[DNS] Confusion in terms - registrars and resellers

[DNS] Confusion in terms - registrars and resellers

From: Bruce Tonkin <Bruce.Tonkin§melbourneit.com.au>
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2001 14:07:55 +1000
> ] Beware the tricks of domain name registrars
> ] http://it.mycareer.com.au/breaking/2001/08/29/FFX4QX40YQC.html
> ] 
> The article seems to be confused about registrars and resellers.
> There is currently only one registrar for com.au domains, INWW.

That confusion is quite common, the definitions of
registry/registrar/reseller varies depending on which domain you are
referring to.  It is better for the press to refer to domain name retailers,
of which there are over 500 for ".com.au".

Melbourne IT (or its division inww) is not a registrar in ".com.au" in the
same sense that it is an ICANN accredited registrar for ".com".  It is
better to refer to Melbourne (INWW) as the administrator for ".com.au" as
delegated by Robert Elz in 1996.   Melbourne IT currently manages a DNS
registry (domain name and corresponding nameserver, and domain name expiry
dates) for ".com.au", produces the zone file for distribution to the
".com.au" nameservers hosted by other organisations (e.g munnari.oz.au by
the University of Melbourne), and checks compliance of all domain names
against the policy developed by Robert Elz.   Robert Elz delegated the full
authority for ".com.au" to auDA in November 1999.  As part of this
authority, auDA has taken over the responsibility for the WHOIS registry
(domain name registrant, admin contact, and technical contact details) for
".com.au" stored on AUNIC.  Melbourne IT is the only organisation that can
create a new ".com.au" domain name record in the WHOIS registry (to avoid
inconsistencies between the DNS registry and the WHOIS registry), but the
domain name registrant can direct change their contact details in the WHOIS
registry.  Netregistry is currently providing the hardware and network
infrastructure for AUNIC, in return for advertising on the AUNIC website.

Under the new competition model accepted by auDA, there are new definitions
of registry, registrar, reseller, and registrant.  The new auDA licenced
registrars have no relation to the functions currently performed by
Melbourne IT.  Under the new model, the operation of the ".com.au" DNS
registry, the ".com.au" WHOIS registry, and the ".com.au" nameservers will
be the subject of a registry tender.  auDA have yet to provide any details
of this tender, but effectively there will be a new monopoly provider of
this function for ".com.au", and also potentially for the entire ".au"

Domain name retailers will be able to choose to respond to the tender for
providing registry services, and they will be able to choose to become auDA
licensed registrars (which can directly connect to the new registry for
".com.au", and perform objective policy compliance checks that are
automatable) or resellers of one of the registrars.  The competition model
refers to a new "independent body" for performing subjective policy
compliance checks, to ensure that registrants can not shop around for the
slackest registrar/reseller with regards to policy compliance.  There are no
details on who this "independent" body will be, or how it will be selected.
There are also no details on how the new names policy will apply to
".com.au".  An auDA licenced registrar under the competition model is a new
element of the auDA domain name industry.  We have yet to see the proposed
terms and conditions for being a licenced registrar.

I hope this clears up some misconceptions.  I am only reporting what is in
the reports from the auDA Advisory Panels on Names Policy and Competition
Policy.  I know no more than that.

Bruce Tonkin

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Received on Thu Aug 30 2001 - 04:17:28 UTC

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