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Shambles at the .Pro Registry

Registration of .Pro domains has descended into shambles as the Registry responsible for their administration has allowed a flood of domain registrations which appear to be in breach of the strict rules restricting who can register a .pro domain and the certified credentials required before any such domain can work.

The .Pro TLD was set up to provide a credentialed area of the namespace where verified professionals could establish their web-presence and benefit from profession-related DNS functions. In particular, provision was intended for professionals in the legal, medical, and accounting workplace. This designation of .pro for credentialed professionals is explicitly set out in the ICANN-Registry Agreement which constitutes the contractual basis for the operation of the registry.

Appendix L of ICANN’s Agreement with RegistryPro, allowing them to operate the .pro registry, states:

“Registered Names are restricted to persons and entities that are credentialed by appropriate entities (such as through governmental bodies and professional organizations) to provide professional services within a stated geographic region (a “Licensing Jurisdiction”).”

By the terms of the ICANN Agreement, the .pro registry undertakes to verify the credentials of these registrants:

“Registrants of Registered Names in the .pro TLD will be required to certify that they meet the qualifications set forth in this Appendix L. Qualifications for registration of Registered Names will be verified and periodically re-verified, and will be signified by digital credentials recorded in the registry database.”

Specifically Section 7.2.1 states that “at the time of an initial registration of a Registered Name (i.e. a domain name), the registrant will be required to provide to the sponsoring registrar identity and contact information about the registrant, data and supporting evidence about the registrant’s qualifications to register, and other data required for issuance of a digital certificate.”

Furthermore, the Agreement allows for these credentials to be challenged, under the Qualification Challenge Policy:

“Qualifications for both Registered Names and Standard Defensive Registrations, however, will be subject to challenge under the Qualification Challenge Policy described in Appendix M.”

What has emerged is that, in the past month, a thousand or possibly many more generic words have been registered and activated through RegistryPro - names like f**k.pro and c**t.pro which appear to have no relevance to any of the recognized professional entities entitled to legitimize a .pro registration. This spate of registrations appears to have been carried out by domain speculators and on the face of it DomainPro has failed to carry out its obligation to check and verify each application before activating the domains.

See here for examples of this flood of recent registrations.

The Registrars themselves (in most of these cases it involves the ICANN-accredited EnCirca registrar) are not obliged to carry out the verification process themselves. Section 8.1 of Appendix L states that the verification may be carried out by the registrar or the registry.

However, the registry (RegistryPro) have a specific responsibility *NOT* to activate any registered domain - “it will not resolve in the DNS until such time as the Verification Process has been successfully completed and the eligibility for registration confirmed.”

RegistryPro appear to have failed to apply this rule. As a result, the integrity and reputation of the .pro TLD has been seriously damaged, along with the integrity of the Registry’s processes, which were supposed to be upheld both for contractual reasons and as part of ICANN’s “Proof of Concept” approach to launching New TLDs. The Agreement talks about the need for digital certificates to support registrations “to enhance the security and trust of .pro domains” and so that “consumers can easily establish trust” when accessing these domains. RegistryPro seem to have failed in this area of ‘trust’ by activating so many uncertified domains.

In Section 2 of Appendix L it states:

“All Registered Names must meet the requirements in the Registry Agreement and its appendices” and furthermore that “The Registry Operator shall implement technical measures reasonably calculated to enforce the requirements.”

It would appear that the “technical measures” to prevent this surge of unverified applications were either ineffective or were not in place (in which case RegistryPro has failed in its contractual obligations to protect the integrity of the namespace).

As a safeguard, the ICANN-Registry Agreement requires the creation of an Advisory Board (Appendix L Section 6) and “if the Advisory Board finds that the Registry Operator’s management is taking actions that will violate the restrictions of the .pro TLD or its PS-SLDs, the Advisory Board may send written notice of its recommendation regarding such action to the Registry Operator’s Board of Directors and to ICANN.” (Appendix L Section

It is to be hoped that, in the present debacle, the Advisory Board will intervene and liaise with ICANN over what appears to be a “violation of the restrictions” on .pro registrations.

