Domain Name
Supporting Organization

 

Draft Final Report

 

of the Names Council’s

 

WHOIS Task Force

 

to be presented at

 

The ICANN Meeting In Romania (Bucharest)

June 24-28, 2002

 

NOTE: THIS VERSION OF THE DOCUMENT IS A WORKING FINAL DRAFT AND IS SUBJECT TO FURTHER EDITORIAL CHANGES.

 

 

 


Table of Contents

 


Table of Contents................................................................................................................................................ 2

I             Introduction............................................................................................................................................. 3

A       Preface........................................................................................................................................................... 3

B        History and Mission.............................................................................................................................. 6

C        Participation in the Survey.............................................................................................................. 9

D        Statistical Considerations........................................................................................................... 18

E        Method of Evaluation of Free-Form Questions................................................................ 19

II            User Expectation and Experience (qq. 5-10)......................................................................... 21

A       Questions Asked..................................................................................................................................... 21

B        Methodology of Evaluation......................................................................................................... 25

C        Results of Evaluation....................................................................................................................... 26

III            Uniformity and Centralization (qq. 11-15)......................................................................... 40

A       Summary..................................................................................................................................................... 40

B        Questions Asked..................................................................................................................................... 41

C        Results of Evaluation....................................................................................................................... 42

D        Findings and Discussion of Results........................................................................................... 49

E       Some individual Responses............................................................................................................... 50

IV            Resale/Marketing and Bulk Access (qq. 16, 17)................................................................ 52

A       Summary..................................................................................................................................................... 52

B        Questions Asked..................................................................................................................................... 52

C        Method of Evaluation...................................................................................................................... 55

D        Results of Evaluation....................................................................................................................... 57

E        Some Individual Responses.............................................................................................................. 63

F        Findings and Discussion of Results........................................................................................... 69

V            Third Party Services (qq. 18, 19).................................................................................................. 71

A       Summary..................................................................................................................................................... 71

B        Questions Asked..................................................................................................................................... 71

C        Results of Evaluation....................................................................................................................... 72

D        Findings........................................................................................................................................................ 74

VI            Other Comments (q. 20)..................................................................................................................... 76

A       Questions Asked..................................................................................................................................... 76

B        Method of Evaluation...................................................................................................................... 77

C        How the Information is Presented in the Report............................................................. 78

VII          Final Conclusions.............................................................................................................................. 79

VIII         Request for Discussion: Possible WHOIS Recommendations................................ 81

A       Accuracy of data contained in the WHOIS database................................................. 82

B        Uniformity of data formats and elements across various TLDs and registrars, including ccTLDs.           82

C        Better searchability of WHOIS databases.......................................................................... 84

D        Marketing use of WHOIS data; bulk access provisions............................................... 85

IX            Task Force Members; Contact................................................................................................... 87

A       Authors of This Report..................................................................................................................... 87

B        Archives and Contact....................................................................................................................... 88

C        Members of the Task Force............................................................................................................. 88

I               Introduction

 

By Marilyn Cade, Tony Harris, Tim Denton

(Business, ISP, Registrars)

 

A               Preface

 

The WHOIS Task Force (WHOIS TF) announces our final draft report on the Survey findings and presents our preliminary recommendations regarding  whether ICANN should seek to modify the WHOIS policy. We are posting the report for community feedback and comment prior to finalization and submission to the ICANN board of directors.  We anticipate our report being open for public comment for a period of three weeks following the Bucharest meeting.  Following the public comment period, the final report will be presented to the DNSO Names Council for approval. 

In March, 2002, we presented our preliminary report which provided a status report and update on the work of the WHOIS Task Force of the Domain Name Supporting Organization (DNSO).    The purpose of that report was to provide initial information to the community on the analysis of the statistical responses to the  WHOIS Survey and some very  preliminary findings of the Task Force,  Our report in March was primarily focused on the quantitative responses; we announced then that our further analysis would address  the narrative responses, and whether they signify disparities with the quantitative responses, and that we would undertake an analysis of question 20’s narrative responses.  .

Our final DRAFT report takes into account the initial statistical analysis, the narrative analysis, and other submissions which have been submitted to the TF.  Consideration of WHOIS policy is a significant issue and we acknowledge that we have been focused on the survey results as a primary input. However, we note  that this is only part of our work to understand and advise fully on WHOIS policy.

Our final draft report is being forwarded to the ASO and PSO for their comment as well. 

 

It is important to remember that the WHOIS Survey is one work product of the WHOIS Task Force, and while it has been the primary focus for the past several months, the TF has also tried to examine other relevant inputs, including submissions, and recent testimony related to WHOIS accuracy.  Our Recommendations Document reflects these additional inputs in a preliminary manner. During the Public Comment period, the Task Force also plans to consult with other interested parties regarding our recommendations. These inputs will also be reflected in our final report..

 

Task Force Mission:  to be filled in… Tony/Marilyn

 

Limitations of the Survey

It is important to ensure that there is clarity on what the survey was intended to accomplish  and to acknowledge its limitations.  The survey was intended to get as much input as possible from users, providers and other groups who use WHOIS and who would respond to a web based survey. In no way should this survey be considered statistically valid; and that was not its intent.   The data presented in the survey is now several months old, and that, too, much be taken into account. However, as the Task Force has analyzed the responses, and taken other inputs into account, we see no reason to believe that the survey inputs would have significantly changed over the past few months.

 

The original members of the TF worked hard to develop a broad survey; they did not employ the assistance of a professional survey team for a variety of reasons, including the purpose of the outreach. The survey was intended as a "snapshot" in time which could be used as input along with other mechanisms for input and consultation which the TF may undertake, in order to provide guidance on what further steps should be taken in the development of policy recommendations related to WHOIS.

In hindsight, with the benefit from weeks of reading hundreds of narrative responses to surveys, and examining whether the narrative responses are consistent with the quantitative responses, and searching for trends, anomalies, and other useful observations, it is evident that some of the questions and choices for answers contained in the survey could have been designed better. For example, question 5 asks about the purposes of WHOIS, but fails to offer "technical problems" as a possible option in the response.  That was clearly an oversight in the questionnaire design.

The TF acknowledges the limitations of the questionnaire; however,  we ask our readers to focus on the findings, input, recommendations, and perspectives which are clearly supported.

 

And, at least at this point, although the narrative responses were interesting to read and examine, there is no significant change reflected between the narrative responses and the statistical responses.  In other words, providing narrative options does not seem to have added significant value. On the other hand, Question 20 did provide an opportunity for people to write in free form, any further thoughts or considerations.  We have taken the approach of looking for unusual suggestions or items as illustrations. That is explained further later.

This survey was conducted prior to the launch of the seven new TLDs, and as a result some of the user responses may be different from when the survey was conducted.

