Re: [registrars] OUTCOMES REPORT OF THE GNSO AD HOC GROUP ON DOMAIN NAME TASTING
- Subject: Re: [registrars] OUTCOMES REPORT OF THE GNSO AD HOC GROUP ON DOMAIN NAME TASTING
- From: Ross Rader <ross@xxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 03 Oct 2007 12:13:52 -0400
- Cc: Registrars Constituency <registrars@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- In-reply-to: <200710031500.l93Exixs012158@pechora2.lax.icann.org>
- List-id: registrars@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Organization: Tucows Inc.
- References: <200710031500.l93Exixs012158@pechora2.lax.icann.org>
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- Sender: owner-registrars@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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Robert F. Connelly wrote:
> Dear Registrars:
> The following is the present draft of the "Outcomes Report". It
deals with uses
> of the AGP other than domain tasting.
Isn't this practice...
> On the other hand, there are some registrars that have created a cart
> process utilizing the AGP, that immediately adds the domain at the
> it gets looked up by the user. This completely mitigates the issue of
> being otherwise provisioned by another while completing the sales
> the sales process is not completed, or nearly 5 days passes, the
> deleted at the registry.
...a violation of provision 3.7.4  of the RAA? No reasonable
assurance of payment has been secured in any way for these types of
Furthermore, couldn't the whole issue of kiting and tasting be addressed
through proper enforcement of this clause? I mean, in 99.999% (or
whatever the sickly high number is) of tasting transactions, there is no
reasonable assurance of payment by a registrant. By definition, the
customer knows that they won't have to pay for those transactions. Why
do we need a PDP to deal with this when there is clearly sufficient room
in the current contract for ICANN to deal with the practice?
I can understand wanting to tighten up the agreement after it has been
demonstrated that enforcement has proven difficult or inefficient, but
I'm not aware that this clause has *ever* been enforced.
I've requested that the GNSO Chair ask staff for more information
regarding their enforcement of this clause and whether or not it is, or
could be, an effective hedge against AGP abuse in practice.
 RAA 3.7.4 Registrar shall not activate any Registered Name unless
and until it is satisfied that it has received a reasonable assurance of
payment of its registration fee. For this purpose, a charge to a credit
card, general commercial terms extended to creditworthy customers, or
other mechanism providing a similar level of assurance of payment shall
be sufficient, provided that the obligation to pay becomes final and
non-revocable by the Registered Name Holder upon activation of the
Robert F. Connelly wrote:
The following is the present draft of the "Outcomes Report". It deals with uses
of the AGP other than domain tasting.
It is a redlined version and I see that the redlined elements did not survive my
cut and paste efforts.
*4.3Opinion Polling of Registrars regarding use of AGP
*Following statements within the group that the AGP was sometimes used by
registrars for other purposes, not connected to domain tasting or corrections of
misspelled names, the question was raised to some registrars to exemplify their
uses of the AGP. Below is an excerpted, edited version of the submission
provided by the registrar representatives in the group, the complete submission
is in Annex __:
The RFI regarding the use of AGP posed three different options to consider in
remedying the current abuses in AGP: (1) making the ICANN fee non-refundable;
(2) requiring some form of restocking fee per name deleted within the AGP term;
and (3) eliminating the AGP in its entirety.
[In a straw poll [please provide for an Annex] sent to [how many, and how many
responded? Provide responses for Annex.] registrars to comment on what the
impact would be to their registrants were AGP to be eliminated in its entirety,
certain [how many? Who?] registrars indicated that they were using the AGP for
customers in a beneficial manner. All of these registrars believed that the
elimination of AGP would break their cart or provisioning systems or monitoring,
and would require significant re-engineering to re-architect their registrar
systems should there be an elimination of AGP.]
[The concept of eliminating the AGP in its entirety is of concern to some
registrars who utilize the AGP in ways other than tasting or kiting to provide a
high quality of service to their registrants, including by:]
1.Correcting typographical errors made by the registrant
2.Using a cart ?hold? system to provide access to names
3.Mitigating fraud impacts; and
4.Proactively monitoring the security and stability of their provisioning
systems and customer experience.
[Two of the identified uses [which two? Identify briefly.] were considered
proprietary, which required some generalization to where the polled registrar
was not identifiable specifically and the respondent was comfortable with
supplying it in response.]
[Some registrars felt that the complete elimination of the AGP would miss the
importance of these benefits which are completely separate and distinct from
tasting or kiting. A description of each of these benefits and a review of how
the two other measures proposed for curing the abuses of the AGP, making the
ICANN fee non-refundable or requiring some form of restocking fee per name
deleted within the AGP term, follows.]