The action open to ICANN and RegistryPro includes the right to terminate these uncertified registrations on the grounds that they violate the conditions for registration:

“violation of any of the provisions described ...shall be grounds for termination of the registration, without any refund of fees to the registrant. ” (Appendix L Section 7.1.7)

Furthermore (and this provides the likely resolution of this problem): “Any domain that has been registered for 60 days without successful confirmation of such eligibility may be deleted by the Registry Operator. There shall be no refund of fees paid for such deleted names.”

Having read the EnCirca website, and tried to understand why so many people have rushed into registrations in the past month, I have to say that I personally find the wording of EnCirca’s ‘new approach’ ambiguous, and it led me to understand that I could legitimately proceed to pay them for a registration which would be accepted (however I did not register any names!).

Nevertheless, it seems to me that on the basis of the ICANN Agreement with the Registry, it is the Registry themselves who have failed to put in place technical measures to prevent this rush of uncertified registrations, and it most certainly seems to be the Registry that has been responsible for activating a thousand of more registrations *PRIOR* to full verification, and in breach of their Agreement with ICANN.

Thousands of domain names like fu*k.pro and c*nt.pro are active and resolving. This should not be happening until there are digital certificates to authorize the registrations. Where are these digital certificates? I do not believe that they exist. So why has RegisterPro activated the domains.

I call on ICANN and RegistryPro to immediately de-activate all recent domain names which lack digital certification, and I advise that after a 60-day period these registrations should then be cancelled.

I also call on ICANN to censure RegistryPro for its failure to adhere to its contractual obligations.

I also call into question the actions of the ICANN-accredited Registrar EnCirca, who not only appeared (to me) to encourage unwitting consumers to engage in a “landrush” of .pro names, but also appear to have registered .pro names themselves with the function of re-directing traffic to their own Registrar website. I draw attention, for example, to:

(there may be others)?

EnCirca appear to be claiming that they did not mislead registrants into inappropriate registration of .pro domain names, but surely their own registration of these domains, for themselves, and resolving to their own nameservers to forward traffic, is a demonstration of an abuse or misunderstanding of the .pro regulations by EnCirca themselves?

Surely this use of .pro contravenes the intentions and purpose of the .pro sTLD? What possible case can there be for .pro registrations for credit, dating, and diet and their use as traffic-grabbers to route people to the EnCirca Homepage?

Has RegistryPro checked to see if EnCirca has registered these names with verified professional credentials? Does RegistryPro possess digital certificates for these registrations? If not, why are the domains active?

My conclusion is that both at Registry and at Registrar level the process has been neglected, and the vital trust and professionalism that is meant to be built into the .pro registry has been jeopardized as a result.

These thousand or possibly several thousand domain names should never have been registered (Appendix L Section 10 makes that clear) - the verification and certification is supposed to take place “before the Registry Operator will process domain name applications” (this actually somewhat contradicts other suggestions in the same Appendix which imply that the certification need not be complete before the registration takes place, though it must be complete prior to activation… an example, perhaps, of carelessly constructed Agreements on ICANN’s part).

Finally, one other question to Tim Cole and RegistryPro. Apart from the fact that these domain names should not have been activated until verification was complete, what was RegistryPro thinking of in accepting and activating so many (thousands?) of spurious .pro names? During the four or five weeks when, day after day, these registrations were pouring in and being activated, did RegistryPro meet its contractual obligation to notify ICANN of the problem (although, in truth, they were part of the problem because they were activating the domains themselves). Specifically, Appendix L Section 10.1.4 states:

“If it comes to the Registry Operator’s attention that an Authorized Registrar is not complying with the restrictions and policies described in this Appendix, the Registry Operator will send prompt electronic and written notice to the Authorized Registrar, with a copy by the same method to ICANN, describing the restrictions and policies being violated. The ensuing procedure concerning the Authorized Registrar’s eligibility to continue to sponsor Registered Names (including suspension and de-accreditation) in the .pro registry is governed by the RRA (Appendix F) and the Registrar Accreditation Agreement.”

