Summary of Discussions of Transfer Task Force related to Deletions, Solutions, and VGRS WLS
Prepared by TF Chair: Marilyn Cade
The Transfer Task Force was asked by the Names Council to ensure that a comprehensive review of issues concerning deletion of domain names and possible solutions for those issues is undertaken, and to submit to the Board, no later than 10 June 2002, a status report on that review, with the status report to include any recommendations with supporting materials concerning Verisign’s request to modify the .com and .net agreements to allow it to provide a wait listing service for a fee as part of its operation of the .com and .net registries.
The Names Council referred this matter to the Transfer Task Force on 4/24/02. The Task Force published Terms of Reference; numerous postings within the GA took place; comments from the GA and others have been received, and the TF hosted two widely publicized and open to any interested party conference calls on 5/21/02 and 5/22/02.
MP 3 recordings and minutes are provided for those calls via the Transfer Task Force List. In addition to usual notice via posting on the Transfer TF archive, all constituencies and the GA were notified of the calls. The names of all conference call attendees will be posted. Approximately 19 attendees attended each of the calls; some participants were able to participate in both calls.
The Transfer Task Force will announce shortly tentative dates for two additional conference calls and any further outreach activities to take input on deletion of domain name issues, possible solutions, including any recommendations concerning Verisign’s request. A status report will be given at Names Council meeting, June 6, for discussion by the NC and referral on to the Board.
ISSUES RELATED TO DELETIONS AND POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS:
In the submissions from constituencies, the GA, during the recent conference call discussions related to Version’s WLS request, several issues and themes have developed which deserve consideration by the Task Force in its status report and recommendations. Most of these are consistent with those identified by the General Counsel in General Counsel’s Analysis of VGRS’ Request for Amendment to Registry Agreement, 17April 2002, and further in the ICANN Bucharest Meeting Topic: VGRS Proposal for Wait Listing Service, posted 19 May 2002. The TF is carefully examining the discussions and submissions to ensure that additional issues or concerns are also identified.
The broad topics discussed are outlined in the following sections.
First, from submissions and from the discussion, it appears that the broad issues concerning the deletion of domain names could easily be lost in the consideration of whether Verisign the Registry should establish a service of this nature at the Registry Level. This issue will be discussed later in more detail.
Technical Aspects of the present approach in deletion of domain names:
It is clear from both submissions, and discussion on the first call in particular, that the issues specific to the deletion of domain names and the impact on registry from a technical impact [“add storms”] and the resulting impact on the service received by the registrars have been the topic of many meetings, extended discussions between the two constituencies, and with ICANN staff over many months. The problems themselves do not seem to be disputed by any of the involved, knowledgeable parties.
Differences exist in how to address, solutions, etc.
Technical changes have been proposed, discussed, considered, but there are a variety of views on whether these have been implemented, not completely implemented, or perhaps not implemented in ways which have addressed the issues/problems related to bulk deletions which affect service and performance of the registry.
Other kinds of changes have been made at the registry level, however, and various significant attempts made, to deal with the impact on service, performance, etc. The Registry representative discussed the significant investments made in efforts to deal with this technical load demand.
During the conference call, the Registrars Constituency noted that they have provided a list of further requested changes; they were asked to provide this as supporting materials and posted it to the archive of the TR-TR.
Other participants during the call described possible alternatives in scheduling, changing processes, etc., which could lessen, in their view, the “stress” of the system. Participants further discuss some of these in submissions to the TR-TF.
Summary: There are clearly technical and performance issues related to the present approach of domain name deletions, impacting both the registry, and the registrars, and based on input from some participants, leading to impact on registrants as well. Suggestions for dealing with, or lessening the impact have been made. It was not clear what effective process exists to resolve and address whether any, or all of these suggestions would offer solutions to the high registry loads cased by what the community calls “add storms”.
Concerns identified by the discussants:
Different parties have different needs or interests in the “names” being deleted. Some parties in the market are interested in identifying and “grabbing” specific names, sometimes for use, sometimes for secondary marketing. A set of services has developed to serve the interests of those entities, and several forms of “wait-listing” services are available at the “tier two” or registrar or beyond level. These services vary in their scope but all are dependent upon access via that registrar in order to access the registry database. As previously noted, a form of technological “feeding frenzy” occurs at the time of the release of the bulk names into the registry, where any interested party bombards the registry, trying to grab name(s) first as they are reentered into the registry.
Wait listing services that exist today are used, according to the participants and those who have posted previous views and statements, by individuals, companies of all sizes, organizations, speculators, IP holders, etc. Some on the call maintained that these services are not widely used by present holders of domain names based on trademarks, while others on the call disputed this view.
Several reasons were given for the possible use of services like these, including getting a name someone else has held, but not used, and you have wanted; getting a number of attractive names to use or market to others, “recovering” a name.
Section to be added to:
Individuals whose names are accidentally or erroneously deleted: Although from time to time, mention is made of the impact on registrants or concerned individuals call for further input from registrants regarding WLS and deletions, so far, little discussion appears to have occurred related to WLS regarding the impact on the actual registrant whose domain name is 1) accidentally 2) erroneously caught in the deletion process at the registrar level and somehow not “retrieved” before being returned to the registry.
