[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
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.
Hermes Network, Inc.
Hermes Network, Inc.