CORE INTERNET COUNCIL OF REGISTRARS
A. General Description of the Application
- TLD String(s) Requested.
General Purpose, Personal.
CORE Internet Council of Registrars (“CORE”) requests the .nom TLD to allow individual persons the ability to obtain a permanent domain name. CORE targets a broad registrant base, large end user group and focuses primarily on commercial uses. As such, CORE qualifies for the general purpose category, personal subcategory.
- Sponsor, Registry Operator and Subcontractor.
CORE is a not-for-profit association organized under Swiss law. CORE currently acts as an ICANN accredited registrar and utilizes a shared registrations system ("SRS") which allows its members to register domains under .com, .net and .org. This SRS is based on a model originally designed for use by a registry and manages over 800,000 domains. If CORE is selected as a registry operator, it intends to split the current association into two separate associations, each in charge of one of the two functions. The new association may be referred to as CORE II. CORE believes that ICANN should establish a generic TLD wide registrar accreditation program. In that case, those generic TLD accredited registrars would be the possible members of CORE II. In the case that ICANN does not develop such a program, initial members of CORE II will be the current members of CORE who wish to join the new organization. The membership will then be open to all those current .com/.org/.net ICANN accredited registrars wishing to join the new association.
b. Registry Operator.
CORE (see above).
CORE Internet Council of Registrars (“CORE”) does not expect to outsource any function accounting for more than 10% of operations to any single operator.
- Registry-Registrar Model.
In order to register in .nom, the registrar must be a member in good standing of CORE II or its successor organization. There is no specified limit to the number of registrars. CORE intends that the registry will interact exclusively with registrars while registrars will interact with the public and/or resellers.
B. Technical Review
- Summary Description of Proposal.
CORE-II is a spinoff from CORE, organized to operate the .nom TLD. The .nom TLD would be a restricted TLD offering individuals a permanent domain name. CORE would operate the .nom registry utilizing their existing technology and technical strategies (Shared Registry System).
- Support of the Business Plan by the Technical Plan.
a. Total Capacity.
The applicant estimates that approximately 10 million domains would be registered in the first four years and 540,000 in the first year. The technical plan does not describe the exact configurations proposed to handle this capacity requirement. Instead, it points out that the current SRS implementation supports 800,000 domains and that one of the CORE members supports 3 million domains as support for its ability to handle the projected demand. It also describes architectural decisions that should have the effect of reducing the loading of the main servers.
b. Projected Growth Rate.
The business plan projects 19% compound quarterly growth through the first four years. The architecture appears to have been designed for easy upgrades to support this growth rate.
c. Startup Period.
The sponsor proposes a number of mechanisms to manage the load at startup, including mechanisms to ensure a measure of fairness. Multiple registrars will be employed, requiring a software mechanism to implement the fairness mechanism.
d. Fault Tolerance.
The architecture uses clustered frontend systems with redundant, mirrored database servers and automated failover. There is a backup site located in a different hosting facility.
The security procedures seem to be well thought out and appropriate to the risk.
- Summary of Relevant Experience.
The CORE software is in use in a related activity.
- Apparent Implementation Risks.
The software to implement the startup fairness algorithms will be new. A failure of that software could result in a degree of chaos at startup.
- Available of Human, Operational and Technical Resources to Cope with Unexpected Events.
CORE believes it can call on the resources of its member organizations in the event of emergency. Many of these organizations already run TLDs.
- Advancing the State of the Art.
The proposal calls for many changes to how registries and related services are operated. See the CORE reference documentation for details.
- Other Comments.
The attention paid to rearchitecting the system to solve the Whois / check domain load problem represents the sort of improvements that are necessary to scale up the DNS system.
C. Business Review
- Applicant’s Representations.
CORE is a non-profit association of ICANN-accredited registrars, with a registrar business itself. It does not currently have any employees of its own for its registrar activity due to its outsource arrangements with its members. CORE’s mission is to develop and operate standards and coordinating mechanisms for the central management of Internet domain registrations in the public trust on a not-for-profit basis. There are 200 of CORE’s members’ staff concerned with CORE domain registrations. CORE reported revenues of $1.7 million for the six-months ended June 30, 2000 and net assets of negative $1.1 million at June 30, 2000.
The revenue model at the registry level is based on cost recovery and will start at approximately $5 per year and decline to approximately $2 per year. The expected total registrations are 541,000 and 5.3 million in the first year and fourth years, respectively. Its expected yearly cash flow ranges from $1.3 to $6.6 million in the first and fourth years, respectively.
- ICANN’s Evaluation.
The strength of this application lies in the strong experience of the company and understanding of the marketplace in general. The weakness of this application lies in its complete delegation of the marketing responsibility to the registrars. Overall, this application is stronger than other plans based upon its category from a business perspective.
D. Summary of Public Comments
- Number of Comments.
- Substantive Comments and/or Questions.
One comment questioned why CORE’s financial statements were not posted.
Three comments discussed the difficulty of assigning names like Johnsmith.nom (Q&A).
Two comments discussed the CORE requirement that all disputes and legal proceeding be to be held in Switzerland.
Three comments discussed the pre-registration procedure