This summary covers the DNSO GA mailing list’s (and related) discussions and news during the 8th (and the beginning of the 9th) week of 2002. GA list archives are available online at [www.dnso.org]. Please feel free to forward this summary as you believe to be appropriate.
The nomination period for the Names Council chair was ongoing. The gTLD registry constituency has nominated Cary Karp. Philip Sheppard of the Business Constituency, the current chair, is available for a second term.
(i) Deleted domain handling; supplemental information on domain name redemption. ICANN published a supplemental paper which detailed the proposal in various points: Registrar processes remain mostly unchanged, registries should be allowed to take a “cost-recovery service charge”, and registrants should be able to choose the renewing registrar. [www.icann.org]
Genie Livingstone was not the only one to mention domain hoarding as a problem which should be addressed first. However, Genie produced a sample of 100 4-letter domains being in “on hold” status, beginning with the letter “A”, in order to understand what currently happens. The result was that a particularly large number of the domains investigated is held by Verisign Registrar, with Register.com following on the second place. [www.dnso.org], [www.eyeondomain.com].
Harold Whiting followed up to notice that “as of a few days ago, NSI registrar was backlogged with over 1.3 million names that are overdue for deletion.” He suggests a Uniform Registrars’ Deletion Policy which should be mandatory for registrars. He suggests that, upon expiration, a domain should immediately be put “on hold”, and become unusable for a (uniform, I suppose) period not less than 40 days. After that period, domains should be returned to the registry and become available for re-registration. However, “registry shall queue all names marked for deletion using the standard ‘5 day hold’ process used now.” [www.dnso.org]
William Walsh replied that this proposal would tie up some of registrars’ capital for a 45 day period, which would hurt smaller registrars. While the same is the case with the current grace period, that one is optional, while Harold’s proposal would make it mandatory. [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].
Abel Wisman pointed out that a possible solution to this problem may be to charge renewal fees to the registrar on the 45th day of expiry, unless a domain is returned to the registry. Fees would then be non-returnable. [www.dnso.org]
(ii) Structure. After the board’s retreat over the week-end, a restructuring proposal done by ICANN’s Lynn was posted. According to this proposal, the current board of directors would be replaced by a (smaller) board of trustees. Some trustees would be appointed by governments (one trustee per geographical region), some would represent so-called policy councils (replacing the current supporting organizations, and being lead by “steering groups” which would replace the current councils), and some would be co-opted by the board. In particular, there would be no more “at large” elections.
Constituencies would be replaced by “forums”, and would not automatically send representatives to the steering groups.
The board of trustees would be expected to make policy decisions by itself, as opposed to the current board’s mission (as far as theory is concerned).
Alexander also provided some preliminary comments, noting, in particular, that “the Board seems to elect itself according to this proposal.” He also asks how non-commercial and individual users make sure their voice is heard: Assuming that they have indeed representatives in the steering groups (the proposal reserves seats for non-commercials and individuals in the steering group of the generic TLD names policy council), they would have to convince the remainder of the steering group, which could then write a recommendation for the board. The board, in turn, could ignore such recommendations. Alexander concludes that, “to have an influence on the ICANN process, having a seat on the board and/or the new nominating committee seem to be good places.” [www.dnso.org]
(iii) Registrar data accuracy. Danny younger forwarded an excerpt from a New York Times article on registrar data accuracy. In the article, the counsel of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property claims that many registrars did not reply to a message from the committee which requested information “about whether and how the companies verify customer data.” [www.dnso.org]
Rick Wesson replied that “we” (we being Alice’s Registry) “responded and sent a lengthy letter discussing how difficult it is to identify invalid addresses. There is no known method of verifying a snail mail address in over 100 countries.” [www.dnso.org]