John R. Levine johnl at
Thu Jun 12 00:59:13 UTC 1997

>Any word on whether Postel or the IANA is making anything off of the 
>commercial registrars actions?

The .US domain is indeed badly screwed up, largely due to well-intentioned
moves by IANA and ISI.  The worst problem is the mandatory
structure, but that's a different problem from the one here.

Several years ago they decided, not unreasonably, that handling all those
registrations for .US was more work than they wanted to do for free, so
they started delegating by city to volunteer registrars.  For a while this
worked just fine, as individuals, schools, and local businesses took over
the delegations for their localities.  Nobody charged anything to anyone.

Around the time that NSI started charging for .COM et al. (I don't have the
exact chronology worked out) ISI stated that the .US subregistrars could
charge a nominal fee to defray their expenses.  About a year ago several
little companies all got the same idea and started asking for delegations
for every locality in sight, all the large ones as well as tiny ones with
cool names, e.g.,, so they could make big bucks charging
people for local names as well as vanity names.  (Hey, D00D, wanna be
beachboy at ?)  Once I saw what was happening, I grabbed all
the available towns, villages, and counties around here to save them from
the greedsters, as I gather have many other people, but the damage is now
done with hundreds of places in the hands of the speculators.

The registries for a couple of towns where I had names registered got
scooped up before I had a chance to get them myself, and for the past year
I've been getting $10 "renewal" invoices for my old names, all of which
I've ignored, and all of my old names still work.  The demand for
geographic names seems to be as low as it ever was, so none of the little
companies is taking in much revenue and they provide rotten service.

My suggestion to ISI at this point would be to distinguish between
"community" registrars and "commercial" registrars.  A community registrar
must have a reasonable relation to the place for which it's a registry,
e.g. live or have an office within 20 miles of it, and handle registrations
at no charge.  Commercial registries have no such restrictions.  In case of
conflicting requests between community and commercial registrars, the
community registrar wins.

John R. Levine, IECC, POB 640 Trumansburg NY 14886 +1 607 387 6869
johnl at, Village Trustee and Sewer Commissioner,, 
Finger for PGP key, f'print = 3A 5B D0 3F D9 A0 6A A4  2D AC 1E 9E A6 36 A3 47 

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