Status of the Analysis

The Task Force undertook the analytic analysis of the over 3000 responses, and published those in the preliminary report in March. That report is available on our archives.  Much of its findings are incorporated in this final report, which  builds on the statistical analysis and adds to it, based on the narrative responses.  A more detailed description of the analysis process is provided in the Statistical Analysis Section.

In addition to its original mission, the Task Force  received an additional work referral from the Names Council related to the Verio appeal involving marketing uses of WHOIS data.  In undertaking a further discussion regarding this referral, the Task Force discussed the applicability of the survey responses, and agreed that questions 16, and 17 are directly applicable to this referral.[1]

We continue to remind our readers that this is not a statistically valid survey.   One can take any piece of a puzzle and forecast an outcome; if the only puzzle pieces one is looking at are images of trees, the assumption might be that the puzzle is about a forest. If on the other hand, the pieces include parts of a castle, a forest, and a field, then one might realize that one is beholding a landscape.  In short, the total picture, when the puzzle is assembled might look very different.  Nevertheless, pieces of the puzzle are critically important in considering the whole.

Acknowledgements:

We express our appreciation to the initial chair of the Task Force, Paul Kane, who shouldered a significant leadership role in launching the Task Force and it’s initial work.  We offer our thanks to several members whose "terms" have expired with the NC or GA, and therefore have moved on, to be replaced with new representatives of their respective entities.   We also thank the ICANN staff for their administrative support and counsel during this process.  

And, we note that the work of the Task Force has been significantly enhanced through the volunteer leadership of the GA members of the Task Force, and a special word of appreciation is due to Thomas Roessler, Kristy McKee, and Abel Wisman. In this later stage of our work, in particular, we note that the contributions of  Thomas Roessler and Kristy McKee have made the final stages of the work of the TF comprehensible, organized, and productive. Without their contributions, we would not have been able to conclude the analysis of the data and the production of this final draft report. 

Most of all, we thank those in the community who completed the survey.

 

We are pleased to present our final draft report on the survey’s findings  to the community, and welcome your questions and comments.  We look forward to receiving your comments on this  Report.   We expect to have our report open to comment for three weeks following Bucharest meeting,  and to publish our final report within a two week period following that period of open comment,  in order to take account of community response and further planned outreach by the Task Force..

 

B               History and Mission

 

The WHOIS Task Force of the DNSO grew out of the initial work of the .com/.net/.org WHOIS Committee convened by the ICANN staff to give advice on the implementation of WHOIS service for the .com/.net/.org domains as required under the Registrar agreement.  The committee addressed implementing questions. The committee’s work was concluded in April, 2001.  The implementation of the committee’s work included the establishment of a WHOIS Committee on domain-name-system policy, chaired by Paul Kane.  This  report does not address the history of the creation of the TF further, since the archives include relevant postings which led to the establishment of the TF by the DNSO.

 

The Task Force was approved in the DNSO Names Council meeting, February 8, 2001[2].  In summary, Paul Kane proposed that the DNSO set up a Task force to consider the policy issues arising from the ICANN WHOIS report.  The Terms of Reference for the TF are provided in the archival materials posted at the DNSO web site.[3] The Terms of Reference have subsequently been modified to incorporate further consideration of “NEXT STEPS” RELATED TO WHOIS.

 

A paraphrased version of the initial terms of reference : "To consult with the community with regard to establishing whether a review of any questions related to ICANN’s WHOIS policy is due and if so to recommend a mechanism for such a review."

During the time it took for the ICANN staff to publish their report, initial members were also being identified by the Constituencies. The initial members of the TF were:

Paul Kane, Registrars, Chair

Y.J. Park, Non Commercial

Axel aus der Muhlen, IPC

Theresa Swinehart, BC

Oscar Robles-Garay, ccTLD*

Antonio Harris, ISPCP*

Miriam Sapiro, Registry

Danny Younger, GA Chair

* REMAIN AS MEMBERS OF TF

Over time, the membership of the task force has changed, for various reasons.   A list of all  task force members  and their terms of representation, including current members can be found in the appendix section of this document.

 

From the beginning, to support their broad mission, the TF members were committed to gaining an understanding of how WHOIS affects users, and how the community is using it today, rather than relying on the perspectives and views of the members of the TF. They quickly came up with the concept of a survey, which was web based, and therefore, while not statistically valid, would provide a systematic "snapshot" of what those who chose to respond, cared about, who they were, and what their concerns and issues were.

 

The survey was developed and published in June, 2001, with one extension in responses. The survey closed in August, 2001.[4] 3035 responses were received. 

 

SUMMARY OF REPORT APPROACH AND FINDINGS:

Our report summarizes the details of the statistical  responses, with an analysis of the narrative responses and whether they represent significant departure from the statistical responses. For the most part, there is no deviation. However, the TF also undertook analysis of Question 20 to determine whether there were ‘gems’ embedded in those responses.


“Gems” can be defined as those unique statements which cause one to pause and think, because they  represent input on a separate question which asked for narrative input. The TF does not evaluate the value of  “gems” but notes them in each relevant chapter, and suggests that they offer additional learning, but that they do not change the findings.  

 

The following chapters examine in detail the survey responses by categories of questions, both statistically, and via the narrative responses. The “Gems” sections should be treated as the least statistically valid, but are offered to you as a reader, to provide illustrations of those submissions in Q.20 which generated some special interest from the TF.  It is important to note that the narrative questions were, in general, answered by about one third of the respondents to the survey and that only one third of the respondents completed any part of  Question 20. Many did not respond to all the optional segments of Question 20. Yet, the TF thought you might find the ‘gems’  of interest. 

 

The report concludes with the findings of the Survey. A separate document on TF Recommendations related to WHOIS is underway, taking into account the survey findings and other inputs.

C               Participation in the Survey

 

By Kristy McKee, Thomas Roessler, and Abel Wisman

(General Assembly)

 

Question 1 - Categories of Respondents

In the very first question, participants were asked to classify themselves into one of several categories:

 

1. Which of the following terms best describes your status as a respondent to this survey?

o             Commercial business user
o             Non-commercial organization user
o             Governmental organization user
o             Individual or household user
o             Domain name registrar and/or registry
o             Internet access provider or network operator
o             Other:

 

Respondents were also asked (where applicable) what size their organization is.  An overview over the categories of respondents can be found in the table below.  The data is also represented  in the pie chart below.

Category

#

%

 Commercial business user

1063

35%

 Non-commercial organization user

208

7%

 Governmental organization user

35

1%

 Individual or household user

1021

34%

 Domain name registrar and/or registry

130

4%

 Internet access provider or network operator

234

8%

 Other:  

222

7%

 (No Response)

122

4%

 Total Responses:

3035

100%

 

Clearly, commercial and individual/household users dominated the population of respondents to the survey. 

