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    .net What Is Afilias Hiding?
    posted by michael on Thursday January 13 2005, @06:45PM

    Steven Forrest writes "ICANN has just posted the September registry reports, and they are shocking for what they don't include. Nowhere does Afilias, which runs the .Info registry, explain or even acknowledge that the .Info top-level domain was effectively shut down for more than a day at the end of September. In fact, the data Afilias submitted to ICANN shows no such outage even though, as I reported on here at Free2Innovate.net back on Oct. 4:
    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 included the full text of the Afilias email in the extended-entry portion of my Oct. 4 post , in which I reported that a source informed 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. Afilias was able to process only 326,000 registrations, or slightly less than a third, and .Info was swamped and, essentially, knocked offline.

    Take a look at Afilias's September report for .Info . You would expect there to be data showing the day-long outage. You would expect to see some extraordinarily high number for downtime, for "unplanned availability" of various functions - SRS, DNS updates or something. But, no. Afilias claims that, in the month of September, it had no unplanned outage. They even claimed better performance on Write Operations than they reported in August, when .Info did not effectively shut down for a whole day.

    But it simply isn't there."

    "Based on the data Afilias submitted to ICANN, the day-long .Info outage appears simply to never have happened. Yet Afilias admitted the day-long outage in its email to its customers.

    Given that Afilias itself admitted the day-long .Info outage in an email sent to customers, their report to ICANN appears to be pure fiction.

    That would be serious in and of itself, but it gets worse: Afilias is considered a top-shelf competitor in the bidding sweepstakes for the .Net Registry Agreement, currently held by Verisign until the contract expires at the end of June.

    Is Afilias lying about its September .Info performance in order to prop up its .Net chances? Or was its September email to customers a false explanation meant to mask some other problem? Unknown. But if I had to gamble money, I'd bet the email was true and the September registry report is, to put it diplomatically, equine manure. Admitting that it couldn't even keep a small TLD like .Info running 24/7 wouldn't help Afilias in its bid to capture the .Net Registry Agreement - especially since Afilias' poor performance wasn't a one-off event but merely the latest incident in which a TLD it operates suffered a serious outage.

    The Registries' monthly performance reports to ICANN rarely come under scrutiny by the tech media. But in July and August I examined Afilias' performance running .Org, which Afilias operates under contract with .Info owner the Public Interest Registry, after Afilias and the Public Interest Registry were strangely silent about a serious, though much briefer, outage of the .Org domain

    Afilias' own monthly .Info Registry reports indicate a less-than-stellar performance record, as I documented here .
    According to Afilias' own reporting records, available here on the ICANN website, Afilias 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.
    I published a number of follow-ups to my initial report, including this one , which noted that Heather D. Carle, Afilias' director of communications for Afilias, had sent me an email in response claiming I had published "some incorrect facts regarding our system" and requesting a chance to "clarify" things. I invited her to send a written response and I would publish it. She never bothered to reply.

    Also, on Oct. 8, I looked deeper into Afilias' performance record with this post :
    In addition to .info, Afilias provides core back-end registry services for .org under contract with the Public Interest Registry. Back in July, the .org zone suffered some kind of serious glitch that Afilias has yet to explain. The .org Registry Operator's Report isn't available for July yet (ICANN posts them here ), but the March report, April report, and May report all indicate at least some failure to operate the .org zone up to the standards agreed to in the Service Level Agreement. Handing Afilias the .net registry on top of all that ... seems like a recipe for a fiasco. And it could be a costly fiasco - the .net TLD is a critical part of the Internet and carries one third of all email traffic and $320,000 per minute - $168 billion annually - in ecommerce transactions, according to some estimates. Afilias is not a large company. [ This story ] about Afilias and the .mob and .asia domains says the company has about 60 employees. Can it handle .net? It can't even handle .info very well.
    Afilias's logo for .Info claims that .Info is "Where the World Goes for Information." But is Afilias September registry report for .Info misleading information? If it is the fiction that it appears to be, ICANN has a critical responsibility to ensure that the third-party evaluators who will soon be examining RFP submissions from Afilias and other bidders are provided supporting documentation of the registry's claims. And someone on the evaluation team needs to confront Afilias with a copy of its September 30, 2004 email and the data from their September .Info registry report and demand an explanation.

    It would be interesting to hear. Especially if it was true.


    After I posted the above on my weblog, Karl Auerbach emailed the following:
    I noticed that you said the that .org outage was of less impact than the .info outage.

    I'd suggest otherwise - the .org outage was of the ability to resolve .org names, which affects *all* users of the net whenever they utter a name in .org. The outage in .info, according to your report, was to the registration system. That only affects those who are actually trying to register a name at that time - but users on the net are still able to resolve all the other .info names.

    So I'd classify the .org outage as an actual failure of a critical internet infrastructure with immediate worldwide impact on all .org names (and users who utter them) while the .info outage merely that of a business portal affecting only the clientelle who happened to try to use that portal during that interval.

    The difference in numbers of transactions affected must be hundreds of millions (and probably many times more - how many URLs and emails with .org names were uttered during the outage?) with .org to at most the number of attempts to obtain the promotional .info registration (a million at most.
    What I said was the .Org outage was "serious, though much briefer" than the .Info outage. Auerbach's email clarifies just how serious it was."

    Why ICANN Should Not Be in the Grant-Giving Biz | Panix's domain name Hijacked  >

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      Related Links  
    · CORE
    · Afilias
    · VeriSign/NSI
    · Public Interest Registry: .org
    · ICANN
    · here
    · available here
    · March 2004 report
    · this one
    · this post
    · glitch
    · here
    · March
    · April
    · May
    · critical
    · This story
    · Steven Forrest
    · posted
    · Oct. 4 post
    · September report for .Info
    · More .net stories
    · Also by michael
    What Is Afilias Hiding? | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 8 comments | Search Discussion
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    Afilias should lose .info
    by watchdog on Saturday January 15 2005, @07:27PM (#14616)
    User #4058 Info
    Forget about evening considering Afilias for .net! When the Afilias registry contract for .info expires next year, .info should be giving to another company. Afilias made a mess out .info and still hasn't done anything with the fake sunrise names and they have taken out of circulation many oher trademarked domains which may be legitimate by leaving them locked (suprised the owners haven't got together and started a class action lawsuit against Afilias yet).
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Afilias Parody
    by dtobias (dan@tobias.name) on Monday January 17 2005, @04:22AM (#14620)
    User #2967 Info | http://domains.dan.info/
    See my Afilias parody site [haters.info] from 2001... still funny after all these years.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    • 1 reply beneath your current threshold.
    Information is wrong
    by jenthro on Sunday January 23 2005, @09:17AM (#14634)
    User #4062 Info
    I work for a registrar that registers .info. We also collect our own statistics about registry uptime. .info did not have an outage in September based on our records. The registry never went down as the article claims. The email that was sent to us was in regards to DNS updates which we did notice were slower then normal. Atleast in this case Afilias was responsible enough to let its customer know why there was a delay in the updates, unlike some other companies that we deal with.

    It really irks me to be reading blatant lies. Makes me wonder if Mr. Steven Forrest is on "someones" payroll?

    I would also urge the editors of Icannwatch to actually provide fair coverage, as opposed to spewing propaganda all the time. You risk becoming truly irrelevant. The number of comments speak volumes.

    Jen Throten
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]

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