[It should be considered that the response to the RFI from registrants is
generally formed largely by the experience that they have with their registrar.
Registrants are presented by their registrar (or registrar reseller) with a
?front end? consisting of web based ?shopping carts? or portals to register or
manage their domain names, host records, email, web hosting, blogs, etc. in the
interests of simplifying the process and streamlining the user experience. Most
registrants are sheltered from the confusing world of the provisioning protocols
and technical aspects or business rules of policy that registrars face, and as
such may not appreciate some of the other issues registrars face and how the AGP
helps address certain of those issues. ]
_AGP Use 1: Correction of typographical errors made by registrant
_Whatever the source of the typographical mistake the registrant seems to make,
typographical mistakes do happen, and the AGP is used by many registrars to
remedy this situation.
At last count, there are now more than 900 ICANN-accredited registrars. This has
caused intense competition for customers, and has driven down margins in some of
the price competitive registrars. Price sensitive customers have found
registrars that service their needs, but there are also registrants who are more
service sensitive than price sensitive, who demand a higher standard of
experience from their registrar.]
Because there are so many registrars, there is competition to differentiate
themselves to the marketplace. Some registrars provide very high levels of
customer service as a distinguishing feature. These registrars are extremely
focused on the quality experience of the registrant, such that a phone call to
the registrar?s customer service department can reverse a registration within
the AGP, to correct a typographical error.]
_AGP Use 2: Cart ?Hold? as an improved registration experience
_[There are registrars that have raised the argument that the practice of domain
tasting is creating a confusing user experience that is disruptive to their
business. They believe that domain tasting generates volumes of customer
complaints being fielded by their customer service departments, which contend
that a domain was looked up and available for their company one day, and then
approval or budget to proceed is obtained, only to find that within the time
elapsed it had been registered by someone else.
When one shops for something unique at a store, it is a common customer
experience to see an item that interests a potential purchaser and that
potential purchaser asks the sales clerk to set it aside while the purchaser
continues to shop, or the purchaser leaves and comes back to confirm with a
spouse, or goes to get some cash, etc. The item gets held for a period of time
and presumably this is done so that nobody else can purchase it as though it was
left on the shelf.
Many registrars leave the item on the shelf, as it were, and only fully allocate
the item upon completion of payment. This creates a circumstance where someone
could conceivably purchase it elsewhere.
On the other hand, there are some registrars that have created a cart reserve
process utilizing the AGP, that immediately adds the domain at the registry once
it gets looked up by the user. This completely mitigates the issue of the domain
being otherwise provisioned by another while completing the sales process. If
the sales process is not completed, or nearly 5 days passes, the domain is
deleted at the registry.
This process could be adopted by registrars that are concerned about customer
confusion, but many of the registrars that compete on price and thus operate on
thin profit margins will likely not adopt this approach because it means that
their available funds at the registry are held in a non-sales transaction until
As a matter of budget, most registrars opt to keep their balance available at
the registry and not commit funds at the registry with the add command until a
finalized purchase has completed with the registrant.
_AGP Use 3: Fraud remedies
_The AGP currently allows, in the event that fraud occurs, that domain names
registered but still within the AGP can be returned for credit.
Some of such types of fraud correction would be (but are not limited to):
?Recovering from activity where some bad actor stole registrar account
credentials through phishing
?Remedy of credit card fraud, or
?Correctional efforts against a rogue reseller customer.
_AGP Use 4: Proactive monitoring
_[Many registrars take proactive steps to monitor and ensure the security and
stability of their registration and resolution systems. This is done to provide
quality service to their customers, to ensure high availability, or to meet
dedicated service level agreements for their customers or resellers.
Registrars use the AGP as a fundamental tool for proactive monitoring as a means
to determine the health of their connections to the provisioning system of
Some of the registrars polled do this only when there is not typical
registration activity to indicate system help.
Some of the registrars do a simple EPP registration and deletion, others run a
fairly comprehensive suite of tests combining EPP and DNS that involve
registration, modification, and determination that DNS resolution changes also
took effect prior to deleting the test name.
Registrars indicated in their responses that they gratefully appreciate careful
forethought, evaluation, and consideration of these other impacts should there
be changes to business logic or provisioning logic, or provisioning systems as a
part of any PDP. A forced or sudden change in the behavior of an EPP command or
expected behavior of current provisioning systems, could take time and technical
resources to implement, per GTLD, per registrar.
Director, Retail Services