 

Question 2 - Participation of Domain Name Holders

 

The second question of the survey asked whether participants "have registered any domain names".  This wording is unfortunate:  With some registrars/registries, ISPs, and certain kinds of commercial respondents, the question may be interpreted to refer to domain names registered on behalf of customers, while other respondents may rather be thinking about domain names they have registered for their own use.

 

2. Have you registered any domain names?    o yes   o no

If "yes":

a. How many ccTLD domain names have you registered:  

b. How many gTLD domain names have you registered:  

 

What was the general purpose of your registration:

a. commercial

b. governmental

c. personal

d. noncommercial organization

e. other

 

Question 2 – Have you registered any domain names:

 

Question 2

yes

no

No Response

Total

% yes

% no

Commercial

973

81

9

1063

92%

8%

Governmental

20

14

1

35

57%

40%

Individual

730

279

12

1021

71%

27%

Isp

207

22

5

234

88%

9%

non-commercial

177

29

2

208

85%

14%

not stated

20

4

98

122

16%

3%

Other

156

59

7

222

70%

27%

registrar-registry

114

14

2

130

88%

11%

 

Results vary strongly across categories of respondents:  While, for instance, 92% of commercial respondents have registered domain names, only 71% of individual respondents, and 57% of governmental respondents have registered any domain names.  It is also interesting to note that 17% of those who answered the questionnaire did not register any domain names.

 

 

Question 2 – How many County Code Top Level Domains:

 

 ccTLD

0

1 to 9

10 to 99

100 to 999

1000 to 9999

10000

Not Stated

Total (stated)

Commercial

179

356

188

71

12

4

253

810

Governmental

3

14

1

 

 

 

17

18

Individual

188

343

33

2

 

 

455

566

Isp

35

42

40

42

14

5

56

178

non-commercial

35

81

17

 

 

 

75

133

not stated

3

8

 

2

 

1

108

14

Other

45

47

24

5

 

1

100

122

registrar-registry

12

29

15

16

20

5

33

97


 


:

 

Question 2 – How many Generic Top Level Domains:

 

 GTLD

0

1 to 9

10 to 99

100 to 999

1000 to 9999

10000

Not Stated

Total (stated)

Commercial

66

316

205

107

32

4

333

730

Governmental

3

9

1

 

 

 

22

13

Individual

74

403

53

4

1

 

486

535

Isp

8

45

57

42

20

5

57

177

non-commercial

19

87

28

1

 

 

73

135

not stated

 

9

4

2

1

 

106

16

Other

16

53

35

14

4

 

100

122

registrar-registry

11

25

18

16

12

7

41

89


 

 


The qualitative result is clear:  ISPs and registrars/registries are most likely to have the large domain name portfolios (possibly on behalf of their clients), governmental, individual, and non-commercial respondents have the smaller ones, and commercial respondents are somewhere in between. 


For most categories the largest group of respondents register 1-10 domain names, with a sharp decrease  for higher numbers of registrations.   The ISP and registrar-registry respondents differ, in these cases either decreasing considerably less quickly, or even remaining constant over some orders of magnitude (as with the ccTLD registrations of registrars and registries).

 


Question 2 – General Purpose for domain name registrations:

 

commercial

governmental

non-commercial

other

personal

Total (stated)

Commercial

920

 

18

18

37

993

Governmental

 

16

4

1

2

23

Individual

119

2

63

24

569

777

Isp

169

 

12

11

25

217

non-commercial

11

 

145

7

19

182

not stated

11

1

4

2

4

22

Other

98

 

17

34

23

172

registrar-registry

78

1

12

6

27

124

 

The results are not unexpected: Commercial entities (including ISPs, registries/registrars) mostly registered domain names for commercial purposes, governmental entities register for governmental purposes, non-commercials for non-commercial purposes, and individuals for personal purposes.

 

Question 3 - Frequency of Use of WHOIS

Question 3 asked participants how frequently they use the WHOIS service themselves:

 

3. How often do you use the Whois service on average?
o             never
 o             occasionally
 o             weekly
 o             once or twice a day
 o             many times a day

 

Question 3

hourly

daily

weekly

occasionally

never

not stated

Grand Total

Commercial

183

184

290

374

31

1

1063

Governmental

4

3

7

18

3

 

35

Individual

72

131

260

509

45

4

1021

Isp

109

58

42

22

3

 

234

non-commercial

32

32

66

69

7

2

208

not stated

1

4

5

13

 

99

122

Other

40

27

82

58

13

2

222

registrar-registry

45

18

23

34

8

2

130

Grand Total

486

457

775

1097

110

110

3035

 

 

Question 3 (%)

% hourly

% daily

% weekly

% occ.

% never

% not stated

Commercial

17%

17%

27%

35%

3%

0%

Governmental

11%

9%

20%

51%

9%

0%

Individual

7%

13%

25%

50%

4%

0%

Isp

47%

25%

18%

9%

1%

0%

non-commercial

15%

15%

32%

33%

3%

1%

not stated

1%

3%

4%

11%

0%

81%

other

18%

12%

37%

26%

6%

1%

registrar-registry

35%

14%

18%

26%

6%

2%

Total

16%

15%

26%

36%

4%

4%

 

It should be noted that results of this question once again vary strongly across categories of respondents.  Clearly, among the participants of this survey, ISPs are the heaviest WHOIS users, followed by registrar/registry users, while governmental and individual respondents use WHOIS the least. Also, 31% of the respondents use whois one or several times per day, and 26% use it on a weekly basis, while 40% of them indicated they use WHOIS occasionally or never.

 

Question 4 - Use of WHOIS

Question 4 asked about respondents’ use of the WHOIS system:

 

4. Which of the following most accurately describes the use of WHOIS that is most important to you or your organization:

o             To determine if a specific domain name is unregistered/
                available?

o             To find out the identity of a person or organization who
                is responsible for a domain name or web site I have
                encountered while using the Internet
o             To support technical operations of ISPs or network
                administrators, including tracing sources of spam or
                denial of service attacks

o             To identify the owner of a domain name for consumer          protection or intellectual property protection purposes

o             To gather names and contact information for marketing
                purposes

o             To support government law enforcement activities
                (other than intellectual property)
o             Other (please briefly describe)

 

Multiple responses to this question were accepted.

 

Question 4

availability

responsibility

technical

IP[5]

marketing

law[6]

other

# respondents

Commercial

482

574

352

389

28

30

66

1063

governmental

26

16

19

6

 

7

4

35

Individual

513

626

322

136

18

23

71

1021

Isp

97

142

167

36

5

20

23

234

non-commercial

125

107

75

53

3

13

12

208

not stated

109

14

7

9

1

2

1

122

Other

140

97

49

117

8

12

31

222

Registrar-registry

48

73

50

34

5

7

11

130

Grand Total

1540

1649

1041

780

68

114

219

3035

 

The percentages in the following table use the total population of respondents for any given category as the 100% reference totality.  Since multiple responses were accepted, percentages will generally add up to more than 100%.  In each row, the dominant use of WHOIS is marked in boldface.

