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Industry Association: An Implementation Model

Kurt Pritz

We read carefully Scott Hollenbeck's call to form a Domain Name Industry association to promote consistency in technical operations across the many moving parts of the industry and we, the Board and members of the Domain Name Association, largely agree.

More formal coordination among registry operators and domain name registrars would improve the domain name registration experience for registrants and business operations for the domain name industry in general. This is because:

  1. registry-registrar operational issues are being solved on a one-off basis as each new registry operator paired off with its set of registrars, and
  2. resolving these issues in an industry-wide collaborative manner is preferable in order to create operational consistency and save time.

With those issues in mind, the Domain Name Association Board met this past June to set the DNA's strategic objectives for the this fiscal year. Among them was the creation of a DNA-driven, community-wide technical operations working group to address operational issues between registries and registrars.

Given its multi-functional and global diversity, the DNA will be an effective place to coordinate discussion of these issues and to involve broader domain name industry involvement.

Recognizing that industry-wide issues are… well ... industry wide, the DNA Board determined that this work must include those inside and outside the DNA, welcoming all domain name industry members. Scott and others from Verisign and other firms are invited regardless of whether they join the DNA.

There has been a brief period where we have initially populated the working group with members of the Domain Name Association; we are now repeating this invitation to industry members outside the DNA. Emails are prepared to go out.

General operation framework:

We welcome discussion on this draft "charter." The working group will be staffed by DNA and non-DNA members. Members will raise issues for discussion and form industry-wide teams to address single issues (or a set of related issues).

It is important to form teams in a timely way because as soon as issues are identified, registry-registrar pairs develop one-off solutions. Once they have made an investment in a solution, it is difficult to undo with an industry-wide solution.

Distinctions such as dues paying mechanisms membership restrictions would slow participation and discussion. Therefore, there will be no fee for participation. Participation in these discussions will be open to all domain name registrars, gTLD and ccTLD registry operators, and parties providing software or back-end services.

The use of single issue, focused teams is a good feature because attendance and influence will rotate around the industry and those most interested in a particular issue would get to participate. The formation, and subsequent disbandment of single-issue teams will avoid the trappings of administration, allow industry members to participate when it is important to them, and avoid capture by one or of a small group of entities.

Initial issues for consideration:

Issues for discussion might include (based on initial member input) —

  • A forum to discuss making it easy for registrars to do business with registries by, for example, harmonizing services such as premium names, TMCH registrations, other new rights protection mechanisms or launch phases. Some of these might be handled in an intra-DNA discussion but should also be discussed on an industry-wide basis.
  • Variations in EPP implementations: understand which parts of EPP might be standardized: error messages, business logic, launch phases, premium name processes, handling of data fields required.
  • The potential effects of the recommendations of the Whois Expert Working Group.
  • Integrations of Asian registrars into the Domain Name Industry environment.

We hope to see many of you there. As Scott said, we are "convinced that this is an idea worth exploring."

Kurt Pritz, Executive Director and
The DNA Board of Directors

By Kurt Pritz, Director of Strategic Planning and Policy at Allegravita

Related topics: DNS, Domain Names, Registry Services, Top-Level Domains


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"No fee for participation" ? Jean Guillon  –  Sep 17, 2014 9:14 AM PDT

How kind.

KurtI'd disagree. I don't think the DNA Michele Neylon  –  Sep 19, 2014 1:05 PM PDT


I'd disagree. I don't think the DNA is the appropriate venue for this at all.

What Scott's proposing is to address a technical and operational need and for it to work it needs to be inclusive of as many operators as possible and for all to be included on an equal footing.
The DNA is not all inclusive and not all members are on an equal footing.
That's your organisation's choice and I can understand why that choice was made.
However for a lot of smaller players in the ecosystem, be they ccTLDs or gTLDs, registrars or registries the costs of joining the DNA are far too high.
However the real operational benefits of other organisations, such as the IETF and many of the other organisations and communities, both formal and informal, in the operational and technical community are drawn from parity. Whether you are from a small operation or a global fortune 500, participants are on a level playing field.
So while I think it would be appropriate for the DNA to encourage its members to participate actively in any organisation or community that Scott and others might be able to kickstart, I don't think it's appropriate for the DNA to try and take over this initiative

Equal footing : Picking dragons Jothan Frakes  –  Sep 28, 2014 1:43 PM PDT

I have perspective on both sides of this, having been an inventor of many technologies in verisign's portfolio and having the privilege of working with Scott Hollenbeck on the one hand, and on the other hand working within the technical committee as a member of the DNA on things like Universal Acceptance.

I also helped gather many of us technical participants and participated when Gavin Brown and Will Tan started working together to standardize the provisioning protocols so registrars would have fewer integration challenges.

I see we all violently agree about the need for some form of industry standardization is high, and outweighs the "where", and not if it needs to exist.

If the concern is "what roof this association receives support under?", and there are two groups willing to foster it, the one with the greatest diversity seems like the lesser of two "controlled" or self-interest/biased would be most attractive.

I don't think that "where" should be polluted concerns of fees or membership, nor by concerns of capture for steering towards patent portfolio benefit.  Ultimately, if there are two groups, those groups can and should work together.

We need to avoid history's beta vs VHS "prevailing" standard battles which detract and distract from the primary aim of making it more consistent for registrars and registries to communicate.

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