Re: [DNS] .au space proposal

Re: [DNS] .au space proposal

From: Patrick Corliss <patrick§quad.net.au>
Date: Fri, 24 Nov 2000 04:50:53 +1100
Vic Cinc (Deus Ex Machina) wrote on Thurs, November 23, 2000 10:41 PM:

> wrong! a name space that is empty is a waste. a name space that is full
> is an efficient name space that people  are *using* and deriving benefit
from.
> an empty name space provides benefit and value for precisely nobody.

Hi Vic

Of course you are right in the sense that stopping people from doing something
means that they don't do it.  Similarly stopping people from having something
means they don't have it.  But that's a narrow argument, as you may have
realised.

What you are saying, I think, is that it's a misallocation of resources to
stop the issuance of certain domain names in order to pander to persons who
think they are acting in the public interest.

What *they* are saying, I think, is that it is inequitable to benefit certain
folk who are fortunate enough to secure a valuable asset at a low cost as such
a policy inherently disadvantages the rest of society who missed out.

This is, of course, a re-run of many similar arguments albeit framed in a
different way.

Private schooling, private medicine and university education are similar
examples.  Why should some people gain an unfair benefit over others?  The
answer is, of course, that they can afford to pay a premium price for such a
privilege.

I don't think any sensible person would hold that all domain names are of
equal value.  The proof of this is easily established by the different prices
being paid in the global TLD space.  The same would apply if .com.au names
were freely marketable.

I'd guarantee that a domain such as "travel.com.au" would fetch a different
price than "getlost.com.au" even assuming that neither had a developed website
or brand image.  Whether the price would be higher or lower, I'm not prepared
to venture.

But, at present, all are registered at the price of A$140 with Melbourne IT.
The value of a registered domain name must be at least that or it wouldn't
have been registered.  The economic question is "How much is the premium above
the cost of the domain?"

Let's say I have "greatname.com.au" (which I don't) and I paid $140 for it.
The present rules (widely avoided, IMO) prohibit selling domain names.   And
let's say this rule is scrapped.  I can then advertise and sell my domain name
for $10,000 or whatever.

The question then becomes "Is it fair that the domain name registration system
allows certain people to earn a windfall profit to the perceived disadvantage
of others?"

Phrased in that way, the real issue becomes clearer.  It is nothing to do with
generic or place names -- it is entirely a matter of an equitable treatment of
a resource.

And it doesn't help to say the domain space is or is not a *national asset*.
That's a furphy.  Or that future technology may impact on the way things are
done.  That's a *given* in this ever-changing world.  We are talking about the
present value.

Melbourne IT has, for whatever historical reason, the rights to allocate
domain names in accordance with a policy that was set up with that very
question in mind.  If the policy is being reviewed, the question becomes "Is
the present method of allocation (First Come, First Served at a fixed price)
the fairest system that can be devised".

It is my opinion that the answer must be "No, it isn't". Which means one of
two things: either we leave the present restrictions OR we devise a better
system.

Which is exactly the right question as can be seen from Ian Johnston's remark:

> Indeed, Proposal 4.2.2 in the Name Panel paper proposes the relaxation
> or abolition of the policy, and Proposal 4.2.1 is to retain the policy with
> some  improvements. (per Ian Johnstone).

In fact I would suggest that the best way to treat the subject is to break it
into two separate components:

(1)    Forgetting (for a moment) about how best to allocate domain names, do
we agree that it would be better, in principle, for the current restictions on
domain names to be relaxed so that these names can be released in the domain
name space?

Answer:    Yes, of course.  Much better use of a resource.  Benefits
Australia.

(2)    Given that the current restriction are to be relaxed, what would be the
fairest and most equitable method of allocating the newly-released domain
names?

Focus on the second question and I think we all might be able to agree.

Best regards
Patrick Corliss
Received on Fri Nov 24 2000 - 01:49:16 UTC

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