.Info chief quits in protest over sunrise period

The sunrise period for the roll-out of the .info domain was an 'abomination', says Afilias director

The director of the official registry for .info domain names has resigned in protest against what he calls the "abomination" of the sunrise period.

Robert Connelly, one of the 13 directors of Afilias, has handed in his notice less than a week before the formal registration of .info domain names is opened to the general public. His objections centre on the body's inept handling of the sunrise period. This period, which ended last week, was designed to protect company trademarks, prevent cybersquatting and provide time for resolution of disputes over trademarks.

"I have not hidden my disappointment with the way the sunrise period turned out. It was an abomination," said Connelly in his resignation letter. "There were some serious miscalculations of what might happen," he added.

The .info domain name is the first unrestricted top-level domain to be introduced since .com. During the sunrise period, which ran from 25 July to 27 August, owners of registered trademarks and service marks were able to officially register their marks in the .info domain. Any challenges to names registered during this period can now be raised according the sunrise challenge process, which commenced on 28 August and will run for 120 days.

But according to Connelly, a lack of validation checks by the technical working group at Afilias has meant that many brands have already been snapped up by cybersqatters. "Many registrants have made [advance] landrush applications in good faith only to see their selected domains cut out from under them because of mostly fraudulent applications made by registrants who did not have trademarks -- many of whom did not even make a credible pretence at providing the required trademark data," Connelly claimed.

The landrush period for the open registration of remaining .info domains is scheduled to start on Wednesday, but Connelly alleges that Afilias is in no position to process requests fairly. To prevent the preferential treatment of any single registrars, registration after 12 September were supposed to be accepted over several randomised rounds, rather than on a first-come, first-served basis. Connelly's resignation letter seriously calls the feasibility of this into question, by claiming that since the 13 August, Afilias has been unable to produce a list of domains already registered during the sunrise period.

"I am being pestered by applicants who don't want their applications sent during landrush. I am in agreement that they should not be submitted to Afilias until a credible system is developed for disposing of the Sunrise registrations successfully challenged," said Connelly.

Connely recommends that Afilias should dispose of its major shareholder, and will remain as director until the new holding company appoints his replacement.

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