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Do Domain Names Matter? - Part II

This is the second part of a 2-part series article arguing that the decentralization of the Internet will allow the DNS to recede to its earlier, uncontroversial role, before all the lawsuits and screaming matches at ICANN board meetings. To read the first part click here.

Another source of pressure on the DNS was the system's shifting role from one that was primarily mnemonic to one that was meaningful as well. The difference is subtle, but important. Consider the phrase "Every good boy deserves fudge", which music students sometimes learn to help them memorize what notes correspond to the lines of the treble clef. The phrase is helpful, but its content -- boys deserving fudge -- has nothing to do with music. It's mnemonic, but not meaningful.  more

Do Domain Names Matter? - Part I

This is the first part of a 2-part series article arguing that the decentralization of the Internet will allow the DNS to recede to its earlier, uncontroversial role, before all the lawsuits and screaming matches at ICANN board meetings.

Is it just me, or are we paying less attention to the Domain Name System than we used to? Seems like only a few years ago that the tech-culture world was attuned to every new angle in the ongoing struggle over the DNS' management. You couldn't read the front page of Slashdot without catching one heavily commented-upon story on alternate registries, trademark disputes, or the latest ICANN board meeting.  more

On the Upcoming Hearings on ICANN by the US Senate

I was a witness at the two prior hearing, one in 2001 and another in 2002 - it's quite an experience.

My submission to this year's hearing is online at http://www.cavebear.com/rw/senate-july-31-2003.htm

What's going to be said by the witnesses? I don't know. But I have some guesses... more

U.S. Senate's Hearing on ICANN

Later today, Senator Conrad Burns, who chairs the U.S. Senate subcommittee responsible for supervising ICANN, will be holding a hearing on a number of issues.

At the beginning of the year, a press release called "Burns Unveils NexGenTen Agenda For Communications Reform and Security in the 21st Century", had reported:

"U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) announced his top priorities for his chairmanship of the Senate Communications Subcommittee during the 108th legislative session. The ten items, called the Burns NexGenTen Tech Agenda, aim to strengthen security and usher reform for 21st Century Communication... more

Microsoft's Popular Domain Scooped by UltSearch

When domain names expire they leave skeletons - networks of inbound links that continue to funnel traffic to that name, even if ownership has changed. Via eWeek, we learn that Microsoft owned HARDWARE-UPDATE.COM and used the name for a site featuring Windows drivers. The domain name is embedded in various error messages in Windows 2000. However, Microsoft did not renew the domain name and Ultimate Search, a company that specializes in this sort of thing, scooped it up. Now the page provides sponsored links, courtesy of Overture. The article reports that the top sponsored link pays over $3 a click-through.  more

Do You Agree With WLS? Your Chance to Comment!

Should ICANN's Wait-Listing Service be implemented?

Why yes or why not? What are the negative or positive consequences that are being overlooked?

In light of the recent events regarding ICANN's approval of the Wait-Listing Service (WLS), CircleID is requesting all stakeholders (all individuals or organization that own domain names or sell related services) to submit their comments 'for' or 'against' WLS. All comments gathered will be posted on CircleID WLS Speical Coverage and presented to key decision makers...  more

ICANN Workshop Displays Diverging Perspectives on WHOIS

At a workshop held in late June in Montreal (Canada) -- Karl Auerbach had submitted some live coverage to CircleID --, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) had an in-depth look at various aspects of the Internet's WHOIS databases. These databases associate social information (like holders' names and contact information) with network identifiers, such as IP addresses and domain names. Current policy for these databases -- in particular in the generic top level domain area -- is part of ICANN's contracts with domain name retailers ("registrars") and database operators ("registries"), and permits for use of the data by arbitrary parties for arbitrary purposes. more

President of Name Intelligence Responds to WLS Issue

Part of the stated reason for the high price point stated by Verisign was to "deter domain speculators" with a price that was high. If the price was set at $1, they claim, speculators would buy all the WLS subscriptions before any other people. So if Verisign is trying to really deter domain speculators then why are they not releasing information on who owns a WLS? Or limiting the number of WLS that a person can have. Seems like a shallow argument if the only deterring thing is raising more money for the Verisign monopoly rather than setting limits... more

