North American seat do for you? You say that Tucows does business
> with a number of
> ICANN related companies. Will winning this seat increase the business
> you do with ICANN related companies?
As I mentioned up front, making sure that policy developments don't
negatively effect Tucows is a big part of my job - hence the active role
that I take within ICANN. My primary motivation is in preventing the undue
accretion of power as a result of the de-regulation that we have seen over
the past few years. As quickly as registrars were created, they could be
eliminated. As quickly as Verisign's power in the DNS was distributed, it
could be re-centralized. A strong constituency, a strong ICANN will prevent
this. A strong constituency, a strong ICANN stems from the active
participation of its membership. In other words, if I participate (if we all
participate), then we remain strong.
Winning the North American seat means one very important thing for me
personally - that I can be assured that the registrars constituency will
have the representation that it deserves at the Names Council. As I've
mentioned previously, I prefer to work the system from the inside out. In
order to guarantee the level of representation that I feel we need to move
things forward, a change in representation is required. I've danced around
the issue in the past, but let me be very clear - I have not been happy with
the level of representation that we have been subject to thus far.
I do not expect that Tucows, or myself, will materially benefit from an
increase in business with other ICANN-related companies if I am elected to
the NC. Personally, my goal is to see that we all benefit from my election
to the NC.
> 7. If Registrar A sends an invoice to a customer 30 days before a
> domain is supposed to expire and when they do this, they put the domain
> in a Non-Paid status so this makes the domain non-transferable to
> another registrar. Do you agree with this policy? Would you agree
> with this policy if registrar B decides to send an invoice to a domain
> holder 5 days after they register a domain for the renewal for 360 days
> later? By doing this they basically make the domain theirs for life
> unless the domain expires and is reregistered elsewhere?
Customers should be able to transfer domain names to another registrar at
almost any time. Nothing about the scenarios you describe particularly
impress me as they strike me as excuses to hold on to customer share in
direct contradiction of the explicitly wish of the customer. Don't get me
started on this one ;) Stuff like this shouldn't be going on.
> 8. If somebody registered a bogus .info trademark domain and then a
> customer files a complaint with WIPO and they admit to WIPO that they
> don't own any trademark on the domain. But WIPO awards the person who
> filed the complaint the domain. Should they put in bogus information in
> the trademark fields for the .info domain? Or should they just leave it
> blank since they don't own any trademark on the word or the domain?
I think that there is a more interesting question here - what is the utility
of such mechanisms that promote the protection of trademark interests of
that of "normal" registrants? As we've seen over the past few months,
efforts to do so have been mired in controversy and relative
ineffectiveness. A more careful balance between the needs of the IP
interests and "normal" registrants must be achieved. Part of this lies with
the organization and mandate of WIPO, some lies with the UDRP and some lies
with the various sunrise periods that we've seen. Serious thought must be
given to ironing out these wrinkles in order that we can restore an
appropriate level of consumer confidence to this sector.
> 9. Is the participation of individuals within ICANN really all that
> important? What does it mean for registrars?
It is incredibly important. For instance, it cannot seriously be argued that
any policies that ICANN puts into place has received a reasonable level of
attention and debate without the formal participation of individuals. In the
past, a number of industry observers indicated that unless ICANN managed to
convince its largest stakeholder, Verisign, that participation was important
and beneficial, then ICANN would never achieve the legitimacy that it needed
to continue. This argument holds true for the other "largest stakeholder" as
well - individuals.
The implications for registrars will be profound. Most obviously, it means
that both our suppliers and customers will now have a voice in the process.
This means that we must ensure that a balance of alignment between these two
groups is achieved. I submit that the registry bias inherent in our
discussions must be tempered with a balancing bias towards individuals. If
this doesn't happen, then we run the risk of disenfranchising those who feed
us - the users.
> 10. What are you personal views on alt.roots? What about those of your
> company? Why does OpenSRS not offer alternatives like new.net to its 80
> million resellers? Maybe Domain Names International can offer new.net
> through the OpenSRS reseller program since they seem to be a reseller of
> OpenSRS. :)
alt.roots unto themselves are an interesting experiment. But, personally,
from what I have seen of the alt.root operators thus far, the current
implementations are both dangerous and irresponsible. Professionally
speaking, I am not so much concerned with the existence or extinction of
alt.roots, but how their actions impact on Registrars and ICANN. Tim Denton
and I wrote a fairly comprehensive paper on this subject
essentially re-states (in many more words) one of the more important maxim's
governing the use of the Internet - "Every person shall be free to use the
Internet in any way that is privately beneficial without being publicly
detrimental." The biggest problem with the alt.root operators today is that,
at least from my view, they go out of their way to be publicly detrimental.
As far as why Tucows doesn't resell for new.net - our resellers haven't
indicated any level of serious interest in their products. Financially,
there are a lot more lucrative fish for us to fry at this point.
> 11. In whatever I do I try to make as much money as possible. When I
> dream at night I think of new ways to make more money! The more money I
> make, the bigger my smile is. But this position confuses me. Since you
> are the Director of Innovation & Research at tucows and I assume that
> position is salaried, why would you want to give up your time for a
> position that pays nothing? And do this in 30 words or less.
I like smiling too. I also get paid to worry about the big picture. Small
contributions that I make towards the welfare of the industry now, pay-off
bigger for us, and all others involved further down the road.
Close to 30 words anyways...
> 12. I currently own 89 domains. How many domains do you personally
1 - byte.org. I am the contact person for a number of others that I haven't
> Thanks for all of your time hopefully your answers will really help me
> to better be able to cast my ballot and hopefully some of the others.
Feel free to drop me a line if I can clarify on any of these points further.