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.Mail added to new TLD deathwatch, new proposal for handling Name Collisions

.Mail may be shelved and group suggests new way to handle name collisions for new top level domain names.

JAS Global Advisors has released a new report about name collisions for new top level domain names and has made a new set of recommendations. The report is available for comments.

One of the key changes from the existing name collision plan: permanent reservation of the .mail top level domain name.

JAS found that use of .mail in systems is prevalent and that it should not be delegated. This puts it in the same camp with .corp and .home, which were already on permanent hold.

There are currently five applicants for .mail, and they’ve already gone through quite an ordeal including multiple objections. All of the fighting over .mail might be pointless now.

The second major recommendation in the JAS report is to enact a “120-day controlled interruption period” after top level domain names are added to the root. This idea was inspired by the controlled interruption of expired domain names. By changing the nameservers on expired domains and thereby taking down a website, domain owners act quickly to renew their domain names. Although the site outage is bad, it’s better than having the domain go through deletion undetected by the owner.

Registries that have not yet been delegated to the root zone shall implement controlled interruption via wildcard records; registries that have elected the “alternative path to delegation” shall implement controlled interruption by adding appropriate resource records for the labels appearing in their respective block lists. Following the 120-day controlled interruption period, registries will not be subject to further collision-related restrictions. Like the Certificate Authority (CA) revocation approach, which may be partially implemented in parallel, we believe the 120-day controlled interruption period offers a conservative buffer between potential legacy usage of a TLD and the new usage.

ICANN will need to temporarily relax the restriction on wildcarding in order for registries to be able to do this. The interruption will help corporate network administrators identify collisions.

For domains already in general availability, JAS recommends the controlled interruption only for the domains on the name collision block list. JAS recommends no further collision-related restrictions on TLD operators after the 120 day window.

When it comes to emergency response to unexpected collisions, JAS recommends against the wholesale de-delegation of a domain name. This would harm people who have already registered second level domain names under the TLD. It argues that emergency response options should only by use in the case that the “DNS namespace collision presents a clear and present danger to human life.”

In other words, economic loss is not a reason for an emergency response.

All of JAS’ research suggests that name collisions should end up being a minor issue. It points out that every TLD added to the root since 2007 showed some symptoms of name collision prior to the delegation. Yet the world hasn’t ended.

Reading through the report reminded me that ICANN could have prevented a lot of wasted cycles by new TLD applicants had it just evaluated name collisions many years ago when the issue was identified.

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