Domain registry failures ahead (and Verisign would like a patent on recovering them)
Thursday, November 29th, 2012
Largest domain registry applies for patent on recovering failed registries.
With hundreds of new top level domains coming online in the next couple years, we’re going to see a lot of failed top level domains.
Many of these TLDs will be backed by large registry providers that will takeover in the case of insolvency.
But that doesn’t mean a registry (or even one of those large registry service providers) won’t suddenly go dark.
But .com registry Verisign has a plan.
It has filed a patent application for a registry recovery service. Here’s how it describes it:
A computer-implemented method of recovering a registry includes receiving zone files from a target registry and archiving them in a data repository. The method includes publishing the zone files to a managed DNS service to make available for DNS name resolution. The method further includes reconciling ownership of the zone files with particular registrars and merging ownership data with zone file data into a baseline provisioning DNS database. The method also includes publishing the zone files in a provisioning DNS database. The method includes prioritizing functions of the recovered registry including optional TLD specific registry functions. The method includes publishing the public provisioning database information in a WHOIS service. The method also accommodates DNSSEC extensions when the target registry implements them.
In a paragraph that would only make a domain name geek like me laugh, Verisign chose Afilias TLD .info as its example of a possible failed registry:
A registry might fail for a number of reasons, including natural disasters or government interference, but most likely a registry would fail for insolvency. When a registry becomes insolvent, the entire namespace for that TLD becomes at risk for complete failure. This would mean that name resolution would no longer work for the entire TLD. If, for example, the .info registry failed, over 8 million domain addresses would no longer work.
The application (pdf) was filed in May 2011 and just published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today.