Is it Time for a Registration Operations Industry Association?

Since 2001 there have been occasional conversations on technical mailing lists exploring the concept of creating an independent industry association or consortium of domain registration operators. My recent experiences with the evolution of extensions to the Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP) have convinced me to look at these suggestions more closely, and I’m now convinced that this is an idea worth exploring.

“Registration Operations” refers to the technical tasks, such as the development, deployment, and ongoing systems administration of EPP, performed by registries and registrars to provide registration services. While EPP is used to provide domain name registration and management services, registration operations also include the tasks performed by Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) to provide address registration and systems administration services.

While there is no shortage of dialogue on the policy aspects of registering domain names, there is no forum for the discussion of the technical aspects of registering and managing domain names using EPP. The Internet Engineering Task Force’s (IETF’s) Provisioning Registry Protocol (provreg) working group completed its work and was closed in April 2004. The current Extensible Provisioning Protocol Extensions (eppext) working group was chartered to develop procedures for the registration of protocol extensions, but the more general concept of registration operations is out of scope. In the meantime a need has been identified to coordinate the technical aspects of the development and deployment of EPP extensions and there’s no forum in which operators are currently discussing this and other operational matters. Add in the impending publication of IETF standards for the Registration Data Access Protocol (RDAP, a potential WHOIS replacement) and there will be additional needs for technical coordination of our deployment and operational efforts.

Over the last few months I’ve been talking to many different gTLD and ccTLD registry and registrar representatives to see if there’s interest in the topic of developing a forum to discuss technical coordination. I’ve learned that there is a lot of support for the concept, measured with some concern for adding expensive meeting and travel commitments beyond those we all already have. Is it time to put some real effort into finding a way to get these conversations going? I think it is, and I’ll lay out some possible ways to accomplish this task in a future blog post.
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Scott Hollenbeck

Senior Director, Verisign Registry Services Lab. As Senior Director of Verisign’s Registry Services Lab, Scott Hollenbeck manages a team of engineers and researchers focused on exploring innovation opportunities. He has developed expertise in the Domain Name System, applications programming, systems architecture, network engineering, information security, financial analysis and personnel management. He is a former member of the ICANN CEO Expert... Read More →

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