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Los Angeles, California

November 3, 1999

At the ICANN Public Forum on November 3, 1999, Jim Bramsom of AOL presented seven points of concern expressed by a number of accredited registrars about the DOC/ICANN/NSI agreement. We thank his staff for providing the text, which was submitted to the ICANN board.
The accredited registrars have reviewed the agreements that the ICANN Board is being asked to approve. Among the registrars concerns with these agreements are the following widely-shared issues relating to the agreements: 

1. Credit policies for registrars should be uniform.

Issue: The proposed agreements would exempt NSI in its capacity as a registrar from the requirement that all registrars are assured of payment of registration fees before activating a domain name. This exemption would give NSI a competitive advantage over other registrars.

Proposal: NSI has stated that as a technological matter, they cannot meet the prepayment requirement at this time. To create a level playing field, NSI should not be allowed to change its domain name registration pricing until it is able to comply with the prepayment requirements.

2. NSI registrar should not be able to enter into exclusive agreements in the short term.

Issue: Amendment 11 prohibits the NSI registrar from entering into exclusive agreements with its customers (effectively partners) for a period of eighteen months form the onset of the test bed in order to facilitate the entry of competitive registrars into the market. An apparent drafting inconsistency was created in Amendment 19 which could be interpreted to eliminate the exclusivity prohibition.

Proposal: Amendment 19 should be clarified to indicate that it does not remove the exclusivity prohibition contained in Amendment 11. Furthermore, because the test bed was extended for four months, thereby delaying the entry of new registrars into the market, the exclusivity prohibition should be extended for a corresponding four months in order not to disadvantage the new registrars.

3. Registry service level agreements should be incorporated into agreements.

Issue: The current agreements do not contain any standards for measuring the technical and service performance of the registry.

Proposal: The contracts must be modified to establish effective measuring standards and corresponding remedies to ensure that the registry operates in a reliable and stable manner. such standards are typical in these kinds of managed service environments, and should be considered without any increase in the $6 per year per domain name registration fees paid by the registrars to the registry. Attached is a proposed amendment to the contract addressing this issue that was discussed with the NSI registry.

4. NSI should not have sole approval over changes in ICANN accreditation fees.

Issue: Changes in the annual accreditation fees paid by the registrars to ICANN must be approved by registrars accounting for payment of two-thirds of all registrar level fees. NSI will account for two-thirds o these fees in the foreseeable future and thus control this vote.

Proposal: Changes in accreditation fees should more properly be approved by a consensus of all accredited registrars.

5. should not point to the NSI registrar's WHOIS database.

Issue: The current agreements propose a six-month transition for NSI to discontinue pointing to the NSI registrar's WHOIS database. This lengthy transition will continue to confuse consumers and businesses that view as the definitive source of WHOIS data.

Proposal: should resolved to the NSI registry database.

6. The SRS protocol should be accessible to future DNS participants.

Issue: under the proposed contracts, NSI owns the SRS protocol necessary to access the current gTLD registry. the agreements do not provide for new gTLD registries to have access to the SRS protocol. This may lead to the development of multiple protocols to be used by registrars when communicating with multiple registries and inhibit the use of new gTLDs.

Proposal: The agreements should make the SRS protocol publicly available to accredited registrars and registries to ensure a uniform standard.

7. Customers need to be aware that there are now registration alternatives.

Issue: Domain name holders may not be aware that there are multiple registrars who can assist them in registering gTLDs.

Proposal: There should be an ICANN sponsored mechanism to educate the public about the registrar service options available.


ICANN Accredited Registrars ("Registrars") and Network Solution Registry ("Registry") shall, within 45 days after the effective date of the Registry Agreement ("Effective Date"), establish a Registry Service Level Agreement ("SLA") for the Shared Registration System ("System") that shall include, at least:
  • identified service level parameters and measurements regarding performance of the System, including, for example, System availability;
  • responsibilities of the Registrars and Registry (e.g., the obligation of the Registrars to notify the Registry of any experienced System outages and the obligation of the Registry to respond in a timely manner to System outages);
  • an appropriate Service Level dispute resolution process; and
  • remedies for failure to meet the SLA.

The Registry and Registrars shall also discuss other SLA issues, including an SLA for customer service from the Registry to the Registrars (e.g., customer service performance).

The Registry and Registrars agree that unless the SLA requires fundamental architecture changes to the System or extraordinary increases in costs to the Registry beyond what is generally required to implement an SLA (which is not the intent of the Registry or the Registrars), the SLAs will be created and implemented without any increase in the $ price for Registry services.

The 45 day drafting period ("Drafting Period") shall be structured as follows: (a) representatives of the Registrars and representatives of the Registry (the "SLA" Working Group") shall promptly meet and complete a draft of the SLA within 20 days after the Effective Date; (b) the Registrars shall have 10 days after distributions of the draft SLA to submit comments to the Working Group; and (c) the Working Group shall meet again to finalize and approve the SLA, taking into account the comments of the Registrars. The Drafting Period and structure shall be subject to modification by mutual agreement of the parties to the Working Group. The SLA shall be implemented as soon as reasonably feasible after its completion, including by implementing the SLA in stages if appropriate.

In the event the Working Group is unable to agree upon an SLA within the Drafting Period, ICANN, shall promptly appoint an independent third party, with experience in the development of SLAs, to mediate a resolution between the parties.

Upon its approval by the Working Group, the SLA shall be incorporated as a Schedule to the Registrar License and Agreement.













DNS in Congress

Policy statements and Congressional testimony on private sector implementation of the U.S. government Internet White Paper.

International Forum on the White Paper

Meetings in Summer 1998 which culminated with the creation of ICANN.






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