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Username: richy
Date/Time: Wed, September 19, 2001 at 9:16 PM GMT
Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer V5.0 using Windows 98
Subject: Domebase article at ICANN-WATCH


This was the article Robert posted at the ICANN-WATCH site:

Afilias recently noted their "resolve to live up to both the spirit and letter of our agreement with ICANN in an open and transparent way." (The Register, 9/10/2001) This commitment to openness and transparency is to be commended. It is important for evaluation of the start-up of the new top level domain .INFO and for learning lessons that can be applied to the start-ups of future top level domain names. In light of this commitment, the following are twelve key questions that should be investigated. When the answers to these questions are brought to light, then the start-ups of future top level domains will be improved.

1. Why were there not basic data-entry checks for Sunrise period registrations to avoid blatantly-fraudulent Sunrise period registrations of non-trademarked names? (e.g. check to see if there is a valid date in the date field? check to see if the name in the trademark name field matches in any way the domain name?)

2. Why has Afilias ignored proposed solutions (such as the one at which would address the problem of bogus Sunrise registrations so that Land Rush pre-registrants are not cheated out of their non-refundable pre-registration fees and paid chances at names taken by fraudulent Sunrise registrations? Currently, it looks like the score is: Cheats=1, Honest People=0. Is it too late to implement a Land Rush II to give those who were cheated out of pre-registration fees in the first Land Rush a chance without making them pay twice?

3. Independent investigations have estimated that the percentage of bogus Sunrise period registrations is between 15-25% of all names and a much higher percentage of valuable generic names. Afilias has said that they will address this problem by challenging names themselves. How will Afilias identify which names to challenge? What percentage do they plan to challenge? Will they challenge enough to substantively correct the problem or only a small fraction?

4. Who authorized cutting off the author of one of these independent investigations from participation to the "New TLD Agreements Forum" on the ICANN website -- until other participants expressed shock and requested his reinstatement?

5. Did Afilias or individuals within Afilias reserve their own personal names, geographic names such as states, or names with legitimate trademarks held by other parties (e.g. cybersquatting)?

6. Is Afilias management creating a new company called "Afilias USA?" If so, why? What are the implications for assets and liabilities? What are the implications for customers of the original Afilias? Was the public informed? Were even all of the Directors of the original Afilias informed?


7. Most of registrars have done a good job working with the uncertainties of the .INFO start-up period, adjusting to changing rules and schedules, and providing good, honest customer service for pre-registration. However, there are some practices by a few registrars that need to be addressed --

8. Did some registrars encourage trademark fraud by: sending e-mails promoting registration of non-trademarked names during Sunrise; advertising that trademark details are "optional"; or themselves filling in fraudulent trademark information?

9. Did some registrars or their staff register names using fraudulent trademark information?

10. Did some registrars or their staff abuse the registrar reserved privilege by reserving their own personal names, geographic names such as states, or names with legitimate trademarks held by other parties (e.g. cybersquatting)?

11. Are some registrars accepting payment for something that they can not sell? For example, are they charging non-refundable pre-registration fees for names that are not available because they were reserved or already registered?

12. Are some registrars using "bait and switch" tactics on consumers -- by tacking on additional, unapproved credit card charges that were not specified when consumers pre-registered or by switching from single to multiple submissions per name?


One of the reasons given for the relatively-slow introduction of new top level domain names by ICANN is the importance of "doing it right." To ensure that the start up of new top level domains names by ICANN is indeed "done right" and that evaluation of these start-ups is done in an "open and transparent way", it is important that the answers to these questions be brought to light and applied to future start-ups.



Link: Robert (Domebase)'s article at ICANN-WATCH

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