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An Outlook On The Domain Name Secondary Market

The secondary domain market has gone from one extreme to another. First, huge sums were paid for some domains, raising the expectations of domain sellers. Now, however, in many cases the corporate sector expects to pick up a domain for next to nothing in comparison with the domain's immediate sales and long-term investment potential. In my opinion, both situations are unrealistic. more

Interview With Michael Froomkin: Watching ICANN Through IETF: Part I

Michael Froomkin, a Professor of Law at the University of Miami School of Law and one of the founding members of ICANNWatch has recently written an article for the Harvard Law Review called, "[email protected]: Toward a Critical Theory of Cyberspace". One of the areas covered in this article is a comparison made between the ICANN model and that of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

Michael Froomkin has underlined several lessons that can be learned from this contrast, including a suggestion "that claiming kinship with the IETF model is a way of claiming legitimacy, but that not every one who makes this claim is entitled to do so".

What follows is a two-part interview with Michael Froomkin and a closer look at his recent article in the Harvard Law Reviewmore

United Nations vs. ICANN: One ccTLD At A Time

What happens if ICANN fails? Who will run the DNS then?

Of course to many, ICANN already has failed -- spectacularly so. Critics have long complained that ICANN not only lacks accountability and legitimacy, but also that it is inefficient (at best) and downright destructive (at worst). According to these critics, ICANN's many sins include threatening the stability of the Internet, limiting access by imposing an artificial domain name scarcity, and generally behaving like a petulant dictator. more

Internet Governance: The Proof Is In The Pudding

"ICANN remains the frontier institution and the test case for global governance in the IT sector," writes Zoe Baird in an article in the November-December 2002 issue of "Foreign Affairs". Baird is the President of the Markle Foundation. Her article "Governing the Internet: Engaging Government, Business and Nonprofits" appears in "Foreign Affairs", a magazine usually devoted to the discussion of American foreign policy interests.

The opening line of the article is striking. "The rapid growth of the Internet," Baird writes, "has led to a worldwide crisis of governance." On the surface, a serious problem has been identified. There is the promise of a fruitful discussion to follow. more

Life After Afternic: Exclusive Interview With Roger Collins

In a recent interviewed with Roger Collins, president of ProProject and the new owner of Afternic.com, CircleID investigates the logics behind ProProject's strong belief in the domain name secondary market. Once known as a primary domain name auction site, Register.com had purchased Afteric.com in the September of 2000 for $48 million in cash and stock -- 2 years later the site was shut down as money-losing unit until ProProject came along. more

A Closer Look At The Controversy Over The Internet's Birthday! You Decide

Internet users welcomed the New Year this year with a controversy that reaches to the roots of the Internet itself. January 1, 1983 was the day computer systems on the ARPANET were required to switch over to the TCP/IP protocol. This year marks the 20th anniversary of that event.

Several news stories appeared on the Internet before or on January 1, 2003 heralding January 1, 2003 as the twentieth birthday of the Internet. Other news stories questioned calling this date the birthday of the Internet. To have the date of the Internet's birthday be the subject of a controversy is appropriate, given the nature and history of the Internet. In its early development, the Internet grew and flourished because researchers were encouraged to debate their differences. In this environment, collaborative work thrived. more

Examining Stuart Lynn's Domain Name Plans - Part II

Bruce YoungIn the last article we examined the language in Stuart Lynn's A Plan for Action Regarding New gTLDs, and I addressed concerns about specific language in that document. In this article, I will examine several questions of importance that need to be addressed when discussing new gTLD policy; questions that Mr. Lynn leaves unanswered in his proposal... more

Domain Name Theft Part II: Did ICANN Leave Foxes Guarding the Chicken COOP?

