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Replacing IEDR Management - Time To Go?
1640 Hrs 25 November 2002
The fiasco of recent months has destroyed whatever credibility the board of IEDR had remaining. The manner in which the dispute between Mike Fagan (deposed CEO of IEDR) and the board of IEDR was left to escalate was not good for IEDR and it certainly was a disaster for the Irish internet community - the community which IEDR is supposed to serve.

A Dublin court ruled earlier this month that IEDR must continue to pay Fagan his salary while he was suspended. It also temporarily prevented IEDR from acting on the KPMG report. Another hearing in the case was meant to have taken place on Monday.

It is difficult to see if IEDR can be salvaged. The Irish internet community voted with their credit cards and wallets a long time ago and the .ie domain is too expensive for businesses in the midst of a recession or economic downturn. Most Irish businesses now chose to go .com rather than .ie.

Would it be enough that the board of IEDR resigns en masse? Probably not, though it would go some of the way towards restoring confidence. But what would replace it - the professional committee joiners that seem to dog this industry? The last thing that the industry needs is another bunch of marginally effective meddlers. The current board is very much a liability to the industry - after all, why the hell should it be padded with more people from the most reviled organisation in the history of the Irish internet?

Perhaps it is time for a very revolutionary idea - the idea that the Irish internet community decides on who should be on the board.

Apparently the IEDR has a new financial controller and the temporary KPMG controller is gone. Little is known yet about the new controller.

It remains to be seen if the board of IEDR will actually publish the results of the KPMG investigation. Though given its IEDR managementīs predeliction of working behind closed doors, there is unlikely to be any glastnost from that particular Stalinist operation. It may be up to the Irish internet community to dispose of these despots - with a little help from the relevant government department. After all, the final decision is that of the Minister and his department. Is he willing to doom .ie to the status of a joke by leaving the present situation fester?

Strange IEDR Decisions: CMS For A Largely Static Website
1640 Hrs 25 November 2002

Of the many questionable decisions of the management of IEDR over the past few years, one in particular sticks out. IEDR management decided that it had to have a fully fledged content management system (CMS) for a website that rarely changed. The listings of stalled and active domains, domain statistics were generated daily by m4 scripts taking data from a MySQL database. On some days, the results from these pages can be unusual.

The two rules of thumb when evaluating whether a website requires a CMS are frequency and depth or:

1: How often does the site change?
2: How much of the site changes?

A website where the content changes extensively on an hourly or daily basis does require a CMS. The standard examples of such websites are newspaper and news sites.  However IEDRīs website rarely changed on a monthly basis, let alone a daily basis.

The depth of the changes also has an important bearing. A news site tends to have a lot of articles per day and as such would have a continual influx of content, all of which would need to be linked and archived. Again the depth of IEDRīs changes would hardly justify a CMS.

Perhaps the motivation of IEDR management was to make things easy for IEDR staff in updating webpages. But that would have been trivial to achieve. A few Frontpage  or Dreamweaver templates would have been a lot easier and cheaper. Then again the IEDR management never had much of a clue about websites. The new IEDR website is a puke inducing paen to style over function. Real registries strive to make sites as simple as possible. The sites of www.nic.uk or www.dns.be are elegant in design and light years ahead of what the IEDR management considers a website. Perhaps if they actually browsed the web a bit more, they would understand.

Every programmer thinks, at some time (generally after midnight), that they can write a CMS. The reality is that every programmer can write a bad CMS and unless they understand the complexities of publishing and the requirements of the users, then the results will not be good. The IEDRīs CMS tends to be more friendly to IEDR than to the user. Perhaps this is just down to poor navigational design and information architecture. While the site may look very pretty, it is poorly structured.

IEDR should make a clean break with the past and dump the CMS. A simple website that gives people what they are looking for is all that is required and the complexity and cost of a CMS is just another drain on IEDR finances. After all, the IEDR website is meant to be the website of the Irish domain registry. It is a source of embarrassment that the management of IEDR chose to host it on a server in the USA. 

IEDR: Death Of A Domain?
2240 Hrs 25 October 2002 At this time, things look bad the IE Domain Registry Limited. A KPMG accountant is apparently running things following the departure of IEDR financial controller Stuart Baillie. On Friday last, IEDR staff were instructed not to open their e-mail. At first it looked like IEDR was getting hit by one of the many Microsoft facilitated viruses. However according to the  latest issue of Phoenix magazine, KPMG has taken over everything and apparently only KPMG staff are allowed to open mail and sign purchase orders. Most real registries depend on e-mail for the bulk of their communications.

The industry seems to be wondering just what right these people on the board of IEDR have to be there. It is a fair question. Both Scanlan and Bolger were part of Telecom Eireann (now Eircom) - the organisation that tried to strangle the infant internet in Ireland. The loading of the IEDR board with UCD appointees has always been a sore point, not least for the deposed CEO, Mike Fagan.

IEDR: Calls To Broaden KPMG Investigation
2130 Hrs 15 October 2002 Acording to a report in ITīs Monday, an Irish IT industry publication, Mike Fagan, the suspended CEO of IEDR has called for the scope of KPMGīs investigation into IEDR operations and accounts to be broadened. Fagan wanted the activities of the Board Of Directors of IEDR to be included in the investigation. Surprisingly Fagan has also called for ministerial intervention.

