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Username: antipodes
Date/Time: Tue, December 18, 2001 at 3:19 PM GMT
Browser: Netscape Communicator V4.74 using Windows 98
Subject: the .info Sunrise scam or shambles - everyone a loser


So, the Afilias accredited registrars and their affiliates made a couple of million USDs out of bona fide .info Sunrise and Landrush applicants who had their preregistration fees for 10,000 .info names blown away by the Sunrise cyber squatting stampede made possible by Afilias's "after the event" IP protection/anti-cyberfraud policy, and Afilias made more than twice as much revenue registering the applications of TM cheats than it would have registering the same names to Landrush applicants, but what of the costs?

Surely the events of the Afilias .info launch has caused everyone involved in the sad saga to question the integrity of the current Afilias executive and the company's technological capability to operate a new registry.

Thousands of .info preregistrants I would guess have no confidence that the current Afilias executive will deal with them fairly in future, after the way they have been treated during the .info launch.

Given its role in the Afilias .info launch debarcle, I will also propose that the same .info preregistrants hold the current executive of the supposed DNS watchdog ICANN in contempt, believing them to be nothing more than a domain industry lobby group rather than the protector of the public good and a sustainable Internet, as is their charter.

I think it is likely that without intervention, the resale of the 10,000 Sunrise names currently being challenged will provide Afilias with an opportunity to disappoint and alienate a new cohort of domain buyers, while Afilias provides the media with fanfare and spin doctoring, if of course, after the event, Afilias deigns to communicate to anyone at all.

The .info launch and I believe the .biz launch have brought their respective registries and the industry regulatory authority into disrepute.

It appears to me that  the .biz and .info launches have demonstrated it is time for some real regulation of the domain business, in order to safe guard the public.

To leave the DNS unregulated and to let operators of the likes of Afilias and many of its accredited registrars and affiliates to continue to do business as they have to date in the .info launch, will only heighten further the public's growing awareness of the risks of doing business with domain sellers.

May be it has taken the launches of the first new TLDs to bring into focus the urgent need to shake-up ICANN, in order to make it do the job planned for it - namely the stewardship of the Internet for the benefit of the broad Internet community.

I am quite certain that the Afilias executive has learned nothing from the public backlash in response to the events of the .info launch, given the "take the money and stuff the customer" culture which seems to permeate the domain business from top to bottom. 

My guess is that the resale of the the 10,000 challenged names will be contrived to maximise Afilias and its associates' profits, while making winning one of the resale names as difficult as possible for domain buyers.

I think it is too late for any other scenario.

If events unfold as I imagine, it will be conformation of the need for rapid intervention by the Department of Commerce and the US Congress.

Without the introduction of some checks and balances into ICANN, in the form of new executive members representing the interests of the public, nothing is likely to change the culture which saw the selection of Afilias as the .info Registry, the abomination of the .info launch and the excesses of some of the Afilias accredited registrars and affiliates.

Unless lessons are learned from the events of the recent new TLD launches and changes made to protect the public from the types of practices which characterised the launches, then everyone has been a loser.



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