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.