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


     
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    Did Neustar Try to Shaft Competing Roots? | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 20 comments | Search Discussion
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    Re: Did Neustar Try to Shaft Competing Roots?
    by dtobias (dan@tobias.name) on Thursday March 28 2002, @07:24AM (#5618)
    User #2967 Info | http://domains.dan.info/
    I was around at the time, reading various online forums about domain policy, and while there was a whole succession of proposals and trial balloons regarding how to add new TLDs, some of which may have received tentative approval of Mr. Postel, I don't think there was ever anything that could be said to be a general consensus in favor of going forward with any of them (including, of course, the ICANN system that eventually did come about). In the traditional Internet method of getting things done in the pre-big-money days, the emphasis was on "consensus and running code." The prospective .biz registry from that old scheme did have running code, but did they have consensus? The way I recall things, from about 1994 to the present it's been impossible for anybody to propose anything regarding domain policy without precipitating a firestorm of controversy, with heated flame wars developing and sometimes a few lawsuits too. There are too many people and companies with vested interests in different aspects of the system, some in favor of keeping out new TLDs and some in favor of adding them, for any possible system to satisfy them all, so the only way anything actually ends up getting done is basically by the fiat power of whoever is, de facto, in charge, which presently seems to be the U.S. Department of Commerce, which has in turn delegated much of the power to ICANN (though they could pull this back given what's happening these days). The "alternative" .biz registry, even if they at one point had the ear of people in charge, never actually got final binding approval to be added to the root, and hence they have no standing in the system.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: Did Neustar Try to Shaft Competing Roots? by dtobias
    Re: Did Neustar Try to Shaft Competing Roots?
    by dtobias (dan@tobias.name) on Thursday March 28 2002, @08:53AM (#5624)
    User #2967 Info | http://domains.dan.info/
    I have no way of knowing what was on Postel's mind at the time, but even if he did originally favor letting that version of .biz into the root, this doesn't constitute a legally binding agreement. The whole point of having Internet drafts that aren't yet RFCs is because some of them might get withdrawn or modified before reaching final fruition. For that matter, RFCs themselves have no definitive binding power (their name means "Request For Comments"), though they're the closest thing the old, pre-commercial Internet had to established authority.

    At any rate, I consider it an essential aspect to any naming or numbering system that there be a definitive standard as to what is or isn't part of it, and in the case of domain names, the standard has always been the root controlled by the U.S. government. It's similar with phone numbers; if I own a competing phone company, I'd be foolish to start assigning country codes, area codes, and exchanges without getting them assigned through the established system, even if the numbers I pick don't happen to be in current use, as some day they might be, and could result in my customers and customers of other phone companies not being able to reliably call one another.
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