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Username: DaviddesJ
Date/Time: Fri, March 2, 2001 at 1:26 AM GMT (Thu, March 1, 2001 at 6:26 PM PDT)
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Score: 5
Subject: public comments


        1. The "original purpose" of .ORG is NOT "non-profit organizations".  Many people have quoted the original RFCs.  Many people have registered .ORG domains in compliance with those RFCs.  Any attempt to reserve .ORG for non-profit organizations will be disastrously unsuccessful.

2. "Giving" .ORG to the "non-profit organizations" doesn't benefit anyone.  It certainly isn't compensation to the community.  Trying to remake .ORG into a space for non-profit organizations will certainly be far more difficult than creating a new TLD for those organizations would be.  And the latter doesn't require giving Network Solutions anything.  This "benefit" certainly feels like a manufactured excuse for what ICANN and Network Solutions want to do anyway, rather than a legitimate exchange.

3. Just because the technical aspects of registrar competition are going reasonably well, is not at all a justification for keeping anti-competitive arrangements that were previously agreed to be terminated.  Network Solutions has many real conflicts of interest in operating both the registry and the largest registrar.  It is in their interest to make domain portability from one registrar to another difficult---and, in fact, it is difficult and unreliable.  It is in their interest to create concern about what will happen if some registrars go out of business---this will certainly happen, and when it does, there's no reason for optimism that it can be handled smoothly.  A registry separated from the registrars would have as its primary interest making all registrars equal, creating confidence in the multi-registrar system, establishing procedures for secure and convenient transfers between registrars, establishing procedures for fair allocation of new registrations between registrars, and other things that we don't have now.  The benefits of such an arrangement are as great as ever.

4. Asking Network Solutions to lead research into administering the domain name system in more flexible ways is like asking AOL to lead research into interoperability between instant messaging systems.  It's in Network Solutions's interest to see new TLDs exist and work but not be very successful.  Expecting them to lead the research on how to make new TLDs work is a huge conflict.  Any such research that this agreement pays for can't be expected to benefit users, unless it is administered *completely* independently of Network Solutions.  Are they going to give the $20 million annually to a completely independent (of both Network Solutions and ICANN) organization which will determine how to spend it?  I doubt it.

5. Any benefits that Network Solutions gives to users as a result of this policy must, necessarily, be drawn from excess profits that they expect to receive by continuing to combine the registry with their registrar operations, and by continuing to administer the .COM TLD longer than they otherwise would.  Almost by definition, any agreement that they are willing to make must cost us, as users, more than it gains.  The marginal cost of adminstering each additional domain in a TLD is very, very low.  The only force that can drive down the difference between the true marginal cost of each domain in the registry, and what Network Solutions charges for that, is true competition for the right to run the registry.  Any "presumption" about who will run the registry necessarily increases costs to its users.

6. There will be a huge fight to get the US Department of Commerce not to approve this giveaway, which will further undermine the legitimacy and authority of ICANN.  There will be increased likelihood of competing root nameservers, which will further undermine the legitimacy and authority of ICANN.  Such developments aren't good for anyone.

David desJardins


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