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Re: [ga] WLS reply

I support this document.
Nice job.


At 08:19 PM 3/9/2002 +0000, Abel Wisman wrote:
>Just a few short hours or a few hours late, still we have not reacted in
>full to the VGRS proposal which we should.
>Don prepared this document and I had some input to, based upon all prior
>discussion, without to much objections we propose to send this document
>of asap (say tonight) to VGRS.
>let us know.
>abel wisman
>This document represents the final feedback from the DNSO General
>Assembly (GA) to VeriSign Global Registry Services (VGRS), with
>respect to the VGRS proposed Domain Name Wait Listing Service (WLS).
>More specifically, this document is responsive to, and consistent with
>the Procedural Guidelines contained in, VGRS's revised WLS proposal,
>dated January 28, 2002.
>On December 30, 2001, VGRS submitted to the Registrar Constituency its
>WLS proposal (http://www.icann-registrars.org/pdfs/VeriSign_wls.pdf).
>On January 18, 2002, the Registrar Constituency submitted its timely
>response to the VGRS proposal
>On January 28, 2002, VGRS posted to the GA list, its revised WLS
>proposal along with the "Justification for a Registry-based Wait
>Listing Service" document
>(http://www.dnso.org/clubpublic/ga/Arc09/msg00773.html). This proposal
>requests questions from the GA by February 8, 2001 and final feedback
>from the GA by March 1, 2002, pursuant to the "procedural guidelines"
>presented in it.
>On February 9, 2002, the DNSO General Assembly submitted questions to
>VGRS regarding the WLS
>On February 14, 2002, ICANN posted its "Discussion Paper: Redemption
>Grace Periods for Deleted Names"
>(http://www.icann.org/registrars/redemption-proposal-14feb02.htm) and
>invited comments and questions. ICANN's document, will hereinafter be
>referred to as "ICANN Redemption Grace," for the purpose of brevity.
>On February 15, 2002, VGRS posted their responses "VeriSign GRS
>Responses to Domain Name Wait Listing Service Questions"
>(http://verisign-grs.com/wls_responses.pdf). VGRS's document, will
>hereinafter be referred to as "VGRS Responses," for the purpose of
>Additional background information is available at
>http://www.byte.org/rc-deletes/ and
>In considering the WLS proposal, various members of the GA made the
>following observations:
>1. Nothing in any of the various contracts specifically grants the
>Registry or any Registrar the right to sell an option (or future) to
>acquire a domain name, when that domain name is not available to the
>        VGRS states that it is free to offer the WLS service under its
>        existing contract with ICANN, (see VGRS Responses at B.7. and
>        B.9.), although VGRS admits that to do so is subject to
>        ICANN's approval, (see VGRS Response at B.20.).
>        A current domain name registration may be sold by its current
>        Registrant to another person or entity. The Registrant enjoys
>        extended, post-expiration renewal rights (the length of which
>        is currently at the discretion of the Registrar - See
>        http://www.dnso.org/clubpublic/ga-full/Arc09/msg01011.html)
>        until the name is deleted and made available to the general
>        public.
>        The Registry and Registrars only have the expressed,
>        contractual authority to register a name to the general public
>        on a first come and first served basis. There is no expressed
>        contractual authority to sell a future right to register a
>        domain name, at the time when that domain name "may" expire
>        and be deleted in the future. The spirit and intent of the
>        contracts appears to assume that domain names will expire and
>        be deleted and that those expired and deleted names will then,
>        and only then, be available to the general public for
>        registration.
>        Additional services can be, and have been, "invented" by the
>        Registrars as part of their marketing strategies, but no
>        Registrar has been, or should be given, any unique rights with
>        respect to domain name registration or after-market services.
>        The same should apply to the Registry, as well.
>	In addition to that it can be stipulated that the next step for
> 	the registry could be to "pre-register" all possible domains 
>	in accordance with a WLS to get a better profit margin and hence
>	raise prices more then considerable.
>2. There is no explicit policy and procedure for the handling of
>expired registrations, as referenced in 3.7.5 and 3.7.11 of the
>Accreditation Agreement (RAA).
>        It is clear, after reading the ICANN Redemption Grace
>        document, that ICANN intends to modify the procedures
>        surrounding expired and deleted domain names (possibly by
>        adopting a policy and procedure as referenced in 3.7.5 and
>        3.7.11 of the RAA) in order to reduce complaints from
>        businesses and consumers. ICANN has called upon the Internet
>        community for questions and comments during the time leading
>        up to, and at, the meeting on March 10-14, 2002.
