Designating a successor operator for the .net registry - initial GNSO report - version 7
(.pdf version)

Membership
Context
Timescale and outreach
Criteria to be considered
Absolute criteria
      Absolute criteria related to the Targeting
      Absolute criteria related to Continuity
      Absolute criteria related to Policy Compliance
      Absolute criteria related to stability, security, technical and financial competence
Relative criteria
      Relative criteria related to promotion of competition
      Relative criteria relating to stability, security, technical and financial competence
      Relative criteria related to existing registry services
Annex 1 § 5.2 of the current .net Registry Agreement
Annex 2 Timetable and outreach
Annex 3 Outreach and documents submitted to the subcommittee


Membership
Chairman: Philip Sheppard  
Members:  
Commercial and Business Users Constituency: Philip Sheppard
Non-commercial Users Constituency: Marc Schneiders
Registrars Constituency: Ross Rader
gTLD Registries Constituency: Cary Karp
Intellectual Property Interests Constituency: Lucy Nichols
ISPCP Constituency: Tony Holmes
ALAC Liaison to GNSO Council: Thomas Roessler
   
Members of ICANN Staff on the mailing list:  
The Staff Manager: Barbara Roseman
ICANN Vice President, Business Operations: Kurt Pritz
Vice President, Policy Development Support: Paul Verhoef
General Counsel: John Jeffrey
Deputy General Counsel: Dan Halloran
Chief Registry Liaison: Tina Dam

Context
At its meeting in Rome, Italy, on 6 March 2004, ICANN's Board of Directors adopted resolution 04.18 on the dot net Registry Agreement Expiration Date and Initial Procedure for Designating Successor Registry Operator.

“Whereas, Section 5.1 of the .net Registry Agreement entered into between ICANN and Verisign on 25 May 2001 provides that the agreement will expire no later than 30 June 2005 www.icann.org/tlds/agreements/verisign/registry-agmt-net-25may01.htm

Whereas, Section 5.2 of the .net Registry Agreement obligates ICANN to adopt an open, transparent procedure for designating a successor Registry Operator by no later than one year prior to the end of the agreement, which would be 30 June 2004;

Resolved, [04.18] that in order to prepare for the designation of a transparent procedure by 30 June 2004, the Board authorizes the President to take steps to initiate the process as specified in Section 5.2 of the .net Registry Agreement for designating a successor operator for the .net registry, including referrals and requests for advice to the GNSO and other relevant committees and organizations as appropriate”.

ICANN VP Policy Development subsequently, 31 March 2004, sent a “request for guidance” to the GNSO council chair. In this comprehensive communication the GNSO Council is requested to issue a “consensus statement defining criteria and conditions to be applied in the selection of a successor registry operator”. In developing the scope of its recommendations, the GNSO should be guided by the example criteria listed in paragraph 5.2.4 (see annex 1). The GNSO Council established a .net subcommittee at its 1 April 2004 meeting. That subcommittee was charged with expediting a recommendation to GNSO Council within the designated timeframe.

Timescale and outreach
The subcommittee worked by e-mail and held conference calls between April and July 2004. It provided an oral progress reports to the May and June meetings of the GNSO Council. For full details see annex 2. Annex 3 provides a record of input received from parties outside of the subcommittee.

This initial report is supported unanimously by members of the sub-committee.

Criteria to be considered
Criteria are divided into absolute and relative criteria. Absolute criteria are thresholds which an applicant is expected to meet. Failure to do so should imply disqualification. Relative criteria become relevant once absolute criteria are met and are proposed as a basis for comparison and evaluation of competing applications. Absolute criteria are listed in no particular order. Relative criteria are listed with weighting with the highest weight at the top of the list.

Absolute criteria

Absolute criteria related to the Targeting
Absolute criteria related to Continuity Absolute criteria related to Policy Compliance Absolute criteria related to stability, security, technical and financial competence

Relative criteria
  1. Relative criteria related to promotion of competition

  2. Relative criteria relating to stability, security, technical and financial competence

  3. Relative criteria related to existing registry services
    Dot net currently offers registry services such as the Redemption Grace Period, support of internationalized domain names in accordance with the IDN Guidelines www.icann.org/general/idn-guidelines-20jun03.htm, and the pending Wait List Service (WLS). Applicants should be asked “Does the applicant wish to maintain all existing registry services?”
Annex 1 5.2 of the current .net Registry Agreement

5.2.1 Not later than one year prior to the end of the term of this Agreement, ICANN shall, in accordance with Section 2.1, adopt an open, transparent procedure for designating a successor Registry Operator. The requirement that this procedure be opened one year prior to the end of the Agreement shall be waived in the event that the Agreement is terminated prior to its expiration.