Rod DixonWhen it comes to stealing domain names, I suspect that there are two reasons why so many web bandits appear to be immune from ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers uses the acronym ICANN): the first reason I discussed in my last column on domain name theft (where I described a substantive void in domain name "regulation" as a primary factor for the increasing incidence of domain name theft), the second reason, which is the focus of this column, is the procedural anomaly that currently infuses ICANN's uniform dispute resolution process (UDRP) by providing no administrative forum for domain name registrants who become victims of domain name theft carried out by ICANN's registrars. more

Examining Stuart Lynn's Domain Name Plans - Part I

Bruce YoungLast month ICANN began soliciting comments on Stuart Lynn's A Plan for Action Regarding New gTLDs, which will be one of the Internet governance organization's primary discussion topics at its December meeting in Amsterdam. more

Preventing Future Attacks: Alternatives In DNS Security Management - Part II

In Part I of this article I set the stage for our discussion and overviewed the October 21st DDoS attacks on the Internet's 13 root name servers. In particular, I highlighted that the attacks were different this time, both in size and scope, because the root servers were attacked at the same time. I also highlighted some of the problems associated with the Domain Name System and the vulnerabilities inherent in BIND. Part II of this article takes our discussion to another level by critically looking at alternatives and best practices that can help solve the security problems we've raised. more

Is Whois Data Accuracy Enough?

The Whois Task Force of the Domain Name Supporting Organization (DNSO) has been consulting with registrars over the past few months on the Whois accuracy issue for law enforcement. The Task Force has enumerated three primary areas of interest: accuracy, uniformity, and better searching capabilities. When the registrars met with the Task Force in Shanghai, a fourth area of interest was also brought forward and advocated by many of the registrars at the meeting as paramount to the other three areas. This fourth area of interest was privacy. more

Role Of The Government In The Internet Infrastructure Revisited

When thinking about the infrastructure of the Internet, it is important to consider the role of government in this infrastructure.

This is a question that involves two aspects: the role of government, and the role of the computer scientists who are part of the needed government structure or institution. Reviewing the history of the development of the Internet helps to highlight the importance of some role for both government and for computer scientists. more

Preventing Future Attacks: Alternatives In DNS Security Management - Part I

The October 21 DDoS attacks against the 13 root-name servers containing the master domain list for the Internet's Domain Name System (DNS), (which reportedly took offline 9 of the 13 servers) remain a clear and daunting reminder of the vulnerabilities associated with online security. Many DNS authorities have named the most recent hit the largest DDoS attack against the root server system. Chris Morrow, network security engineer for UUNET, the service provider for two of the world's 13 root servers, recently told The Washington Post... more

Invalid WHOIS Data: Who Is Responsible?

Benjamin EdelmanSuppose you wanted to know who operates a website at a given domain name. Perhaps you suspect that the domain name is pointing to a website that offers illegal content, or you may just want to send a comment to its authors. Conveniently, the Internet provides a so-called "WHOIS" system that ordinarily provides contact information for each registered domain. But in the case of many hundreds of thousands of domains, the WHOIS data just isn't accurate.  more

Privacy Matters: Is It Time To Abolish The WHOIS Database?

Rod DixonRecently, I entered my domain name in a "WHOIS" database query to test the results of the database by using WHOIS on a number of domain name registrar websites. WHOIS is a database service that allows Internet users to look up a number of matters associated with domain names, including the full name of the owner of a domain name, the name of the domain name hosting service, the Internet Protocol or I.P. number(s) corresponding to the domain name, as well as personally identifying information on those who have registered domain names. I was astonished to find... more

ICANN at Large Shanghais The At-Large Conversation

Bruce YoungOn October 28, as ICANN met in Shanghai, China for its regular board meeting, ICANN at Large held a lengthy meeting to address user concerns, particularly the disenfranchisement of the At-Large by ICANN, and the At-Large's self-organizing in response. The meeting was chaired by YJ Park, one of our Executive Panel Members, and was well attended. Attendees included ... more

A Closed And Secret Process Is Not The Answer To Reform

The recent meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in China demonstrates a serious dilemma for Internet users around the world. In the name of reforming ICANN and making it more responsive, ICANN ended the seats of the At-Large directors on its board. This was the part of the ICANN structure that was supposed to be responsive to Internet users. more

Internationalized Domain Names: The Babelization Factor

As current statistics now clearly indicate, two-thirds of the estimated 560 million people online are non-English speakers. As one would expect, in the upcoming ICANN Shanghai Meeting of October 28, 2002, IDNs (Internationalized Domain Names, also known as Multilingual Domain Names), are one of the main topics of discussion. This global affair is also fueling the growing list of Internationalized Domain Name Certified Registrars that offer domain names in many other non-English characters with .com, .net, and .org. more

The Internet And Its Governance: Where Should We Look For Models?

