Registrars serve no useful purpose

William Allen Simpson wsimpson at
Wed Jan 19 15:54:27 UTC 2005

Michael.Dillon at wrote:

>>It is a matter of choosing a registrar that has the right business model
>>and services to suit the registrant.
>What if a company doesn't want to deal with
>any registrar? What if they just want to
>register their domain name and have it stay
>registered. For some companies, their registered
>domain name is a critical part of their network
>infrastructure. Why should these companies be forced
>to deal with third parties who add no value to
>the service?
I disagree, in part. 

(1) The purpose of registrars is processing paperwork for verification
of registrants.

(2) The purpose of the registry is to run servers, as efficiently and
inexpensively as possible. 

It's a reasonable division of labor.

>There is no free market when ICANN forces
>companies to deal with 3rd parties rather than
>deal directly with the registry that provides the
>mission critical DNS service for their domain name.
There's only 1 registry, so there's never a "free market" there --
that's a monopoly by design.

The competition between registrars is a good thing that has brought
the registration process to a commodity market.

However, having any "market" requires penalties when the registrars
fail to perform their function.  And not just a "reputation" penalty,
although that's certainly germaine.  An actual financial penalty. 
Markets are all about financial exchange.

That's why (as originally designed) every registrar posts a large
performance bond up front.

Clearly, Mel-IT failed in its responsibilty to correctly process the
paperwork for registration.  That Mel-IT has a business model where
they "farm out" the registration to incompetent third parties called
"resellers" is of no interest.  The third party is acting as an agent
for Mel-IT, and Mel-IT is ultimately responsible.

Moreover, the Mel-IT president/CEO/attorney/et alia egregiously
demonstrated negligence when notified of the problem.

I expect that Mel-IT will be assessed a reasonable penalty for their
failure.  The usual penalty is 3 times actual (liquidated) damages.

Since Mel-IT has already demonstrated a failure to perform, in addition
their performance bond to continue as a registrar should be raised to
at least 10% of their annualized gross income.  It costs money to clean
up their messes.

Those are the things required for a "free" market.

Accountability.  Responsibility.  Free markets are not without cost.

>Perhaps this is another area where a membership-based
>NANOG could help by standing up and explaining the 
>operational importance of DNS stability to the 
>bureaucrats in ICANN.
We have a membership-based NANOG.  Everybody who joins NANOG is on this
mailing list.  Everybody who joins this mailing list is part of NANOG.

We (in NANOG) have an interest in ensuring that the bureaucrats assess
the penalty on behalf of our members -- that is made whole.

Accountability.  Responsibility.

William Allen Simpson
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