 

Question 4 (percentages)

availability

responsibility

technical

IP

marketing

law

other

Grand total

Commercial

45%

54%

33%

37%

3%

3%

6%

180.71%

governmental

74%

46%

54%

17%

0%

20%

11%

222.86%

Individual

50%

61%

32%

13%

2%

2%

7%

167.38%

Isp

41%

61%

71%

15%

2%

9%

10%

209.40%

non-commercial

60%

51%

36%

25%

1%

6%

6%

186.54%

not stated

89%

11%

6%

7%

1%

2%

1%

117.21%

Other

63%

44%

22%

53%

4%

5%

14%

204.50%

Registrar-registry

37%

56%

38%

26%

4%

5%

8%

175.38%

Average

51%

54%

34%

26%

2%

4%

7%

178.29%

 

The dominant use of the WHOIS system among respondents is, in the commercial, individual, and registrar-registry categories, “to find out the identity of a person or organization who is responsible for a domain name or web site”.  Governmental respondents generally mention WHOIS as a means to find out about the availability of a domain, as do non-commercial, “not stated”, and “other” respondents.  ISP respondents mostly use WHOIS “to support technical operations of ISPs or network administrators”.

It’s worth noting that non-IP law enforcement use is most frequently mentioned by governmental respondents (20%), followed by ISPs (9%) and non-commercials (6%).  Also, almost 90% of respondents which did not assign any category to themselves mention “availability” as their most important use of WHOIS.

D               Statistical Considerations

 

By Thomas Roessler

(General Assembly)

 

 

The multiple choice questions were evaluated for the full set of 3035 submitted responses.  This analysis is also broken down by respondent’s category (as given in question 1).

The number of participant per category of respondent (question 1) is, in particular, important since they give a rough indication of the precision of the numbers in this report.  In the table below, we give standard deviations (σ ) to be expected for various results, when derived from various categories of respondents.[7]

From a (possibly simplistic) statistical point of view, the best results can be expected from the commercial business user and individual user categories where we have standard deviations between 1% and 2%. Statistical significance is worst within the governmental users category. We shall occasionally mention error margins explicitly where they are important in order to correctly interpret the result of a particular question.

 

Category

#

10%

20%

30%

40%

50%

 Commercial business user

1063

1%

1%

1%

2%

2%

 Non-commercial organization user

208

2%

3%

3%

3%

3%

 Governmental organization user

35

5%

7%

8%

8%

8%

 Individual or household user

1021

1%

1%

1%

2%

2%

 Domain name registrar and/or registry

130

3%

4%

4%

4%

4%

 Internet access provider or network operator

234

2%

3%

3%

3%

3%

 Other

222

2%

3%

3%

3%

3%

 (No Response)

122

3%

4%

4%

4%

5%

 

 

Approximating the binomial distribution by a Gaussian normal distribution, it can be assumed that a result has a probability of about 68.3% to lie within a +1σ margin around the real value, and with a probability of 95% it can be assumed that a result lies within a +1.96σ  margin around the true value.

 

It should also be noted that, unless stated otherwise, percentages given refer only to those who elected to answer a particular question, but not to the entire set of respondents from any given category.

Besides error margins inherent to any survey, it should also be mentioned that some additional error was introduced by duplicate submissions; some isolated cases of these were found by the task force’s members when analyzing free-form responses.  Since these duplications were extremely rare, we have simply neglected them.

 

Another (we believe, minor) problem is introduced by an inconsistence between statistics generated by ICANN staff and by the task force itself: There were 10 questionnaires where respondents actually gave an "other" response to question 1 (the "category" of the respondent), but apparently did not check the associated button on the survey’s web form.  As a result, these questionnaires were assigned to the "not stated" category of respondents in ICANN-prepared statistics.  However, these questionnaires are assigned to the "other" category of respondents in statistics prepared by the Task Force, that is, in all evaluations of free-form responses.  The inconsistency was noticed so late in the preparation of this report that we decided not to fix it.

 

E               Method of Evaluation of Free-Form Questions

 

By Thomas Roessler

(General Assembly)

 

The Task Force undertook an attempt to analyze as many answers given to free-form questions as possible.  For all free-form questions except question 20, the approach taken was similar to the one used for the preliminary report:  Based on the pseudo-random set of 303 responses used for the preliminary report[8], categories (called “baskets”) were designed in order to derive quantitative results from the free-form questions.  Task Force members were then assigned slices of questions for basketing.  Due to lack of time and resources, about half to one third of the free-form responses given were analyzed in this first pass.  Two members of the Task Force[9] then specifically looked at those responses which could not be assigned to any baskets in the first pass, and added any additional categories necessary.  Using that revised set of baskets, a second pass of categorization was undertaken:  Task Force members who had not participated in the first pass concluded part of their assignment; others specifically undertook an analysis of the questionnaires received from governmental, non-commercial, ISP, and registry-registrar respondents:  In these categories, the number of responses received is dangerously low, and significant improvement of results could be expected by giving priority to the completion of these categories of responses.   (It should be noted that the number of commercial and individual responses reviewed during the first pass of this work alone surpassed the total number of responses received in the smaller categories.) 

This approach to the Task Force’s work implies that - as far as free-form answers are concerned - statistics based on the totality of all respondents cannot be generated by simply adding absolute numbers across categories:  That would mean to give too much weight to the small groups of respondents.  Instead, numbers must be weighted according to the portion of baskets actually investigated. This information is contained in the tables in which the results from basketing are presented in individual sections.

It should also be noted that the task force members’ understanding or misunderstanding of “baskets” and of free-form answers received may lead to additional errors in the statistics presented.