Sufficient numbers of complaints have been received by ICANN staff that a proposed “Redemption Period” be established and followed by all accredited registrars to deal with these instances BEFORE a bulk deletion could occur. Although the TF has not received large numbers of complaints or specific documentation, it is our opinion that complaints received provide sufficient rationale to support the need for such a “redemption period”. Participants on the call seemed in support of this approach, which can help to prevent accidental or erroneous deletions.
However, in regard to registrant input regarding WLS, this topic was discussed on the call with a few participants maintaining that extensive outreach is needed to registrants related to their views on WLS, and other participants commenting that this kind of market research is extremely expensive to do; that existing constituencies also represent registrants; etc.
Summary: It is the view of the TF that “Redemption Period” is an essential element to protect present registrants. A separate process is underway regarding feedback related to Redemption and how to implement it. It is likely that any solution will have several elements, and the initial view of the TF is that Redemption Period will be a useful element.
Regarding further input from registrants: It is the view of the TF that registrants are also represented in the constituencies and GA; however, the Task Force is considering ideas of how to get registrant responses as examples to better inform their recommendation and whether this is feasible.
Impact on Competition, Harm and to Whom?
Some of the participants on the call were directly affected parties, either as present WLS providers, or via a partnership with Verisign Registry, or representing Verisign Registry directly. Others were interested parties who have concerns or views about the impact on competition, on costs to registrants, implications for introduction of further services at the registry level, etc. [to be added to]
List of Stated Issues and Concerns:[this list is presented in no particular order, from working notes and submissions. Changes and consolidation may occur in the next draft}:
It seems to the Task Force that it is important to keep two kinds of issues clearly delineated: that is, it is important to understand and address issues and concerns related to deletions, and to separately consider the proposal of Verisign the Registry, to introduce a WLS and its implications. If it is the intention of the WLS to address the technical issues, either completely, or partially, then it should be carefully evaluated with that in mind. The discussion was somewhat unclear in regard to the exact nature of the interrelatedness. The TF should review the transcript from Day one in particular.
Completing a comprehensive review: The TF does not claim to have undertaken, by this time, a comprehensive review. They are now considering what those elements would encompass, reasonable, but speedy processes and scope. Over the next few days, they hope to reach more conclusions about suggestions.
There are several recommendations which should be considered by the TF and different approaches which could result: The Task Force could recommend that the preliminary quick look described by the General Counsel is appropriate. In that scenario, there are several outcomes:
Preliminary Quick Look approach: The Task Force:
The Task Force could conclude that there are specific reasons to conclude that the legitimate interests of others are likely to be harmed, therefore the Task Force
Recommendation on how to address the concerns identified above.
The Task Force notes that there is an ICANN Comment Process accepting web based public comments, and that this proposal will be a topic at the Public Forum.
Our task is providing input into the Names Counsel. We are addressing:
Identification of all the issues related to deleted names?
What are the possible solutions to those issues?
What process does the TF propose to complete analysis and discussion of these if that is needed? What is the time frame for that?
In specific consideration of the Verisign WLS, what is the recommendation of the TF?
[Which Concerns about VGRS WLS are Valid? How can they be addressed? ]
What actions are needed in relation to deletion of names and solutions related to the larger problems/concerns?
What is the recommendation of the TF: a quick look analysis or consensus policy process? Are the broader issues separable from the decision related to the VGRS WLS so that a two track decisional process can be followed?
I. Transfer Task Force discussion and conference call to discuss above, materials received, previous submissions.
The TF needs to whether it has identified the broad set of issues related to deleted names. Second, the TF needs to reach agreement on how to best address the different kinds of issues. That process will take place over the next few days of discussion, largely via email, with a possible further TF only conference call.
On the topic of VGRS WLS,
II. Other Supporting Information/Material:
The TF will consider how to quickly gather any further input and comments and what time frames and approaches are feasible and likely to achieve useable responses, as well as how and whether this overlaps with ICANN’s overall outreach via the web based comment process.
Additional Steps: On the broader set of issues related to deletions, among the possibilities are asking ICANN staff and Registrars to provide information about the complaints about deletions which have negatively affected individual registrants. There may be privacy issues and implications, which would negate reviewing these complaints. A different approach may be needed to have a short briefing on the kinds of complaints, without receiving specific detailed information.
III. The TF will issue an invitation reminder to the Constituencies and the GA broadly
Regarding further this process and seeking their input and asking that the topic be added to the Constituency meetings in Bucharest. The TF chair discussed holding two more conference calls, which will be open to interested parties between now, and Bucharest. Feedback from TF members has indicated significant time constraints, and a preference for only one additional public call. Therefore the TF reserves the option of limiting this to one call, should scheduling prohibit availability of TF members to participate.
IV. The TF will submit a preliminary status report to the Names Council on June 4, for discussion at the June 6 NC meeting. NOTE: This is a preliminary status report and is not intended to provide a recommendation about action, but a recommendation about process to conclude the comprehensive review as requested.
V. Subsequent to the report to the Board from the NC on June 10, the task force will address further concerns and policy improvements and incorporate any such in the report from the Transfer Task Force for Bucharest.