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    Fascinating Bust Up on the Registrars' Mailing List | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 1 comments | Search Discussion
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    Registrar / Registry split
    by dtobias (dan@tobias.name) on Thursday January 30 2003, @03:58PM (#11060)
    User #2967 Info | http://domains.dan.info/
    I'm not sure there is a strong need, in all cases, for a registrar/registry split (which is what is being undermined by GNR setting up a subsidiary registrar), any more than there's a need to keep local and long distance phone service completely separate. In both cases (registrars/registries, and local/long distance phone companies), the artificial separation was imposed in order to break up a monopoly which had emerged due to earlier policy decisions, and the need for it lessened over time as the market changed.

    To break up NetSol / Verisign, a strong separation of registrars and the registry was important for .com/.org/.net. The registry was an inherent natural monopoly due to the need for a single authoritative database for each TLD, but the registrars were a part of the process where competition could be and was introduced.

    However, in the case of new TLDs, there are a number of them and none has an unnaturally large pre-eminence as .com has had, so they're at a stage of their evolution where it's possible a strong combined registry/registrar might do a better job of promoting and selling domains in those TLDs to end users than the current system where the market is fragmented among lots of registrars, none of whom have any particular incentive to promote new TLDs. .name in particular hasn't been well-promoted by registrars, so it's understandable that GNR wants to take over that process themselves. As it now stands, even if GNR started a good marketing campaign, who would they send potential customers to when the registrars have so little interest in selling .name domains?

    I recently registered a .name domain for my mother, and couldn't find any particularly good price deals on them. .com domains can be registered for as low as $8, but .name domains seem typically to cost $25 and up (if you want both the third-level domain and the corresponding 2nd-level email). So a big-money corporation actually has to spend less for its commercial domains than an individual for his/her personal one. Does that make sense?

    I think the requirement of separate registrars makes even less sense for small-scale, highly limited domains like .museum. There, the requirement merely inserts an unnecessary layer of middlemen, increasing registration cost, without doing any particular good for anybody; the registrars aren't even particularly interested in getting such business, as the market is small and the amount of bother in enforcing registration restrictions is high.

    So is there really any need for competing registrars outside of large-scale, unrestricted, established TLDs?
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