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Looking at .Net Bids

ICANN is now seeking public comments regarding the .net bids. Unlike before, I am not going to offend one friend or another by siding with one proposal over another. They are all qualified and experienced registry operators. Instead, I will make some general observations.

1. None of the Revenue and Pricing Model (i.e. Section 4) about the bids are available to public. I wonder how the public is going to make judgement of one operator over another since cost is probably one of the few things geeral public would be interested to comment.

All the other stuff on DNS, Whois, registry system service-level etc etc can only be reasonable understood by an insider. Makes you wonder how “public” is the public consultation.

2. Highly politicized, with several top managements from companies urging ICANN to let Verisign keeps .net to prevent destabilization, I am surprised that there are bids that still come in with less then 100% for DNS resolution of .net.

Anyone reasonable will tell you 100% is “impossible” but for DNS, it isn’t exactly that impossible given DNS is designed to be extremely reliable. You can have up to 13 servers scattered all over the network and more if you use anycast technology. And you tell me you couldn’t get at least one server running at any one time? (One is all you need to fulfill the uptime requirement)

Sure, designing for 100% means a lot of technical design consideration: multiple machines (to handle the load) at multiple sites (to prevent physical attack) using multiple DNS software (to prevent one bug from wiping out all of them) and a lot of more operational overhead to keep them synchronizing. It is not cheap but we are talking about at least 30M USD per year here!

And please note that one bidder did promise 100%. (This is not an endorsement of the bid however).

3. I don’t wish to comment on the registrar Service Level Agreement (SLA) however since that’s not in my area of concerns. Keeping .net functioning is what’s important to me and other domain name owners.

But let’s look at auction policy for deleted/expired names. It is not well-known outside registrars community but there are registrars who resort to all kinds of tricks e.g. multiple connections, banging on the registry servers constantly to even having multiple ICANN accreditations so as to have more connections to grab deleted/expired names. The business behind that is an interesting but long story for another day but having an open system like auction isn’t a bad idea.

The question is where the profit would go to. In this regard, I am with Elliot Noss (of Tucows) that part of the money should go back to the original registrant.

By James Seng, Vice President

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James Seng  –  Jan 29, 2005 12:24 AM

A friend corrected me that Sentan Registry also promised 100% DNS resolution. Sentan registry is a joint venture between JPRS & Neustar.

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