The US Department of Commerce (DOC) has recently signed a new contract with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for one more year. ICANN and the DOC are to continue to work together to design an organizational form that is suitable to administer and control the infrastructure of the Internet. That infrastructure includes the IP numbers, which are critical to the functioning of the Internet protocol TCP/IP. These numbers must be unique for the Internet to continue to function. The infrastructure also includes the protocols that make the Internet possible. Protocols involve the conventions or agreements that each network that is part of the Internet accepts in order to make communication possible across the boundaries of the different technical and political and administrative entities that comprise the networks of the Internet. Another component of the Internet's infrastructure is the domain name system (DNS). This system includes the names that identify various sites on the Internet and the translation of those names into IP numbers via the system of computers that make the one to one mapping between names and numbers. more

Parsing Hype From Hope: Will ENUM Spark Changes In Telecom?

Rod DixonIn the beginning there was silence; then, silence begat communication, and communication begat more communication and, ultimately, group communication formed and begat a primordial "network" of communication that gradually and inevitably increased in effectiveness and complexity: there were only signal fires at first but, then, there were cave drawings, carrier pigeons, shouting from hill-tops, smoke from fire, lines of cannon fire, the telegraph, Alexander Graham Bell, and, finally, the network of networks known as the Internet. But, is that it? Is there not something more impressive in its impact upon communication than the Internet? What more might one desire than the dynamic wonders of the Internet, you ask? Well, what about ENUM? "E-What!?" more

TLD Registration Enforcement: A Call for Automation - Part II

Benjamin EdelmanLast month, I wrote to describe the state of registration restrictions in .BIZ, .US, and .NAME. I noted trends among nonconforming registrations in these TLDs, and I suggested that certain automated enforcement systems might serve to improve compliance. But an important larger question remained unanswered: Why care about registration restrictions in the first place? Much as registries might like to ignore the restrictions, I submit that the Internet community nonetheless ought to hold them to their contracts.
 more

The At-Large: An Insider's View

Bruce YoungFebruary 2002 was a seminal month in the evolution of the ICANN At-Large movement. We began hearing reports from our European members that ICANN's chief lawyer, Joe Sims, was in Brussels, Belgium, holding closed-door meetings with European Commission members to gauge their reaction to plans that completely restructure the ICANN board, replacing the At-Large with a body of government representatives! The rumors were confirmed days later when ICANN President M. Stuart Lynn posted his "ICANN - The Case for Reform". more

Domain Name Theft, Fraud And Regulations

Rod DixonWhen it comes to domain name disputes, no domain name has captured more media attention than sex.com. Of course, disputes about sex often obtain a great deal of attention, and the sex.com domain name dispute can grab its share of headlines because the case involves sex, theft, declared bankruptcy, a once-thriving Internet porn business, and fraud, instead of the typical cybersquatting allegations. Indeed, this case is remarkable for its potential impact on the development of caselaw concerning whether there is a valid basis to assume that trademark interests should overwhelm all non-commercial interests in the use of domain names. The answer is no, but the caselaw to support that answer is in tension with cases that strongly imply a contrary conclusion. more

TLD Registration Enforcement: A Call for Automation - Part I

Benjamin EdelmanThe past year has brought a rise in so-called "open and chartered" top-level domains (TLDs). Like the traditional open TLDs of .COM, .NET, and .ORG, these namespaces encourage large-scale registrations, but they differ in that they limit who can legitimately register domains. So far, many thousands of their registrations seem to break the stated rules. It's therefore worth thinking through their respective enforcement efforts -- before the situation gets out of control. more

ICANN And The DOC Can't

The former contract with ICANN and the US Department of Commerce (DOC) was due to expire on September 30, 2002. In the statement announcing the renewal, the DOC acknowledged that ICANN was the subject of many complaints from many sectors of the Internet community. Some of these complaints had been presented to the US Congress during a hearing held in June 2002 by a Senate Subcommittee. At the hearing, a General Accounting Office (GAO) spokesperson, Peter Guerrero, testified, noting not only that ICANN had failed in its mandate, but that the U.S. Department of Commerce was also at fault in failing to properly oversee ICANN activities. He explains... more

September Deadline: Can The ICANN Model Be Revised?