>        The ICANN Redemption Grace document states, in paragraph 3
>        under "Effects of Unintentional Deletions," that a
>        "significant portion of the demand for registration of deleted
>        domains involves domains that the former registrant did not
>        intend to have deleted" and that "the registry operator
>        involved is forced to cope with extraordinary re-registration
>        demand from domain-name speculators for the rights to domains
>        that were mistakenly or unintentionally deleted." Although
>        VGRS has acknowledged the existence of the ICANN Redemption
>        Grace document, it never-the-less wishes to push forward with
>        implementation of WLS (See VeriSign Responses at A.3., B.8.,
>        B.22.c. and D.12.).
>        It seems to be generally accepted that all Registrars will
>        drop/delete domain names within 45 days following expiration
>        and it is recognized that Registrars have the latitude to
>        delete a name the day following expiration, if they chose to
>        do so. Maintaining the expired registration during the 45 day
>        period is capital intensive and, therefore, expensive for the
>        Registrar (see
>        http://www.dnso.org/clubpublic/ga-full/Arc09/msg01011.html),
>        which actually encourages a Registrar to delete the domain
>        name sooner than later.
>        In addition to the foregoing, there is no authority in the
>        current procedure for addressing potential abuses, i.e.
>        nothing explicitly denies a Registrar the right to auction, or
>        otherwise sell, an expired domain name during the grace
>        period, to otherwise hoard expired domain names or to charge
>        the Registrant more, simply because they renewed during the
>        post-expiration grace period. In fact, there have been
>        frequent complaints on the GA list about the hoarding of
>        domain names by Registrars.
>3. There is consumer demand for deleted domain names.
>        According to Chuck Gomes,
>        (http://www.dnso.org/clubpublic/ga/Arc08/msg04010.html),
>        potential domain name holders have requested some sort of a
>        wait list service since 1996.
>        In fact, in the Spring of 2001, VGRS temporarily shut off
>        Registrar' connections and temporarily closed the process of
>        deleting expired names, to address the load problem on VGRS
>        systems. This load problem was due to the demand for deleted
>        names. Thereafter, VGRS implemented a solution of relegating
>        batch requests for deleting names to one of three pools and
>        rate limiting to prevent this high volume traffic from
>        overloading its systems.
>        Further, the concept of a VGRS/SnapNames system was introduced
>        by VGRS, as a result of the increased load on VGRS systems, in
>        Montevideo, Uruguay in September 2001. However, VGRS now
>        states that WLS is not a solution (see VGRS Responses at
>        B.1.).
>        Today, however, there are several entities providing some sort
>        of deleted name registration service, including, but not
>        limited to: SnapNames, eNom, NicGenie, IARegistry, AWRegistry,
>        Signature Domains, INWW, OnlineNic, AddressCreation,
>        AllDomains, EastCom, PayCenter, ExpireFish. Others may also
>        offer competitive and differing services, in response to
>        market demand, in the future.
>        VGRS was specifically contracted by ICANN to maintain a
>        registry free of commercial and possible monopolistic
>        marketing and, as such, has no marketing tasks. The WLS would,
>        in fact, replace the diversity of products which already serve
>        this market leaving the consumer with no alternative choices.
>	VGRS and Snapnames base their proposal now on "market demands" 
>	however they do not bring any evidence that there is such a 
>	thing as market demand, nor do they give any thesis upon which 
>	this demand should be based.
>	Pricing is determined by "what the market can bare", whilst any
>	proof of cost for such a system is denied based upon 	confidentiality
>of such data, yet in order to ascertain the 
>	value of a product, cost-price is an important "given".
>	To determine consensus on the new product without all relevant 
>	data is impossible.
>4. WLS and VGRS System Load Problem.
>        The WLS proposal dated 12/30/2001 suggested that WLS would
>        solve the VGRS system problems which were brought about by
>        demand for deleted names. The revised WLS proposal also speaks
>        to the VGRS system in section 7. However, according to Chuck
>        Gomes,
>        (http://www.dnso.org/clubpublic/ga/Arc09/msg00301.html), WLS
>        "could make" a positive impact, but it "won't solve" the
>        problem. However, VGRS states that WLS is not a solution, at
>        all (see VGRS Responses at B.1.).
