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

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 bycommercial sector

Fromthe Cloud Industry Forum, something that makes regulation/governmentalintervention for the Internet more likely:


Don’t let dotCLOUD become a Closed Registry!

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

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

However, some large companies are applying for generic categories in theindustries in which they compete and intend to operate them as closedregistries. Examples include .cloud, .book, .news, .blog and .insurance. Ifthese applications are granted, only the successful applicants will be able toregister any second level domain names in those TLDs (e.g. www. “yourcompanyname”.cloud), leaving them free to exclude competitors and exploit the new TLD fortheir sole benefit. The Cloud Industry Forum believe that this situation couldhave harmful consequences for market education and competition and restrictsthe treasured openness of the internet and should be resisted.

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

CIF are keen to raise people’s awareness of this issue through PR and throughthe process of raising a Community Objection on behalf of our members inkeeping with ICANN review and dispute processes. Please follow this link forour 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 isimportant to have your voice heard by submitting a public comment to ICANN.Every comment will help us raise the seriousness of the concern around thefuture of .cloud with ICANN so please do follow this link and have your saytoday.

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

With Kind regards

The Cloud Industry Forum