Domain Name Registration

From: Eric Smith <>
Date: Tue Dec 14 16:28:14 2004

Tom Jennings wrote:
> I use horrible old internic I mean netsol i mean veri$ign. Not
> because I like them, but because they seem least-likely to go
> out of business on me.

Network Solutions != Verisign.

At one time Network Solutions was both the registry operator and
a registrar. Verisign bought them. Then Verisign spun the registrar
operations back of as an independent Network Solutions again.

So you can't avoid Verisign, at least for .com and a few other TLDs,
though you don't deal with them directly. But you can and should avoid
Network Solutions. I don't think there's any reason to believe that
Network Solutions is any more stable and permanent than any other
registrar. If Network Solutions went under (please!), it would only
be a minor inconvenience to the people who have registered through them.
Under those conditions, I think it's a fairly safe bet that the registry
operator would temporarily defer imminent expirations of domains
registered through that registrar in order to avoid problems with the
resulting large volume of domain transfers.

Since the registry operator is inherently a monopoly, that's the point of
failure I'd worry about. If your registrar (such as Network Solutions)
goes under, you can transfer your domain to another registrar. But if the
registry operator (such as Verisign) goes under, we're all screwed. In
practice your domain wouldn't go away immediately, because only the
registry operator can tell the TLD name server to drop your domain. In
this unlikely event, ICANN and/or the U.S. Commerce Department would
select a new registry operator to replace the failed one. They would
probably pick one of the existing registy operators for other TLDs, since
that would minimize the disruption to the whole system.

I'm a bit biased, but I don't think there's any good reason to have
domains registered through Network Solutions, and there are many
good reasons not to.

For those that may be confused by the terminology:

        Top-level domain. There are gTLDs and ccTLDs.

        Generic top-level domain. Not country-specific. Originally
        they all were three-character abbreviations, but now some are
        longer. Examples are .com, .org, .net, .info, .name, .museum,
        .biz, .int, etc.

        Country-code TLDs, under control of specific country.
        Examples are .us (United States), .ca (Canada), .uk (United
        Kingdom), .de (Germany), .fr (France), etc.

    registry operator:
        The entity that maintains the actual registry (database) and
        generates the updates to the zone files that are served by the
        TLD zone servers (one step down from the root DNS servers). The
        registry operators usually do not sell directly to the public, and
        may even be contractually obligated to not do so. It is *VERY*
        difficult to set up a new registry, as ICANN must approve a new
        TLD, and choose you to run it. Requires Really Big Bucks (tm),
        lots of political pull, and knowing what to kiss and when.
        Verisign is the registry operator for the .com and .net gTLDs,
        and the .cc and .tv ccTLDs.

        An entity that contracts with the registry operator to sell
        domains (and renewals) to resellers and/or the public. Fairly
        high entry barrier, requires moderately big bucks, bonding, etc.,
        but fundamentally anyone meeting the requirements can do it.
        Examples: OpenSRS/Tucows, Network Solutions

        An entity that contracts with a registrar to purchase domain
        service at a wholesale rate and resell to the public. Anyone
        can do this with a simple contract; there exist registrars that
        only require a $500 commitment up front; maybe some require even
        less. Most ISPs are also domain resellers.

Received on Tue Dec 14 2004 - 16:28:14 GMT

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