February 5,1999

Attention: Esther Dyson, Michael Roberts, Geraldine Capdeboscq, George Conrades, Greg Crew, Frank Fitzsimmons, Hans Kraaijenbrink, Jun Murai, Eugenio Triana, Linda S. Wilson

To the ICANN Board of Directors:

The Association of Internet Professionals ("AIP") is pleased to be an Applicant on the "Paris Draft" Application to form the Domain Names Supporting Organization ("DNSO"). This letter of support, and the Joint AIP/NSI Appendix (containing suggestions for additional provisions), is an enthusiatic endorsement of the principles behind the Paris Draft.

Our Philosophy

After considering the principles in the United States Government's June 5, 1998 Statement of Policy (the "White Paper") and the strictures of the Memorandum of Understanding Between the U.S. Dept. of Commerce and ICANN (the "DOC MOU"), the AIP believes that the Supporting Organization described by the "Paris Draft" meets the requirements of ICANN and the United States Government by providing an open, transparent and bottom-up supporting organization that fairly reflects the global and functional diversity of Internet users and their needs.

The AIP approached the Supporting Organization process with the twin goals of providing ICANN with substantive expertise on technical and policy issues while also providing an opportunity for bottom-up contribution and comment from the many interests, dynamic and diverse, regional and functional, that comprise the growing Internet community.

The best reflection of the AIP's approach to the creation of the DNSO is the Bylaws, which are included with the Application. These Bylaws reflect a fully formed conception how this DNSO will gather and synthesize suggestions and criticisms from the worldwide Internet community and how it will form these into policy recommendations. These Bylaws have the appropriate structure, policy recommendation process, and open and transparent mechanisms to serve ICANN well.

The Proposed DNSO Structure

The "Paris Draft" DNSO is managed by a diverse group of individuals from constituencies that will fairly reflect the current technical, professional and individual interests in the policy of the Domain Names System ("DNS"). These internationally diverse individuals will form the Names Council contemplated by the ICANN Bylaws. The Names Council will be managers of a bottom-up policy recommendation process that will take place in the DNSO's General Assembly.

While the Names Council provides equal, balanced representation from functional areas and interest groups, the General Assembly will allow all of these interests, and others that may develop over time, to have an open and public discussion on DNS policy. It allows debate to cross constituency lines and forge consensus from disparate voices representing different industries and interests.

The open nature of the General Assembly allows the Names Council to observe distinctions between majority and minority voices and to more accurately gauge support for proposed policies. the AIP also believe that an open forum will provides a fertile environment for fostering creative solutions and innovative policy recommendations from the diverse Internet community. These are voices that might otherwise be lost in a pure, constituency-based equal representation system. Membership in the General Assembly will be open to anyone who wishes to join.

As noted below, the General Assembly model ensures that the policy recommendation process meets both the White Paper's requirement that policymaking "reflect the bottom-up governance style that has characterized development of the Internet to date" (White Paper, "Principles for a New System") and the DOC MOU's requirement that ICANN's private coordinating process "reflects a system of bottom-up management." (DOC MOU, Section II.C., "The Principles.") Indeed, this bottom-up policy recommendation process is at the heart of the AIP's proposal.

The Policy Recommendation Process

Whether requested by ICANN or acting upon its own initiative, the DNSO Names Council or 5% of the General Assembly can initiate the policy review process that is described in detail in Section 5 of the attached Bylaws. This process begins with the creation of a Research Committee, balanced in its composition, and ends with a Report and Recommendation that represents the considered and researched opinion of the DNSO.

After the Research Committee is formed, its initial task is the formulation of an Issue Statement that fairly frames the issue on which a policy recommendation is requested. The General Assembly then provides its thoughts, proposals, and suggested solutions in a public forum. The Research Committee will distill the comments from the General Assembly into a draft report that will be published for open comments and public hearings. This review process continues through additional iterations, each time refining the policy recommendation and moving closer to consensus.

If a Report and Recommendation is ratified by the General Assembly, the Names Council will forward a detailed, well-researched, implementable policy recommendation to the ICANN Board.

Meeting the Principles of ICANN
The AIP believes that the principles of the "Paris Draft" best meet the principles embodied in the White Paper and ICANN's agreements with the U.S. Government (the DOC MOU). Specifically, both of those documents state that the following are guiding principles for ICANN: (a) Stability, (b) Competition, (c) Private, Bottom-up Coordination, and (d) Representation.

 * Stability. Uncertain or changing DNS policy or inadequate implementation of that policy will lead to instability on the Internet. The "Paris Draft" ensures that policy is certain and implementation is possible and effective. Seats on the Names Council are guaranteed for persons in those industries responsible for implementing DNS policy (including registries and registrars) and those groups which have greater than 5% membership in the General Assembly. Second, procedures are available to individuals and companies that believe a draft policy recommendation is counter to the interests of the DNS or not possible to implement. The AIP believes that new policy recommendations should be made deliberately and thoughtfully through the Research Committee process, as hastily considered suggestions may have a destabilizing effect if reversed or modified after implementation.

 * Competition. The AIP proposal provides all interests an opportunity to impact the development of DNS policy equally. It neither provides a boost to emerging competitors nor allows established companies to become entrenched and immune from market forces.

