.Info Abusive Domain Use Policy

Someone must have been telling lies about Josef K., he knew he had done nothing wrong but, one morning, he was arrested.The Trial, Franz Kafka

George Kirikos has always done an excellent job spotting potential dangers for the domain community. Now he has found a new request by Afilias for a registry service relating to the “abusive” use of .info domain names. DotInfo has been a popular top-level domain with spammers, because the .info annual registration fee has usually been lower than the renewal fee of other TLDs.

Although the policy request has been made with good intentions, it might also embody a danger for upright domain registrants, as George points out:

… While most folks (including myself) probably care very little about the .info TLD, my concern is that any bad implementation in .info might be copied or used as a precedent in other more important TLDs, in particular .com run by VeriSign.

In particular:

Pursuant to Section 3.6.5 of the RRA, Afilias reserves the right to deny, cancel or transfer any registration or transaction, or place any domain name(s) on registry lock, hold or similar status, that it deems necessary, in its discretion;…

I would be against giving VeriSign (if the model was copied to .com) that discretionary power over my company’s domains, especially the “right to cancel.” What exactly is “illegal”? In China, I’m sure there are many things that are illegal that are perfectly legal in Canada, the USA or the EU. …

This is, in fact, a very dangerous clause, because it would give the registry the uncontrolled right to take domains away from their owners. If the policy is accepted by ICANN, it will dramatically curtail the rights of domain holders. The domain registries already have too much power and a monopoly that allows them to virtually set prices as they wish, but the policy proposed by Afilias would only make things worse, and it would make investing in the domain industry a very risky undertaking many outside investors would shrink away from.

Click here to find out how to submit public comments on this issue to ICANN.

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