ICANN Meetings, Domain Name Registries, and Dirty, Filthy Registrars

For those of you going to your first ICANN meeting next month (LA, October 12-16), I thought I'd give you a bit of foretaste of what it's like from a London ICANN 50 transcript (emphasis added)--

ccNSO Meeting in London - Audio & Transcripts | Country Code Names Supporting Organisation:
LONDON – ccNSO Members Meeting Day 2 transcript: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 – 09:00 to 15:30 ICANN – London, England:

BYRON HOLLAND: There’s Oscar. This is the first test of the panel to see if they can actually sit in the order of their pictures and self‐organize. Okay, good morning, officially, to Wednesday, day two of the ccNSO meeting. Our first panel of the day certainly promises to be a very interesting one, no doubt lively. For registries and registrars, can we standardize? Can one size fit all? I’m sure there are no strongly held opinions on that whatsoever. With that, I will hand it over to Crystal Peterson, who will be moderating this panel. Thank you.
CRYSTAL PETERSON: Thank you, Byron. Good morning, everyone. It’s very nice to see you on
this lovely Wednesday morning. My name is Crystal Peterson, as Byron mentioned. I’m the Director of Global Sales and Channel Marketing for the .co registry. I would like the rest of my panel members to introduce themselves, if they will, right before we get started here.
OSCAR ROBLES‐GARAY: Hi, good morning. I’m Oscar Robles, General Director of .mx, ccTLD for Mexico.
GIOVANNI SEPPIA: Good morning. It’s Giovanni Seppia, External Relations Manager of .eu.
HENRY CHAN: Hi, good morning. Henry Chan from .hk, Business Development Manager for the ccTLD for Hong Kong.
MICHELE NEYLON: Michele Neylon, Founder and CEO of Blacknight, a dirty, filthy registrar based in Ireland. I’m also the Chair of the Registrar Stakeholder Group within the ICANN GNSO and Chair of the .eu Registrar Advisory Board.
PETER LARSEN: My name is Peter Larsen. I’m also a registrar, a dirty registrar.
MICHELE NEYLON: Dirty, filthy registrar. Do it properly.
PETER LARSEN: Oh, sorry. Sorry, sorry, sorry. I’m also on Advisory Board for .eu. I’m Chair of the Danish Registrar Union and Board member of the Swedish and the Norwegian, by the way. I’m based in Copenhagen, Denmark.
TOBIAS SATTLER: Good morning. My name is Tobias Sattler. I’m from United Domains as a
Chief Information Officer. I’m not part of any other things like other registrars – just trying to be nice.
CRYSTAL PETERSON: Thank you, gentlemen.
MICHELE NEYLON: Are you still drunk from last night?
CRYSTAL PETERSON: We are here today to talk a little bit about how can we standardize amongst registries and registrars, taking into account the fact that, as ccTLDs, we may have local policies that need to be in play from our local governments in order to run... I’d love to pose a question to our registrar guests first of what are some of the things that you would love to see from the ccTLD community, from a potential technical standpoint, to help standardize – I see all kinds of smiles here – from a technical standpoint of how can we help you work with ccTLDs better? Go
MICHELE NEYLON: I’ll go first, because the two of them are still half asleep. At the moment, one of the main challenges from the registrar perspective is that practically every single ccTLD has its own technical implementation... I feel, at times, that my technical team have to sacrifice small animals in order to integrate with some ccTLDs – and gTLDs, by the way. The gs are using EPP, but they keep on adding weirdness to it. Just if everybody were just to keep it simpler, life would be so much nicer.
CRYSTAL PETERSON: You’re saying basically it’s being able to standardize around one type of
platform system, like [inaudible]
MICHELE NEYLON: Not so much platform. It’s more to do with the standards themselves. In the gTLD space, everybody’s using EPP. The problem is that some people have weird extensions. In the ccTLD space, you’ve got EPP, EPP’s bastard son, EPP’s bastard cousin. You’ve got e‐mail‐based systems. You’ve got systems based around Curl. You’ve got stuff using various APIs. You’ve got things which are web‐based systems with no APIs. You’ve got registries that understand the concept of a registrar. You’ve got registries who don’t understand what the hell a registrar is. You’ve got ones who think they understand what the registrar is but don’t really understand what a registrar is, so they go, “You’re a registrar.” “Well, no, actually, you’re not.” “Yes, you are.” “No, you’re not.” Oh God, help. It’s this kind of mish‐mash of in some cases crazy, in other cases, I know it’s legacy. I mean, as a guest in the ccNSO, I’m trying to be polite about it.
CRYSTAL PETERSON: Yes, it’s early in the morning. We’re polite for the first 30 minutes....

