Who should run the Internet Addressing system? And why don't they?

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Those who read the comments below my blog yesterday will have observed my exchange  with Chris Smith over how to interpret the result of the Nominet consultation over future plans for .UK. He does make one very good point: on the low turn out. I too was one of the 99 who attened meetings. I was very annoyed when a lawyer, apparently retained by a particular interest group, tried to hi-jack the meeting for government, public sector and consumer groups. In consequence I did my best to drum up responses but you lot ignored the call, or thought some-one else would ....

There were around 750 responses, even if one includes the e-mails. Nearly 20% of were from those in the registration supply chain who collectively issue 70% of names under the current system. A further 70% were from those with .uk names issued under the current, unvalidated, system. Under 10% were from large organisations. There was no split as to how many were from organisations based outside the UK.  

Hardly any of the responses were from customers without a domain name of their own, or from business or consumer groups who might want to know whether suppliers using .uk website were governed by UK.

The motto of this column is "The silent majority gets what it deserves, ignored". I admire the tolerance of those who run Nominet. They run a remarkably cost-effective and efficient operation. But unless and until the on-line equivalent of UKIP invades their hallowed walls, and thsoe of ICANN, by getting its members to JOIN and acquire voting rights (as I first advised nearly four years ago), we face the very real risk that the ITU will acquire a mandate to sort out the mess that is being perpetuated by those who make money by creating and selling domain names under the current system, either as a business in its own right or in support of an Internet Service or Trade Mark operation.

This morning I received a linked in message via a supporter of the Cloud Industry Forum position on an ICANN  consultation exercise who I have known for rather more decades than I care to remember. It further illustrates the problems that result from allowing ICANN to police itself without serious customer input. I reproduce it below.

Subject: Geekspace invaded by commercial sector


From the Cloud Industry Forum, something that makes regulation/governmental intervention for the Internet more likely:

"IMPORTANT: HAVE YOUR SAY ON .cloud

Don't let dotCLOUD become a Closed Registry!

We are writing to bring to your attention an issue which we believe the market at large should be concerned about. You may not be aware that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is in the process of expanding the top-level domain (TLD)* name space by adding over a thousand new TLDs. Most of the new TLD applications are for:


• Generic terms to be operated as "open" registries that will allow anyone to own second-level domains (e.g., Omega.Watch) or
• Brand names to be operated as "closed" registries that will only allow the TLD operator to own second-level domains (e.g. Ka.Ford).

However, some large companies are applying for generic categories in the industries in which they compete and intend to operate them as closed registries. Examples include .cloud, .book, .news, .blog and .insurance. If these applications are granted, only the successful applicants will be able to register any second level domain names in those TLDs (e.g. www. "yourcompanyname" .cloud), leaving them free to exclude competitors and exploit the new TLD for their sole benefit. The Cloud Industry Forum believe that this situation could have harmful consequences for market education and competition and restricts the treasured openness of the internet and should be resisted.

Of particular and obvious concern is the risk that .CLOUD becomes a closed registry owned by one company. As we know the wider market is often confused enough about the term Cloud and we believe the limitation of the TLD to refer to one commercial organisation is detrimental to the wider market in the longer term. We also work on the principle that generic phrases are just that, they are not trademarks or brands and should not be reinforced as being the property of one company through a closed registry process.

CIF are keen to raise people's awareness of this issue through PR and through the process of raising a Community Objection on behalf of our members in keeping with ICANN review and dispute processes. Please follow this link for our recent press release on the subject.

Register your own objection to a Closed Registry for .cloud by 7th March 2013!

If you agree with our concern about a closed Registry for .cloud, it is important to have your voice heard by submitting a public comment to ICANN. Every comment will help us raise the seriousness of the concern around the future of .cloud with ICANN so please do follow this link and have your say today.

Many thanks for reading this email. We hope it is informative and we hope you will want to have your say on this important subject whilst there is still time to influence the outcome.

With Kind regards

The Cloud Industry Forum

www.cloudindustryforum.org

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3 Comments

Hear hear!:)

Mr. Virgo,

Forgive my being direct but you seem rather want for staking out positions based upon rather grand assumptions.

"I was very annoyed when a lawyer, apparently retained by a particular interest group, tried to hi-jack the meeting for government, public sector and consumer groups. In consequence I did my best to drum up responses but you lot ignored the call, or thought some-one else would ...."

Given the link in your post above, it appears that I am the attorney you reference. I am quite surprised at your description given my comment (and your reply) to the linked post.

You seem concerned that people become informed and then "vote" but then object when someone does just those things. I did not hi-jack any of the 4 sessions I attended. I was not representing anyone let alone an interest group. I attended each of the sessions and participated by asking questions and raising concerns with virtually every aspect of the proposal.

I would wager that as a result of comments by me and others many in attendance left with a better understanding of the real issues faced (by both public and private sector) instead of relying on what appeared to me to be more of a sales pitch by Nominet.

Interestingly, among the comments I (and many others) repeatedly made were those expressing concern over the lack of publicity and the apparent refusal to even reach out directly to .co.uk registrants.

The above said, I do very much agree with your apparent call to allow registrants more of a voice in the operations of Nominet.

Paul Keating
Paul@law.es

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This page contains a single entry by Philip Virgo published on March 1, 2013 12:24 PM.

Press cover on the result of the .UK consultation conceals more than it reveals was the previous entry in this blog.

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