President of BuyDomains.com Responds to WLS Issue

Right now a person invents and registers a domain and must pay a yearly fee to a registrar (that registrar is supposed to have the right to compete). The registrar then has to pay their competitor (the registry Verisign monopoly) $6 as agreed to by ICANN and the Dept of Commerce. This would be fair so far if there was not a monopoly on the back end Registry. Each registrar does in fact get to play in this scenario. Now if the registrant chooses not to renew their domain after it expires the name ceases to exist by default, since it's not legal if unpaid. THERE IS NO SCENARIO WHEREIN THE GOVERNMENT EVER CONTEMPLATED VERISIGN OWNING OR CONTROLLING THIS DOMAIN INVENTED BY A COMMON CONSUMER, ONCE EXPIRED, AS THE WLS ATTEMPTS. more

SnapNames: Why the WLS is Better for Consumers

In 2002, VeriSign, the registry for .COM and .NET domain names, proposed the idea of a centralized, registry-level "wait list" for currently registered domain names. The system would let anyone around the world get "next in line" for a name that is registered now but may become available later.

This new registry service, titled Wait List System (or WLS), would augment what is now an ad-hoc group of registrar-level services that are useful, but aren't always fully dependable or even available to the general public. more

President of Tucows Responds to WLS Issue

I will try and take a different approach with this post. There are two elements of WLS that I think are most material and are not discussed often enough. They are i) the scope of the original NSI-ICANN contract and ii) the use of multiple accreditations.

...Verisign is paid a sum of money to perform a service. They own neither the primary nor the secondary data. I will not bore you with a recitation of various sections of the agreement nor with long-winded legal arguments. They are for another forum. The implication of this conclusion as it relates to WLS is that any re-registration market service is outside the scope of the original contract and should be treated as any new service should. more

President of easyDNS Responds to WLS Issue

When I came out of the Verisign Product Round-Table at the ICANN Meeting it became clearer to me why I sometimes feel that registries were dangerous things to put in the hands of a for-profit corporation. Here in Canada the .CA namespace is regarded as a "Key Public Resource", thus the registry is administered by a non-profit corporation. The monopoly over the root (which is what it is) is treated very carefully, almost with a "necessary evil" mentality, which if done properly cultivates private enterprise and competition at the registrar level, where it should be. more

President of Afternic Responds to WLS Issue

Afternic holds a unique position on this subject; we're neutral. This is partly because we have partners on both sides of the issue and want to be diplomatic. But it is also because we don't think that it matters much in a mature domain name market. The backorder service market is an apparition. It depends on the owner of a valuable property thinking the property is worthless. How long can that situation exist to fuel the backorder market? As domain name owners gain knowledge and experience regarding domain name values, we expect few valuable names to drop.

A positive consequence of this debate is that domain name owners will gain knowledge about the value of their domains. more

Register.com's Director of Policy Responds to WLS Issue

Register.com has not taken a position for or against WLS. If and when the registry launches this service, Register.com will consider whether to offer it based on the price and conditions attached to the service. We are committed to delivering to our customers the best in class services available. Therefore, the registry's price will be an important factor. Moreover, we are concerned about some of the conditions currently being considered by ICANN - primarily, the "black out period." This is a period of time prior to the final deletion of a name, during which a registrar would be prohibited from selling a WLS subscription on a domain name that it sponsors. We consider this a condition that could confuse consumers and dampen domain name competition. more

WLS & Recourse to the DOC

ICANN's recently posted "Seventh Status Report" states: "ICANN's Board of Directors voted 14-1 to take no action in response to the request, on the grounds that the decision to allow the Wait-Listing Service to be offered was not a threat to competition...".

Several firms that currently offer competing services have signaled (pdf) that they are not in agreement with this assessment. more

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