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Username: DomeBase
Date/Time: Sat, November 10, 2001 at 4:16 PM GMT
Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer V6.0 using Windows NT 5.0
Subject: How will Afilias deal with challenged names?


Hi folks:

I have not been posting to this forum as much because school is back in session.  Also, there is a bit of a lull here in terms of policy issues while Afilias decides what to do with challenged .info names.

I have modified the "DomeBase Proposal" (see link below) so that it could still be done in a manner to give standing to people who paid to pre-register names in the original .info Land Rush that were taken by Sunrise Squatters.  However, to be candid, with each passing week it becomes more difficult to implement... It would now require coordination and agreement among many registrars, not just action by Afilias.  It is still possible, just increasingly difficult.  Also, thus far, ICANN or Afilias do not seem to have paid much attention to protecting the rights of the original Land Rush pre-registrants and I have not seen much on the horizon that would change this... I could be wrong... but just my view at this point.

My guess, not based on any solid evidence, just a gut feeling... is that Afilias is considering a couple options in what to do with the .info names that they challenge:

1. First Come, First Serve
2. Land Rush II
3. Auction

For my two cents, each of these has pro's and con's.

"First Come, First Serve" sounds democratic and fair enough at first, but really winds up benefiting techies or companies that specializing in snapping up names for a fee.  Given the problems with the start up of real-time registration, it would very likely hav technical problems with everyone trying to register at a nano-second past midnight on some day.  Personally, I think that these likely tech problems make this not as democratic and fair as it sounds on the surface.

"Land Rush II" sounds good at first also and has been what I have been pushing for... especially giving some standing to the Land Rush I participants who paid good money for names swiped by Sunrise Squatters.  I have done my best to propose a way to give them standing, but it has become complicated as many registrars have given refunds and it is not clear that the information on original registrations has been kept for all registrars.   Please see link below for details on what I propose.  To be candid, I am not sure that there is enough support for this at Afilias and among registrars to make this work or even uniform support among Land Rush pre-registrants and participants in this forum.  Ideally, this would be my first choice for action.

3. "Auction"  Initially, most folks here would probably have a very negative response to this as did I.  However, unlike "First Come, First Serve" which sounds good at first but then sounds less good when you think about it, "Auction" may sound bad at first and then less bad when you think about it.  Probably not as good as Land Rush II per DomeBase Proposal... but perhaps indirect benefits for Land Rush I participants which are not immediately obvious.  Basically, right now .info is beginning to take off, but still most people have never heard about it and there is a stigma of the Sunrise problems.  If there were an auction of the best names (mainly those swiped by Sunrise squatters), then there could be several high profile, high dollar sales -- which could easily lead to positive publicity for .info and raise the value of second-tier .info names which many Land Rush I pre-registrants were able to get.  Also, organizations or individuals who pay big $ for names in an auction are more likely to invest in actual website development -- to get this TLD moving beyond a sea of "for sale" signs.  One problem is that Land Rush I folks who did not get any names, neither first-tier nor second-tier, will not be helped.  I guess one could try to design an auction that gives Land Rush I pre-registrations some standing -- like some type of "auction credit" for bucks spent on pre-regs in Land Rush I taken during sunrise... but this could get complex.  For those who are so upset with Afilias that they do not want to see Afilias prosper, they would probably not like the auction route.  However, if Afilias spends some of that money on advertising, Land Rush pre-registrants may benefit indirectly from Afilias' gain.  There may be a tradeoff between vengence and self-interest.  At least Afilias challenging many Sunrise squatters means that that class of cheaters do not benefit -- and those who want justice/vengence should take some consolation in that.

Well folks, sorry for going on so long with this.  I think that Land Rush I folks should think this over and try to figure out what to advocate for in terms of action by Afilias.... (1) first come, first serve, (2) Land Rush II, or (3) auction.   There may be tradeoffs between what is ideal in terms of fairness and what is politically possible.  My observation is that Land Rush I folks are separated around the globe and sometimes divided and I have not seen much in the way of coordinated action regarding Afilias or ICANN or registrars -- and I am not sure that they would be able to put the work into making Land Rush II fly (requiring contacting all registrars, coordinating, etc).  Rich Henderson has done an amazing amount of work, but things seem to roll on without much response. 

My gut feeling is that the most fair and desirable solution(s) may not happen (absent any force to make them do so, which I do not see on the horizon).  So what do we do with respect to shaping second best solutions?  I welcome your comments on these thoughts.  I may be wrong on some of these points.  I also welcome contact from Afilias if they wish to engage in this discussion for a change. 

Sincerely, DomeBase (Bob C)



Link: DomeBase (site of DomeBase Proposal)

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