Question 20 was not analyzed statistically:  Instead, some members of the task force reviewed the free-form answers given on about 2400 out of the 3035 questionnaires received and produced, based on their personal judgement, a list of answers believed to be particularly interesting or thoughtful.  These answers were then categorized by the chapter of this report to which they were believed to be relevant.  Further analysis was left to the authors of the respective chapters.
User Expectation and Experience (qq. 5-10)

 

By Steve Metalitz,  Laurence Djolakian, and Ken Stubbs, Hakikur Rahman

(Intellectual Property, Registrars, and Non Commercial)

 

 

A               Questions Asked

 

5. What should be the purpose of the Whois service? (place in order 1-7 where 1 is most important):

Rank:                       to identify the availability of a particular name in
                                which someone is interested

Rank:                       to determine if there are similar names already in use

Rank:                       to identify and verify online merchants

Rank:                       to identify online infringes for enforcement of
                                intellectual property rights

Rank:                       to source unsolicited email

Rank:                       to identify contacts in the investigation of illegal
                                activity

Rank:                       other (specify):

 

6. Which of the following best describes your attitude towards access to the data contained in the Whois service?

o             I am most concerned about protecting the privacy of domain
                name registrants

o             I am most concerned about effective identification of who is
                behind a specific domain for consumer protection or
                intellectual property protection purposes

o             I am most concerned about ensuring that Whois supports
                the resolution of technical problems on the Internet

o             No opinion

o             Other

 

7. Have you ever been harmed or inconvenienced because the Whois data you received was inaccurate, incomplete, or out of date?

o             Yes, I have experienced inaccurate data.

o             No, the data has been accurate

What percentage of the Whois records you relied on proved to be inaccurate, incomplete, or out of date on average:

o             Less than 5 percent

o             5 - 25 percent

o             25 - 50 percent

o             More than 50 percent

 

If appropriate, please describe the harm or inconvenience caused by the inaccurate data:

 

How do you think an improvement can best be achieved?

 

 

8. Currently, Whois records in .com, .net, and .org are composed of the following data elements:

A. The name of the second-level domain being registered and the top-level domain it is under;
B. The IP addresses of the primary and secondary name servers for the registered domain;
C. The host names of the name servers;
D. The identity of Registrar;
E. The date of the original registration;
F. The expiration date of the registration;
G. The name and postal address of the registrant;
H. The name, postal address, e-mail address, voice telephone number, and (where available) fax number of the technical contact for the SLD; and
I. The name, postal address, e-mail address, voice telephone number, and (where available) fax number of the administrative contact for the SLD.

 

Would you describe these data elements as

                o             Adequate for your purposes
                o             Inadequate for your purposes
                o             necessary for your purposes

 

8.1 If you answered "Inadequate," what other data elements would you like to see included to promote public confidence in Internet activities?

 

8.2 If you answered "Unnecessary," what other data elements would you like to see suppressed from public disclosure?

 

9. Please indicate which of the data elements listed in A-I above are, in your view, of valueless, essential, or desirable:

 

A. The name of the second-level domain being registered and the top-level domain it is under;

o  essential               o  desirable               o  valueless

 

B. The IP address of the primary and secondary name servers for the registered domain;

o  essential               o  desirable               o  valueless

 

C. The domain names of the name servers;

o  essential               o  desirable               o  valueless

 

D. The identity of Registrar;

o  essential               o  desirable               o  valueless

 

E. The date of the original registration;

o  essential               o  desirable               o  valueless

 

F. The expiration date of the registration;

o  essential               o  desirable               o  valueless

 

G. The name and postal address of the registrant;

o  essential               o  desirable               o  valueless

 

H. The name, postal address, e-mail address, voice telephone number, and (where available) fax number of the technical contact for the SLD; and

o  essential               o  desirable               o  valueless

 

I. The name, postal address, e-mail address, voice telephone number, and (where available) fax number of the administrative contact for the SLD.

o  essential               o  desirable               o  valueless

 

 

Searchability

10. Should the publicly accessible WHOIS database allow for searches on data elements other than domain name?

o             Yes
o             No

 

If yes, please specify from fields A-I above that you think should be usable as search keys.

o  A         o  B         o  C         o  D         o  E          o  F          o  G         o  H
o  I

 

Should other enhancements to searchability (e.g., Boolean searching on character strings) be provided?

o             Yes
o             No

If "Yes", how should the cost associated with such enhancements be paid for?

 

B               Methodology of Evaluation

 

Question 5

Question 5 asked respondents to assign ranks to various possible uses of WHOIS.  The raw tabulation data received from ICANN staff was presented in the preliminary report, and is reproduced below. Some analysis of free text responses has been added.

Question 6

Our analysis consists primarily of statistical data with some observations of free text responses.

Question 7

This question invited free text responses, but the Task Force was not successful in categorizing these as to the nature of harm or inconvenience experienced as a result of inaccurate, incomplete or outdated Whois data. It was slightly more successful in categorizing suggestions for ways to improve the situation.

Question 8

Besides statistical tabulations, the Task Force attempted to categorize the free-text responses of the small minorities that found existing data elements either inadequate or unnecessary.  These efforts were not very successful but we have included some observations below.

Question 9

Question 9 called for no free text responses, so the statistical data contained in the preliminary report is reproduced below.

Question 10

Among the responses reviewed, the Task Force was generally successful in classifying free-text responses for who should pay for searchability enhancements into the following baskets:

v      no answer

v      registrar or registry

v      registrant

v      searcher

v      donation

v      governmental funding

v      ICANN

Note that there is a well-defined mapping from the baskets defined here onto the choices given to respondents in question 15, which also deals with funding issues.

 

C               Results of Evaluation

 

By-category analysis of multiple-choice questions

 

Question 5

 

Summary of rankings of availability of a domain name as the purpose of WHOIS:

Question 5.a

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Total

Avg

commercial

487

165

106

63

70

82

35

1008

2.4544

governmental

3

5

5

3

3

4

3

26

3.8462

individual

452

127

106

71

95

67

43

961

2.5869

Isp

102

35

22

24

22

11

12

228

2.6053

Non-commercial

76

19

27

24

28

9

7

190

2.8105

not stated

13

7

1

1

1

1

2

26

2.2692

other

80

29

26

26

17

17

8

203

2.7734

registrar-registry

71

13

9

12

5

3

7

120

2.2

 

 

 

Summary of rankings of finding out if similar domain names are already in use:

Question 5.b

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Total

Avg

commercial

70

286

207

157

130

105

35

990

3.4505

governmental

2

4

3

4

7

4

3

27

4.2593

individual

66

284

149

119

145

146

40

949

3.6228

Isp

15

54

40

36

30

32

15

222

3.7568

Non-commercial

11

41

27

31

33

30

9

182

3.8791

Not stated

4

9

5

 

3

3

2

26

3.2308

other

12

47

42

29

30

26

7

193

3.6425

registrar-registry

9

47

15

13

13

12

7

116

3.3276

 

 

Summary of rankings of identification and verification of online merchants:

Question 5.c

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Total

Avg

commercial

76

107

171

205

190

157

47

953

4.0336

governmental

1

 

8

8

7

2

4

30

4.4

individual

102

105

203

193

156

123

42

924

3.7933

Isp

17

28

29

35

40

41

24

214

4.271

Non-commercial

15

21

31

28

26

28

27

176

4.2557

not stated

2

1

5

4

7

5

 

24

4.1667

other

19

17

39

32

43

28

7

185

3.9459

registrar-registry

8

13

26

17

11

18

15

108

4.1481

 

 

Summary of rankings of identifying online infringers for enforcement of intellectual property rights:

