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.Net report speared a third time

Sentan lists 'fundamental flaws'

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The .net report has been speared a third time - by bidder Sentan.

It has produced a long letter outlining what it says are "several fundamental flaws, each resulting in a material impact upon the final ranking", and has called for a "thorough and immediate review" by ICANN.

The strongly worded letter and attachment is likely to be the final straw for the report, conducted by Telcordia, which recommended incumbent VeriSign retain ownership of the .net registry and its five million domains.

Soon after the report came out, bidder Denic called it "sloppy" and full of "serious factual errors" and categorically denied an assertion within the report that ruled Denic out of the race. The next day, the chairman of the commission which decided the report's criteria demanded an investigation into what he saw as "a fundamental contradiction between the dot net evaluator's methodology and the GNSO dot net report".

Sentan meanwhile has stated its concerns precisely and put question marks over four of the criteria in the report in which VeriSign appeared to have been wrongly awarded the "blue" ranking that ultimately led to its first position.

VeriSign came top with 14 "blues" and Sentan second with 13, although Sentan argues that with mistakes in the report taken out, it would in fact win by 13 to 11.

Most significant, as we had previously pointed out, was the report's decision to mark down both Denic and Sentan for having their primary and backup servers too close together. However, Sentan states that while Denic and itself have their sites separated by 275 and 400 miles respectively, VeriSign's separation is only 10 miles. Despite this, VeriSign was awarded a higher ranking.

Sentan also points out that VeriSign is not marked down on stability criteria (in fact, it is marked up) when ICANN itself has publicly criticised the company on several occasions precisely for damaging DNS stability. The Sentan letter quotes ICANN at length - just one quotes reads that VeriSign had "considerably weakened the stability of the Internet".

Sentan gives a further example of "erroneous ranking" in another criteria in which it states that VeriSign was again marked up despite having not provided all the information required by the report.

And lastly, Sentan takes issue with the report's failure to take into account the wider competition issues. VeriSign, as owner of the .com and .net registries, has "excessive power" since it controls 85 percent of the market, Sentan argues. Yet only registar level competition was taken into account.

To this multitude of concerns, there is also the matter that Telcordia still refuses to provide a list of the people on the evaluation panel.

Telcordia has a long history with both VeriSign and Sentan that has put its independence under question.

Telcordia was owned by the same company as VeriSign for several years and spent over a year working closely with VeriSign on a joint Enum project called Enum World.

Meanwhile, Telcordia has a bitter relationship with the majority owner of Sentan, NeuLevel. The two fought ferociously for a series of telephone numbering contracts across the US, and NeuLevel also beat Telcordia to the lucrative contract for the North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA).

ICANN announced when the report was first released that it would embark on immediate talks with VeriSign over the .net contract, which ends on 30 June. However with two bidders accusing the report of fundamental errors and the criteria committee chairman denouncing the report's approach, ICANN is finding itself under increasing pressure to break any such talks off under the problems are dealt with.

Related link

Sentan post on ICANN's forum

Related stories

.Net report was fudged
.Net report slammed again
Denic damns 'errors' in .net report

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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