On what date did RegistryPro send such notice to ICANN, if it did at all. How many domains had they registered by then? How many domains had they activated (in breach of their Agreement) by then? Why were domains like carrental.pro and flight.pro still being registered on March 18th, after the exchange of correspondence between Tim Cole and the registrar involved?

Of course, RegistryPro could hardly complain about abuse of process when their ‘activations’ were in breach of process as well. In many cases, you need to “look to the money”. Was there any complicity in the ‘oversight’ that seems to have occurred both at Registry and Registrar level?

Are Registrars or Registries just allowed to flout their contracts at will? What sanctions is ICANN prepared to take to defend the integrity of its processes and, more importantly, to defend the consumers for whom the “Domain Supply Industry” is supposed to exist in the first place?


Richard Henderson

By Richard Henderson, Active member of the At Large constituency

Filed Under


The Famous Brett Watson  –  Mar 20, 2005 11:14 PM

“I’m shocked—-shocked to discover that there is gambling going on in this cafe.”

And I’m shocked—-shocked to find registrars and registries accepting money where they should be defending the semantic integrity of the TLD, as per their contractual obligations.

I’m also shocked—-shocked to see ICANN enlarging their empire with a TLD “to provide professional services within a stated geographic region” rather than leaving geography-specific matters to the ccTLDs.

Round up the usual suspects.

Thomas Barrett  –  Mar 20, 2005 11:23 PM

We cannot respond to the multiple misstatements, mischaracterizations and errors put forth by Mr. Henderson as to the facts surrounding Encirca’s ProForwarding program.  We only note that:

1.  All EnCirca .pro registrations have verified credentials prior to the activation of their domain name

2.  All registrations are in conformity with the RegistryPro/ICANN contract (http://www.icann.org/tlds/agreements/pro/).

We direct you to our response to ICANN on ICANN’s website:(http://www.icann.org/correspondence/barrett-to-cole-16mar05.pdf)

We want to emphasize that there are NO provisions in the Registry Agreement regarding use - Jones Day can register jonesday.law.pro and use it to sell ice cream.  Encirca is the only registrar to voluntarily adopted a policy that prohibits misrepresentation of licensed credentials

“Licensee may not, in connection with use of the Domain Name, explicitly or implicitly misrepresent professional credentials, including but not limited to levels of training, certification, education, licensing or membership in a professional organization.”

(from http://www.encirca.biz/html/proforwarding.shtml)


Thomas Barrett
EnCirca, Inc

Karl Auerbach  –  Mar 21, 2005 4:49 AM

In response to the comments of Thomas Barrett:

I am a professional - I am an active, dues paying, card carrying member of the State Bar of California.

It matters little to me whether the operators of .pro or ICANN want to dance around definitions of “is” or the nuances of contract terms.  The fact of the matter is this:

I would never allow my professional status to be diminished and tarnished by allowing it to be affiliated with anything that has become as contaminated as has .pro.

It is of no concern to me that Encarta has somehow authenticated the registrant of f**k.pro as a “professional”.  Even if the registrant had documentation from the all highest it that would not prevent my own name, were it registered in .pro, from being tarnished.

If the purpose of .pro was to provide a domain in which credentials were credible and hidden identies rare, then .pro has failed in its fundamental purpose.

Personally I expect as a result of the erosion of .pro that true professionals (except those practicing the world’s first profession) will stay away from .pro in droves.

Encarta has apparently poisoned its own well by allowing the registration of scurrilous words.  Encarta should not be surprised if the class of true professionals, people concerned about their status and how they are perceived by others, to refuse to drink from that well.

Karl Auerbach  –  Mar 21, 2005 4:53 AM

Oops, I mean Encira - but than again I’m not the only one to make a typo - I note that the date on Encirca’s letter to ICANN is in year 2004.

Richard Henderson  –  Mar 21, 2005 7:34 AM

I see… so for example, Victoria Proffer who registered voice.pro om 18th March (AFTER ICANN had expressed concern to you about these registrations) and who is now (3 days later) selling voice.pro for $50,000 on Ebay!!!


You have to be kidding, don’t you?


Richard Henderson

Jim L  –  Mar 21, 2005 8:23 PM

I am a CPA and it seems we have another .ws or .cc - I wouldn’t sign up for a .pro if they were free.

