DRAFT HIGH LEVEL BUSINESS CASE FOR UNIFORUM NZ

BECOMING A REGISTRAR IN THE .NZ SRS

Status: v 1.1

Authors: Bill Parkin, Dave Oldershaw, Sue Leader

 

A. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Board of UniForum NZ seeks discussion from the members on the proposal that UniForum NZ becomes an Accredited Registrar in the new Shared Registry System (SRS) in the .nz namespace on the following basis:

  1. The UniForum NZ Registrar - GVR [Geek Vanilla Registar] - is a co-operative effort by technically competent people who are holders of one or more domian names in .nz
  2. The GVR will be a 'vanilla' Registrar. No services other than domain name management (create, amend, cancel, transfer) will be offered.
  3. The GVR will operate on a cost-recovery basis, with a small contingency fee to protect the organisation. The contingency fee will be reviewed after one year of operation and reduced/removed if possible.
  4. The GVR is a Registrar for members of UniForum NZ only. Members who manage domain names for other parties may manage those names in the GVR, subject to the review noted in #7.
  5. Registrations will be on an annual basis only.
  6. A new Standing Committee of the UniForum NZ Board will monitor the performance of all GVR 'mini-registrars', conduct audits of the GVR register, provide first point of contact in the event of failover, act as the dispute resolution body for GVR, and provide training for new mini-registrars if required. No principal of a Commercial Registrar will be eligible to be a member of the Standing Committee. - [nor a mini-registrar? - discussion point]
  7. The GVR will be created with flags for review of its operations. These include, but are not limited to:

 

B. BACKGROUND

UniForum NZ has an opportunity to provide a new membership service by becoming an Accredited Registrar under the new SRS environment in .nz Prior to December 7 2002, some 5% of all .nz Registrants managed their domain names directly with the former .nz Registry (Domainz). In the new environment this is no longer possible, and all Registrants, regardless of technical competence, must choose a Commercial Registrar for their domain name management. Given that a large percentage of UniForum NZ members fall into that 5% group, the Board proposes that UniForum NZ become the Registrar of choice.

The Board is therefore issuing this high level draft business case in order to seek feedback from the members. If the members support the proposal a full business case will be created and required Constitutional Amendments put forward. To go forward will require the holding of an SGM early in 2003.

Certain assumptions underlie this proposal, namely:

Registrar diagram

 

C. KEY BENEFITS

  1. UniForum NZ members who wish to continue to control the management of their own domain names can do so.
  2. UniForum NZ members who are interested in becoming an Accredited Registrar but who lack any of the requirements (number of domain names, legal entity, cashflow for monthly minimum fee, cash for Accreditation fee) have opportunity to 'piggyback' through GVR.
  3. UniForum NZ members have opportunity to gain skills in managing thie own domain names.
  4. UniForum NZ members have access to a 'Registrar Incubator' by becoming a 'mini-Registrar' through GVR.
  5. UniForum NZ may gain members through the project.
  6. UniForum NZ gains a higher profile through the project.

 

D. SUMMARY OF ACTION POINTS

If members support the proposal the following actions will be required.

  1. Finalise which business model the GVR is based on. Options are:
    1. co-operative effort by volunteers from membership
    2. a member or members paid to maintain the Register
    3. sub-contract the Registrar out to a member/s
    4. set up a company to run the Registrar

The Board favors either option a) or b), and option d) is not feasible.

  1. Complete the costings based on decision on D.1. , and advise members of annual fee. If this is not agreed, process stops here.
  2. Amend Constitution - two areas required:
    1. redefinition of Section 2 - Aims - this is in progress anyway as they no longer reflect our actual work
    2. Section 7 - termination of membership - requires amending so that a member can be removed from the GVR Standing Committee immediately upon complaint of breach of Terms and Conditions by the Domain Name Commissioner (DNC), and if necessary have their membership immediately suspended by the Board. [The normal recourse of the DNC is to de-authorise a Registrar. Given the nature of our proposed Registrar the DNC is prepared to accept a strengthening of our internal procedures as a substitute for a breach by one of our members.]
  1. Appoint GVR Standing Committee (process to be determined). The Board recommends that the Standing Committee comprise five members, of which at least two must be UniForum NZ Board members, plus the President ex officio. It is further recommended that all members of the Standing Committee must have been members in good standing of UniForum NZ for at least two years.
  2. Modify the Registrar Implementation Kit (RIK) supplied by the DNC to include mini-registrar's login, accounting function, other required functionality.
  3. Collect $50 + GST ($100?) per member interested in becoming a mini-Registrar to go towards the Accreditation fee. When the minimum total of $1000 + GST is reached, apply to the DNC for Accreditation.
  4. Once Accredited, all mini-Registrars to transfer domain names to GVR. [All mini-Registrars who still have Domainz as their Registrar should apply to Domainz for pro-rata refund of annual registration fee.]

 

E. DELIVERABLES

  1. At least $1000 + GST in GVR Bank Account from interested members [N.B. Should the project not proceed this money, less any expenditure on project to date, will be refunded.]
  2. Completed Business Plan and Budget
  3. Amended Constitution
  4. Association Insurance Cover to agreed value - $500,000? [The DNC's Office is providing Registrar Insurance at no cost to Registrars]
  5. Legal advice received on Plan
  6. Accreditation Forms complete and forms and fee to DNC
  7. Contracts/Agreements between GVR and mini-Registrars, and SLA's signed (recommendation is to simply reproduce DNC-Registar Contracts)
  8. Contracts/Agreements between UniForum NZ and GVR Operator/s complete.
  9. Establishment of operational machines, in suitable site, with network connectivity, and effective continuity program (backups, hot standby, whatever).
  10. RIK amended and accounting system set-up; full audit trails in GVR register implemented.
  11. GVR Standing Committee Terms of Reference completed and members appointed.
  12. Annual registration fee for all domain names transferring to GVR received in advance of launch.

 

F. BUDGET IMPLICATIONS

1. For UniForum NZ:

  1. underwrite Accreditation Fee if gap between contributions and fee (maximum $1000 + GST)
  2. underwrite $48 + GST/month during establishment if less than 24 names (maximum estimated - 2 months x $48 + GST = $96 + GST)
  3. underwrite any one domain name for grace period for renewal ( 1 - 3 months = $2 - $6)
  4. 50% of Association Insurance cover (estimated $600 + GST p.a.)

 

2.  For GVR (These are ballpark figures, assume a lot of volunteer work, free co-location etc) - all excluding GST

  1. if Option D.1. a or b chosen:

Item

$ p.a.

Licensing fees (Open Source)

0

Boxes for Registrar

1000

Power, net, office space

1000

Admin - technical

400

Admin - financial

800

Annual accounts etc

1000

Defaulters

200

Programming shim etc

0

Mail

200

Legal contingency

2000

Association Insurance (50%)

600

Credit card charges

240

Office support

0

Web development

0

   

TOTAL

7440.00

   

For 500 domain names

14.88

For 1000 domain names

7.44

   

Plus $24 to SRS

 

500

38.88

1000

31.44

 

  1. if Option D.1. c chosen:

Item

$ p.a.

SRS charges (@ $2/mnth)

24

Contractor (@ $0.50/month)

6

UniForum NZ expenses

5

   

TOTAL per domain name

$35

 

G. RISK MANAGEMENT

  1. Ensure financial commitment is covered off to a loss to UniForum NZ of no more than $1500 by:
  2. Arrange a friendly Commercial Registrar for out-migration of domain names should GVR need to cease operation.
  3. Maintain all accounting records for GVR completely separate from UniForum NZ records.