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President of easyDNS Responds to WLS Issue

When I came out of the Verisign Product Round-Table at the ICANN Meeting it became clearer to me why I sometimes feel that registries were dangerous things to put in the hands of a for-profit corporation. Here in Canada the .CA namespace is regarded as a “Key Public Resource”, thus the registry is administered by a non-profit corporation. The monopoly over the root (which is what it is) is treated very carefully, almost with a “necessary evil” mentality, which if done properly cultivates private enterprise and competition at the registrar level, where it should be.

Verisign’s implementation of WLS looks a lot like an abuse of monopoly power: the creation of a “digital derivative” instrument sold at a 400% markup over the underlying asset, while locking out any competition in the process.

Since the WLS on a given name expires after a year, it cannot even be dressed up to look like an added defensive feature to domain holders, using WLS as an insurance hedge against accidentally letting one’s own domain lapse exceeds the cost of keeping the domain registered, four times as much at least. If a WLS lasted forever, or even lasted forever if held in the same hands as the current registrant of a domain, it could be presented as a legitimate defensive strategy.

Finally, when I asked if registrants would be notified when the registry sold a WLS option on their domain name the response was less than satisfactory: the registry would publish lists of affected names on their FTP site, the onus was then on the registrars to download those files and I suppose the regsitrars’ “Best Practices” would dictate they inform their customer that the registry has sold the option on their domain name to a third party and deal with the ensuing backlash, while the registry pockets the money for the dubious practice.

If you want to see yet another practice contributing to Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt in the domain industry, WLS is it.

By Mark Jeftovic, Co-Founder, easyDNS Technlogies Inc.

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