ALTERNATIVE ACTIONS FOR ADDRESSING REMAINING
BOGUS SUNRISE .INFO REGISTRATIONS
November 9, 2002
The .INFO roll-out process is being watched as a possible model for future generic top level extension roll-outs, so it will have importance beyond just the .INFO extension. One of the remaining concerns from the .INFO roll-out is the status of remaining names with bogus trademark information that were registered during the Sunrise period. Ten alternative actions to address remaining bogus registrations were posted in a poll at two domain discussion forums*. The poll asked people to vote for each of the alternatives that they would find acceptable. Multiple votes were allowed to gain a better sense of relative ranking.
There are two main limitations to this poll. First, members of domain discussion forums are not representative of the general population nor the full range of constituencies to whom ICANN responds. Second, with under 40 respondents, this was not a large-scale poll. However, we are not aware of any other work that outlines this range of alternative actions or empirically measures opinions on any scale. Thus, despite these two caveats, this work may provide useful information for consideration by the Registry, ICANN, and other parties involved in policy formation.
When .INFO domain names were first introduced in 2001, people with trademarks were given first opportunity to register trademarked names in a "Sunrise period." The Sunrise period came before a "Land Rush" (LR) wherein the general public could register names in a "round robin" process. However, some people registered names during the Sunrise period with bogus trademark information. The registry challenged many bogus Sunrise registrations and released them to the public in "Land Rush 2" (LR2) in 2002 using a round robin process.
The round robin worked as follows. First, people submitted requests to registrars. Second, the order of requests within each registrar's list was randomized. Third, registration went around in a circle to each registrar, entering the first name from each list. If a name was available, the request was registered; if a name was already taken, the request was rejected. This cycle was repeated until all requests were processed. Requests in shorter registrar lists had a greater chance of success. Some registrar lists were closed to the public, at least via the internet.
Some bogus Sunrise registrations do not yet appear to have been challenged. Some are locked and seem to be in limbo. Others show changes in ownership in the WHOIS. It is not clear what is happening to them. For those names that are genuinely trademarked by someone other than the current registrant, the person with a genuine trademark can pursue the name through the UDRP process.
ALTERNATIVE ACTIONS LISTED IN THE POLL
1. NO SPECIAL ACTION: There is no need for special action because people with genuine trademark claims can use UDRP to get trademarked names taken by bogus registrations and no one else has any greater right to other names than the current registrants.
2. LR3 LIKE LR2: Remaining bogus Sunrise names should be challenged and distributed in a LR3 like LR2.
3. LR3 WITHOUT CLOSED LISTS: Remaining bogus Sunrise names should be challenged and distributed in LR3 like LR2, except that all participating registrars must allow public requests via internet.
4. LR3 WITH EQUAL LENGTH LISTS: Remaining bogus Sunrise names should be challenged and distributed in LR3 like LR2, except that all registrar list lengths should be equalized by adding random blanks to shorter lists. (credit to member "fairness" on ICANN forum for this idea)
5. FREE RANDOM DRAW: Remaining bogus Sunrise names should be challenged and distributed through a random drawing with no charge for submission. Names go to those who submit the most requests and are lucky. One could try to limit the number of requests by person, but this may be difficult to enforce.
6. AUCTION: Remaining bogus Sunrise names should be challenged and auctioned by the registry or registrars. Names go to those who pay the most. Extra value accrues to registry or registrars.
7. ANNOUNCED FIRST-COME FIRST-SERVE: Remaining bogus Sunrise names should be challenged and distributed at an announced time on a first-come, first-serve basis. Names go to those with the most rapid connections. The server may crash.
8. UNANNOUNCED FIRST-COME FIRST-SERVE: Remaining bogus Sunrise names should be challenged and distributed at an unannounced time on a first-come, first-serve basis. Names go to those who check frequently, have insider information, or are just lucky.
9. LR3 FOR LR1 PARTICIPANTS ONLY: Remaining bogus Sunrise names should be challenged and distributed in LR3 like LR2, except that only people with documented, non-refunded, paid requests for those same names during LR1 can participate for those names in LR3. Names go to those who originally lost money due to bogus registrations. May be tough to administer.
10. PROTOTYPE WEBSITE CONTEST: To help increase the number of working .INFO websites, the remaining bogus Sunrise names should be challenged and distributed based on a peer-reviewed contest evaluating usefulness of working prototype websites developed and submitted by applicants. Names go to people who have demonstrated commitment to providing good information content at the name.
The following are the combined results of the polls on the two domain discussion forums. The percentages are the percentages of respondents to whom the action is an acceptable way to address remaining bogus registrations.
The most favored alternative was LR3 WITH EQUAL LENGTH LISTS, acceptable to 47.2% of respondents.
Three alternatives formed a second-tier of alternative actions: LR3 LIKE LR2 (acceptable to 22.2%); LR3 WITHOUT CLOSED LISTS (acceptable to 22.2%); and PROTOTYPE WEBSITE CONTEST (acceptable to 19.4%).
Third-tier options were: FREE RANDOM DRAW (16.7%); AUCTION (13.9%); UNANNOUNCED FIRST-COME FIRST-SERVE (11.1%); and LR3 FOR LR1 PARTICIPANTS ONLY (11.1%).
The least favored alternatives were: NO SPECIAL ACTION (8.3%); and ANNOUNCED FIRST-COME FIRST-SERVE (5.6%).