Browser IDN display policy: opinions sought

Eric Brunner-Williams ebw at
Mon Dec 12 19:18:16 CET 2011

On 12/12/11 12:16 PM, John C Klensin wrote:
> 	-- all registries are good guys and enforce whatever
> 	rules they make.

The incumbent monopoly operator and the larger two of the marginally
viable 2000 round gTLD operators are on record opposed to registry
liability for "willful blindness" to systematic misconduct by
registrars and their resellers.

> 	-- all registrars are good guys, with neither motivation
> 	nor will for getting around the rules.

Some 600 of the 900 or so entities ICANN has accredited as
"registrars" exist for the purpose of providing (race) access to the
"drop pool", and a significant number of the remaining 300 registrars
hold substantial self-owned portfolios of domains created prior to the
change of rule concerning "domain tasting".

To attempt a slightly less implied universal cynicism than John, where
the universe of "registries" contains .cat, .coop, .museum, and
perhaps twice that number of registries, none of which is price
capped, and the universe of "registrars" is similarly limited to those
that have not pursued "tasting" or the "secondary market" and which
are not committed to acquisition of a registry agreement and the
monitization strategy of unrestricted registration (and this is not a
null set), Andrew's assumption is not inherently doomed to fail.

So passing on to the third assumption:

> 	-- if either of the above fail, there is someone with
> 	both the authority and willingness to require that the
> 	rules be enforced and to enforce that requirement (or to
> 	enforce the rules itself, but that is even more
> 	farfetched).

At the Rome meeting ICANN took heat for Sitefinder, and after more
time than necessary, issued a statement on the harm of synthetic return.

The next major demonstration of sanity was pulling the plug on the
systemic exploit of the Add Grace Period, ending domain tasting. It
did not, however, act upon registrars which engaged in tasting, other
than de-accrediting those (low-tech and/or low-clue) unable to cease
tasting, and unable to pay the new fee to taste above the permitted

Those are the major sanity-as-enforced-policy I recall. For the past
two years or more ICANN has had the opportunity to spend more on
contractual compliance. I observed at the Cartagena meeting that the
recent head of compliance hire was low-clue on well-known forms of
abuse. I don't think this is greatly improved -- my reading of the
weaknesses of the current CEO, and of the transition effect that has
been present for the past six months or more, and continues for the
next several months.

So I share John's cynicism w.r.t. registry contract enforcement, and
registrar contract enforcement.

There will be safe and sane namespaces, and there will be namespaces
who's operators will maximize revenues, creating externalities to be
bourne by others.

My two beads worth,

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