Archive for September, 2009

AusRegistry joins Registry Internet Safety Group

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

By Chris Wright

As part of our ongoing commitment to maintaining the highest levels of security within the .au domain space, AusRegistry International’s parent company AusRegistry has recently joined the Registry Internet Safety Group.

The Registry Internet Safety Group (RISG) is a global group of Top Level Domain Name Registries and other Internet-related companies whose mission is to work collaboratively to combat Internet identity theft.  RISG members and invited experts work together towards improving Internet security, developing domain name industry best practices and sharing information to improve overall Internet user security.

AusRegistry has built strong working relationships with industry stakeholders that help to ensure that the .au domain space continues to be one of the most secure large country code Top Level Domains.  These stakeholders include auDA, the .au Registrar community, AUSCERT and relevant law enforcement agencies as well as other Registries and Registrars within the wider Asia-Pacific region and further afield.

We look forward to building on these relationships as we support the mission of RISG to continue improving internet security for users worldwide.

For further information see the RISG website.

AusRegistry International supports industry call for no new delays to new TLD program

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

By Adrian Kinderis

AusRegistry International has joined with other industry players in writing to ICANN’s CEO, Board and Staff requesting them to begin implementing the program to introduce a wide range of new Top Level Domains (TLDs) without further delay.

The letter, dated 21st September 2009 and signed by over 60 industry participants including ccTLD Managers and Registry Operators, Registrars, prospective new TLD applicants and other interested parties from 16 different countries, urges ICANN to live up to its founding mandate to give users choice, to create competition, and to respect the policy development process that has directed the Board to create new top-level domains.

The letter sets out the following arguments:
– that consumer demand for new TLDs is large and widespread;
– that new TLDs will incorporate additional safeguards that will ensure enhanced security for users and protection for intellectual property rights holders;
– that continued delays in the implementation of new TLDs threaten Internet stability by encouraging the creation of alternate roots which could eventually ‘Balkanise’ the internet;
– that ICANN should be supporting innovation and economic growth by allowing choice and competition in the TLD space;
– that ICANN should respect and follow its own Policy Development rules and not allow “a few well-paid lobbyists representing special interests…to derail the transparent, open and democratic process that has been insisted upon by the entire community and by governments around the globe.”

    I believe that it is imperative that ICANN does not lose momentum at this important stage in the process and encourage the Board and Staff to continue on the current timeline which would see the new TLD applications being accepted in the first quarter of 2010.

    See the full letter (pdf) and the Support New TLDs website.

    APTLD calls on ICANN to finalise IDN ccTLD Fast Track process

    Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

    By Jon Lawrence

    Jonathan Shea, the Chair of the Asia Pacific Top Level Domain Association (APTLD) has written to Peter Dengate Thrush, Chairman of the ICANN Board, urging that the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Implementation Plan be ‘finalised and approved with no more delay’.

    Shea’s letter, dated 31st August, addresses the three issues that are of primary concern to much of the ccTLD community:

    – he repeats earlier calls from both the ccNSO and GAC that, due to the non-profit nature of many ccTLD registries, the proposed fees should not be mandatory;
    – similarly, he urges that formal agreements between ICANN and IDN ccTLD Managers should be voluntary, and;
    – he demands that IDN variant strings must be delegated to the same IDN ccTLD Manager, who should have ‘the prerogative to deploy both the normal and variant strings to meet the needs of the local community’.

    AusRegistry International is an Associate member of APTLD and we support the Association’s call for the IDN Fast Track Program to be finalised as soon as possible.

    As reported in our review of the recent APTLD meeting, we understand that ICANN staff are working towards having the Implementation Plan ready for a Board vote at the next ICANN meeting in Seoul, in late October.

    We, along with our clients in the ccTLD community, very much hope that the Implementation Plan will be ready for the Seoul meeting and that the Board will approve it.

    See APTLD’s letter to ICANN (pdf).

    Talking domains in Slovenia

    Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

    By Jon Lawrence

    Earlier this week, I attended the “2nd International Conference for ccTLD Registries and Registrars of CIS, Central and Eastern Europe”, which, despite its rather cumbersome title, was a rewarding and productive conference.