Question 5.d

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Total

Avg

commercial

186

137

166

184

150

92

42

957

3.4378

governmental

6

5

7

2

3

3

5

31

3.6452

individual

63

91

152

204

163

149

81

903

4.2004

ISP

14

27

38

42

40

26

26

213

4.169

non-commercial

22

35

23

30

24

23

19

176

3.8182

not stated

3

 

8

7

2

1

5

26

4.0769

other

61

32

21

31

24

10

12

191

3.0157

registrar-registry

13

12

24

24

17

13

10

113

3.8761

 

 

 

Summary of rankings of sourcing unsolicited e-mail:

Question 5.e

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Total

Avg

commercial

83

104

135

129

160

192

128

931

4.3609

governmental

6

7

2

5

4

3

5

32

3.7188

individual

143

183

162

105

102

101

130

926

3.716

ISP

37

29

52

28

29

21

22

218

3.6147

non-commercial

27

30

44

23

19

19

19

181

3.6077

not stated

1

3

5

6

3

6

2

26

4.2692

other

22

19

25

18

32

46

18

180

4.2722

registrar-registry

8

7

11

15

23

19

25

108

4.8056

 

 

Summary of rankings of identifying contacts in the investigation of illegal activity:

Question 5.f

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Total

Avg

commercial

137

155

157

158

136

152

56

951

3.7161

governmental

11

5

5

3

 

4

3

31

3

individual

145

135

134

143

139

168

48

912

3.7588

ISP

46

41

28

30

28

33

11

217

3.4424

non-commercial

40

24

22

22

27

34

10

179

3.6369

not stated

3

4

4

5

3

6

1

26

3.8846

other

28

48

22

43

19

18

11

189

3.3968

registrar-registry

13

19

11

17

22

20

10

112

4.0357

 

 

Summary of rankings of other purposes:

Question 5.g

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Total

Avg

commercial

110

34

26

17

16

32

167

402

4.3905

governmental

6

2

1

 

 

 

4

13

3.1538

individual

88

28

14

18

29

42

199

418

4.8995

ISP

38

13

4

4

2

8

29

98

3.602

non-commercial

33

11

8

4

6

4

20

86

3.3605

not stated

3

1

 

 

1

 

7

12

4.9167

other

28

7

13

1

3

8

46

106

4.434

registrar-registry

17

5

6

2

4

3

16

53

3.8302

 

 

 

The respondents were asked what the purpose of the « WHOIS » should be.  It clearly appears that for all categories of respondents (except possibly for governments) the most important purpose should be to check whether a domain name is available, closely followed by the search for similar domain names. Individuals particularly support the need to identify on-line merchants and to source unsolicited commercial communications. In addition, many respondents amongst all categories (not only commercial and governments but also non-commercials, and “others”) stated that the purpose should also be to identify on-line intellectual property infringements. In the free text responses, the majority of respondents underlined the following elements: the need to know with whom they are dealing with, the ability to access technical contacts, to know the names owned by a company, to deter irresponsible behavior and track spammers, to identify suspicious IP addresses.  In “others”, most respondents noted the need to identify names which relate to suspicious activities, and to make investigations, to trace back in case of security violations, to identify ISPs hosting spam, and to identify the source of technical problems.

 

Free text responses were only solicited from those who checked “other” purposes.  Only 1188 respondents did so, and fully half of these (585) ranked their purpose as 6th or 7th in importance out of  7.

 

Question 6

In contrast to the preceding questions, question 6 asked respondents to choose among three statements in identifying the issue about which they were “most concerned” with respect to Whois data.

 

Question 6

Privacy

Intellectual Property

Technical

No opinion

Other

Total

commercial

165

543

258

34

52

1052

governmental

4

13

13

1

4

35

individual

295

347

250

58

59

1009

ISP

27

49

140

7

9

232

non-commercial

33

89

68

11

5

206

not stated

5

16

1

2

2

26

other

15

136

29

11

26

217

registrar-registry

32

42

34

11

8

127

Total

576

1235

793

135

165

2904

 

 

 

Question 6 (%)

Privacy

Intellectual Property

Technical

No opinion

Other

commercial

16%

52%

25%

3%

5%

governmental

11%

37%

37%

3%

11%

individual

29%

34%

25%

6%

6%

ISP

12%

21%

60%

3%

4%

non-commercial

16%

43%

33%

5%

2%

not stated

19%

62%

4%

8%

8%

other

7%

63%

13%

5%

12%

registrar-registry

25%

33%

27%

9%

6%

Min

7%

21%

4%

3%

2%

Max

29%

63%

60%

9%

12%

 

A plurality of respondents (43% of the total) agreed that they were “most concerned about effective identification of who is behind a specific domain for consumer protection or intellectual property protection purposes.”  This was the leading choice among all categories of respondents, except among ISPs, 60% of whom felt that “ensuring that Whois supports the resolution of technical problems on the Internet” was the most important concern, and among governmental respondents, for whom the technical problems response tied with the effective identification response.  “Protecting the privacy of domain name registrants” was not identified as the main concern of any group of respondents, and was chosen less often than “effective identification” by every group, although among respondents who identified themselves as individuals the privacy concern (29%) placed a close second to effective identification (34%).  Overall, about 6% of respondents rejected the three choices and identified an “other” “main concern” regarding Whois data; these responses have not yet been comprehensively reviewed.  Some of these  respondents reiterated concerns about the fact that a domain name registrant must be accurately represented (need for effective identification). Some also noted the need to see whether a domain has been moved or abandoned.  Others cited consumer protection.

 

 

Question 7

 

Question 7 asked whether respondents had been harmed or inconvenienced by inaccurate, incomplete, or out of date Whois data.  44% of respondents said they had experienced this and 56% had not.

 

Question 7

yes

no

Total

% yes

% no

commercial

513

516

1029

50%

50%

governmental

12

18

30

40%

60%

individual

317

674

991

32%

68%

ISP

134

98

232

58%

42%

non-commercial

94

108

202

47%

53%

not stated

12

15

27

44%

56%

other

118

93

211

56%

44%

registrar-registry

67

59

126

53%

47%

Min

 

 

 

32%

42%

Max

 

 

 

58%

68%

Total

1267

1581

2848

44%

56%

 

Question 7

# < 5%

# [5%, 25%]

# [25%, 50%]

# > 50%

Total

commercial

529

262

82

53

926

governmental

14

7

1

1

23

individual

553

166

54

44

817

ISP

128

71

15

5

219

non-commercial

100

58

13

6

177

not stated

15

5

3

3

26

other

99

68

21

11

199

registrar-registry

57

33

13

10

113

Total

1495

670

202

133

2500

 

Question 7 (%)

% < 5%

% [5%, 25%]

% [25%, 50%]

% > 50%

commercial

57%

28%

9%

6%

governmental

61%

30%

4%

4%

individual

68%

20%

7%

5%

ISP

58%

32%

7%

2%

non-commercial

56%

33%

7%

3%

not stated

58%

19%

12%

12%

other

50%

34%

11%

6%

registrar-registry

50%

29%

12%

9%

Min

50%

19%

4%

2%

Max

68%

34%

12%

12%

Total

60%

27%

8%

5%

 

Similarly, more than half of the respondents thought that less than 5% of the Whois records they had relied upon had been inaccurate, while 27% estimated inaccurate records to be in the 5-25% range, and about 8% thought that more than one-quarter of the records were inaccurate.  Individual respondents were most likely to report very low estimates (68% in this category chose "under 5%"), while registrars/registries were most likely to report the highest estimates (21% of these respondents thought that 25% or more of the records were inaccurate).   In the free text responses, respondents were asked to describe the harm or inconvenience caused by the inaccurate data and to state how they thought an improvement in accuracy might best be achieved.  

