Analysis of Registrations in the ARNI .BIZ
Motivation and History | Research
Findings | Research Methodology | More
MOTIVATION AND HISTORY
As part of its obligations under its Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Department of Commerce, ICANN coordinates policies for determining the addition of new top-level domains to the Internet's DNS root system. (See MoU II.B.d.) This process moved forward during the year 2000: ICANN's DNSO Working Group C and Names Council issued recommendations in March and April 2000; on July 1-9, 2000, ICANN received and posted expressions of interest in tentatively operating new TLDs; 47 such applications were ultimately submitted before the October 2, 2000 close of the application period, and the contents of these applications were posted for public review.
At its November 15, 2000 meeting (<http://www.icann.org/mdr2000>, <http://www.icann.org/minutes/prelim-report-16nov00.htm#SecondAnnualMeeting>) <http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/icann/la2000>), the ICANN Board of Directors selected seven proposals for top-level domains (TLDs), tentatively to be added to the authoritative root of the domain name system (DNS) pending negotiations by ICANN's staff over specific implementations and terms. One of the selected proposals came from a company called NeuLevel, Inc. which proposed to operate a ".BIZ" TLD.
Since that time, operators of a company known as the Atlantic Root Network, Inc. (ARNI) have raised concerns that NeuLevel's .BIZ will conflict with a .BIZ TLD ARNI currently provides in alternative root servers under systems operated by Open Root Server Confederated, Inc. (ORSC), by Joint Technologies Ltd., and by the North American Root Server Confederation. ARNI claimed grievances in a December 18, 2000 petition to the US Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration and in written testimony submitted by its president, Leah Gallegos, in conjunction with a February 8, 2001 hearing of the US House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet.
The December 18 document speaks of "over 1000" .BIZ registrations, while the February 8 document mentions "over 3,000" such registrations. Extrapolating this rate of increase back to ICANN's November 15 decision, it seemed to me intuitively plausible that the ARNI .BIZ might in fact have had very few registered .BIZ second-level domains (SLDs) at that time, or conceivably even none. Accordingly, I set out to determine, using data freely available over the Internet, the dates of registration of ARNI's current .BIZ domains; to the extent possible, I also sought to get a sense of the overall distribution and allocation of ARNI's registrations.
As of mid-day Friday June 15, 2001, there are 3778 SLDs (second-level domains) in the ARNI .BIZ TLD zone servers. See a table of their SLDs, registrant names, and dates of registration (warning: >700KB).
According to the PacificRoot Whois Server (which provides Whois service for the .BIZ TLD), only 297 of these SLDs were registered on or before November 15, 2000, and the oldest SLD was registered on October 23, 2000. See tables of SLDs registered on or before November 15, 2000: sorted by SLD, by date, and by registrant. For another perspective on rates of registration, see also tables (with charts) showing number of new registrations by day and number of total registrations by day.
There is substantial "clumping" of registrations with a few registrants. According to the PacificRoot Whois server, the top 5 registrants have registered 1179 domains, or 31% of the current ARNI .BIZ SLDs; the top 20 registrants have registered 2201 domains, or 58% of the current ARNI .BIZ SLDs. See table of registration counts by registrant. As of November 15, 2000, only 5 registrants had registered any SLDs at all in ARNI's .BIZ TLD. See table of registrations by registrant (limited to registrations before November 15, 2000).
I was surprised to find so many ARNI .BIZ TLDs registered by the ARNI registry itself. Accordingly, I wanted to see what content, if any, was available at these sites. I asked a script to retrieve the page title of the web page available at http://[each-ARNI-registered-TLD].biz and http://www.[each-ARNI-registered-TLD].biz . In my tests, only 5 of the 189 ARNI-registered .BIZ TLDs had web pages available at either address. Their page titles are available in this table of page titles of publicly-available web pages at default locations in ARNI-registered .BIZ SLDs.
I used the information at http://www.pacificroot.com/setup_winnt.shtml to obtain the IP addresses of PacificRoot root DNS servers, and from these DNS servers I obtained the addresses of the ARNI .BIZ TLD name servers.
I then used Cyberkit v2.5 to perform a zone transfer on a PacificRoot .BIZ TLD name server. At the conclusion of this zone transfer, I had this file (warning: >800KB) which includes (in addition to certain other content not used in analysis here) a listing of all SLDs currently available in the PacificRoot .BIZ TLD.
I used a custom script to remove extraneous content from the PacificRoot .BIZ zone file. At the conclusion of this processing, I had a simple listing of (only) SLDs currently available in the PacificRoot .BIZ TLD.
I used a custom script to request the WHOIS information about each domain currently in the .BIZ TLD, obtaining WHOIS information from the interface freely available at <http://www.pacificroot.com/cgi-bin/whois/whois.cgi>. I rearranged and otherwise analyzed the SLDs, registrant names, and dates of registration to make the various tables and charts reported in Research Findings.
After configuring my testing computer to use the PacificRoot DNS servers according to instructions posted, I used a custom script to attempt to retrieve the default HTML files accessible from certain .BIZ hosts. When such connections were successful, I stored the title of the resulting HTML page.
Note that all WHOIS data has been left in original capitalizations as provided by the PacificRoot WHOIS system.
I intend this research to spur discussion on related issues. Accordingly, I welcome discussion of the history, research findings, and research methodology, or any other related topics. I may be reached via email at email@example.com.
Other discussion of this document is taking place on the DNSO General Assembly mailing list and at ICANNWatch. See also a response from ARNI.
I have published related research on Registrations in Image Online Design .WEB Top-Level Domain.
This study is my own work and does not reflect any official approval or endorsement by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. I post it on the Berkman Center's web server thanks to my ongoing affiliation with the Berkman Center, but that does not mean that the Berkman Center endorses my findings in any institutional sense.
Last Modified: August 11, 2002