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Aspects from registrars' and .net bidders' perspective

  • To: net-amendment-comments@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: Aspects from registrars' and .net bidders' perspective
  • From: Marcus Faure <faure@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 10 Oct 2005 15:43:20 +0200

Dear all,

we, CORE Council of Registrars, are very concerned about the .net reassignment
During the Call for Proposals ICANN has not met a single deadline it restricted
itself to. The Telcordia report has received a lot of criticism, not only from
bidders, but also from all ICANN constituencies and the internet community.
Telcordia in turn explicitly mentioned that many of the aspects relevant for a
decision of the ICANN board were outside of the scope of the report. Those
aspects were raised by the bidders several times, but have not been considered
by the Board. A prominent example is the top rating for Verisign in the
category "ICANN compliance" who is in a pending legal conflict with ICANN for
being non-compliant ("Sitefinder").
While we believe that Verisign would not have become its own successor when
those aspects would have been addressed, this would have been a choice that
primarily affects those who participated in the .net Call for Proposals.

Unfortunately the selection did not mark the end of issues as ICANN has
decided to negotiate the terms of the .net agreement with Verisign to
the disadvantage of registrars and domain owners. That modified agreement
has been signed by ICANN without public consultation which is in conflict
with ICANN principles. It is therefore questionable if the agreement is

The registrars constituency has presented a joint statement during the
Luxembourg meeting that primarily raised concerns about the following aspects
of the modified agreement:
1. Removal of price cap for .net domains
2. Introduction of volume discounts
3. Removal of ICANN policy compliance obligations
During the Luxembourg meeting Verisign has announced to address those issues
and to renegotiate the agreement. The result partially responds to concern
no. 1, but does not address concerns nos. 2 und and 3.
ICANN presented a summary of all concerns including the registrars' concerns.
While we welcome this step, we feel that the registrars' statement is
underrepresented in that summary as it is not clear which points received
support from the registrar community. It is worthwhile mentioning that 100%
of the registrars represented in Luxembourg signed the statement, including
most of the top registrars.

Speaking as a .net bidder, we feel that the reassignement process was not
performed with the necessary professionalism as the basis for the board
decision must not have been limited to the Telcordia report. Also, we fail
to understand why ICANN allows the selected party to change the proposed
agreement in its favour. If the board relies on the Telcordia report, it
should have noticed that all bidders were able to run .net and that there
has never been a need to renegotiate the terms of the proposed agreement.
We are sure that all bidders except Verisign would have and still would
except and sign the draft agreement without changes.

So our summary is:

From a registrar's perspective, ICANN has not yet addressed the concerns raised.
From a .net bidder's perspective, ICANN has not treated the bidders equally

CORE has always supported ICANN and demanded a strong regulator to ensure a fair and equal business. We are sorry to state that in the reassignment process ICANN has not met our expectations. It is difficult to understand why a regulator favours the ex-monopolist. We feel that the solution of this issue is crucial. We therefore urge the ICANN board to carefully consider the next steps. If ICANN wants to be a strong regulator, it should start regulating. It is certainly difficult to start this late, but it will be more difficult to explain how ICANN will fulfill its core mission if this important issue can not be settled.

Yours sincerly,

Marcus Faure
CORE Council of Registrars

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