About the DNS Seal Project

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Recommendation: Support
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Summary: this project seeks to increase voluntary self-regulation and accountability
in the domain industry
Outcome: encourages responsible behavior
Addresses: the domain name industry; good, bad, and cautioned Internet behaviors
Also addressed by ICANN Policy or US Legislation: N
Related to: Seal of Approval, DNS

The DNS Seal of Approval and Award Project seeks to increase voluntary self-regulation and accountability in the domain name industry by establishing industry best practices and recognizing those business in the industry that are achieving excellence. Additionally, we would like to spread awareness of Internet behaviors in the wider Internet community. We believe that our industry-based, grassroots approach will encourage self-regulation and will allow the domain industry to build a more trustworthy reputation, while improving the Internet ecosystem.

The Big Picture

The Internet is a vibrant, thriving example of human ingenuity and creative expression. The evolution of the Internet into a globally accessible tool for individuals, businesses, communities, and organizations has lead to the formation of many diverse online communities. The domain name industry plays an important role in making the Internet accessible to these groups by facilitating the registration of domain names and providing Internet users with services essential for online interaction.

The Internet presents users with numerous opportunities. However, certain abusive Internet behaviors threaten the security of others, making them vulnerable to harm. These behaviors, while sometimes perpetrated by individuals, can be facilitated by registry and registrar actions and policies. Many of these harmful behaviors are well documented and addressed by administrative entities and governments. A common example is phishing, which is well known but remains prevalent online. Some behaviors, however, are not well understood by many users or addressed in an authoritative way.

Current Public Perception

People inside the domain name industry have recognized that their industry frequently gets a bad reputation. In the words of ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade: "Our industry is not a well-established or well-received industry."[1] Domain bloggers and domain investors lament the industry's poor standing and some have even called for increased industry policing.[2][3] Additionally, past associations between the domain industry and cybersquatting has lead to the general misinterpretation that all domainers are involved in illegal or unethical activities; in some cases, domaining is viewed as synonymous with cybersquatting.[4][5] However, this "bad reputation" has not been supported by much evidence other than personal anecdotes up to this point. According to a DomainIncite article, ICANN has commissioned at least two fairly recent surveys that looked at how people view the DNS industry.[1] The surveys reportedly found that the DNS industry is viewed as "four times worse the IT industry average."[1]

Creation and Founding Members

Drawing inspiration from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and at the request of ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade, the DNS Seal and Award Team, made up of Ray King, Tom Embrescia, Edmon Chung, and a few others, decided to address the domain name industry's need for self-regulation by creating DNS awards, which would act as a grass-roots, industry-based effort to encourage industry responsibility by commending good actors in a public way.

Bringing together vast amounts of industry knowledge and experience, the DNS Seal and Award Team shares a community-oriented approach to creating an organization that seeks to make the domain name industry a more secure, reliable, and self-regulated space.

Goals for the DNS Seal and Award Project

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The DNS Awards have two major goals:

  1. To spread awareness in the broader Internet community about the different types of behavior that affect both the DNS as a whole and individual users’ online experiences and
  2. To publicly recognize actors within the DNS industry that adhere to industry best practices in order to promote responsibility, self-regulation, and a proactive approach to stopping DNS abuse

We are hopeful that by raising awareness and creating DNS Awards that recognize industry innovators who consistently show a dedication to excellence and a willingness to go above and beyond their legal requirements, we will be able to do our part to protect the DNS and allow the Internet to continue to flourish.

Raising Awareness

We believe that creating public awareness around an issue is a valuable step in initializing any kind of systemic change. Accordingly, one of our main goals and first priorities in the DNS Seal and Award Project is identifying Internet behaviors and categorizing them based on how their outcomes affect the domain industry and the individual user. By compiling this information and making it readily available on our website, we are hopeful that people will use it as a resource to become more informed about Internet behaviors, especially those that are not already widely known. Raising public awareness will enable people to identify harmful behaviors and bad actors, and conversely, to identify good actors working toward positive change.

DNS Award

By using our best practice guidelines to award outstanding actors in the DNS space, we hope to highlight good actors in the domain name industry in addition to better outlining the behaviors that can lead to abusive conduct. Industry actors that are making significant strides toward encouraging responsible actions and proactively fighting abuse will be presented the DNS Award. An industry actor that receives our award will go beyond their contractual and legal obligations in order to provide outstanding services in a transparent and honest fashion.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 http://domainincite.com/11717-its-official-people-hate-the-domain-name-industry DomainIncite
  2. http://domainnamewire.com/2008/09/04/editorial-how-the-domain-industry-can-clean-itself-up/ by Andrew Allemann (September 4, 2008) Domain Name Wire
  3. http://tcattorney.typepad.com/anticybersquatting_consum/2008/09/do-domainers-de.html (September 4, 2008) Traverse Legal
  4. https://domainnamewire.com/2009/07/30/wikipedia-says-domainers-are-cybersquatters/ by Andrew Allemann (July 30, 2009) Domain Name Wire
  5. http://domainingtips.com/reputation-com.html (February 12, 2011) Domaining Tips