[It's all downhill after that--here are some excerpts below]

MICHELE NEYLON: At times, we find it quite frustrating dealing with ccTLD operators,
because for a lot of you – not all of you, admittedly. Looking across, I look at Oscar, who’s definitely on the more business‐y side I think – at least, he wears nice suits. For a lot of you, you don’t approach running your country code as a business. You approach it as something else. I’m not too sure exactly what, but it’s not being run with that kind of commercial view. It’s being run as something else. I do appreciate and I do understand that those of you who’ve dealt with
me in the past know I am sensitive to it....

[On the subject of registries who also operate registrars]--
MICHELE NEYLON: ... It just depends on how much blood we want to leave in the room after this one. Okay. I’ve always had very mixed feelings about registries playing the role of registrar. Now, in the gTLD world, we’re now seeing more and more new TLD operators that are vertically integrated. There’s some very valid reasons why vertical integration can make sense. I’m not totally opposed to it. What causes issues is when the vertically integrated entity or the registrar arm of the registry gives itself an unfair advantage. For example, if you have a nice set of policies that you apply to everybody except to yourself, well, then, as far as I’m concerned, that’s just plain wrong. That’s the kind of thing that causes headaches. Also, as well, generally speaking, most registries that try to act as registrars kind of suck at it, anyway. I don’t worry too much about it.... unfortunately, in the ccTLD space, you don’t have a lot in place, a lot of the time, to handle registrar failure. You don’t have proper escrow set up in many cases. You don’t have any of those kind of things...
MICHELE NEYLON: Just one other thing as well is registries should be registries. You shouldn’t try to start offering all sorts of crazy extra services... Stick to running what your registry. Don’t go throwing on extra stuff just because you think it’s a “good idea.” It probably isn’t....they [registries] probably would be better off investing their resources elsewhere. I’m kind of wary of that, when you’re looking at some of these things. From our side, on the registrar side, all of these things, it’s like, “Yes, crap, there’s no real demand for it.”  What there is demand for a lot of the time is a quick and easy ability to register a damn domain name, get a website, e‐mail, and other things up and running quickly and easily, without having to hand over a blood sample and a sliver of my kidney.....
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing to add.
MICHELE NEYLON: He’s very happy just to sit there and just agree with us. And be honest, Crystal, we didn’t coordinate this, okay? For the record, we didn’t have a pre‐meeting to coordinate what the registrars were going to say. We’ve been saying the same things for years. This is not news.
CRYSTAL PETERSON: Fair point, fair point. Yes?
GIOVANNI SEPPIA: Okay. First of all, I like to point you to the lights in the corner of the room, because anytime that Michele says a bad word, they turn into almost red – pink or red. I think they are some sort of emotional lights. Those close to [inaudible]. They are changing and I just noticed that anytime he says something really nasty, they were completely red. I think they are emotional lights. They help to --
MICHELE NEYLON: No. Giovanni –
GIOVANNI SEPPIA: Thank you, Michele. It’s my turn, thank you.
MICHELE NEYLON: No, Giovanni, nasty? Hold on, there. Critical.
GIOVANNI SEPPIA: Constructively critical.
MICHELE NEYLON: Not always constructive.
GIOVANNI SEPPIA: Okay. That [inaudible]....

[Well, enough of the transcript, I think you get the idea--so go, and enjoy!]

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