Re: [DNS] .asn Domains

Re: [DNS] .asn Domains

From: Ian Smith <smithi§nimnet.asn.au>
Date: Fri, 2 Nov 2001 06:58:52 +1100 (EST)
Paul, I've picked on your message rather than one of a dozen others to
say something about all of this - don't take it personally :) but I
think you hit a couple of nails very straight, so here goes: 

On Thu, 1 Nov 2001, Paul Day wrote:

 > On Thu, 1 Nov 2001, Don Cameron wrote:
 > 
 > > * auDA is tasked with commercialising the .au namespace.
 > 
 > No, auDA is tasked with running the .au namespace effeciently and
 > effectively.

Indeed.  Likely bidder/s for .com.au and perhaps to a lesser extent,
net.au, and those involved in that section of the industry as resellers
seem to be those pushing for the commercialisation of ALL of .au.  The
request for tender shows the success of such players in homogenising the
whole namespace issue to the extent that few other organisations will be
in a position to bid for spaces such as .asn.au and org.au, on each of a
technical, financial and organisational basis.  id.au I know little of. 

 > > * auDA is not funded nor is it in a position to subsidise the free provision
 > > of domains.
 > 
 > The money they'll be making from .com.au and .net.au doesn't put them in a
 > position to subsidise the vastly smaller .org/asn/id.au namespace?

The whole way this process has been structured almost ensures reduction
to a very few, very large companies in the whole domain name allocation
game; it appears stacked in every way to reward already large winners
with more, likely driving all others, including the 'community' sector,
out of any say; the endgame in the commercial takeover of the internet.

But for a moment assuming that all is not rolled up and laid out for
only the few large operators to subsume the once-free 2LDs by default,
and assuming for the sake of round figuring that .com.au and .net.au
licences were also $50/year, then the total value of share of the .au
space 'market', on AuDA figures from tender documents, is currently: 

domain   number   %  AuDA/licence/2yr  per year  value&#167;$50/yr outlay  %

com.au  229,339  89  $.57/150k+.50ea   $62,585   $11,466,950  $100k  57
net.au   17,383   7  $1.00/15k+.60ea     8,215       869,150   $30k  17
org.au    7,841   3  $1.00               3,921       392,050   $15k  8.6
asn.au    2,532   1  $1.00               1,266       116,600   $15k  8.6
id.au      ~520  .2  $1.00                ~260         1.040   $15k  8.6

(E&OE, done with my usually trusty calculator.  I'm aware that there are
other aspects of allocation of the total domain name fees between AuDA,
registry, registrars and resellers, in domains where that's appropriate,
and leaving aside the contribution, either way, of the closed 2LDs, so
this isn't the whole picture at all - but is indicative nonetheless?)

The totally disproportionate registry startup outlays, for the sizes of
each domain, and the near half-price rego/renewal fees for the larger
domains, compared with significant registry startup outlays for the
latter three domains (25.7% of fees, representing just 4.2% of domains),
shows the extent to which this is skewed towards the commercial domains,
particularly with the values quoted above assuming a $50/yr licence fee!

This is not too surprising considering the resources larger concerns
have been able to throw at the whole AuDA process, and the relative lack
of time and finances that less well resourced sections of the community
have at their disposal, but it's been rather disappointing nevertheless.

 > > * Most NFP entities are struggling for funds and cannot afford this
 > > additional overhead.
 > 
 > A bit of a generalisation to say "most". I'm on this "keep org/asn/id.au
 > free" side of the fence, but I'm definately not naive enough to think that
 > most NPO's and individuals can't afford a domain registration!

I figure that an organisation that cannot afford $1/week for a domain
probably cannot afford to maintain one, be it for web/mail/whatever.
Certainly as a network association renting space and running a server,
such fees are completely insignificant compared to even phone costs.

I'm much more concerned about other ways than financially that org.au
and asn.au, and reportedly at least some of id.au, are now 'free'.

I dislike some of the 'NFP' definitions floating around, and believe it
the business of each 2LD to find ways to set and enforce its own policy
for eligibility and operation, clearly different for commercial domains;
anyway I'm not going to get into what different organisations might seek
in the way of grants etc to cover these and much more significant costs.

This 'one size fits all' agenda can only be to the detriment of the 2LDs
hitherto free, if (however appropriate) criteria for commercial domains
are applied to org.au and asn.au, where it's not even necessary to be an
incorporated body - at present, common law unincorporated associations
(common clubs, in NSW at least) hold domain names.  We are one such, and
I hope that we and other associations and individuals will be 'allowed'
to register and use internet domain names without impediment in future.

 > > * Other than a desire for commercialisation, there is no justification for
 > > applying charges where none previously existed.
 > 
 > Again, I would disagree with this, from my side of the fence. There is
 > definately justification for commercialisation of part/all of the .au
 > domain space, however there are also viable ways of keeping the
 > NPO/individual name-space free and run effectively.

Agreed, except I don't think that 'free' is really an option anymore,
given that we'd rather see that some organisation/s, say, for example,
connect.west, who clearly have the technical expertise to satisfy the
highly complex new technical requirements (obviously designed by those
who already have these technologies up and mostly running :) but most
likely really now can't continue doing that on a purely voluntary basis,
running the {org,asn,id}.au registries than them being a sideline for
companies that have little interest in the ethos let alone history of
these domains - volunteerism has limits, as many long-term volunteers
have found.  Sadly, I think it's too late to pull off 'free' now.

So there are costs that should be covered and no longer just absorbed by
worthy volunteers, but at what propotion of a commercial domain licence,
obtained in at least the hope of profit, might be appropriate is hard to
tell.  I'm sure people are doing the maths now, based on that $15.000
upfront, plus whatever the security / backup / redundancy requirements
surely mandate, and I assume $50/year is the only thing doable, given
such (I believe) disproportionate, indeed unfair, stacking of the game.

Perhaps if one applicant took on asn.au, org.au and id.au, a total fee
rather less than $45,000, or 25% of the total, might be appropriate?

I do not accept that if org.au and asn.au domains are less costly than
say com.au/net.au, that businesses will use them in preference just to
save 50 cents or a dollar a week; I see no evidence that this occurs
much if at all now, when such domains have been entirely free to date.

Anyway, need it be all one way or the other?  If AuDA can look at making
the registry fees, especially the startup impediment (peanuts to the big
players, but highly significant to once-free 2LDs) more in proportion
with the actual sizes of the domains - not even looking at projected
growth, most likely much more in the commercial areas that businesses
are more interested in - thus allowing licences in previously free 2LDs
to be set at least at some level more appropriate to their generally
non-commercial usage base, yet still providing useful remuneration to
those doing the work - not that processing forms through databases for a
few milliseconds here and there can really be called working, but it's
these setup costs that are going to be difficult for any organisation to
absorb, including costs in time and research on these new reg protocols.

More than 2c worth, and a bit rambling I know, but I'm afraid I've not
had the time to devote to more of the discussion than this lately, and
there's been little time in these latest few rounds to deeply consider
anything much - I'm frankly still recovering from my despair at the last
couple of months' announcements!

Cheers, Ian       http://www.nimnet.asn.au/

(perspective: 3.5 years voluntary administration of a community-based
association's network server, services and accounting, after ~9 years
of running fidonet/BBS systems, mostly in underresourced rural areas)

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Received on Thu Nov 01 2001 - 20:11:50 UTC

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