ISPs kick up fuss over DNS registration fees

ISPs are not happy with the detail of the Internet Society's new domain name regime or the way in which it was implemented last week.

ISPs are not happy with the detail of the Internet Society's new domain name regime or the way in which it was implemented last week. The society's own newsgroup, nz.org.isocnz, has been inundated with strong criticism of the scheme.

ISPs have effectively become retailers of domain names under the new scheme, paying ISOCNZ $50 a year for each name registered through them, plus a $20 one-time registration fee. Craig Anderson of Internet Prolink claims ISOCNZ acted "without the authority of most ISPs or Internet users" in implementing the changes and had "neglected to represent the interests of its organisational members, or to contact them before making these decisions."

The fact that the scheme was introduced without notice resulted in "in significant costs to ISPs who were expected overnight to change prices and inform clients of price changes," says Anderson.

ISOCNZ had, however, been strongly hinting as the nature of its new charges for some months. Chairman Roger Hicks and treasurer Colin Jackson have both said that the scheme was implemented quickly to avoid the possibility of a "rush" on new domain applications.

Although the annual charges are considerably cheaper than those in the US or UK, they will still bring in at least $130,000 a year and Anderson claims that "given current rates of Internet and DNS growth, ISOCNZ will receive somewhere around $880,000" in the first 12 months of the scheme.

Even ISOCNZ's separate invoicing charge--$16 for every invoice it has to raise, including reminder notices- has come in for criticism. Jackson told Computerworld that any surplus from its new charges would be used "exclusively for DNS purposes" and later said that "provided there is an ongoing surplus, the society will reduce charges in all or part of the New Zealand domain."

Although the University of Waikato will continue to process most domain name applications, it now has a 12-month contract with ISOCNZ and the way has been opened for another company or organisation to bid for the work in future. Hicks says ISOCNZ can not reveal what is is paying to Waikato without "compromising their ability to compete in the future when the services are put out to tender."

Describing the arrangement as a "farce", David Dix of KC Internet Services says that DNS services should have been put out to tender, rather than being the subject of a "secret financial deal" with Waikato.

Anderson says ISOCNZ "has adopted a wholesale approach to DNS services by requiring end users to purchase from resellers--ISPs. However, ISOCNZ has disclosed the prices paid by resellers. This is not a situation normally tolerated in the business community."

UK Net community just as annoyed

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