    The conference was very well organised by the Coordination Center for TLD .RU (the .RU Registry) along with local hosts, ARNES (the.SI Registry) and ISOC-SI and was held in the beautiful lakeside town of Bled in Slovenia. Over 50 attendees came primarily from across the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States – the states of the former Soviet Union), as well as from Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. On the Tuesday night, we enjoyed dinner at Bled Castle, with wonderful views over the lake.

    Lake Bled and Bled Castle
    Lake Bled

    I participated in the Marketing panel with a presentation on Marketing Strategies for your ccTLD and the importance of your sales channel, which was well received.

    Other panels covered topics including:
    • IDNs
    • Internet Governance
    • The secondary market
    • Legal issues
    • Relations with government and other stakeholders
    • DNS Reliability

    It was very interesting to hear some very different perspectives, especially from those countries that, primarily for political reasons, are not actively involved in the ICANN community. In most cases, this lack of involvement stems from mistrust of the US government in its role as ICANN’s ultimate overseer. ICANN staff attempted to allay some of the concerns arising from this, especially the widely held belief (evident in this and in other regions) that joining the ccNSO requires a ccTLD manager to sign a contract with ICANN, which is not in fact the case.

    On the IDN front, representatives of the .RU (Russia) and .BG (Bulgaria) Registries presented their well advanced plans for the IDN ccTLDs that they intend to submit to ICANN as part of the IDN ccTLD Fast Track program.

    Russia will be submitting:
    RF
    (RF in Cyrillic characters, to represent the Russian Federation)

    Bulgaria will be submitting:
    BG
    (the equivalent of BG in Cyrillic characters).

    Both registries are ready to implement these new TLDs should the ICANN Board give the go-ahead at their next meeting in Seoul, next month.

    The conference also provided an opportunity to meet with a number of ccTLD Managers from around the region, and we look forward to building long-term relationships with these new friends in the future.

    For more information, see the meeting website.

    ICANN stamps out domain tasting

    Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

    By Jon Lawrence

    ICANN has announced that the controversial practice of domain tasting has been eradicated from the gTLD registries. This achievement represents an all too rare but nonetheless very welcome example of ICANN’s bottom-up policy development process working through to a successful, tangible conclusion.

    Domain tasting is a practice that involves using the five day ‘Add Grace Period’(AGP) as a completely risk-free ‘try-before-you-buy’ opportunity for testing the level of traffic that recently-deleted domain names are attracting.  Any names that attract insufficient traffic to turn a profit from monetisation using a Pay-Per-Click advertising platform such as Google Adsense are then deleted before the end of the AGP, without charge.

    The AGP was originally implemented to give Registrars a short window within which to deal with errors and other issues, such as registrations made using stolen credit cards.  Over the last few years, this worthy intention became completely overwhelmed by registrars engaging in Domain Tasting, and resulted in enormous growth in system loads for the larger registries, particularly Verisign’s .COM and .NET Registry.  The problem reached such a scale that ICANN has estimated that over 99% of all new domain registrations were the result of Domain Tasting before the recent changes were implemented.

    A new ICANN report shows that Domain Tasting has declined by 99.7% since the new Domain Tasting Policy was implemented earlier this year.  This new Policy imposes additional fees when a registrar registers and then deletes domain names above a set monthly threshold, thereby effectively rendering the Domain Tasting business model uneconomic, while still maintaining the original function of the AGP.

    There were a number of negative consequences of this gaming of the system, apart from increased costs for the affected Registry Operators.  Re-registering domain names that had been allowed to lapse inadvertently became extremely difficult, if not impossible, due to the sophisticated automated systems that were employed by those registrars involved in Domain Tasting.  ICANN has also singled out ‘an enormous proliferation’ in the number of parking pages – usually single page websites containing nothing but keyword-generated advertisements – as a significant negative consequence of the Domain Tasting phenomenon.  This is no doubt true, however these sorts of sites existed before Domain Tasting came along and will continue to exist now that it has been eradicated.  It is, for example, a very common practice now for registrars to point new domain names to such sites by default, in an attempt to generate incremental advertising revenue, until the registrant is ready to upload a ‘real’ website.

    ICANN is to be congratulated on putting an end to a practice that was causing significant disruption and providing an advantage to a small number of players within the industry at the expense of the great majority.  It’s not often that you’ll see a policy change being that effective, that quickly.

    See ICANN’s announcement or go directly to the AGP Deletes Status Report.