 

Description of harm:  respondents underlined they had been harmed by the inability to contact the registrants and the service provider of a web site (and to send complaints), the difficulty to trace spammers or the operator of a pornographic site. More generally they stressed the difficulty to trace infringers.  They also noted the difficulty to update records, and the time  and cost required to find the right company and to conduct investigations. 

How to improve:  Many respondents underlined that registrars should make efforts to correct and update data regularly or more often (periodic update, update on an annual basis…). Among the categories identified in our analysis, this was the single most common suggestion from every category of respondent.   Other respondents  underlined the need to standardize and centralize the information.  They also proposed to provide an online form to facilitate updates or to check data via automated tools.  Some respondents proposed to cancel the domain name if the data registered is inaccurate, or to suspend the domain name information until it is accurate. One respondent specifically referred to the need to enforce the RAA. Few noted that registrants check the accuracy of their contact on the “whois” list. 

 

 

Question 8

 

Question 8

Adequate

Inadequate

Unnec.

Total

%adequate

%inadeq.

%unnec.

commercial

770

146

129

1045

74%

14%

12%

governmental

27

5

3

35

77%

14%

9%

individual

663

74

254

991

67%

7%

26%

ISP

196

19

18

233

84%

8%

8%

non-commercial

142

32

28

202

70%

16%

14%

not stated

24

3

 

27

89%

11%

0%

other

155

38

22

215

72%

18%

10%

registrar-registry

99

11

18

128

77%

9%

14%

Min

 

 

 

 

67%

7%

0%

Max

 

 

 

 

89%

18%

26%

Total

2076

328

472

2876

72%

11%

16%

 

This question listed the data elements currently provided by Whois with regard to registrations in .com, .net and .org, and asked whether respondents considered these adequate, inadequate, or unnecessary for their purposes.  A strong majority of respondents in every category (ranging from 67% to 89%) stated that the current list of data elements is adequate.  Overall, about 11% of respondents thought that additional data elements should be provided in Whois, while approximately 16% considered some of the elements unnecessary.   This data strongly suggests an overall high level of satisfaction among these respondents that Whois in the original gTLD environment collects and makes available the right kinds of data.  The level of satisfaction did vary somewhat across categories, however, with 16% of non-commercial respondents believing that more data elements should be included, while 26% of individual respondents thought some data elements were unnecessary.

 

Questions 8.1 and 8.2 invited respondents to identify specific data elements they would like to see added to, or subtracted from, those currently made available to the public in Whois.    Not surprisingly, most of those who responded in these free text responses noted the need for phone number, fax number, email address, some combination of these elements or all of those elements.  Some noted the need to access contact information for reporting unlawful activities, and to obtain information on the last active contact with the registrar.  Few asked information on for sale availability of domain name.  Among those who wanted existing data elements suppressed, the largest number in most categories of respondents cited telephone and fax number and postal address. 

 

 

Question 9

 

Building on the general attitudes expressed in response to question 8, this question sought to elicit more specific answers about the perceived value of each specific data element within the com/net/org Whois. Respondents were asked to label each data element as essential, desirable, or valueless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Question 9A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name of the SLD

desirable

essential

valueless

Total

% des.

% ess.

% val.-less

commercial

211

773

50

1034

20%

75%

5%

governmental

8

26

 

34

24%

76%

0%

individual

258

696

40

994

26%

70%

4%

ISP

25

203

5

233

11%

87%

2%

non-commercial

44

149

9

202

22%

74%

4%

not stated

5

22

1

28

18%

79%

4%

other

50

154

7

211

24%

73%

3%

registrar-registry

21

101

4

126

17%

80%

3%

Min

 

 

 

 

11%

70%

0%

Max

 

 

 

 

26%

87%

5%

 

 

Question 9B

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nameserver addr.

desirable

essential

valueless

Total

% des.

% ess.

% val.-less

commercial

331

628

76

1035

32%

61%

7%

governmental

8

25

2

35

23%

71%

6%

individual

284

614

90

988

29%

62%

9%

ISP

43

179

12

234

18%

76%

5%

non-commercial

53

134

14

201

26%

67%

7%

not stated

9

19

 

28

32%

68%

0%

other

80

117

17

214

37%

55%

8%

registrar-registry

29

87

12

128

23%

68%

9%

Min

 

 

 

 

18%

55%

0%

Max

 

 

 

 

37%

76%

9%

 

 

Question 9C

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dom.names of NS

desirable

essential

valueless

Total

% des.

% ess.

% val.-less

commercial

400

559

80

1039

38%

54%

8%

governmental

12

20

2

34

35%

59%

6%

individual

384

514

92

990

39%

52%

9%

ISP

78

144

12

234

33%

62%

5%

non-commercial

79

113

9

201

39%

56%

4%

not stated

4

22

1

27

15%

81%

4%

other

80

115

19

214

37%

54%

9%

registrar-registry

34

87

7

128

27%

68%

5%

Min

 

 

 

 

15%

52%

4%

Max

 

 

 

 

39%

81%

9%

 

Question 9D

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Registrar

desirable

essential

valueless

Total

% des.

% ess.

% val.-less

commercial

197

768

72

1037

19%

74%

7%

governmental

6

27

2

35

17%

77%

6%

individual

285

593

118

996

29%

60%

12%

ISP

43

172

18

233

18%

74%

8%

non-commercial

50

139

12

201

25%

69%

6%

not stated

5

22

 

27

19%

81%

0%

other

41

165

7

213

19%

77%

3%

registrar-registry

28

93

7

128

22%

73%

5%

Min

 

 

 

 

17%

60%

0%

Max

 

 

 

 

29%

81%

12%

 

 

Question 9E

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date of registration

desirable

essential

valueless

Total

% des.

% ess.

