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[registrars] Conflicts of interest with respect to Verisign's Sitefinder service

  • To: <registrars@xxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: [registrars] Conflicts of interest with respect to Verisign's Sitefinder service
  • From: "Bruce Tonkin" <Bruce.Tonkin@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 2 Oct 2003 15:39:43 +1000
  • Sender: owner-registrars@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Thread-index: AcOIp5TC/rvo4/1wQZ+YGRivu3s3lA==
  • Thread-topic: Conflicts of interest with respect to Verisign's Sitefinder service

Hello All,

I am on various bodies that have made public statements with respect to
the Verisign's Sitefinder service.  As I am standing for election as a
registrars representative to the GNSO, and as the Verisign Sitefinder
service is a sensitive issue, I would like to clarify conflicts of
interest that are specific to this issue so that you are all fully

In my role as Chief Technology Officer of Melbourne IT, I have requested
that Verisign voluntarily suspend the Sitefinder service and participate
in the various review processes now underway.   

Melbourne IT voted in favour of a motion in the registrars constituency 
concerning the Sitefinder service, supports the request from ICANN for
Verisign to voluntarily suspend the service
(http://www.icann.org/announcements/advisory-19sep03.htm), supports the
recommendations of ICANN's Security and Stability Committee
(http://www.icann.org/correspondence/secsac-to-board-22sep03.htm), and
supports the GNSO resolution passed at the last Council meeting
(consistent with Registrar interests)

As a result of my request of Verisign to consider carefully the issues
raised by the ICANN community, Verisign asked me to chair a group of
internal Verisign technical staff and external people to collate and
address each of the issues that have been raised by the community.  I am
doing this as I believe that it is important to work with all parties on
this issue.   I don't hold myself out to be a technical expert on the
subject of wildcards, but I hope I can help with processes to address
technical issues as they are raised. I am receiving no compensation (nor
would I accept any compensation), nor is Melbourne IT receiving any
compensation for this role.  
The details of this group can be found here:
Verisign will take its own actions in response to any advice it

It is still both Melbourne IT's and my personal opinion that Verisign
should show good faith and voluntarily suspend the service while the
issues are analysed.

At a personal level, if I am ever publicly critical of how things have
been done by an individual or organisation, I also accept an obligation
to attempt to work in good faith with the entity to correct the problem.

 Melbourne IT is a supplier to Microsoft of domain name
 services. Microsoft currently benefits from a feature in 
their browsers that can direct users to a MSN search page 
 when a domain name is not found in the DNS.  In some cases 
users may be offered the chance to register domain names.  
 Melbourne IT has not been approached by Microsoft to advocate 
 any position on this matter, and I have seen no public 
 response from Microsoft on this matter.
 Melbourne IT is a supplier to Yahoo of domain name services.
 It has been reported that Yahoo has an interest in that it is 
 in the process of acquiring Overture (which manages 
 paid/sponsored search listings), and owns Inktomi (which 
 provides search listing for the Verisign service). I don't 
 know how this may affect Melbourne IT with respect to domain 
 name services.  Melbourne IT has not been approached by Yahoo 
 to advocate any position on this matter, and I have seen no 
 public response from Yahoo on this matter.
I believe that my views are independent of any of the 
potential conflicts of interests above and that I act in the 
best interests of ICANN.

I my current role as chair of the GNSO Council, at the last I have
handed the chair to Philip Sheppard to discuss the Verisign issue on the
agenda, and I have execised my vote in accordance with the registrars
constituency position.

Bruce Tonkin

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