Aardvark Daily
Right of Reply
Copyright © 1998 to Bruce Simpson
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Date sent:  Mon, 27 Apr 1998 00:28:02 -0700 (PDT)
From:       Patrick O'Brien
For :       Right Of Reply (for publication)
Subj:       Webfoot -- For Right of Reply,


The Domainz RIGHT OF REPLY on the question that you raised in today's Aardvark weekly.

To date, I have only read articles and news group postings that criticise the former ISP, Bryce Parker Consultants. Let me provide perspective, and then others can judge for themselves.

I'lll cover three key areas,




Please forgive the length, but the issues raised are important, and there is clearly some misunderstanding as to how it all works.


Our published policy is non-interventionist.

Despite what others may say, I do *not* believe that it is the job of the .nz Country manager to respond to media articles and news group postings serving summary "justice" by cancelling domain names.

RFC 1591 has been quoted as the device that gives "power to act". Yes, it is an extremely important peice of work, but let me remind customers it is is a balanced 7 page document.

Let me therefore clip parts of the document and, in the light of what it is that we are tasked to do, readers can re-judge our alledged "attrocious non-performance".

  "2) These designated authorities are trustees 
      for the delegated domain, and have a duty 
      to serve the community."

I fail to see how summary cancellation of the bpc.co.nz domain achieves this fact (P.Mott -- 24 April posting). Cancellation would result in loss of service to that domain, *but also all customers that use that domain for e-mail, web hosting and a range of other Internet services*.

As I see it, these would be innocent victims of a dispute that has no concern for them. If our role has a duty to serve the community, don't we also have to be mindfull that any actions have to consider a wider reach?

  "3) The designated manager must be equitable to
      all groups in the domain that request domain 

      This means that the same rules are applied to
      all requests, all requests must be processed in
      a non-discriminatory fashion..."

This means that where there is an issue between parties, there may be more than one viewpoint. The bulk of postings that I have seen have only viewed the case from the Webfoot viewpoint.

It is our published policy to be non-interventionist, and this remains. However, where there are issues affecting the operations of the DNS we must talk to those involved and try to establish the facts. In speaking with both parties we have to take an open mind and this does mean being "non-discriminatory".

On this particular issue, there was clearly a contractual dispute between Bryce Parker and Webfoot.

   "4) Significantly interested parties in the domain
      should agree 

      The IANA tries to have any contending parties 
      reach agreement among themselves, and generally 
      takes no action to change things unless all the 
      contending parties agree; only in cases where the
      designated manager has substantially mis-behaved
      would the IANA step in.

      However, it is also appropriate for interested 
      parties to have some voice in..."

Forgive my paraphrasing the above objects, but the approach taken by Domainz was substantially similar -- to try to get both parties around the table to talk and agree a way forward.

Both were interested parties, both had to somehow "come up with the goods" to resolve the matter.

Some may argue that the actions of BPC fell into the category of "substantial mis-behaviour". It was my assessment that the issue would get resolved, but clearly a little time was required and a few things needed to be worked through.

Non-interventionist does not mean that we do nothing. In this case it means that we try to ascertain the facts and see how the issues between the two parties might be resolved.

You may not have seen much action from us "on the surface", which I guess is why you mistakenly conclude that we are non-performing.

However, you must understand that these issues tend to be private between parties, and that the key thrust of our approach is to seek resolution between those parties, not grandstand the case in public.


Readers need to understand that when commerce happens over the Net, contractual terms do apply. For instance, where you purchase services from Domainz, either directly or through an agent, then our published terms apply,


Moreover, the fact that you go through an agent, as in this particular case, then the *Agent has terms that apply too*.

It is *not* the job of Domainz to comment or intervene in any way on terms presented and agreed between agents and name holders. Moreover, I believe that commercially it would not only be naive for Domainz to jump in "assuming" that only our terms applied when a contract may exist that has additional terms -- it would also be against our published approach.

Typically domain name agents do have additional terms that apply, where Domainz is not party to, cannot comment on and has no right to alter.

If anything, this case provides the opportunity to stress to potential name holders that they need to *read and understand all terms of service* in relation to holding domain names, not just the Domainz terms.

It sould also serve as a reminder to agents that they need to establish their terms too, as well advise their customers as part of any sales process.

In respect of contract law, the Internet should be no different to normal business. If you sign that you have read and accept published terms, then a contract has been offered and accepted.

Buyers really do need to be(a)ware.


FInally, let me comment on the negative aspect of this issue.

It is very sad when an issue between two parties impacts upon the operations of the DNS. More often than not, it results in other innocent Internet users being affected.

What was surprising in this instance, is that the only affected users were customers of Bryce Parker themselves, who were denied access to another provider.

We publish a set of terms of service and it is incumbent for name holders and agents alike to operate their DNS in line with those policies.

Where we find that parties do not do this, then we *do* take a measured course of action, which could ultimatley result in loss of name service for a given domain.

However, I stress that we do not take this action lightly as it typically would involve Internet users who are innocent bystanders to any issue.

Whilst we try to take a balanced view of the issue, this *does NOT mean that we condone* actions that use the DNS to provide leverage in a dispute.


Coming back to the initial question, "So where the hell was ISOCNZ on this matter?"

It was acting through Domainz, the company it set up to manage the .nz name space.

Domainz played an active role on this dispute in trying to assess what the issues were and get parties together. We have no need to "re-surface" as we never "went underground" as implied by your statement.

Your allegations of "non-performance" are in my view out of line with what happenned. I personally do not feel that they add much by way of constructive insight into what I feel has been a difficult issue for two Gisborne based providers to work through.

Re the wider issues of Codes of Practice and a stronger Industry wide subscription, I do support your call for action. At times it would certainly make our job that much easier to do.

My regards,


Fax: (04) 473-4569
Voice: (04) 473-4567

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