Ask Not What ICANN Does for You
In some inexplicable ways, we are really fond of policy-making and standardisation bodies. Sure, they may be slow-moving creatures and convene working groups filled with conflicting interests, politics and other nasties. Nevertheless, they are the necessary evils without which the industry would not mature and flourish. Think about each of the organisations and imagine the DNS without the work that they have produced: ICANN, IETF, and the Unicode Consortium.
For a technology-focused company, our work is directly affected by the policies made by ICANN through its multi-stakeholder model, and the standards produced at the IETF through rough consensus building. The impact of those policies and standards is a positive one — we gain interoperability by implementing and promoting the use of these standards. The industry as a whole is better for it for that reason alone.
Doing our bit
In the same spirit, we are always looking for practical ways to give back to the community. Here are two projects that we have initiated, with more in the pipelines.
EPP Launch Phase Extension
We contributed our EPP launch phase extension and spearheaded the effort at the IETF.
Sunrise and Land rush are common processes in a TLD’s launch strategy. Typically, during these launch phases the registry operates in a mode that differs from steady state in that it may accept multiple applications for a given domain name. At the end of the launch phase window, it allocates the domain to one of the applications according to its policies. Due to this unique mode of operation, the standard EPP protocol is not sufficient to capture its semantics. As a result, various registry operators have invented their own extensions to meet their needs.
At a recent launch that we managed, it was apparent that we had to invent a new EPP extension that is modern and generic enough to meet the needs of others in the industry. In particular, we needed an extension that complies with the new gTLD program’s requirement to use the trademark clearinghouse for validation of trademark claims. To alleviate the guilt for what could be labelled as NIH syndrome, we had planned to write an Internet Draft and steward the efforts at the IETF to hopefully get it to standards track RFC.
The benefits of having a standard launch phase extension is clear:
- Registrars only have to implement it once and use it for all future TLDs that support it
- It saves new registry operators from having to reinvent the wheel
- It saves old registry operators who are in need of an updated extension from having to reinvent the wheel
So, we meticulously documented it and together with CentraNic, published the first version of the draft.
The document is discussed on the IETF Provreg mailing list, and document source is hosted here:
ICANN Meeting Schedule iCal Feed and iPhone Site
At every ICANN meeting since Cartagena, we have provided an iCal feed of the meeting schedule, as well as an intelligent iPhone-optimized mobile site to help fellow attendees organise their time and make the most out of the meeting.
Since the San Francisco meeting, we have also been tweeting updates to the schedule to alert people of significant changes to the schedule (room change, time change, new or cancelled events.) While the changes are reflected on both the official meeting schedule page as well as our iCal feed, it won’t be immediately obvious unless one scrutinise the schedule.
All of these efforts have been very well received by the community and we are proud of our contributions.
We are committed to interoperability and open standards. Work is already underway for us to participate in, and lead efforts that may benefit the community. Stay tuned!