>        Furthermore, VGRS states they have implemented changes which
>        solved the VGRS system load problem (see VGRS Responses at
>        B.2., B.3. D.3.a. and D.3.b.), and that a long range solution
>	may never be feasible (see VGRS Responses at D.3.b.).
>5. It is one of ICANN's responsibilities, under its agreement with the
>Department of Commerce (DOC), to ensure a competitive market.
>        ICANN has promoted and created competing Registrars. ICANN has
>        promoted and created additional Registries. The TLD .org is in
>        the early process of divestiture.
>6. The name space belongs to the public.
>        Neither ICANN, the Registry or the Registrars have any right
>        to any domain name, unless they have registered that name and
>        paid the appropriate registration fee. This concept is equally
>        applicable to expired domain names which have not yet been
>        deleted and made available to the public for registration.
>        VGRS seems to have a different position (see VGRS Responses at
>        A.1.).
>	Remains whether a clear deletion of a name should not be that 
>	what it pertains to be, a "deletion" :
>	Pronunciation: di-'lEt, dE-
>	Function: transitive verb
>	Inflected Form(s): de·let·ed; de·let·ing
>	Etymology: Latin deletus, past participle of delEre to wipe out,
>	destroy
>	Date: circa 1605
>	: to eliminate especially by blotting out, cutting out, or 	erasing
>	Once something is erased, can it be sold again as "still 	existing" or
>is it gone and can it only be sold as "new" hence 	upfront eliminating
>the option of a WLS.
>The GA has several concerns about the proposed WLS:
>1. VGRS is the Sole Authority
>        The metrics and the determination of the success or failure of
>        the WLS test is in the exclusive control of VGRS and not
>        consensus based (see VGRS Responses at B.14.d.).
>2. SnapNames will Have an Advantage
>        VGRS has devised a means to protect the existing business of
>        its partner, SnapNames, but has not done the same for the
>        other participants in the after-market (See VGRS Responses at
>        B.18.a.)
>3. It is Not Just a 1 Year Test
>        Subscriptions do not expire at the end of the test period (see
>        VGRS Responses at B.23.) but continue until maturity.
>        Consequently, a subscription taken on the last day of the 12
>        month test period will not expire for another year. However,
>        VGRS will not accept new subscriptions beyond the 12 month
>        test (see VGRS Responses at D.4.).
>4. No Consumer Choice
>        Today, the potential registrants have a choice of several
>        diverse service offerings, with differing price structures.
>        Implementation of the WLS guarantees that there will be no
>        additional and differentiated offerings to enter the market. In
>        fact, it absolutely guarantees there will be only one service
>        offering.
>        Price differentiation, if any is possible under the last
>        proposed pricing structure, does not make a differentiated
>        market. Even in the revised pricing structure, VGRS is clearly
>        the benefactor.
>5. No Innovation or Service Differentiation
>        Today, Registrars compete on the basis of price and service
>        differentiation. Under the proposal, the lion's share of the
>        revenue goes to VGRS, leaving a thin margin for Registrars
>        and, effectively, no margin for Resellers. Consequently, it
>        limits the capability of the Registrars and Resellers to
>        innovate and differentiate their offerings.
>        Further, since VGRS is in full control of the entire delivery
>        mechanism, there is little opportunity, if any, for the
>        Registrars to innovate, irrespective of the already
>        substantial cost structure.
>6. Runs-Out/Kills the Current Participants
>        The WLS will remove all competitors from an already thriving
>        and growing market. WLS guarantees that there will be no
>        competition and therefore, the consumers will have no
>        competitive choice. This flies in the face of ICANN's
>        responsibilities under its agreement with the DOC and
>        contravenes the rudimentary principles of free enterprise and
>        a competitive marketplace.
>        Indeed, VGRS seems to have no concern for the already
>        competitive market, to those entities already serving this
>        market or to consumer choice (See VGRS Responses at B.14.a.,
>        B.15., B.24. and D.2.).
>7. Expanded Monopolistic Powers
>        This proposal extends VGRS's registry status to that of an
>        active market participant, taking the lion's share of the
>        revenue, eliminating all current competition and completely
>        controlling an already thriving market. Although we recognize,
>        and agree with, VGRS's rebuttal that the Registrar is not
>        contractually limited to fixing their own price, price is not
>        the only consideration and certainly not the major concern.
