|V.||PROPOSED REGISTRY SERVICES|
Describe each Registry Service (as defined in subsection
1.16 of the model .org Registry Agreement) that you propose to provide
for a fee. For an example of a description of this type, see http://www.icann.org/tlds/agreements/name/registry-agmt-appc-1-03jul01.htm.
The administration of a high-quality, public resource that ensures stability for both registrars and registrants is at the core of NeuStar‘s realm of experience. We have a legacy of providing the numerous functions and services that are required to support a registry operation, including technical management of TLD databases, providing many types of support to our channel partners, and participating in and actively supporting ICANN. We will provide a comprehensive suite of standard registry services leveraging our existing Internet registry infrastructure, channel relationships, support staff, and management. Additionally, we will work with the ICANN and the .org Global Policy Council to enhance the utility of the .org namespace to review other possible registry services, those beyond the provisioning of domain names.
Standard registry services
.org Nameserver and .org zone file administration—NeuStar’s registry architecture is designed to be flexible, scalable, and have the highest availability, all of which will virtually eliminate downtime while providing for smooth growth. Redundant data centers in Sterling, Virginia, USA and Chicago, Illinois, USA ensure high service availability, while dynamic, near real-time updates of zone file data provides up-to-date, authoritative responses from the six global .org nameserver’s (which will expand to eight over time, after award of the .org contract).
Whois database administration—NeuStar will provide global Whois database services utilizing our existing enhanced Whois server software and database generation tools. NeuStar's existing Whois system provides high capacity Web-based and port 43 interfaces to this enhanced Whois database. The Whois server software will support the existing capacity required for providing global Whois queries in addition to allowing advanced searching capability, freely available to the public.
Data escrow—NeuStar will arrange frequent data escrow (with an agent approved by ICANN) of the .org registry, to maintain continued operations and availability in the unlikely case of a catastrophic loss of data.
Registrar integration and support—NeuStar will implement an operational test-and-evaluation facility and provide registrars with Registrar Tool Kit software identical to the one used by registrars at the time of transition from VeriSign to the NeuStar registry.
Website administration— NeuStar will develop and maintain a web site that will provide access to registry toolkits, information to the .org Internet community, links to Whois information, and other relevant information with the management and use of the .org name space.
Customer support—NeuStar’s enterprise-wide CRM program assists with channel management and outreach for .org. We use CRM in combination with our extensive market and customer knowledge to ensure that we meet our commitment to timely, responsive, and high-quality customer service.
Documentation and training—NeuStar believes that clear, concise documentation and training for our staff and our customers is essential to provide the best service to those customers. NeuStar’s external documentation, from our toolkit data to our information on marketing .org, are intended to give our customers the highest level of comfort when working with the .org registry.
Registry reporting—NeuStar’s Web-based reporting system will have built-in functionality to provide reporting information to registrars on all aspects of their interaction with the registry.
Help desk support—NeuStar will provide 24x7x365 Help Desk services in multiple languages through our Customer Service Center to all .org registrars.
Industry representation—NeuStar’s involvement with Internet standards and policy organizations will contribute to our operation and development of the .org registry. This intimate knowledge will prove helpful to Registrars during migration to new registry standards and protocols. Additionally, our staff will actively participate in the .org Global Policy Council.
Other registry services
These additional registry services include:
.org name recovery program—A significant number of .org users are not able to register their domain names because they are registered to commercial companies. In some cases, these names are not in use. It is also true that some of the commercial registrants of these names did not register them to prevent noncommercial organizations from doing so, but rather for the following reasons: to keep the name out of the hands of competitors, to prevent violations of their intellectual property rights, to prevent use of the name to disparage their reputations, or keep the name away from speculators.
The proposed .org Name Recovery Program (NRP) provides a completely voluntary mechanism for commercial companies to relinquish these names directly to the corresponding noncommercial registrant while avoiding the issues outlined above now and in the future.
Under the .org NRP, commercial users agree to transfer a .org domain name directly to a specified original or donating registrant. The .org NRP provides a mechanism for preventing future use of a recovered .org name by any registrant other than the entity specified by the registrant. The noncommercial recipient of a recovered name would not be permitted to subsequently transfer the name to another registrant without the expressed written permission of the original commercial registrant. In addition, in the event that the noncommercial organization allows the name to expire, the commercial entity would then be given first right of refusal on the name.
NeuStar proposes to support and administer the .org Name Recovery Program as a complimentary service to the .org community subject to .org Global Policy Council review and endorsement, and ICANN approval. NeuStar understands, however, that there are a number of operational details and potential challenges associated with establishing the NRP and is prepared to work collaboratively with the Internet community to ensure any issues are adequately addressed, prior to submission to ICANN.