Jothan Frakes  –  Mar 22, 2005 1:20 AM

Is the issue that this proxied registration process, in essence, converts an SLD into a GTLD?

This appears to be a proxied registration process.  I am no lawyer, but it looks like, to Thomas’ credit, that Encirca does make some efforts to protect the integrity of the .pro 3ld processes through their AUP and T&C as part of the registration process. 

Richard Henderson  –  Mar 22, 2005 1:49 AM

I’ve received a description of how a .pro domain was gained this month through EnCirca. My correspondent is well known. He mails me as follows:

“I would ask for some discretion.  I would prefer that you?d not list my name in conjunction with this.

Straight up, I basically registered four .pros.

There was absolutely no verification performed by Encirca as part of the process. It was simply sign up, pay $49, and ‘viola’. “

My contact had been drawn to the EnCirca system by an article here:
which then led to here:
which set out how they would get “your domain”:

“How EnCirca’s ProForwarding Service Works

>>>Your domain is registered in the name of EnCirca’s ProForwarding Service, so that we can submit and maintain the professional credentials required for .pro domain names.

>>>You retain the FULL BENEFITS of domain registration. As Admin, Technical and Billing Contact: You can sell, renew or cancel your domain; set-up the nameservers for your domain; and resolve disputes involving your domain.

>>>Domains maintained by EnCirca’s ProForwarding service may be transferred in a private sale to a third party at any time. Owner transfer is accomplished via EnCirca’s free Account Move utility

>>>EnCirca reserves the right to cancel any registration suspected of trademark infringement,spamming, or other illegal activity. To clarify prohibited use, we have amended the ProForwarding terms as follows:

>>>Licensee may not, in connection with use of the Domain Name, explicitly or implicitly misrepresent professional credentials, including but not limited to levels of training, certification, education, licensing or membership in a professional organization. ”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This seems to place the responsibility on the applicant, effectively saying: it’s your own fault if you’re not who you claim to be.

This is a million light years away from the requirement of the ICANN Registry Agreement that claims should undergo a process of scrutiny to verify them.

In the case of my correspondent, not a single enquiry was made, even of what kind of professional (if any) he was before the name was registered and activated.

I suggest (but leave ICANN to decide) that this was in clear contravention of the ICANN Agreement and specifically Appendix L.


Richard Henderson


Richard Henderson  –  Mar 22, 2005 2:15 AM

Thomas Barrett on this page:
“All EnCirca .pro registrations have verified credentials prior to the activation of their domain name”

EnCirca Registrant:
“There was absolutely no verification performed by Encirca as part of the process. It was simply sign up, pay $49, and ‘viola’.”

Excuse me Thomas, but how do you square that circle. The registrant’s .pro domain was registered and activated. His credentials were not checked at all.

Richard Henderson  –  Mar 22, 2005 2:33 AM

And if you say, “Well, EnCirca are the Registrant and its our own credentials that are verified” then you are admitting that the domain owner who gets the domain doesn’t actually have to profess a profession at all, there’s no checking of them, it’s all up to them…

That is the *opposite* of what the ICANN Agreement intends!!!

You may as well let everyone get a domain, and it’s OK, because you the registrar have some kind of credentials.

... And that is exactly what appears to have happened.


Yrs staggered,

Richard Henderson

Dan Swanson  –  Mar 22, 2005 10:57 PM

In Response to Karl Auerbach you said :

“Personally I expect as a result of the erosion of .pro that true professionals (except those practicing the world’s first profession) will stay away from .pro in droves.”

And that’s the crux of the problem with .Pro ; true professionals didn’t want anything to do with .Pro as validated by the pathetic number of registrations.

It’s time to let the true professionals come in and elevate the awareness and registrations of .pro



Richard Henderson  –  Mar 24, 2005 12:23 AM

As I expected, the Registry are laying down the challenge to ICANN, and defying them to stop them from ‘evolving’ .Pro into what is effectively a new and opened up gTLD:


“It has come to the attention of RegistryPro that some .pro name holders are licensing their domain names to parties who may not themselves qualify for a .pro domain name.”

