ICANN Resolutions » 2002-08-23 - VeriSign WLS Proposal
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Board authorizes ICANN Staff to negotiate revisions to .COM and .NET agreements for implementation of WLS, under certain defined conditions.
Whereas, on 21 March 2002 VeriSign, Inc., the operator of the .com and .net registries, requested amendments to the registry agreements for those top-level domains to allow it to conduct a twelve-month trial of a proposed wait-listing service (WLS) to be offered through accredited registrars for an annual fee;
Whereas, at its 22 April 2002 meeting the Board, after noting that a report of the DNSO will be of assistance in evaluating the VeriSign WLS proposal, requested the Names Council to coordinate within the DNSO a comprehensive review of issues concerning the deletion of domain names and possible solutions for those issues and to submit to the Board a status report on that review, with the status report to include any recommendations concerning VeriSign's request to modify the .com and .net agreements to allow it to provide the WLS;
Whereas, a Public Forum was held on 27 June 2002 at ICANN's meetings in Bucharest, during which VeriSign gave a presentation of the WLS in which it proposed changes to its WLS proposal (including avoidance of preferential treatment of existing SnapBack subscriptions, and reduction of VeriSign's annual fee for WLS subscriptions to US$24.00) to accommodate concerns expressed in community comments; the DNSO Transfers Task Force summarized its preliminary findings and recommendations; and several members of the Internet community gave their views on WLS;
Whereas, the Board concluded at its Bucharest meeting that its consideration of VeriSign's request would be assisted by receiving the final report of the DNSO's bottom-up consensus-development effort, and therefore called on the Names Council to provide, no later than 26 July 2002, final recommendations, with its supporting rationale and any separate positions of DNSO constituencies, on the VeriSign WLS request;
Whereas, the DNSO Transfers Task Force finalized its report in mid-July 2002, recommending (with dissenting views) (a) that VeriSign's request be rejected and (b) that if it is approved various conditions be incorporated;
Whereas, although the range of opinions regarding the WLS in the community has significantly narrowed during the discussions of the issues, there remains a disparity of opinions;
Whereas, the Board is mindful that ICANN should act in a way that promotes consumer choice and innovative services while ensuring that registry operations are conducted in a manner that does not harm the legitimate interests of consumers or others;
Whereas, the Board concludes that, in general, ICANN should avoid depriving consumers of the option of purchasing services they may decide are beneficial, and that the option of subscribing to a guaranteed "wait list" service is one such service;
Whereas, the Board also concludes that various conditions are necessary to ensure that the proposed WLS is implemented in a manner that promotes, rather than harms, the interests of consumers and others with legitimate interests;
Whereas, the Board notes that the Blueprint for Reform adopted and endorsed in resolution 02.75 contemplates that ICANN should have mechanisms to consult with Expert Advisory Panels or existing expert bodies on competition and other issues and that the Evolution and Reform Committee is developing recommendations for implementation of that and other recommendations of the Blueprint;
Whereas, the Board notes that the implementation of mechanisms for ICANN to consult on economic and competition issues should be in place in time to be of assistance in connection with evaluation of any WLS trial;
Resolved [02.100] that the President and General Counsel are authorized to conduct negotiations on behalf of ICANN toward appropriate revisions to the .com and .net registry agreements between ICANN and VeriSign to provide for the offering of a wait-listing service as proposed by VeriSign, with the following additional conditions:
(a) Subscriptions under the WLS in the .com and .net top-level domains shall not be taken by VeriSign Global Registry Services until at least six months have elapsed after implementation of the Redemption Grace Period for all deleted names in those top-level domains;
(b) No preference in connection with, or exclusion from, WLS shall be given because of any registrar-level reservation service;
(c) No registrar sponsoring the registration of a domain name in the .com and .net top-level domains shall be permitted to obtain (in its own name or for another, directly or indirectly) a WLS subscription on that name at any time after a date sixty days before the registration of the name is deleted;
(d) With regard to transparency of information regarding WLS subscriptions, there shall be an effective mechanism for actively notifying the current domain-name holder upon the placing of a WLS subscription on the name, without revealing the identity of the party holding the WLS subscription;
(e) The WLS shall be offered for a trial period of twelve months, with subscriptions offered for a one-year term so that they last no longer than one year past the end of the trial period; and
(f) There shall be a data-gathering and evaluation program, to be specified in the negotiated revisions to the agreements, that includes mechanisms for analyzing whether the WLS harms the legitimate interests of consumers or others.
(The Board approved the above resolution by a 11-2-2 vote, with Mr. Abril i Abril and Mr. Auerbach opposed and Dr. Kyong and Mr. Mueller-Maguhn abstaining.)