On September 30, 2002, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the US Department of Commerce (DOC) and the corporation created to privatize the infrastructure of the Internet will expire. This corporation, known as ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has had a very contentious existence from its earliest days. On July 10, 2002, a US Department of Commerce official, Nancy Victory, sent a letter to ICANN. She wrote that the agreement between ICANN and the DOC "will expire on September 30, 2002 and in the coming weeks, the Department of Commerce will assess whether to renew, extend, or modify this agreement. To assist in this review process," Victory asked, "I request that you provide me with a report detailing ICANN's efforts in these areas, as well as any other information that might inform the Department in its decision-making with respect to this agreement." Victory said that the response to her letter should be sent no later than August 15, 2002. more

Have You Monitored Your DNS Performance Lately?

Domain Name System (DNS) surveys such as that recently conducted by Men & Mice continually demonstrate that the DNS is riddled with errors. Since the DNS continues to work, this raises three questions:

1. Does it matter that the DNS is riddled with errors?
2. Why is it riddled with errors?
3. How can it be fixed? more

ICANN, President Roosevelt And The Thralldom of Names

Former President Theodore Roosevelt is not one whose remarks are usually associated with the domain name industry, but his commentary in 1913 could just as easily have been written today:

"The mob leaders usually state that all that they are doing is necessary in order to advance the cause of 'liberty', while the dictator and the oligarchy are usually defended upon the ground that the course they follow is absolutely necessary so as to secure 'order'. Many excellent people are taken in by the use of the word 'liberty' at the one time, and the use of the word 'order' at the other, and ignore the simple fact that despotism is despotism, tyranny tyranny, oppression oppression, whether committed by one individual or by many individuals, by a state or by a private corporation." more

RealNames' Termination: More Catastrophic than Anticipated!

Keith TeareMicrosoft is a special company. By definition, its operating systems and Internet browser are no longer just "applications;" they constitute a platform. They are - for 90 percent of Internet users - the sole interface to all Internet content and services. The browser is its own little monopoly. Such is its dominance that Microsoft has the power of life and death over innovation. more

Old Habits Die Hard!

The new domains are coming! “Dot-biz is going to be the next coming of dot-com”, I recently read in an article in the Denver Post. The buzz has begun. Seven new top-level domains have been approved by ICANN, the organization that governs domains, and could be available as early as spring of this year. The new domains approved are .biz, .info, .aero, .coop, .musuem, .pro, and .name. more

What's My Name Got to Do With It?

For about 3 years I had been studying graphic design and finally after much searching decided to use bmw-design.com for my domain name. I chose bmw for my initials Bernadette Maria Walker. I searched for availability on Network Solutions and was happy to see that it had not been taken, so I registered my new domain name. This all seemed very innocent to me and I even designed my logo around this name. Then 5 days later I got this letter via FedEx from BMW Motor Company in Germany... more

National Academy of Science and the Domain Name System Controversy

The National Academy of Science (NAS) has been brought into the controversy over the future development of the Internet and its domain name system, a controversy recently fueled by the creation of ICANN. The US Congress under Public Law 105-305 mandated that the NAS undertake a study of the domain name system, which is to include options for its development, and the potential impact of the various alternatives. The $800,000 expenses for the study are to be funded by the National Science Foundation and the US Department of Commerce. more

Do We Need The New Top-level Domains?

After a long and exhaustive process it was finally decided by ICANN to introduce seven new top level domains in December. Well, they are not really introduced yet because the United States Government has the final word and they have not approved of them yet. Did you understand what I just wrote - the United States Government decides what names you can have on the Internet? more

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