5.2.2 Registry Operator or its assignee shall be eligible to serve as the successor Registry Operator and neither the procedure established in accordance with subsection 5.2.1 nor the fact that Registry Operator is the incumbent shall disadvantage Registry Operator in comparison to other entities seeking to serve as the successor Registry.

5.2.3 If Registry Operator or its assignee is not designated as the successor Registry Operator, Registry Operator or its assignee shall cooperate with ICANN and with the successor Registry Operator in order to facilitate the smooth transition of operation of the registry to successor Registry Operator. Such cooperation shall include the timely transfer to the successor Registry Operator of an electronic copy of the Registry Database and of a full specification of the format of the data.

5.2.4 ICANN shall select as the successor Registry Operator the eligible party that it reasonably determines is best qualified to perform the registry function under terms and conditions developed pursuant to Subsection 4.3 of this Agreement, taking into account all factors relevant to the stability of the Internet, promotion of competition, and maximization of consumer choice, including without limitation: functional capabilities and performance specifications proposed by the eligible party for its operation of the registry, the price at which registry services are proposed to be provided by the party, the relevant experience of the party, and the demonstrated ability of the party to manage domain name or similar databases at the required scale.

5.2.5 In the event that a party other than Registry Operator or its assignee is designated as the successor Registry Operator, Registry Operator shall have the right to challenge the reasonableness of ICANN's failure to designate Registry Operator or its assignee as the successor Registry Operator pursuant to Section 5.9 below. Any such challenge must be filed within 10 business days following any such designation, and shall be decided on a schedule that will produce a final decision no later than 60 days following any such challenge.

Annex 2 Timetable and outreach

   6 March 2004 ICANN's Board of Directors adopted resolution 04.18
   31 March 2004 ICANN VP Policy Development sends request to GNSO council chair
   1 April 2004 GNSO Council established a .net subcommittee at its meeting
   15 April 2004 Subcommittee conference call
   4 May 2004 Subcommittee conference call
   6 May 2004 Oral progress report to GNSO Council
   25 May 2004 Subcommittee conference call
   1 June 2004 Subcommittee conference call
   28 May - 18 June 2004 20 day public comment period on draft subcommittee report v6
   22 June 2004 Subcommittee conference call
   25 June 2004 Publish Initial report
   25 June - 15 July 2004 20 day public comment period on initial report and request for written input from Constituencies
   16 July 2004* Final report submitted to the GNSO council
   20 July 2004* GNSO Council votes on report
* estimate

Annex 3 Outreach and documents submitted to the subcommittee

Subcommittee members from each constituency and the At-Large typically consulted with their constituencies or executive committees during the course of the subcommittee’s work as the basis for their contributions. One constituency submitted a formal position paper in advance of the first comment period.

A record of input received is maintained by ICANN on the net-com mail list and comments archive. This input was typically from subcommittee or mail list members.

Specific documents submitted by parties outside the subcommittee and made available to the mail list were:
  1. Evaluation and responsibility criteria for the .net TLD - submitted by Chuck Gomes, VeriSign
    http://gnso.icann.org/mailing-lists/archives/net-com/doc00004.doc
  2. Comments submitted by Jeff Neuman, Neulevel
    http://gnso.icann.org/mailing-lists/archives/net-com/msg00011.html
  3. Position of the GNSO Business Constituency
    http://gnso.icann.org/mailing-lists/archives/net-com/msg00032.html
  4. Comments from the Progress and Freedom Foundation - suggestions on treatment of situation with an incumbent operator who is a potential bidder.
    http://forum.icann.org/lists/dotnet-criteria/msg00001.html
  5. Comments from Neulevel
    http://gnso.icann.org/mailing-lists/archives/net-com/msg00036.html
  6. Comments from VeriSign Inc.
    http://gnso.icann.org/mailing-lists/archives/net-com/doc00009.doc
During the first public comment period two comments were received on the draft report sent to the comments list but others as above were circulated to the sub-committee list. Multiple notifications to solicit input into the public comment period were sent to the following ICANN mail lists: the GNSO Council, the GNSO constituency secretariat's list liaison-6c, the general assembly ga list and the open-to-all announce list.