Enhancement Of Competition
Section VI Enhancement Of Competition
ICANN has succeeded in introducing competition in the registrar market. However, in the gTLD registry space, VeriSign still maintains a 95% market share, with .ORG declining under its stewardship. While competition is important, stability is paramount. To guarantee a stable and smooth transition, the new .ORG registry operator must have demonstrated experience maintaining a shared registry system containing at least 500,000 domain names under management. ISOC believes that Afilias is the optimal registry infrastructure provider to guarantee stability, while simultaneously enhancing competition in the registry marketplace. Further, the ISOC proposal provides competitive marketing for .ORG to restore its vitality.
Overview: ISOC applauds and supports ICANN's efforts to diversify the provision of registry services by selecting a new registry operator for the .ORG TLD. ISOC and PIR believe that this objective is consistent with the policy statements made by the U.S. Department of Commerce in its 1998 White Paper, "Management of Internet Names and Addresses." Specifically, the U.S. government's position was that "competitive systems generally result in greater innovation, consumer choice, and satisfaction in the long run" and that the "pressure of competition is likely to be the most effective means of discouraging registries from acting monopolistically." (See Docket Number 980212036-8146-02; http://www.ntia.doc.gov/ntiahome/domainname/6_5_98dns.htm)
To date, ICANN has succeeded in introducing meaningful competition in the registrar marketplace. Whereas less than three years ago VeriSign, formerly Network Solutions Inc., sponsored 100% of the domain names registered in the generic top-level domains, now VeriSign sponsors less than 36%.
However, despite the introduction of competitive registry services as part of the ICANN TLD proof of concept, VeriSign still dominates gTLD registry services, holding a 95% market share.
One of ICANN's core principles is the encouragement of competition in the provision of registration services at both the registry and registrar levels. Promotion of that principle will be a criterion. As one illustration of this criterion, a major purpose of the reassignment of the .ORG registry is to diversify the provision of registry services by placing the .ORG registry under different operation than the .com and .net registries. Consideration will be given to the extent to which proposed arrangements are consistent with this purpose. As another illustration, applicants are encouraged to refrain from prohibiting non-affiliated providers of backend services from offering their services in connection with other applications. This section of the .ORG Proposal concerns the effect on competition of the selection of a successor registry operator.
Give your analysis of how selecting your application would effect competition in the provision of registration services at both the registry and registrar level.
State whether the applicant or any entity identified in item C13 operates a DNS registry having more than 500,000 registered names and, if so, provide details.
ISOC has chosen to contract with Afilias, based upon the detailed analysis in C31, to provide back-end registry infrastructure services in connection with this bid. Afilias is the current registry operator of the .INFO TLD and has more than 800,000 domain names under management.
ISOC will rely upon Afilias' technical experience and infrastructure to provide a stable and seamless transition from the current registry operation. However, ISOC will exercise complete policy and administrative oversight of the registry in its role as registry operator.
ISOC has modeled this relationship, in part, upon the contractual agreement
between EDUCAUSE and VeriSign governing their operation of the .EDU registry.
Similar to the administrative and policy role that EDUCAUSE provides based
upon its established role as a nonprofit association in the higher education
community, ISOC believes that it is ideally suited to play a similar role
for the non-commercial registrants in the .ORG registry, with Afilias
providing the registry technical infrastructure.
Describe in detail all affiliations, including direct or indirect ownership and contractual arrangements (including letters of intent) for the past, present, or future provision of registry services, between (a) the applicant or any entity identified in item C13 and (b) any operator of a DNS registry having more than 500,000 registered names.
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