% val.-less

commercial

340

619

77

1036

33%

60%

7%

governmental

16

15

4

35

46%

43%

11%

individual

476

390

123

989

48%

39%

12%

ISP

92

117

23

232

40%

50%

10%

non-commercial

90

96

16

202

45%

48%

8%

not stated

6

21

1

28

21%

75%

4%

other

74

128

12

214

35%

60%

6%

registrar-registry

44

71

12

127

35%

56%

9%

Min

 

 

 

 

21%

39%

4%

Max

 

 

 

 

48%

75%

12%

 

 

Question 9F

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date of expiration

desirable

essential

valueless

Total

% des.

% ess.

% val.-less

commercial

267

680

87

1034

26%

66%

8%

governmental

16

14

5

35

46%

40%

14%

individual

388

470

135

993

39%

47%

14%

ISP

77

134

21

232

33%

58%

9%

non-commercial

76

103

23

202

38%

51%

11%

not stated

10

17

1

28

36%

61%

4%

other

74

121

19

214

35%

57%

9%

registrar-registry

33

82

13

128

26%

64%

10%

Min

 

 

 

 

26%

40%

4%

Max

 

 

 

 

46%

66%

14%

 

Question 9G

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Registrant

desirable

essential

valueless

Total

% des.

% ess.

% val.-less

commercial

219

700

116

1035

21%

68%

11%

governmental

10

23

2

35

29%

66%

6%

individual

275

455

266

996

28%

46%

27%

ISP

71

144

18

233

30%

62%

8%

non-commercial

43

134

26

203

21%

66%

13%

not stated

4

21

3

28

14%

75%

11%

other

36

160

18

214

17%

75%

8%

registrar-registry

31

77

18

126

25%

61%

14%

Min

 

 

 

 

14%

46%

6%

Max

 

 

 

 

30%

75%

27%

 

Question 9H

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tech-C

desirable

essential

valueless

Total

% des.

% ess.

% val.-less

commercial

286

623

123

1032

28%

60%

12%

governmental

7

25

3

35

20%

71%

9%

individual

327

488

181

996

33%

49%

18%

ISP

43

174

14

231

19%

75%

6%

non-commercial

56

124

24

204

27%

61%

12%

not stated

8

17

3

28

29%

61%

11%

other

67

131

14

212

32%

62%

7%

registrar-registry

43

71

12

126

34%

56%

10%

Min

 

 

 

 

19%

49%

6%

Max

 

 

 

 

34%

75%

18%

 

Question 9I

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adm-C

desirable

essential

valueless

Total

% des.

% ess.

% val.-less

commercial

283

621

125

1029

28%

60%

12%

governmental

11

21

3

35

31%

60%

9%

individual

336

433

222

991

34%

44%

22%

ISP

60

149

23

232

26%

64%

10%

non-commercial

68

112

24

204

33%

55%

12%

not stated

11

17

1

29

38%

59%

3%

other

61

141

12

214

29%

66%

6%

registrar-registry

32

78

17

127

25%

61%

13%

Min

 

 

 

 

25%

44%

3%

Max

 

 

 

 

38%

66%

22%

 

Not surprisingly in the light of the responses to question 8, more than half of the respondents found each individual data element  now in the com/net/org whois to be essential.  Across all categories and data elements, more than 70% of respondents  selected either "essential" or "desirable".  The largest portion  of "valueless" responses to any part of this question was 27%, by  individual respondents with regards to the registrant’s name and  address.  22% of individual respondents also found the  administrative contact’s name and address "valueless", 18% gave this answer with respect to the technical contact’s name and  address. The clear trend of satisfaction among respondents with the information currently provided to the public by Whois is evident in the responses to question 9 as well as 8.

 

Question 10

 

The first question was whether “WHOIS” databases should allow the search of data elements other than domain names.  It should be noted that most respondents in every category (between 53 and 76%) wish to  conduct searches on data elements other than domain names.

 

Respondents were also asked to select fields which should be usable as search keys. Multiple fields could be checked by respondents.  In the first table below, we list the number of respondents from each category who checked a particular search key.

 

Question 10

yes

no

Total

% yes

% no

commercial

712

322

1034

69%

31%

governmental

23

11

34

68%

32%

individual

530

462

992

53%

47%

ISP

147

85

232

63%

37%

non-commercial

134

65

199

67%

33%

not stated

17

10

27

63%

37%

other

163

52

215

76%

24%

registrar-registry

72

56

128

56%

44%

Min

 

 

 

53%

24%

Max

 

 

 

76%

47%

Total

1798

1063

2861

63%

37%

 

 

 

 

Question 10 (keys)

A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

I

# respondents

Commercial

470

432

381

397

274

284

492

415

414

1063

governmental

19

20

16

17

7

7

17

13

13

35

Individual

344

342

307

292

180

198

304

256

257

1021

Isp

111

99

98

83

39

47

82

77

73

234

non-commercial

89

90

80

57

35

36

86

79

67

208

not stated

8

6

10

7

6

7

11

9

5

122

Other

105

94

87

85

62

64

122

101

103

222

Registrar-registry

43

41

36

36

17

18

37

30

32

130

 

For the percentages, note that the total number of respondents in each category is used as the 100% totality.  Since multiple fields could be selected, percentages will generally add up to more than 100%.

 

Question 10 (keys; %)

A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

I

Grand total

Commercial

44%

41%

36%

37%

26%

27%

46%

39%

39%

257%

governmental

54%

57%

46%

49%

20%

20%

49%

37%

37%

294%

Individual

34%

33%

30%

29%

18%

19%

30%

25%

25%

193%

Isp

47%

42%

42%

35%

17%

20%

35%

33%

31%

239%

non-commercial

43%

43%

38%

27%

17%

17%

41%

38%

32%

227%

not stated

7%

5%

8%

6%

5%

6%

9%

7%

4%

45%

Other

47%

42%

39%

38%

28%

29%

55%

45%

46%

279%

Registrar-registry

33%

32%

28%

28%

13%

14%

28%

23%

25%

175%

 

A plurality (commercial respondents but also governmental, non- commercial and “others”) underlined that the name, postal address of the registrants should also be used as search keys.  Governmental and individual respondents underlined the need to search information on the registered domain by using the IP addresses of the primary and secondary name servers; ISPs, non commercial and registrars/registries underlined their will to use as search keys the name of the second level domain registered.

 

Respondents’ answers when asked whether other enhancements to searchability (such as Boolean searches)  should be provided can be found in the table below.  Responses were roughly split equally, but in no major category of respondents did a desire for other enhancements to searchability (beyond searching on multiple data elements) command an absolute majority.

 

 

Question 10 (Boolean)

yes

no

Total

% yes

% no

commercial

464

506

970

48%

52%

governmental

14

20

34

41%

59%

individual

338

603

941

36%

64%