Oversight agency rejects ‘travel’ search plan | VailDaily.com

Oversight agency rejects ‘travel’ search plan

NEW YORK – The Internet’s key oversight agency said it has rejected a proposed search service to help guide people who mistype “.travel” Web addresses or seek nonexistent ones.The decision comes after a review panel warned that the proposal from Tralliance Corp., which operates “.travel,” could hinder spam filters and other applications that rely on the Internet’s Domain Name System, the directories crucial for finding Web sites and sending e-mail.The board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers said it agreed the proposal “creates a reasonable risk of a meaningful adverse effect on security and stability.” ICANN said on its Web site Wednesday that it had adopted a resolution during a teleconference meeting last week.Tralliance President Ron Andruff said Thursday his company had yet to be informed of a decision and noted a public-comment period wasn’t scheduled to end until Dec. 7. An ICANN spokesman had no immediate explanation.Meanwhile, the operator of the “.museum” domain said Thursday it was taking steps to suspend a similar technology.As proposed by Tralliance, users who type a “.travel” name that does not exist would get a Web page inviting them to register for the name, provided their company or organization belongs to one of the 20 eligible travel industry sectors, such as hotels, airlines and restaurants. Tralliance would make money on each new registration.A separate review panel had earlier recommended the proposal’s rejection, saying Tralliance’s “search.travel” appeared no different from the Site Finder service that VeriSign Inc. had introduced for “.com” and “.net” and withdrew under pressure.But unlike Site Finder, which also drew complaints that a company was trying to profit off the popularity of “.com,” the concerns with “.travel” have been strictly technical. Tralliance argues that there are far fewer “.travel” sites – about 23,000 compared with some 59 million for “.com” – and thus they are less central to the Internet’s infrastructure.A second review panel took a closer look and wasn’t persuaded.It concluded that even though the service was meant to help guide Web traffic, its effects could not be limited to the Web. As a result, that panel said, misaddressed mail could get delayed and spam filters could become less effective. Some spam filters use the Domain Name System to check whether a sender’s e-mail address is legitimate.The panel said the service won’t destroy the Internet, but “will impair the Internet’s existing portfolio of applications, and complicate the development and implementation of new services,” including domain names using non-English characters.Andruff said that despite the concerns, “there is no empirical evidence to say whether it would or would not” cause problems. He said Tralliance was willing to run “search.travel” on a trial basis to see if problems indeed develop.The “.travel” domain launched last year, joining more than 250 Internet suffixes. Names of cities, national parks and other landmarks under “.travel” will be open for general registration next year.A handful of small suffixes already have been using the mechanism “.travel” proposed, known as a wildcard. The most notable is “.museum,” which Andruff has cited in defending his company’s proposal.In an interview, “.museum” curator Cary Karp said his organization is looking to suspend its wildcard, which sends visitors to a directory of all working addresses when a name does not exist. He said his organization was moving to another directory system anyway and thus could no longer “justify keeping a target painted on our forehead.”

Support Local Journalism