Re: DNS: Re: sponsorship of ISOC-AU

Re: DNS: Re: sponsorship of ISOC-AU

From: Michael Malone <mmalone§>
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 1997 23:49:04 +0800
> I further note that the current ADNA proposals include the concept of
> commercial DNAs paying a percentage of their DNA revenue (presumably
> with a significant minimum threshold payment in return for their DNA
> licence) in order to finance ADNA's operations.   

This is a very interesting point.  I discussed this with
a number of ADNA members a couple of weeks ago.

The current proposal is that the ADNA will raise funds in
(all of) the following ways:

1)  Membership fees from voting member associations.
2)  Voluntary Sponsorship (there was a negative reaction to this)
3)  A percentage of the annual fee from commercial domains.

Now, I have a problem with a couple of these (to those who
are saying "of course", bear with me!)

Let's look at each one:

1) Membership fees

How much should the membership fees be set at?  I proposed $1000
as a reasonable figure.  Large enough to discourage spurious
applications.  Small enough to mean any organisation serious
about being involved can afford to join.

Luke Carruthers has suggested $5000 per year, and argues that
this is similar to the membership on telco committees.

I have had a fair bit of time to think about this over the
last nine days (Darwin is wonderful this time of year! :-)
Predictably, I disagree.

The "industry" is not in the same league as the telcos, and
very likely never will be.  The larger ISP's still measure their
revenue in millions. It is not useful to base fees on much
larger industries.

More importantly, if this ADNA is to have any real creedance,
its membership must include a broad spectrum of organisations.
If the fee is set at $5K or $10K, then this will limit potential
members to the larger bodies, such as ATUG, AUUG, ECA, WAIA,
INTIAA, and ISOC-AU.  Smaller bodies, which represent a
legitimate component of the network community, not just the
"industry", may not be able to justify the cost of inclusion.

It is important that any "solution" to the management of the
Australian DNS be seen to be widely representative of the
entire community, not just the commercial players.

2)  Voluntary Sponsorship

There is always the suspicion that sponsorship (or non voting
membership if you prefer) has strings attached.  Personally,
I don't believe that this is the case, but I can understand
the sentiment.

It may be that commercial interests simply believes that the
ADNA is a body worth funding.

Others have argued on this point before, and I'm not swayed
either way, so I won't comment further.

3)  License Fee/Levy

This is by far the most contentious issue, and will become
more so. Naively, the appropriate solution is to levy a fee
of (for example) "10% of the annual license fee, with a minimum
of $5000 per year".

At first glimpse, this seems cool, but there are lots of
problems. Obvious ones are that EDU.AU, ORG.AU and ASN.AU
are free services provided to (typically) non profit
organisations.  Solution: the ADNA has the power to offer
specific exclusions, and will choose to do so for these
domains, and others like them.

Hypothetically, let us say that five organisations compete and
are elected to assign COM.AU domain names.  They offer the
following pricing schemes:

i)  Melbourne IT continue with its current $125 fee for two
    years of registration.

ii) takes it popular once off $125 (non recurring)
    for NET.AU delegations and offers it for COM.AU as well.

iii) Highway 1 decides to offer a COM.AU registry as a service
    to the net community.  They handle precisely 200 domain
    registrations per month, and no more.  The queue length
    at any time is visible on a web page for this purpose,
    and you may decide whether or not to accept the delay,
    or pay a commercial vendor to get it done in time.

iv) iiNet attempt to establish a COM.AU registry, and decide
    to charge nothing for it. The admin contact is sent email
    every six months, and must respond to the email within
    three months or the domain will be deregistered. There is
    no fee of any kind levied, but the registry page, and the
    renewal email contain advertising, which is used to fund
    the venture at no cost to the net community.
v)  INTIAA establishes a registry for BIZ.AU, with free
    registration for member organisations.

I'm sure readers who are now in the correct frame of mind
can dream other lots of other charging schemes.  These are
all valid, and each one (if managed correctly) is quite

How does the ADNA derive income from this?  It is unfair
for M-IT to be paying tens of thousands of dollars while
iiNet pays nothing (because we would derive no income
from the registrations).  It is also odd that an altruistic
gesture by Highway 1 would incur a massive fee.

I haven't got any particularly brilliant answers to this,
although Michael O'Reilly suggested a nasty (but workable)

    There will be a maximum of four DA's for each 2LD.
    Where there are more than 4 suitable applicants,
    each one makes a private bid for a flat annual fee
    payable to the ADNA. The four highest bids become
    the DA's for that domain. Two of the positions become
    vacant each year and are open to a rebid of all
    applying (or reapplying) parties.

I'm not offering any solutions, but just offer these
situations (for now) for people to chew over.

The Real Question

The real question of course, is what does the ADNA need
all the money for anyway? How much will it really cost
to run? What will it spend money on?

Some obvious suggestions would be:

1) secretariat to handle calls, faxes etc
2) legal defense fund
3) multitude of insurances
4) annual audit costs
5) others?

What I'm not sure of is how much all this would cost.
At a glance, I'd suggest an outsourced secretary, audit
and insurance would probably be around $5K to $10K per
year. The legal defence fund could possibly be established
in other ways (eg: each DA in a commercial 2LD may be
asked to put a deposit in a trust account, which may only
be used to defend legal action).

There are many issues here, and we're starting to
micro manage, but the next meeting is only days away,
and this is probably now appropriate.

Comments please!

Received on Thu Mar 27 1997 - 07:42:57 UTC

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