Registrar and registry backend processes.

davidb at davidb at
Tue Jan 18 02:16:25 UTC 2005

[second posting attempt, apologies if the first 
identical post ever arrives]

On Mon, 17 Jan 2005 15:47:50 -0700, Michael Loftis 
<mloftis at> wrote:

>It's clearly broken, and needs to be put up for
>public review by 'the powers that be' so that it can
>be fixed.  What's happening now feels close to a
>boiler room poker game, noone seems to know all the
>players, and even fewer know all the rules, so in the
>end everyone is a loser.

i suspect part of the reason for it feeling this way 
is because of the large amounts of money that are made 
specifically off of the .com and the .net registries.  
~$1.2 _billion_ for .com and ~$30 million for .net 
annually (numbers from the following article).  for 
what?  the actual costs involved in administering 
these databases can't be anywhere near the revenue 
generated.  the public is being bled for the greed of 
a few (as usual), imho.

anyhow, it also makes me wonder about the motivations 
behind this incident coming so close to the 
application deadline for administration of the .net 
registry ($30 million/year x 6 years minimum = 
$180,000,000).  i dislike conspiracy theories but i'm 
also a realpolitiker.

can anyone comment on the reputations of the .net 
registry administration contenders (no need to comment 
on verisign)?

VeriSign Has Challengers to Run .Net, the Domain
The New York Times

Published: January 17, 2005

WASHINGTON, Jan. 16 - As long as the Internet runs 
smoothly, few people think too much about its 
workings. But later this month, the system's 
underpinnings will become a topic of debate when rival 
companies publicly bid to run .net, one of the 
Internet's most popular domains.

This will be the first time that VeriSign's .net 
franchise will be challenged. While .net is not as 
ubiquitous as .com, it has more than five million 
registered domain names, which translates daily into 
millions of page views, 155 billion e-mail messages 
and some $1.4 million in commercial transactions, 
according to VeriSign, the company in Mountain View, 
Calif., that manages .com, as well as .net.

About 40 percent of government domains allow access 
through .net, including the White House, the United 
States Senate, Homeland Security agencies and the 
Social Security Administration, making it a vital 
Internet transportation layer, said Tom Galvin, a 
spokesman for VeriSign.

So far, at least three companies in addition to 
VeriSign have indicated that they plan to vie for the 
franchise, which expires June 30. They are NeuStar, a 
Sterling, Va., company that runs .biz, and Afilias, 
which manages .info. A nonprofit firm in Frankfurt, 
Denic eG, which manages Germany's eight million 
registered .de domain names, has also indicated that 
it is planning to bid.

Selecting the domain manager is the job of the 
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. 
But Icann finds itself in a ticklish position because 
it has publicly clashed with VeriSign over the 
company's proposed Site Finder service, which would 
redirect queries from inactive or defunct Web 
addresses to a search engine supported by advertisers 
signed up by VeriSign.

When Icann concluded that was an unacceptable 
diversion and refused to allow the service, VeriSign 
accused the group of overstepping its role and filed a 
lawsuit. The initial case was filed in federal court 
but set aside, and VeriSign refiled it in California 
state court, where it is pending.

To avoid "any perception of bias because of the 
litigation," Icann has decided to appoint an 
independent body to evaluate the applications, which 
are due Tuesday, said Icann's chief operating officer, 
Paul D. Twomey. A .net administrator is to be selected 
three months before VeriSign's contract expires.

"We are on record that the operator could be the 
present one," said Mr. Twomey.

The important point, he emphasized, is that the .net 
operator must have the technical capacity and the 
security safeguards to keep the domain up and running 
smoothly. The bidding process is also a sort of dress 
rehearsal for about 10 new domain names that are to be 
introduced and put up for bidding, he said. They 
include .jobs, .travel, .post and .mobi (for mobile 
phone content).

If VeriSign loses, it would not be the first Internet 
registry switch. In early 2003, VeriSign, as part of 
its deal to keep control of .com, agreed on 
competitive bidding for the management of .org and 
.net. The Public Interest Registry, a nonprofit group, 
won the bidding for .org. VeriSign is lobbying 
actively to hold onto its .net stewardship, however, 
lining up written support from major players including 
Microsoft and I.B.M.

At $5 a year for each domain name, VeriSign earns an 
estimated $30 million annually from administering .net 
- far less than its revenues for .com, which has 200 
million names at $6 each.

Mr. Galvin said that because of its effect on the 
United States economy, deciding on the .net manager 
was "the biggest decision Icann has had to make so 
far." More than a third of the top e-commerce sites - 
including much-visited sites like - 
actually use a .net server, he said, making the domain 
more important than the number of names would 
indicate. In fact, the five million registered names 
only amount to about 8 percent of all domain names.

VeriSign is campaigning on what it says is a stellar 
track record of keeping .net running continuously, 
though its rivals say that the California company has 
lagged behind on technological innovations that would 
make .net run more reliably. VeriSign has administered 
.net since 2000, when it acquired Network Solutions, 
which had operated the domain since 1992.

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