“Once a .pro domain is appropriately purchased, RegistryPro does not assume control over the use of that name. This includes the secondary market and licensing programs referenced above.”

What RegistryPro is saying in this message is that they know perfectly well that EnCirca is registering thousands of names in EnCirca’s own name, then selling ownership of these domains to the general public without any checking of individuals’ credentials whatsoever (although the intention of setting up the .Pro Registry was that it should only be open to people whose credentials had been rigorously checked)...

And then RegistryPro appears to be saying that once they’ve got their share of the money, they will allow this opening up of .Pro to the general public to continue. They seem to be saying that, without consultation with ICANN, they are going to take the money, and preside over the dismantling of the intent and purposes of the .Pro Agreement as set out by ICANN.

To this extent, RegistryPro and EnCirca appear to be in complicity. At the very least, you would think that the .Pro Registry would turn to ICANN and ask for their view on this effective re-writing of .Pro.

Whatever words RegistryPro uses, they *know* that they are opening up a registry that was supposed to be credentialled and restricted.

ICANN may have a different view on whether this respects the Agreement and Understanding they made with RegistryPro, not to mention the time and money invested by consumers who invested in .Pro because of the way it was defined.

Were other Registrars consulted by RegistryPro?

What RegistryPro and EnCirca appear to be trying to do - including this RegistryPro Forum just launched today… “It has come to our attention…” when they know perfectly well what has been going on in the past month… is that they are trying to push forward to a new “status quo” regardless of ICANN’s position and the purposes of ICANN’s Agreement. ICANN has been used and they are trying to railroad it to their own ‘new reality’.

De facto - if not on a technical detail - .Pro is being turned into an open gTLD.


Richard Henderson

Richard Henderson  –  Mar 26, 2005 12:42 PM

ICANN has now written to RegistryPro expressing their concern about registrations which the registry has activated and which seem to undermine the restricted nature of the .pro TLD by allowing a registrar to register 1000’s of domains in its own name and then “lease” them out to unauthorised people.

ICANN’s Tina Dam wrote to RegistryPro as follows:

“ICANN is concerned that EnCirca’s Pro-Forwarding Service violates the spirit of name restrictions in top-level domains such as .Pro.”

“If RegistryPro shares ICANN’s concerns about these questionable registrations, ICANN would like to discuss whether RegistryPro desires to enter into a contract amendment targeted at preventing registration abuses.”

These amendments, and ICANN’s intervention, are much needed because this “leasing” device to circumvent the purposes of .pro as a restricted TLD will act as a precedent for other restricted TLDs like .travel

Here are my Proposed Amendments to the ICANN-Registry contract for .pro :

In order to reclaim the integrity and intended purposes of the .pro TLD (and to act as a model for future restricted TLDs), I propose that ICANN requests amendments along the following lines:

1. The registrant *must* be the person, entity, or organisation who is going to use the domain (the term ‘use’ excludes ‘leasing’ the domain to second-tier customers).

2. Dot Pro domains may not be registered with the intention of ‘leasing’ them to second-tier applicants, particularly where this process enables unauthorised users of domains to circumvent the restrictions defined by the Registry Agreement to keep it a restricted TLD, or to gain administrative and resale rights to .pro domains without prior professional verification at the point of registration.

3. All .pro registrants will be obliged to demonstrate *prior to annual renewal or within a year* that they now conform to these amended clauses, and that they are the person, entity or organisation who is going to use the domain (excluding ‘leasing’) and have undergone verification by a professional authority approved by ICANN *and* the registry, to safeguard the integrity and purposes of the registry. Failure to gain this independent verification will result in the *cancellation* of the domain registration.

These terms would come into immediate effect, but Conditions 1 and 2 would only apply to all new registrations or renewals. Condition 3 would apply to all .pro domains, whenever registered. The effect of these 3 clauses together would be to discourage speculators from continuing to register domains through proxy registrants since the domains would be cancelled within one year and would therefore have little or no market value.

I believe the world’s internet (and DNS functions) should be subject to due process and careful policy development. Policy should be determined in a thoughtful manner and should not be defined by individual registrars or registries choosing to subvert the intentions of previously accepted Agreements.

