RE: [gnso-vi-feb10] RE: Innovative Proposal - Jeff E response
- To: "'gnso-vi-feb10@xxxxxxxxx'" <Gnso-vi-feb10@xxxxxxxxx>
- Subject: RE: [gnso-vi-feb10] RE: Innovative Proposal - Jeff E response
- From: Jeff Eckhaus <eckhaus@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Thu, 15 Apr 2010 12:09:23 -0700
Thanks for the thoughtful response. I need to point out that by rephrasing my
questions you still have avoided the direct question of "what are the dangers
of having cross ownership to the security and stability of the internet?"
However, I think I do understand your response. Let me try to break it down
here and hopefully make some sense.
I believe your position can be summarized as follows:
Registries are in a privileged, exclusive position and the goals of a Registry
are the Security and Stability of the TLD and the Internet. That is the special
position that PIR and other Registries hold.
The group of Registrars that have been finding 'bold and innovative ways to
connect with people' are not really capable of accomplishing these goals of the
Registries and maintain the integrity of the TLD. Given any opportunity these
Registrars will probably do bad things and harm this system that works, so we
need to maintain separation to make sure Registrars only deal with registrants,
not the important stuff that Registries deal with.
I hope you see how insulting this is to existing Registrars, even the ones who
have no interest in Cross Ownership or VI. PIR is OK having Registrars
represent them to the public by selling their product and growing their
business, but these same Registrars do not have the integrity to operate a
Registry nor could they understand the complexity of the operations a Registry
Putting the wounded pride aside, I do have a question on this same topic. Do
you believe that if PIR owned a Registrar, which is what my proposal allows,
that you would use that data to harm consumers ? That PIR would game the system
for its own benefit?
What if there was a structural separation and very strict controls and audits,
but their was cross ownership, would PIR look to work around the wall and
perpetuate consumer harms ?
I do not think that PIR would and that is one of the main issues I have with
your position. You are assuming a presumption of evil and bad deeds if there is
cross ownership, something that I hope we could move past.
I would prefer we focus on the benefits (and drawbacks, if any) of cross
ownership to consumers while maintaining the integrity and stability that is
From: Kathy Kleiman [mailto:kKleiman@xxxxxxx]
Sent: Wednesday, April 14, 2010 8:17 PM
To: Jeff Eckhaus; Gnso-vi-feb10@xxxxxxxxx
Subject: RE: [gnso-vi-feb10] RE: Innovative Proposal - Jeff E response
I appreciate the question, and you have, of course, reached the crux of the
issue: So what are the dangers of cross-ownership? It seemed worth a little
time to gather thoughts and put them in together for you.
If you would allow me , I would like to rephrase the question from a negative
to a positive: What are the benefits of a structurally-separated model? What
about the Registry-Registrar system today is beneficial and helps create a
level playing field among ICANN-accredited registrars? What might we lose by
changing to a system of full vertical integration?
Exclusive position of the Registry
The Registry, as you know, is in an exclusive position. There is only one
Registry in the world that operates .ORG; there is only one registry in the
world that will operate .MUSIC, .SHOE and .ROCKS in the future.
That's an exclusive and privileged position, and in our community, it includes
duties and responsibilities.
Now within a Registry I am coming to understand the depth and breadth of the
data we collect and the complexity of the operations we run - and the extent
of our work with both data and operations as potential competitive uses, and
which we must provide equally and fairly -- to create a level playing field for
all registrars and to foster and support the full and fair competitive process
Among other forms of valuable domain name data, we have:
A) Customer detail for all registrants: we are a thick registry and
hold the data for all our domain name registrants. Thus, we know all the .ORG
customers of Registrar A, Registrar B and Registrar C. This data is accessible
in the Whois, but we hold the master database, and could easily run searches of
this data for competitive reasons if we chose (for example, to show Registrar A
all of Registrar B's customers).
We don't because that would be unfair: we are bound to treat Registrar A the
same as Registrar B and protect their data equally. In addition, we have no
incentive to share this data in a competitive way: it is our contractual
responsibility and duty to treat all registrars, and their customer data,
equally and fairly.
B) EPP data: This data of the Extensive Provisioning Protocol
provides a stunning overview of activities and interest in the TLD space,
including when someone checks domain name availability, creates a domain name,
drops a domain name, and updates a domain name. This is invaluable data for
marketing and sales . Yet, we would never show Registrar A the names being most
queried from across the world because that would give Registrar A a
competitive advantage over Registrars B, C and D. We are bound to treat all
registrars fairly and protect their data equally.
C) Dropped Names Data: We know before anyone else before anyone
else, other than the dropping registrar. We also know in what order the domain
names will be dropped, and the confidential algorithm by which we drop them.
One can easily imagine a system in which one or two registrars are favored in a
drop, but we don't do that. Our goal, and obligation, is to provide all
registrars with equal access to the dropped names, and an equal opportunity to
register them for their customers.
There are many other forms of useful data, including traffic data and registrar
sales data, all which could provide competitive advantage and which must not
provide in an unfair or unequal manner to certain registrars over others.
On the operational side, Registries must provide access to systems in an equal
and fair manner.
Registry operational services, with competitive considerations, include:
- New registry services: when and how we will be rolling out new
- Algorithms for various access and coordination functions; and
- The Equipment we use.
