DNSO Mailling lists archives


<<< Chronological Index >>>    <<< Thread Index >>>

[comments-review] [DNDEF] Analysis of "Domain Definition Poll" - Part I.

Domain Name Definition Poll

I have taken the time to form an analysis of the results
from the "Domain Name Definition Poll" I conducted from 
the period of Survey Start on 1/13/01 10:01:17 AM
through to survey End on 1/15/01 5:44 PM.  This `report'
should not be considered hermeneutically exhaustive, and is 
open to suggestions.  

Total participation number in the poll was 25 respondents, this represents 
roughly 18% of the listed participants on the WG-Review.  This of course, assuming 
that nobody voted twice, as it was an `insecure' poll, and that all of the
respondents were in fact members of the WG.  However, I
am inclined to state that I consider the poll results as a fairly
accurate (caveat) representation of many of the ideas and positions 
expressed in WG-Review deliberations.  

My analysis of the "Domain Name Definition Poll" will be presented
in three parts, each corresponding to three sets of the total of 9 questions 
appeared on the above referenced poll.  

This segment constitutes Part I:

In answer to the question: 1.  Are Domain Names property or a service?

52.00% (13 respondents) considered them to be property.  Of course, 
this leaves the issue of *whose* property, completely unanswered.

8.00% (2 respondents) considered them to be a service.  The nature of the
service itself was not indicated in the question, nor its ultimate provider 
established.  The relative unpopularity of this response may have something 
to do with the relative popularity of the very next result.  (Perhaps the 
exclusivity of the question played a role.)

32.00% (8 respondents) indicated that it was both; a service and property. 
This response serves to undeniably establish and underscore the magnitude 
of the domain name definition confusion issue.   

8.00% (2 respondents) chose the "Don't Know" option as their answer.  As 
any codified definition of the ontological status of domain names is 
completely lacking, I find myself sympathizing with this answer in particular.  

Conclusion, although there were respondents who "did not know"
if domain names were property or a service, a traditional majority (i.e.50+1) 
was established in the position advocating apparently unqualified property 
status.  However, there was a significant proportion of respondents who 
indicated that domain names were of a hybrid nature; partaking of both 
property and service status. The implications of this latter response are 
unclear as the question was much too generally phrased and further data is 
not currently available.

In answer to the question: 2. Should the issue of trademarks and geographic 
indications be conflated with Domain names?

16.00% (4 respondents) considered that domain names should be conflated
with trademark issues.  Of course, what is unclear (due to the general nature
of the question) is the degree of any such conflation, and its conditions. The 
currently available data is not sufficient to base any conjectures in this 

52.00% (13 respondents) indicated that domain names should not be 
conflated with trademarks and/or geographic indications.  The similarity in 
number of respondents between the result for this question, and the 
equivalent result in question 1 (above) [i.e. in support of considering them to 
be property] suggests two things:
First, that although domains were considered to be property, they were not 
(presumablybut not necessarily by the same people) considered to be 
trademark-type property by a traditional majority result. (i.e. 50+1 votes) 
Second, it leaves open the questions of what type of property (if that's what 
they are) domain names should be considered to be, as well as the issue of 

16.00% (4 respondents) indicated that domain names should sometimes be 
conflated with trademarks/geography.  This indicates that applying 
trademark law in some, but not other instances, was a relatively unpopular 
option in this poll.  

8.00% (2 respondents) chose the "Don't Know" option, indicating further 
confusion regarding the ultimate or conditional status of domain names.

8.00% (2 respondents) chose the "Other" option.  If anybody on or about the 
WG *volunteers* the fee for the "comments" results of this unofficial, 
insecure poll, I would be happy to comply in presenting any input not 
currently available.

Conclusion:  A traditional majority (50+1) of the respondents expressed the 
opinion that domain names should not be conflated with 
trademarks/geography.  Since the nature of the question is exclusive, this 
result would appear to represent a fixed opinion (with no apparent 
conditions for its application) decidedly against any conflation between 

In response to the question: 3. If  Domain Names are considered eqivalent 
to trademarks or geographic indications, does this make them property?

64.00% (16 respondents) in other words, a strong majority (just under 2/3), 
indicated that if domain names were considered the eqivalents of 
trademarks, that they did in fact constitute "property" of some kind.

12.00% (3 respondents) indicated that domains did not constitute property 
despite the conflation with trademarks.

16.00% (4 respondents) indicated that domains were sometimes property, 
and sometimes not, when conflated with trademarks.  This response is 
interesting in that the qualifications and conditions for property status as a 
trademark eqivalent are not outlined, at least with respect 
to the simple numbers and without additional data.  Thus I can only comment 
on what is readily available.

8.00% (2 respondents) chose the "Don't Know" option.  

Conclusion:  A large percentage of respondents believe that conflation of 
domain names with trademarks raises a property status issue. This is 
especially clear if we combine those who feel this unreservedly (64.00%), 
and those who indicated that it is conditional (16.00%),  for a total of 80.00%.  
I believe these findings indicate a real need for intensive discussion on the 
definition of domain names.

I would appreciate any comments, corrections, or points of dissension with 
respect to the above analysis of my findings.

Sotiris Sotiropoulos
          Hermes Network, Inc. 

Sotiris Sotiropoulos
          Hermes Network, Inc. 

<<< Chronological Index >>>    <<< Thread Index >>>