Hostways knew exactly what kind of Registry .Pro was when they bought it last year. They knew it was a restricted TLD. They knew that ICANN’s Agreement set out to limit registrations to a defined set of professionals who were scrupulously checked and authorised.

In my opinion Hostway / Registry Pro have participated in the subversion of their Agreement with ICANN. Whether they are prepared to accept reasonable amendments to protect the Agreement’s intentions will demonstrate whether their part in the subversion was accidental or complicit.


Richard Henderson

Daniel R. Tobias  –  Apr 1, 2005 1:58 AM

I see that EnCirca is actually threatening to sue a blogger who dared to write the truth about them:


Apparently, freedom of speech and press are no more compatible with the agenda of this sinister company than the integrity of a restricted TLD.

Richard Henderson  –  Apr 8, 2005 5:18 PM

At the ICANN Public Forum yesterday, concerns were raised about the .Pro affair by three contributors (two At Large constituents and one registrar). Concerns were raised about mass registrations on behalf of uncertified customers, using a “proxy” device to bypass the Registry’s main purpose and intention of creating a TLD exclusively for the use of verified professionals. ICANN was asked to enforce amendments to the Agreement to ‘clarify’ acceptable practice by the Registry and by Registrars. The Board was asked to consider the implications for the integrity of future restricted TLDs.

The Registrar who intervened at the Public Forum requested urgent attention over what he described as a Registry “thumbing its nose at ICANN”. He had spoken to a lot of people who were dismayed by what had happened. “If this kind of conduct was allowed to go unchallenged,” he said, “then it made him and people like him want to give up on ICANN’s processes.” Vint Cerf, the Chairman, agreed that this matter must be addressed by ICANN staff and the Board.

At the ICANN Board Meeting today, Michael Palage once again raised the matter of the .Pro Registry, and said that it was important for the community that they understood that the ICANN Board takes this matter, and matters of registrar and registry compliance, very seriously indeed. He reported that ICANN staff are in the process of gathering further information on the .Pro issue and that it would be wrong for the ICANN Board to pre-empt those enquiries. However the issue would be pursued and decisions taken in response to ICANN’s enquiries.

Michael Palage also referred, in this context, to the new Registry Compliance procedures that were posted on the ICANN website on 2nd April.

Tina Dam wrote a public letter to RegistryPro 15 days ago, complaining about measures which have “violated the spirit of name restrictions in .Pro” She added that ICANN would like to discuss the possibility of a contract amendment. To date, no reply has been received (or, at least, published).

Gregory Krajewski  –  Apr 8, 2005 6:01 PM


You must really think internet consumers are this gulliable.  For one, who are the “named” persons you say made comments at the Public Forum yesterday.  Also who is the Registrar who lodged that “fierce” complaint.  Facts Richard, your story is lacking facts.

One thing I do anytime I quote a “source” is to provide provide links to those comments.  If the comments were made on ICANN “chat board” then what we really have is “chatter”.  Nothing collegial or authentic. 

I did try to find the comments you suggest happened by going to the ICANN site.  Unless you can show me Richard, I do not find those comments you suggest happened anywhere on either the 4/6 or 4/7 ICANN Public Forum page:



To find particular comments do a “Control F” if you have Microsoft Explorer.  Then enter the search words you are looking for.  Unless I missed something, I don’t see the comments you are “quoting”. 

Also if you are going to suggest that Tina Dam has written a letter concerning the dot pro registry, wouldn’t you have allowed Tina to make her own case for why she wrote the letter…IF IN FACT IT WAS SENT.  Shouldn’t her letter to RegistryPro be published on the ICANN website?


She is after all on the ICANN staff:


Facts, Richard, just give me the facts instead of trying to “flame” your point of views on circleID, and other forums.




Gregory Krajewski  –  Apr 8, 2005 6:04 PM

oops, here is the link to show Tina Dam and her affiliation with ICANN:


Gregory Krajewski  –  Apr 8, 2005 6:09 PM

I guess double oops is in order.  I do see where Tina Dam had provided a link to her letter on the ICANN site.

