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stld RFP comment
  • To: stld-rfp-comments@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: stld RFP comment
  • From: Mike Roberts <mmr@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 25 Aug 2003 17:00:42 -0700

Title: stld RFP comment
Subject: Definition of Sponsor in sTLD RFP

Dear ICANN Board Members,

The sponsored TLD RFP asks whether there should be a non-profit restriction on applicants.

I strongly believe the answer is no, which is not only consistent with the facts, but with the Board's prior discussion on the question conducted in Accra (and at other times) in connection with the dot-org reassignment.

The fundamental question is whether the prospective registry organization will operate in the public interest and in a responsible manner observing sound business practices.  There is, in my opinion, no a priori reason why a non-profit organization is more qualified than a for-profit organization to do this.

For reference, the Accra Board discussion is at:

and a pertinent section is excerpted below.

With best regards,

Mike Roberts


Vinton Cerf: In the interest of not prolonging your ability to get the RFP out, I think we can try for a little more precision.  Rob, you have the floor.

Robert Blokzijl: A word from the past.  Dot org was created at the same time as dot com.  Dot com was for commercial entities and dot org for noncommercial organizations, not-for-profit organizations.  And we should have learned from the fact that in an Internet space that was incredibly more simple ten years ago than it is today, even then it was not possible to draw a clear line. And the current state of affairs is that there are about close to 30 million registrations in the dot com and about 3 million under dot org.  Under dot com you will find, I'm sure, if you do an analysis, a lot more commercial activities than under dot org, but you will find non-profits under dot com and you will find profits under dot org.

The second point is I think in any individual country in the world, it is very difficult to give a proper definition of what is a not-for-profit organization. So doing this on the international level, it's an impossible task. So less rules are better than more rules, I would say.

Vinton Cerf: Let me try to take up this point, and Karl, I hope I will be able to address some of your concerns with this suggestion.  I think that there are at least three very specific points that the Board might wish to make to the President.  One of them is that the nature of the organization that undertakes to run dot org does not have to be not for profit or for profit.  I think we should be neutral on this point.  For clarification, the offer made by VeriSign of the $5 million assistance is only applicable in the event that the selected organization is a not-for-profit organization; essentially, a noncompetitor.
However, there is no constraint, in my view, on adopting, awarding this particular organization to a for-profit; it's just they would not have the benefit of that additional funding from VeriSign.

I see your hand, Amadeu, but I have two more points I'd like to make.  I think that we should explicitly recommend against any special provision for support of activities that are not specifically relevant to operating the dot org domain.  Any notion that some part of the funding should be diverted for good works I think merely complicates the job of the organization in some very dramatic way.  So I would say that we should make no provision for such special activity.  I would point out to you that any organization is free, for profit or not, to execute good works.  We don't need to direct that.

And finally, I would take Rob's point that we should explicitly recommend that there be no restrictions or constraints on the registrants in dot org, primarily just given past history and the current state of that top-level domain. 

So I would propose to either capture this simply as a sense of the Board in the minutes or perhaps even to render those three points, assuming the Board is agreeable to them, within the text of the resolution.

So may I ask once again for the sense of the Board. May I see if anyone would object to conveying to the President that we are neutral on the nature of the organization that offers this service? Amadeu, you would object?

Amadeu Abril i Abril: Yes.

Vinton Cerf: Thank you. Karl and Linda, would you respond to this, please.

Linda Wilson: I'd like to leave it open to either kind.

Karl Auerbach: Yeah, I'd like to leave it open as well.

Vinton Cerf: Rob Blokzijl?

Robert Blokzijl: I would leave it open.

Vinton Cerf: You would leave it open?

Robert Blokzijl: Yeah. I am more interested in good services.

Vinton Cerf: I believe the sense of the Board is that we should leave it open.
Members of the Board, we have conveyed in the minutes some very specific guidance to the President.

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