Patent contemplates selling pools of access to each registrar.
Someone looking in from the outside would consider the current model for drop catching expired domain names to be inefficient.
Each registrar has a connection to the registry, which it uses to try to snap up domains the moment they expire. Drop catching services increase their connections to the registrar by getting more registrar accreditations. This is an expensive process: each registrar has to be accredited by ICANN and sign a registrar agreement with Verisign.
In the case of DropCatch.com, the company has registered over 1,000 limited liability companies, gotten each one accredited through ICANN, and then signed agreements with Verisign.
Verisign (NASDAQ: VRSN) has another idea: why not just let each registrar buy more pools of access to process transactions?
It’s sure to be a controversial idea given the company’s tenuous relationship with domain name registrars. But it could actually be a win-win for drop catchers and Verisign.
Today, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted patent number 10,659,426 (pdf) to Verisign for System and method for domain name system using a pool management service. The patent describes a system of offering additional pools of access to registrars. These could be an alternative way to get more firepower for drop catching.
It’s an interesting concept. Verisign has filed other patents related to expired domains, including selling backorders.
Not sure if I understood the patent correctly.
Does it mean registrars now pay for extra access to Veri(bad)Sign than ICAAN’t?
Either way registrars and registrants keep losing while two monopolies (Verisign and ICANN) keep getting richer and richer imo.
Andrew Allemann says
First, it’s just an idea. A patent. It doesn’t mean they’d put it into practice.
But the idea in the patent is that they could give a single registrar more resources to ping the registry. So instead of setting up a hundred registrars, a drop catcher could just buy more pools of resources.
Smart move by VRSN – accomplishes two things –
1 – scoop up all the revenue that registrars are paying ICANN for extra creds. This is actually small potatoes
2 – get rid of the infrastructure required to handle thousands and thousands of connections from registrars externally and bring it all internally and set up policy based access instead of who has the most firepower
Registrars would likely pay same amount , maybe less , but VRSN gets a huge win by changing the game
The system needs an overhaul. It’s been a dog’s breakfast ever since the DomainGuru spilled the beans.
They need to spread the deletions over 24 hours, and publicly list the exact deletion time of each domain, and allow Registrars ONE SHOT per domain name.
The other possibility is allow REGISTRANTS to pre-apply for each domain, then allocate the domain to one REGISTRANT APPLICANT on a random basis, who denotes which Registrar they wish to use.
All this is done at normal registration fee, getting rid of the horrendous drop-catching tax and the ridiculous amount of equipment and energy wasted in the current process.
Rubens Kuhl says
The last paragraph, about selling backorders, even if it refers to a previous patent, is something people need to look at. It would be so easy to make VRSN the auctioneer of dropped domains and would bring them lots of revenue, that the only reason to not have done it so far is to not put higher revenue sources in jeopardy. As soon as soon they increase the reg fee and there is nothing else to increase bottom-line, such a move will be made in an instant notice.
Andrew Allemann says
They’d need to get approval through ICANN as a registry service, right?
Richard Schreier says
CIRA has been providing that functionality within the Fury Registry platform to our registrars (and for our registry customers) for some time. We realized that having to incorporate multiple shell companies solely for the purpose of having additional capacity during the TBR (our version of the drop) simply did not make sense. Now, if a registrar wants additional connections to the registry during the TBR they can do so easily by just selecting a count from a drop down menu in their registrar profile.
It seems very odd that the US Patent Office would even allow granting of a patent for this kind of functionality when CIRA had already deployed the capability long before the patent application and already in use by multiple TLDs.