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    Highlights of the ICANNWatch Archive
    (June 1999 - March 2001)

    .net Can Afilias Handle the .Net Registry?
    posted by michael on Tuesday October 05 2004, @10:23AM

    Steven Forrest writes "Last week, Afilias issued a press release touting the fact that its .info domain has exceeded 1.5 million registrations. It was, rather obviously, a bid to demonstrate that Afilias can manage a major top-level domain such as .Net when it comes up for re-bid in the next few months. But Afilias' press release begs a question: Just how well is Afilias running .Info? According to reporting data and an email Afilias itself sent out last week, not so great.

    Last Thursday, a red-faced Afilias had to notify its registrar customers that the .info domain was effectively shut down for more than a day because of "unusually high number of promotional registrations over the last several days." Afilias said it "expected to be back to normal update times within the next 24 hours." I have included the full text of the Afilias at the extended-entry portion of this article.

    My source tells me that Afilias's .Info registry was overrun after eNOM attempted to register 1 million .info names on behalf of customers who were taking advantage of a free promotion. Of them, Afilias was able to process only 326,000 registrations, or slightly less than a third. .Info was swamped and, essentially, knocked offline.

    Was Afilias' problem last week an anomaly? Unfortunately, for Afilias, the answer is no."

    According to Afilias' own reporting records, available here on the ICANN website, ICANN has regularly failed to meet their service level agreement for .info availability. Over the last year of reported data (July 2003 through June 2004), Afilias exceeded its allowable outage time in eight of 12 months. Worse yet, they have exceeded their unplanned outage time in five of the last 12 months. The March 2004 report is a good example.

    The reality is that Afilias' performance on .info regularly violates their Service Level Agreement.

    The Afilias press release last week touted the number of .info registrations as a not-so-subtle way of saying Afilias handle the much-larger .Net registry, but the evidence suggests otherwise. As ICANN moves to select the next operator of .Net - a choice likely to come down to the incumbent VeriSign or rivals Afilias and NeuLevel - it should take Afilias' inability to meet its service-level agreement heavily into account. The stability and smooth operation of the .Net Registry is too important to be placed in incompetent hands.

    Here is the text of the email Afilias Technical Support sent to registrars last week:

    Sent: Thursday, September 30, 2004 9:19 AM
    To: registrars@afilias.net
    Subject: [Registrars] .INFO Registry Informational Notice

    This informs you that DNS propagation updates for .INFO are temporarily delayed due to an unusually high number of promotional registrations over the last several days. We expect to be back to normal update times within the next 24 hours.

    Registrars interested in the "Free INFO" promotion program should contact Roland LaPlante (rlaplante@afilias.info) or Heather Carle (hcarle@afilias.info) for enrollment information.

    Best Regards,
    Afilias Technical Support

    Judging from their track record with the .info registry, I'd bet that, if Afilias is granted the next ICANN contract to run the .net registry, we're going to be seeing a lot more "Oops!" emails from Afilias Technical Support."

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      Related Links  
    · Afilias
    · VeriSign/NSI
    · ICANN
    · available here
    · March 2004 report
    · choice
    · Steven Forrest
    · Afilias
    · press release
    · More .net stories
    · Also by michael
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