In a vertically integrated situation, with a shared data center, shared
operational personnel, and/or shared offices, the ability to pass on, observe
or overhear information about technologies, systems, operations, algorithms,
plans, and patches is high -there is a danger of intentional sharing of data
(.e.g., for system development and maintenance purposes) or unintentionally
leaving it around (e.g., leaving a piece of paper on the floor with outlines of
a new service). A co-mingled registrar/registry operation would have a hard
time separating out the operational functions, and difficulty providing a level
playing field for all registrars.
Goals of a Registry: Security and Stability of the TLD and the Internet.
Overall, I find the goals of the registries compelling: it is the security and
stability of their TLDs and the DNS space. That is the passion and
preoccupation of PIR, and the whole of the Registry Constituency. In a comment
to be filed by the Registry Constituency in the DNS-Cert proceeding, due
tomorrow, the Registry Constituency will together submit:
"TLD Registry Operators play a critical role in the secure and stable operation
of the DNS and we welcome the opportunity to discuss initiatives to improve DNS
security, stability, and resiliency.
Registries' infrastructures, personnel, expertise, technology, investments, and
operational practices have underpinned the secure and stable functioning of
the Internet as it has scaled globally over the past two decades. Indeed,
registries are on the "front lines" of defense against a variety of security
threats that occur on a daily basis. As such, registries have developed
expertise in addressing a broad range of threats. Registries have successfully
coordinated with other actors in the DNS and Internet services spaces to
address threats ranging from simple operator errors to those caused by
sophisticated bad actors. Registries look forward to consulting with ICANN on
these important issues and to engaging with other actors to further develop
We have a system of separations that works: Registries address the security and
stability of their TLD and the Internet. Registrars work with registrants -
and find the boldest, most innovative ways to connect people, organizations and
business with the domain names and the domain name services they need. The
growth, the brilliance and dramatic changes of the registrar field are
But it was done within a DNS system of checks and balances and of requirements
for equal access, equal treatment, and equal information (with a further
separation of ownership to back it up). That too has served us, and the
Internet community, well. Thus, we strongly support extending the system of
structural separation to the new gTLDs.
Jeff, I hope I have gone some distance in answering your question. I look
forward to our ongoing discussion and dialogue.
Attachment: document above attached in its formatted version
[mailto:owner-gnso-vi-feb10@xxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Jeff Eckhaus
Sent: Monday, April 12, 2010 7:53 PM
Subject: [gnso-vi-feb10] RE: Innovative Proposal
Thanks again for the proposal and I would like to follow up on some of the
questions I had during our unfortunately abbreviated call today.
The basis of your proposal is that the community needs structural separation or
else there is a clear and present danger to the security and stability of the
internet. That we cannot afford to make changes as it is in the public interest
to maintain the status quo.
Do you plan on sharing with the group what the dangers of having cross
ownership are to the security and stability of the internet? There is a
presumption of bad things happening but am still unsure what these bad things
are. I would love to know what PIR is concerned with. Maybe it will help on the
development of the MMA and other proposals and safeguards.
Also you have stated that the current structure is tried and true and has
worked so we must maintain separation. Can you explain how .PRO and other
ccTLDs that have fully integrated models can exist ?
I am hoping we can have an informed discussion on harms and benefits. I believe
if we have everything in front of us we can take the next steps toward
compromising on the proposals. See where the real issues are and address them.
Looking forward to more informed discussions
From: owner-gnso-vi-feb10@xxxxxxxxx [owner-gnso-vi-feb10@xxxxxxxxx] On Behalf
Of Kathy Kleiman [kKleiman@xxxxxxx]
Sent: Monday, April 12, 2010 9:21 AM
Subject: [gnso-vi-feb10] Innovative Proposal
Dear VI WG,
Now is the time to rollout new competition and new gTLDs that will service the
growth and future of the Net. Now is not the time to tamper with tried and
The subprime mortgage crisis in the United States was led by cries for
innovation and unwinding of the regulations that had long held a steady hand in
the financial markets. Few relatively small experiments ultimately had the
unintended, unanticipated and domino-like effect of the collapse of multiple
financial institutions. As one failure precipitated another, it soon became
evident that the damage could not be constrained, or easily reversed. In the
end, the public trust was lost in not only in the institutions themselves but
also in the regulatory bodies which had heard but not heeded the call for
With stakes high for serving the public interest, and preserving the security
and stability of the Internet, tampering with a proven model is not an option -
not for us, nor for the millions of registrants, websites, listserves and other
systems which depend on the domain names we offer. It is far easier to
determine the right structure to drive behavior, than to police conduct after
PIR hereby submits a proposal which relies on the most basic of principles, as
well as some innovative ideas. In the interest of delivering this proposal to
the Working Group by today's deadline, we provide a framework here, and will
follow with further details and explanations. We look forward to the discussion
today, and in the days and weeks ahead. Please find our new proposal for our
Director of Policy, PIR
Director of Policy
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[mailto:owner-gnso-vi-feb10@xxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Margie Milam
Sent: Sunday, April 11, 2010 11:53 PM
Subject: [gnso-vi-feb10] Vertical Integration Antitrust and Competition
In preparation for tomorrow's call, please review the attached Antitrust
Memorandum. Amy Stathos will be available to participate on the VI-WG
call to discuss this document.
Senior Policy Counselor