Enhanced Whois services—NeuStar will provide a free Whois service that allows single queries for domain names that matches the functionality of VeriSign’s existing .org Whois service. Additionally, NeuStar will provide an Enhanced Whois service to benefit domain name holders. Enhanced Whois is NeuStar’s service that allows end users to submit criteria for searching a string or sub-string in up to three fields in the Whois database. Enhanced Whois facilitates trademark research, dispute resolution, domain name management, and domain research- related activities. After credit card payment, abbreviated search results are displayed on-screen and full results are forwarded to the purchaser via e-mail (in .csv format). Links to Enhanced Whois will be available from registrars’ sites, and the registry Whois site. Enhanced Whois will allow Internet users of all skill levels to use several search fields to easily locate and store .org domain name records. The Enhanced Whois will be used to provide custom-created domain reports for business users and domain holders. Also, Enhanced Whois will enable businesses to protect its intellectual property (trademarks, service marks, etc.) on the Web.
Internationalized domain names—The incumbent, VeriSign, has been maintaining a test bed for Internationalized Domain Names (IDN). The incumbent implementation is based on the currently proposed IDN Working Group Internet draft, the encoding schema known as Row-based ASCII-Compatible Encoding (RACE). Currently, there are .org domains that fit this designation. Any successor operator must develop a solution for supporting these names from VeriSign. NeuStar is currently participating in standards development for IDN.
NeuStar’s experience providing global mission-critical registry
services to both the Internet and telecommunications industry uniquely
positions us to understand the complexity and critical nature of each
discrete role we must perform. We will provide all systems, software,
hardware, facilities, infrastructure, and operations to globally support
|C26.||State the maximum price you propose for each Registry Service identified in item C25.|
NeuStar’s administration of .org includes a robust service offering that requires a demonstrable financial commitment by the Registry operator. NeuStar’s experience managing a global Internet registry function, transitioning an existing TLD from VeriSign, and related experience provides us with a framework to assess each of the functions and the related expense.
The investment in a highly stable and scalable registry infrastructure is not insignificant—it is a capital intensive project calling on software design and development as well as a substantial security and hardware implementation. While there are significant upfront expenses relative to establishing a stable registry platform, there are also ongoing variable costs with respect to the volume of registrations that must be covered – supporting SRS queries, Whois queries, updates, and accrediting and managing relationships with registrars, adapting and formulating policy and coordinating outreach.
Evaluation of a successor registry operator should include review of the candidate’s investment in a registry infrastructure, and its ability to fund operations and development throughout the duration of the contract. The most competitive pricing will be realized by an operator that can leverage existing, high quality registry architecture. A credible, stable operator will have made an investment in registry infrastructure, an investment that is currently being amortized across the business. It will generate economies of scale to be passed onto the registrars, and ultimately, the registrant, through a highly competitive price.
NeuStar is uniquely able to leverage the significant investment it has made in a next generation registry platform and the economies of scale resulting from amortizing this investment over the long term across a number of businesses to pass back a highly competitive price for registry services. In addition, NeuStar is able to leverage its operational relationships with over 80 geographically dispersed registrars. Finally, NeuStar has capital on hand to operate and maintain the .org registry. Therefore, NeuStar is able to leverage its scale, access to the channel, and access to capital to offer .org registrations significantly below the current price.
Fees for standard registry services
All fees will be charged to respective .org Registrars at the time of renewal or registration, based on the term length of the registration. The registration applies to all new or renewed names in the .org registry database. The total fee in each instance is equal to the term of the new or renewed registration multiplied by the annual registration. All fees will be debited from the appropriate registrars account at the time of registration or update, as described in NeuStar’s Proposal Section C17.6.
Though end-user pricing is not set at the registry level, it is important that the price be highly competitive and provide the registrars with pricing flexibility. The wholesale-retail pricing disparity is readily apparent, for example, while there is a almost 10% difference in the registry prices of .biz and .info domain names, the retail prices to the registrants are almost identical. For .org, we evaluated our costs, considered the wholesale-retail price disparity, and reviewed our current pricing structure for domain names in an attempt to bridge the gap between the wholesale and retail price differences. This will provide further retail price flexibility to the registrars to reduce their pricing levels to the noncommercial community. We propose a price that is lower than all commercial TLDs, to ensure the noncommercial Internet community can have a fair and reasonable price structure. The maximum price for registrations and renewals of .org domain names will be as follows:
Registrations for .org domain names will be available for term lengths that are currently available to existing .org registrants today. Registration terms in increments of one, two, five and ten-year lengths will be available for both new registrations and renewals.
The proposed registration fee is highly competitive with the price that is currently charged by the incumbent registry operator. In fact, NeuStar’s proposed maximum domain name pricing represents over a 15% reduction from the existing .org price structure. This would position the .org domain names as the least expensive gTLD available.
By selecting NeuStar as the successor registry operator, the .org community would be receiving a higher quality, more readily available and more robust system and service, at a lower price than they are accustomed to receiving today.
Fees for other registry services
Describe each Registry Service (as defined in subsection
1.16 of the model .org Registry Agreement) that you propose to provide
without charging a fee.
NeuStar has considered all components of administering registry services (as previously described in Section C25) and has assessed the associated expense. All standard registry services related to domain names are supported by the annual USD$5.00 registration fee charged to the registrars. There are no incremental charges for standard registry services that will be levied on the registrars.
Additionally, all fees mentioned relative to registry services
are charged to registrars to support the needs of their customers. There
are no fees charged to Internet users for access to the core registry
services such as DNS resolution or public Whois.