Richard Henderson  –  Apr 8, 2005 8:22 PM

Hi Greg,

I refer you to the Chairman of ICANN. He read out one of the complaints, and was chairing the meeting and can therefore confirm the other two. As to Michael Palage raising the issue at the Board Meeting, there is nothing hidden or secretive about that. Ask him yourself.

Since all the comments were made, and clearly heard not only in the hall but 1000s of miles away via the webcast, it rather brings into question the quality of the transcript.

But if you want to say that I’m lying, that will be an error, because I’m telling the truth, and only posted these facts for information. Everything I’ve said can be corroborated - I can’t help it if the transcript has inexplicably omitted all 3 comments - but ask the people who were there and you will have to acknowledge that I told the truth.

To be fair on you, I can see it from your own point of view. The transcript contradicts what I have said. I accept that. But if you care enough to find out, you will find out.

It’s easier just to say I made it all up, of course. Unfortunately for RegistryPro, that was not the case…



Richard Henderson  –  Apr 8, 2005 11:28 PM


I agree with your point that ‘claims’ ought to be substantiated. Since my previous post I have checked up on the ICANN transcript which (as you pointed out) can be found here:


The reason the 3 Public Comments about .Pro are not listed on this transcript is that the transcript breaks off halfway through the Public Forum at the “Break”.

*The whole of the meeting after the Break* has been omitted: the New sTLD Update; the Process for NewgTLDs; the Dot Net Bid Process; the IANA Process; and then the Public Comments and Open Microphone.

You can see the Agenda here:

If you scroll down to Thursday 7th April and compare the Agenda to the transcript, you will see that ICANN have in fact only published the discussions up to the Break.

The 3 Public comments were in the Public Comments and Open Microphone section and took place just before Vint had to leave the hall and hand over the Chair to Alexandro Pisanty.

I’ve contacted ICANN and requested that (for the sake of openness and transparency) they publish the second half of the meeting.

Meanwhile, as I say, Vint Cerf and anyone else present will be able to confirm to you that the comments were made.

I agree, I would prefer it if my assertions could be corroborated by the transcript, and you have a right to ask for sources.



Richard Henderson  –  Apr 10, 2005 11:34 PM

Life is too short to get trapped in what Borges called a “repetition of repetitions” - although after .info four years ago and now .pro that is what it feels like… a labyrinth of registration agreements and broken processes, where you meet yourself coming back from a previous repetition, or await a response from this CEO or the last one, with the prospect of hearing from neither (though Vint Cerf has always replied, to be fair).

Therefore this is my final post on .Pro (which I have sent to the ICANN Board and relevant ICANN staff).

I recognise that they are engaged in a step-by-step process with the .Pro issue.

I believe that enforcement should (if necessary) be applied in the case of RegistryPro on the grounds that (I believe) they have breached the ICANN-Registry Agreement.

Just to clarify: the issue I think should be investigated is not ‘failure to undertake verifications’... it is ‘failure to uphold the central and stated principles and purposes of the Agreement, and misuse of the verification processes to bypass the stated purposes of the Agreement.’

In short, the problem that concerns me is not lack of use of the verification processes, but misuse of them.

The Registry Agreement makes such clear statements of the intention of a “restricted” registry using verification for the purposes of ‘keeping unchecked people out’, and in practical terms RegistryPro appear to me to have broken their Agreement by ignoring the clear *intentions* of the Agreement and its Verification processes, by actually using verification (1000+ verifications of the same proxy Registrar) to give unchecked people access to domain names reserved for specific sets of professionals. These people, in the words of EnCirca, become the “owners” of these domains. They can use them, sell them, renew them, develop them. The Agreement, in my opinion, has been broken - breach of its clear purposes and intended outcomes, and misuse of its verification processes to bypass the basic intentions of the Agreement.

The Registry Agreement is so clear about its purposes, that misuse of the verification process in such a way as to ‘let in’ rather than ‘keep out’ unqualified and unchecked customers, may be regarded as a breach of the Agreement. RegistryPro are responsible for endorsing and activating these proxy registrations and the effects these have on the Registry Agreement.