 * Private, Bottom-up Coordination. The General Assembly assures that no  opinion will be missed and that no voice will be filtered through a representative or industry trade group. A hallmark of the internet has been its amazing ability to allow anyone to impact policy development through grass roots activism. The "Paris Draft" has exploited this new medium and honed this grass roots activism through the creation of the General Assembly. Professional interests and industry expertise are guaranteed through the Research Committees, but the AIP believes that the truly novel, creative solutions will come through the General Assembly.

 * Representation. The proposal provides a balanced Names Council from diverse constituencies with an interest in DNS policy, and the General Assembly provides an open forum for all to discuss their concerns, without regard to constituencies or professional affiliations.  The General Assembly also ensures that the voices in the policy recommendation process mirror the voices on the internet itself. They will be global and functionally diverse.
                           * * * * * *

The AIP believes that the "Paris Draft" Application, together with the Joint AIP/NSI Appendix, presents a DNSO for everyone. For those established interest groups that have invested in the Internet and have a clear monetary stake in the outcome of DNS policy, this model provides a place for them to have a direct hand in the formation of DNS policy. For those individuals and companies impacted by DNS policy and who care about its development, there is a place for them as well. And for those gestating and as yet unknown entities that will have a stake in the Internet's bright future, there is a place for them to speak and perhaps coalesce into new constituencies, representing new, previously unheard voices.

This is a DNSO that no one will own and that cannot be captured by any special interest group. It is a DNSO that will provide expertise and thoughtful policy recommendations and in which ICANN can place its trust, assured that DNSO Reports and Recommendations meet high technical standards while also enjoying broad support from the Internet Community. It is flexible and responsive. It is a DNSO that can meet the changing needs of both ICANN and the Internet community.

The AIP submit joins this application, with the Joint AIP/NSI Appendix, confident that the bottom-up processes that have served the Internet to date will continue to serve ICANN well and are appropriate, and in fact required, for the DNSO.

We thank the Board for its consideration.

Respectfully submitted,

Mitchel Ahern,
Chairman of the Board
Association of Internet Professionals

The Association of Internet Professionals (AIP) is the premier professional association for Internet professionals worldwide. AIP, founded in 1994, is the largest and fastest growing professional association in the industry. In order to unify, support and represent the global community of Internet professionals, AIP represents over 8500 individual members and 110 corporate members in a wide variety of Internet industry segments from 50 countries worldwide. AIP provides the benefits and programs that allow both its individual and corporate members to succeed in today's Internet/Intranet/Extranet marketplace. The organization also serves as the voice of Internet professionals and industry corporations before the public, press, and within the online community on issues shaping the future of the Internet. AIP's web site can be found at


            Supported by the Association of Internet Professionals
                     and Network Solutions, Inc.

The Association of Internet Professionals and Network Solutions, Inc. are committed to the process of ensuring that the Bylaws of the Domain Names Supporting Organization reflect, to the greatest extent possible, a consensus of the internet community. To that end, they each endorse the addition of the following provisions to the "Paris Draft:"

* Section 3.2(a)(1) should be amended to read:

1. Constituencies other than the constituencies representing registries and registrars, shall represent at least 5% of the members of the General Assembly.

* Section 5.9 should be amended to read:

In addition to filing a Fair Hearing Petition, any member of the Registry, Registrar or ISP constituency which may be required to implement a proposed policy pursuant to a contract with ICANN may ask, after the First Request for Comments is issued, that such proposed policy recommendation undergo an implementation preview from the registries. The Names Council shall establish an implementation preview process that will determine whether a substantial plurality of those registries which vote to support such implementation or are or will be contractually committed or able to do so. Policies that do not meet this criteria may be forwarded to ICANN by the DNSO, but only if the Names Council specifically informs the ICANN Board that the policy has not passed the implementation preview, along with the details of the results. Those participating in the implementation preview shall collaborate to submit a timely report on their actions and views, including a record of the vote of each member of the constituency, to the Names Council, and if necessary, this Report will be forwarded to the ICANN Board with any proposal which has not passed the implementation preview.

* A new section 6.4 should be added, which will read:

6.4             Preservation of Records

All records of the DNSO (including, but not limited to, Reports and Recommendations to ICANN and all drafts of such Reports, minutes from all DNSO committee meetings and public hearings, comments and proposals received from third-parties, and mailing list archives) shall be maintained and preserved on-line.

* A new section 10 should be added, which will read:

10.0    Membership Committee

A Membership Committee of the DNSO shall be formed, comprised of one member of the Names Council, who will also act as the Committee's Chairman and report on Committee activities to the Names Council, and one member of each of the Constituencies. The Membership Committee's function will be to review applications for voting membership in the DNSO.

The Names Council member of the Membership Committee will act to assure that all applicants for membership in the DNSO fulfill the minimum criteria for membership in the DNSO. The other Committee members will act to assure that applicants have applied with the appropriate Constituencies, and that they fulfill the Constituencies' minimum requirements for membership.

The Committee will circulate applications for membership among its members, or otherwise perform its function, with as little expenditure of time and effort as possible and by employing Internet-based communications. It is understood that the Committee's function is to include in the DNSO as many entities with an interest in domain names as possible, rather than to exclude any entities or parties by devising restrictive practices or by exerting personal prejudice, and that cases of rejection of an application for membership in the DNSO will be unusual, the onus of defending such rejections bearing on the Committee. There will furthermore be no investigation of applicants beyond the ascertainment of their personal identity, nor any other measures restrictive to individual freedom and the right to privacy.