Describe the technical performance (including quality-of-service commitments) you propose to make. See http://www.icann.org/tlds/agreements/name/registry-agmt-appd-29jun01.htm for an example. The successor operator will be expected to meet the Cross-Network Nameserver Performance Requirements set forth in section 2.1 of the document at the above URL.
NeuStar will operate the .org registry with the most stringent service commitments to ensure the highest level of service, responsiveness, and support to the .org community.
When providing an administration service for an important shared public resource, it is important that the administrator, the contracting entity, and the user community can rely on an objective set of criteria to evaluate the administrator’s performance. The administrator of .org, a domain with over two million names serving the noncommercial community, should commit to the highest service levels due to the important nature of the resource.
ICANN requires objective criteria to evaluate registry service providers. It must develop a list of the important aspects of the registry service and how they can be measured. Then it must assign service levels based on the needs of the community being served. These service levels must be monitored by ICANN on a regular basis in order to determine the performance of the registry provider against the criteria.
Without a list of objective criteria, the registry provider will not know what level of service they are expected to provide and ICANN will not be able to provide useful feedback as to their performance. The performance of the registry would be left up to individual perceptions and anecdotal evidence. If there were no objective criteria, it is possible that an influential member of the community could unduly influence perception of the service level provided by the registry. Conversely, an influential registry could unduly influence the perception of the registry’s performance. Either of these could result in the registry losing its contract unnecessarily or retaining the contract when it is actually performing poorly.
NeuStar believes in service-level measurements coupled with fair service-level exception credits. If the service level commitments are not met, the service provider is expected to provide a credit to the users of the service. This exhibits a true commitment to service levels by the service provider and provides incentive to meet those service levels. NeuStar commits to service levels with service level exception credits for all of its core lines of business including Local Number Portability Administration, North American Number Planning Administration, Number Translation Service, and Internet Domain Name Registry Services.
Given the mission-critical nature of the resources we administer, NeuStar not only commits to service levels, but we also commit to the most stringent service levels. It would be unacceptable for the users of Internet domain name system resources or telephone numbering resources to have anything less than the highest possible service levels. NeuStar has committed to the highest service levels of any ICANN accredited gTLD registry provider for our operation of the .biz domain. Because the .org users deserve the highest levels of service, NeuStar commits to operate the .org registry under the same stringent performance requirements we currently deliver today on .biz.
NeuStar’s performance specifications or service level commitments for the .biz domain can be viewed at http://www.icann.org/tlds/agreements/biz/registry-agmt-appd-11may01.htm. This provides a detailed explanation of the following performance matrix. For comparative purposes, we have also provided the incumbent’s .org service level commitments. Please note, their specifications are for SRS operation only. NeuStar’s performance is measured for the SRS, the nameserver operation, and the Whois system. NeuStar’s proposed .org performance specifications (or service levels) are divided into four basic categories:
This matrix captures the critical elements that need to be measured to evaluate the performance of the.org registry. These service levels would represent a great improvement to the .org domain. NeuStar believes it is in the best interest of the .org community to adopt these strict service level requirements.
The SRS is a critical element to the .org registrars and their customers, the .org registrants. NeuStar commits to SRS availability of 99.9% within a calendar month, excluding planned downtime. We also commit to a processing time for adds, modifies, and deletes of 3 seconds for 95% of the transactions, and a processing time for query domain of 1.5 seconds for 95% of the transactions. These commitments amount to an extremely high level of service for the .org community. Registrars and registrants can expect that the service will be available almost all of the time and transactions will be processed extremely quickly.
DNS technology, combined with the NeuStar nameserver deployment, will ensure as close to 100% service as one can commit to. There will be absolutely no planned outages for the nameserver service. The redundant and distributed nature of DNS is designed to enable a service provider to engineer its service to meet this extremely high level of service.
NeuStar is one of the first registries to implement a near real-time update capability for the nameservers. We commit to nameserver updates within 15 minutes for 95% of the transactions we process. The current .org nameservers are updated twice a day. This will be a significant improvement in service for the .org community. Nameserver resolution will be 1.5 seconds for 95% of the queries.
Further, NeuStar supports and commits to the cross-network nameserver performance criteria designed by ICANN. This criterion is intended to measure performance from different geographic locations, specifically Asia, Europe, and the East and West coasts of the United States. Since the .org registry will provide service to the entire globe, we believe this is a well-designed means of measuring service to users around the world. We applaud ICANN for developing such an important measurement and support its use as a service-level requirement for the .org registry.
NeuStar commits to service levels associated with the Whois that will be a great improvement over the current .org Whois. We will commit to service availability of 99.95% per month and update frequency of 15 minutes for 95% of transactions. NeuStar recommends that the Whois update frequency be synchronized with the nameserver update frequency. We also commit to a query response of 1.5 seconds for 95% of the queries.
NeuStar believes that the .org domain is a critical part of the Internet infrastructure and should be provided the highest level of service possible. NeuStar has laid out a list of service levels to which we are willing to commit. These commitments from the .org registry will provide a greatly enhanced service to the .org community and provide high-quality service for the foreseeable future to the over two million names serving the noncommercial community.