This summary covers the DNSO GA mailing list’s (and related) discussions and news between March 21, 2002, and March 25, 2002.
(i) ICANN structure. In a thread started by Jefsey Morfin, Michael Froomkin asked participants to “remain open for the idea that many of the functions currently under the ICANN/IANA rubrics should be split off and handed to other groups, either new or existing.” ICANN director Karl Auerbach followed up to state that “there are several reasons why the IANA contract should be transferred to a distinct and separate entity,” including transparency of decision processes, funding, and a lack of need to “throw IANA into the political maelstrom that is ICANN.” [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].
On a related topic, Danny Younger reported from a session at University of Pennsylvania, where Vint Cerf and Dave Farber “exchanged thoughts on the origins of the Internet and speculated as to its future.” “It appears that both speakers had agree not to dwell on this topic,” Danny writes. “This topic” means, of course, the paper published by Farber, Weinstein, and Neumann last weak. Danny’s conclusion from private conversations following the session: “there still remain opportunities for us to present options to the Board which will allow for both enhanced participation and representation.” [www.dnso.org]
Danny also submitted a restructuring proposal to the Evolution and Reform Committee. J. William Semich of .NU pointed out that the proposal “seems very weak” on the issue of ICANN funding, and reposted “some of the same concerns [he] posted to Ira Magaziner and the NTIA in Oct 1998 on the issue of funding ICANN.” In that message, Semich criticized that ICANN’s bylaws provide “NO accountability for its borrowing, spending, and fee structure.” As a counter-force, he suggested a “‘budget review committee’ solely comprised of the groups that will fund the new Internet Authority,” plus some alternative versions of how such a committee could work. [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].
Also on funding, Danny forwarded a message from Elena Broitman to the registrars’ list, where she reports on her work as a representative of the registrars’ constituency on the Budget Advisory Group. George Kirikos commented that “it’s a fallacious argument that registrars are the real funding source of ICANN.” “Ultimately,” he writes, “it is end-users who are funding ICANN.” [www.dnso.org], [www.dnso.org].
In a further comment on his own restructuring proposal, Danny also looked at the question (which was raised by Jefsey) how the director selection process suggested could be made dynamic, and came up with a simple, but interesting suggestion: “ICANN has previously accepted the notion that certain threshold requirements must be met for any constituent entity that seeks recognition. Carrying that logic forward, it may also be held that a constituent group must maintain a certain quantity of members lest it become disaccredited and lose the right to elect representatives to the Board.” [www.dnso.org]
(ii) Expiration date missing from some whois database entries. In a follow-up to the last summary, Bruce Beckwith of Verisign Registrar pointed out that the lack of expiration data on auction-barn.com, which had been discussed on the GA list, was one out of “several domains that have suffered data problems.” Also, he writes, the software bug which caused this was resolved “long ago. Any domain registered in the past two years […] has accurate data, and the expiration date shows correctly.” [www.dnso.org]
(iii) Domain name hoarding. Marc Schneiders reported a case (number9.org) in which a domain had expired a year ago, “but was still in the ‘Unpaid Names Dept’ of Register.COM.” He was able to register that domain through Register.COM after sending them e-mail and making a phone call. His comment about the procedure: “In fact it stinks.” [www.dnso.org]
(iv) “Advertising material” sent out by Verisign. Sotiris Sotiropoulos forwarded “A Warning To Our Customers” from godaddy.com’s President Bob Parsons. According to that warning, Verisign is sending domain expiration notices which “are designed so that it is not obvious that the notices are from Verisign, Inc., as opposed to Go Daddy Software.” “The purpose behind these notices is to get the unsuspecting customer to transfer to and renew their domain name(s) with Verisign Inc. at significantly higher prices,” Parsons writes. (A scanned sample of such a notice is provided on the web site to which the message points.) [www.dnso.org]
On the same topic, William Walsh forwarded a message from the openSRS list, with a pointer to United States Postal Service regulations for mail “that reasonably could be considered a bill, invoice, or statement of account due, but is in fact a solicitation for an order.” William suggests that the expiration notices “may be a violation of US law,” and that recipients should file complaints with the US Postal Inspectors. [www.dnso.org]