January 27th, 2005

.net bids


ICANN is now seeking public comments regarding the .net bids. Unlike before, I am not going to offend one friend or another by siding with one proposal over another. They are all qualified and experienced registry operators. Instead, I will make some general observations.

1. None of the Revenue and Pricing Model (i.e. Section 4) about the bids are available to public. I wonder how the public is going to make judgement of one operator over another since cost is probably one of the few things general public would be interested to comment.

All the other stuff on DNS, Whois, registry system service-level etc etc can only be reasonable understood by an insider. Makes you wonder how “public” is the public consultation.

2. Highly politicise, with several top managements from companies urging ICANN to let Verisign keeps .net to prevent destabilization, I am surprised that there are bids that still comes in with less then 100% for DNS resolution of .net.

Anyone reasonable will tell you 100% is “impossible” but for DNS, it isn’t exactly that impossible given DNS is designed to be extremely reliable. You can have up to 13 servers scattered all over the network and more if you use anycast technology. And you tell me you couldn’t get at least one server running at any one time? (One is all you need to fullfill the uptime requirement)Sure, designing for 100% means a lot of technical design consideration: multiple machines (to handle the load) at multiple sites (to prevent physical attack) using multiple DNS software (to prevent one bug from wiping out all of them) and a lot of more operational overhead to keep them synchronizing. It is not cheap but we are talking about at least 30M USD per year here!

And please note that one bidder did promise 100%. (This is not an endorsement of the bid however).

3. I don’t wish to comment on the registrar SLA however since that’s not the in my area of concerns. Keeping .net functioning is whats important to me and other domain names owners.

But lets look at auction policy wrt to deleted/expired names. It is not well-known outside registrars community but there are registrars who resort to all kinds of tricks e.g. multiple connections, banging on the registry servers constantly to even having multiple ICANN accreditations so as to have more connections to grab deleted/expired names. The business behind that is an interesting but long story for another day but having an open system like auction aren’t so bad an idea.

The question is where would the profit goes to. In this regard, I am with Elliot Noss in that part of the money should go back to the original registrant.

Update: A friend corrected me that Sentan Registry also promised 100% DNS resolution. Sentan registry is a joint venture between JPRS & Neustar.

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