[DNS] DNS system funding

[DNS] DNS system funding

From: Mark Hughes <effectivebusiness§pplications.com.au>
Date: Sat, 27 Jun 1998 01:25:21 +1000
I really don't see that much difficulty about the issue of funding for the
DNS system.  With my Tradegate hat on, representing the view of our
membership of domain name users, the actual costs of administering the
system are not that great when spread across the large and growing number of
domain names in existence.

There appear to be two major issues:

1. Who pays for the DNS system?  A major part of this is the more political
issue of 'does everyone pay the same rate, and are some exempt completely'?
2. By what mechanism is the money collected?

Tradegate's current position on DNS system funding is:

* The costs of ensuring a robust, reliable, and efficient .au domain
namespace should be carried by the domain name users.
* Costs should be collected by a levy on each domain name licence issued.
* Given that a) the costs are not significant when spread across the total
number of domain names and b) the commercial sector is the major user of
domain names, Tradegate supports the proposal that domain names in some
sectors (eg. education, not-for-profit, government) be exempted from the

I don't believe that the issue of 'start-up' funding and cash flow is
necessarily difficult to overcome, either.  Especially if we learn from the
problems we have at ADNA.  There are about 60,000 commercial domain names
currently registered.  If we accept that those beneficiaries of the DNS
system should contribute to its upkeep, and that those users should pay a
levy on their domain names, that provides the income stream necessary to
fund the operation of the
DNS.  All it would take under the existing Registrar structure is to add the
levy in the costs being paid by the Users and for that money to be forwarded
periodically to the entity that manages the DNS.

BTW, can we perhaps agree just for discussion purposes on the list on a
temporary name for this entity that will get charged with doing the task?
Damned if I'm gonna say 'entity that manages the .au DNS' every time.  For
the moment I'll use 'ADNA Vn 2' as the to-be-created new administrator of
.au DNS in the rest of the post, although I don't care what it ends up
calling itself.  Those with a better sounding name, feel free to

Further on the funding:  With a guaranteed income stream, there are ways
around the start up cost problem.  A normal commercial loan is an option.
Tradegate itself was formed by a number of entities that loaned money to
Tradegate for set up and those loans have been repaid over time.  Tradegate
suggested this as an option for ADNA - and the option remains for ADNA Vn 2.

The key point of course is having the guaranteed income stream, and this is
where the existing ADNA came unstuck in not having resources.  Without
support from ALL the existing players, which ADNA was not able to achieve,
those entities that did support ADNA were not able to provide funding to
ADNA from their operations.  For example, with the existing ADNA, Melbourne
IT can not reasonably levy an additional fee on domain name Users until such
time as ADNA receives the same support from all other entities in the same
position.  Otherwise Melbourne IT might have ended up in the difficult
position of handing over a bucket of money to an entity that never actually
became 'the' administrative entity - in which case, on what authority would
Melbourne IT be handing it the money?

It became a chicken and egg thing.  No universal support, no money.  No
money, nothing gets done.  Nothing gets done, no universal support.    So
ADNA was hamstrung from the beginning in this respect.  That's why getting
support from all players is important if we don't want to repeat the
problems experienced by ADNA.

If we look optimistically at the current process and assume that ADNA Vn 2
will be of a nature that is supported by every interested group in the DNS,
then part of that commitment could be that from Day 1 of ADNA Vn 2's
existence, the existing registrars in commercial areas levy Users on behalf
of ADNA Vn 2 and remit the money to ADNA Vn 2.

And that solves the funding issues.

Regards, Mark

PS, those with long memories may recall that in the various meetings leading
up to the formation of ADNA, I spoke in favour of the concept (backed by
most others, I must say) that ADNA might not need a serious budget and
resources and that volunteer labour might be sufficient.  I was wrong.

Mark Hughes
Effective Business Applications
61 4 1374 3959
Received on Fri Jun 26 1998 - 23:30:50 UTC

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