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Unethical Registrar Warehousing and Speculation

  • To: raa-consultation@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: Unethical Registrar Warehousing and Speculation
  • From: Patrick Quinn <pat@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 01 Jul 2008 15:23:55 -0400

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<font size=3>I respectfully request that ICANN fulfill your obligation of
Section 2.3.2 of the Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA )to:<br><br>
2.3.2 not unreasonably restrain competition and, to the extent feasible,
promote and encourage robust competition;<br><br>
...by clarifying the language of Section 3.7.9 to EXPLICITLY FORBID the
unethical and unfair practice of Warehousing and Speculation by
Registrars.<br><br>
Currently, at least one Registrar, Tucows Inc., is by the admission
(boast?) of their President/CEO Elliot Noss, adding to their
&quot;portfolio&quot; 6000 to 8000 expired domain names per month, which
at this writing would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 168,000 to
224,000 domain names, since they adopted this policy.<br><br>
He says: &quot;We believe we are one of the leading portfolios in the
world. Please remember we pick up 6000 to 8000 more names each month from
expiring domains. We made the decision two years ago to acquire expiring
names that we believe add value.&quot;<br>
The entire quote from a February 7th, 2008 Investor conference call, is
available below:<br>
<a 
href="http://seekingalpha.com/article/63693-tucows-inc-q4-2007-earnings-call-transcript?source=yahoo&amp;page=-1";
 eudora="autourl">
http://seekingalpha.com/article/63693-tucows-inc-q4-2007-earnings-call-transcript?source=yahoo&amp;page=-1<br>
<br>
</a>Section 3.7.9 as it currently reads is clearly meant to outlaw this
practice, but apparently Tucows chooses not to read it that way,
therefore ICANN must add more explicit language to the RAA and enforce
the current provisions of 3.7.9 and 3.7.5. Any and all names that have
expired and been re-registered by Tucows Inc. or any other Registrar
without being released as specified under section 3.7.5 must also be
released to the available pool.<br><br>
Section 3.7.5 of the current RAA clearly states that expired names be
cancelled and released to the pool of available names.<br>
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br>
<a href="http://www.icann.org/registrars/eddp.htm"; eudora="autourl">
http://www.icann.org/registrars/eddp.htm<br>
</a>Expired Domain Deletion Policy<br><br>
Posted: 21 September 2004<br><br>
Beginning on 21 December 2004, Section
</font><font size=3 color="#0000FF"><u>3.7.5</u></font><font size=3>
&nbsp; [of the RAA] will be replaced with the following language:<br>
3.7.5 At the conclusion of the registration period, failure by or on
behalf of the Registered Name Holder to consent that the registration be
renewed within the time specified in a second notice or reminder shall,
in the absence of extenuating circumstances, result in cancellation of
the registration by the end of the auto-renew grace period (although
Registrar may choose to cancel the name earlier).<br>
3.7.5.1 Extenuating circumstances are defined as: UDRP action, valid
court order, failure of a Registrar's renewal process (which does not
include failure of a registrant to respond), the domain name is used by a
nameserver that provides DNS service to third-parties (additional time
may be required to migrate the records managed by the nameserver), the
registrant is subject to bankruptcy proceedings, payment dispute (where a
registrant claims to have paid for a renewal, or a discrepancy in the
amount paid), billing dispute (where a registrant disputes the amount on
a bill), domain name subject to litigation in a court of competent
jurisdiction, or other circumstance as approved specifically by
ICANN.<br>
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br>
<br>
The Expired Domain Deletion Policy was amended in 2004 to further clarify
the &quot;extenuating circumstances&quot; in which the name will not be
cancelled. None of those extenuating circumstances are related to the
Registrar wishing to &quot;add to their portfolio.&quot;<br><br>
This is an egregious breach of the Registrar role which is to manage the
domain names. The Registrar is duly compensated through registration
fees. They do not own the domain names any more than any Registrant owns
them.<br><br>
The practice of siphoning off the most desirable names instead of
releasing them to the available pool or, at the least, public auction,
puts the Registrar at a ridiculously unfair advantage, and makes a
mockery of the role of Registrar as stewards of the resource. Why on
earth should a Registrar, who is chartered with administrating a public
resource, be given a completely unfair advantage in obtaining that very
resource for itself with no competition whatsoever???<br><br>
Clearly that is the agenda of Tucows Inc. and&nbsp; possibly other
Registrars.<br><br>
For further evidence see this comment by Tucows Domain Portfolio General
Manager, Bill Sweetman:<br><br>
</font>Q. Does being a registrar give you the right to keep domains that
its customers fail to renew?<br>
A. Yes. <br><br>
<font size=3>
<a 
href="http://namebio.com/NameBioBlog/2008/04/17/tucows-admits-to-warehousing-domains/";
 eudora="autourl">
http://namebio.com/NameBioBlog/2008/04/17/tucows-admits-to-warehousing-domains/<br>
<br>
<br>
</a>Please rectify this situation without further delay by changing the
language of Section 3.7.9 to this:<br><br>
3.7.9 Registrar shall be prohibited from warehousing or speculation in
domain names. Expired domain names will be released to the available pool
as specified in 3.7.5<br><br>
<br>
Respectfully,<br><br>
Patrick Quinn<br><br>
<br><br>
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