I have suggested to Tina Dam in her investigation of EnCirca and RegistryPro, that she asks:

1. Did either party consult ICANN about the implications of this “Proxy” device?

2. Did EnCirca carry out any kind of check or verification about their customers? The answer is ‘No’ - you just had to pay $49 and click.

3. Did RegistryPro take any steps to curb the inflow of registrations on behalf of unqualified customers?

4. How many .Pro registrations were there, in total, up to the end of December 2004? How many .Pro registrations were there by the end of March 2005?

5. Was RegistryPro satisfied that this flood of new registrations was in keeping with the purposes and intentions of the Registry Agreement?

... and later in the process…

6. Will RegistryPro agree to stop this Proxy ‘device’ with immediate effect, until a consensus has been arrived at?

7. Will RegistryPro agree to amendments that ICANN might propose to their Agreement?

8. Will RegistryPro agree to stop all Proxy registrations through registrars, unless the actual customers have been verified?

9. Will RegistryPro agree to check and verify all actual customers (not the registrar proxy), at the latest, at the annual renewal when such checks would be due?

... and enforcement if necessary ...

If RegistryPro do not agree to negotiate a settlement with ICANN, to reclaim the clearly-stated purposes of this restricted sTLD, will ICANN intervene with measures on the grounds of breach of contract/agreement, and misuse of its verification processes to bypass the basic intentions of the Agreement.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

second half of message follows…

Richard Henderson  –  Apr 10, 2005 11:35 PM

(continuing from previous post)

I have urged the firmest action (rationally and step-by-step) because otherwise this restricted registry will be opened up more and more, and the precedent of “proxy registration” will have been established for any other restricted sTLD where a registrar or registry chooses, in the future, to circumvent the original purposes and intentions of their Registry Agreement.

Basically, the .Pro Registry Agreement was abundantly clear about the purpose and intentions of its verification processes. Those verification processes did not exist in isolation to be used any way people wanted. They existed *in the context of the Agreement’s purposes* to uphold those clearly-expressed purposes of restricting access to the TLD to specific and exclusive sets of professionals.

The bottom line is: ICANN knows this. RegistryPro knows this. EnCirca knows this. What we have is a loophole through one element of the Registry Agreement. This loophole, consciously exploited for profit, does not nullify the greater expectations and requirements of the rest of the Agreement, of which the verification process was merely a subsidiary part.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Henderson

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Postscript - “Compromises”

To be fair to the integrity of some people I have discussed this matter with, I will end with their counter-argument. If ICANN - beset by bigger battles and more pressing issues - seeks a compromise on this issue, because of pressure on staff and resources, then the best compromise proposed by people I have discussed this with (not my position, theirs) is that ICANN should allow time to pass so that the present commotion dies down, and then they agree with RegistryPro that domains at the 2nd Level will be opened up to help make the .Pro project financially viable, while certain 3rd Level combinations are reserved for a range of professions. This, they would argue, would respond to market demand and help to make .Pro more viable, not less viable. I don’t agree with this line of argument, for all the reasons I have set out above and my concern for integrity of process and the future of sTLDs, but ICANN may decide to consider this ‘compromise’ along with the option of taking firmer action. My concern is that this will irreparably damage the exclusive purpose and identity of .pro. The proponents of this compromise say that it would strengthen .Pro, citing the small number of registrations, and the vulnerability of the project before EnCirca started its unilateral process.

Engineer  –  Apr 12, 2005 9:05 PM

I am a registered professional engineer and just registered a .pro domain.  I have never understood why professional engineers and architects were left out of the original list of people qualified to register a .pro domain.  Why was it just lawyers, doctors, and accountants? US states liscense many professionals - morgage brokers, hairstylists, and and Pesticide Applicators.  All of these people are professionals - why should the lawyers, doctors, and accountants get claim over a basic english abbreviation of “pro”. 

Sure I would be mad if I was a doctor and I spent money promoting my practice at the doctor.joe.smith.sex.doctor.med.pro website and some professional prostitute from Nevada gets a cool domain name like F**k.pro!  It’s just not fair, but life never is…

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