>        It is ICANN's charter and responsibility to break-up monopoly
>        power - not add to it.
>8. Consumers Pay, but May Not Receive Any Value
>        The WLS requires payment, regardless of whether the consumer
>        receives the value of actually being able to register the
>        name. In contrast, the current market includes services which
>        only require payment in the event the consumer actually gets
>        to register the name.
>        Some consumers may not mind taking the risk of paying for a
>        WLS subscriptions, but other consumers are likely to take
>        issue and seek out an alternative. Alas, however, WLS will be
>        the "only game in town" and the consumer will have no
>        alternative.
>        Further, all of the financial risk, with respect to credit
>        card charge-backs and similar disputes, is placed solely on
>        the shoulders of the Registrars, with no indemnification from,
>        or participation by, VGRS, although VGRS is clearly the
>        benefactor of the lion's share of the revenue (See VGRS
>        Responses at B.6., B.12..
>9. No Solution to VGRS System Problems
>        As cited above, the initial WLS proposal of 12/30/01 and the
>        revised WLS proposal of 1/28/02 speak to the benefit of WLS to
>        the VGRS system problems. However, as also cited above, WLS is
>        not a solution to the VGRS problems in the short or long term.
>        Furthermore, as also indicated above, VGRS now states that the
>        problems are solved and that no other longer range solution
>        may ever be feasible.
>        However, it seems that WLS is intended to decrease demand, by
>        narrowing the market to one service, one provider, one
>        delivery mechanism and by increasing the price, in order to
>        deal with the load problem, instead of dealing with it
>        appropriately, at a technical level. The only obvious
>        benefactors of this approach are VGRS and its partner,
>        SnapNames. There is no merit in it for the rest of the
>        universe.
>10. Increased Costs to Potential Registrants
>        VGRS bases the pricing of WLS upon the concept of "what the
>        market will bear" and not based upon cost (See VGRS Responses
>        at B.11.). VGRS and SnapNames have presented several
>        arguments, and unsubstantiated data, on the GA list in support
>        this pricing model. Further, VGRS and SnapNames have argued
>        that the system costs are substantial, but have not presented
>        any credible facts to support these assertions. Although, the
>        VGRS contract with ICANN is on the basis of "cost-related"
>        pricing, VGRS now to seeks to introduce a very different price
>        model and to obtain consensus for it.
>        There is no denying the fact that the current participants in
>        this market (including VGRS) need to make a profit, in order
>        to survive and to flourish. Considering the high wholesale
>        cost of this service to Registrars, as compared to a normal
>        registration, we speculate (as does VGRS and SnapNames,
>        speculate to the contrary in prior rebuttals), that the
>        service is over-priced. Therefore, we conclude it is not
>        reasonably calculated to benefit anyone except VGRS and its
>        partner, SnapNames.
>        The consumer's cost to register a deleted domain name will be
>        roughly 500% more than registering a deleted domain name in
>        the current market. We fail to see how this increased cost
>        benefits the consumer. This is particularly troublesome when
>        considering that some, maybe most, consumers will pay a high
>        fee, but never actually receive the right to register a
>        deleted domain name.
>        Cost, however, is not the only major point of concern, when
>        objectively evaluating WLS in light of domain name customers
>        and potential Registrants.
>The GA discussed many concerns with respect to the WLS proposal and
>cited the major, but not all, concerns, above.
>      Respectfully, and due to the major concerns cited above, the GA
>      does not support or endorse the WLS proposal in any manner.
>The GA's submits the following alternative ideas for consideration:
>1. That we now turn our attention to the ICANN Redemption Grace
>document and work with dispatch to achieve consensus which results in
>a policy and procedure to be adopted for 3.7.5 and 3.7.11 of the RAA.
>In particular, the policy and procedure should safeguard the rights of
>Registrants during the post-expiration grace period and it should
>contain specific language designed to prevent potential abuses by the
>Registries and Registrars.
>2. That ICANN should enforce the RAA with VeriSign Registrar and other
>Registrars, as may be appropriate under the circumstances, with
>respect to dropping all of the hoarded domain names and discontinuing
>the practice of hoarding domain names.
>                Respectfully submitted,
>The DNSO General Assembly
>Abel S.H. Wisman
>Scottish Provident House 
>76-80 College Road
>Harrow Middlesex
>HA1 1BQ 
>+44 20 8424 2422
>+44 78 1214 1916
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Harold Whiting
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