One of Faganīs claims, made shortly after he was suspended, was that there is an over representation of UCD/Eircom interests on the Board of IEDR. This is actually a very valid point. Both the chairman of the board, John Scanlan and Ron Bolger have been board members of one of the most reviled organisations in Irish internet history - Eircom/Telecom Eireann.

IEDR Website Disappears For A While
1630 Hrs 10 October 2002
Irish internet users searching for IEDRīs website this morning found that IEDRīs shiny new website had disappeared. Both
www.domainregistry.ie and www.iedr.ie were showing a "page not found error" Normal service has been resumed. The restored index page is the original one that had the following location details in the Meta description. "Welcome to the Domain Registry of Ireland (IEDR). The new IEDR site has been designed to improve the overall user experience.  Domain Registry of Ireland : .Located in .">  The obvious confusion over location is particularly apt.

IEDR now claims that the outage was due to a software licensing issue but declined to explain exactly what caused the outage. Even so, the fact that the management of IEDR, which is supposed to be the National domain registry of Ireland chose to host its website outside of Ireland has not gone down well among the Irish Internet Community.

IEDR - Delete Or Rebuild?

At the moment, the views of the Irish internet community as to the future of the .ie domain registry are split. Some would like to see the IE Domain Registry Ltd deleted and the operation of the registry consigned to a competent, industry led group of registrars. Others seem to think that it would be better if the government invoked Section 33 of the E-Commerce Act and took the franchise back from IEDR. In any case the dislike of IEDR is apparent. It would be a good thing if some kind of clueful emergency management was installed in IEDR.

Most Irish hosting companies prefer .com or .net registrations over .ie. The management of IEDR spent a lot of money sponsoring useless awards and buying expensive advertising trying to promote .ie but it has been a disaster as Irish owned CNO registrations continue unabated.

Perhaps if the board and the management of IEDR had any real business experience they would understand that the one certain way to boost .ie registrations would be to cut the price of .ie. Faced with the choice of a .com for about Euro 8 or a .ie for around Euro 125, most businesses donīt want to waste the money on .ie.

IEDR Suspends CEO Indefinitely
2000 Hrs 02 October 2002

The IE Domain Registry has suspended CEO Mike Fagan. The suspension took effect this morning. Accountants KPMG and the Gardai (Irish Police) visited IEDR headquarters and it is expected that KPMG is to conduct an audit of IEDR Limitedīs accounts.

The performance of the .ie cctld has been at odds with the performance of other cctld registries. IEDR has only deleted 237 domains since December 2000. Many companies that went dot.bang still have domains listed in the .ie zonefile. In a regular survey of .ie domains,  WhoisIreland.com has determined that at least 2400 .ie domains have no SOA. The standard procedure when a hosting company is not paid by a client is to pull the SOA records for the clientīs domains from the nameservers. Some of these domains belong to companies that have long since disappeared. However the domains cannot be deleted and the billing contacts would still receive bills from IEDR for these domains. The hosting companies would then have to apply for credit notes from IEDR to balance out things.

In many cases, .ie websites have remained largely untouched for years indicating that they were purely speculative registrations that were never developed. The interesting thing about this type of speculative registration is that they typically result in a one-off payment. Again many of these sites seem to be still in the .ie zonefile. 

The lack of deletions is also a cause for concern. Whereas up to Irish owned 400 .com/.net/.org domains can be deleted in any month, the miniscule number of .ie domains deleted seems to indicated that there is a reluctance to delete .ie domains even where deletions are requested. Of course this could be due to a quirk in the IEDR requirements for deletion where only the administrative contact for the domain can request the deletion. In the case of domains that belong to dot.bomb companies, there is no administrative contact.

Faganīs tenure at IEDR Limited began with high hopes that he would drag the .ie cctld screaming and kicking from the morass of academia. However recent decisions by IEDR to outsource the technical running of the domain to a company that had never administered a cctld and does not even administer its own DNS raised fears throughout the industry over the integrity of the .ie cctld.  In Late July, these fears were realised when it was discovered that the .ie nameservers were out of synch and had been for almost a week. 

Other decisions have been equally worrying. The move to use a rather strange content management system hosted on a computer in the USA was seen as an insult to the Irish Internet Community. Here was the national domain registry hosting its website on a webserver in another country. The new website design is not the best from an information architecture point of view. The key search item for any domain registry, the WHOIS search is obscured by a particularly bad piece of web design. The login for users and resellers to administer domains is not secure.

The results of KPMGīs audit are eagerly awaited by the Irish Internet Community. It remains to be seen if IEDR Limited will be stripped of the right to run the .ie cctld registry but there is a feeling among the hosting companies that for all the pious aspirations about administering .ie for the good of the Irish internet community, these people have betrayed the national domain.

IE Watch
2100 Hrs 03 April 2002

Subject: .ie domain registry - heads up!
Hi there,
Do you have concerns about the .ie domain registry? This email is about practical action you can take to help improve the current situation.

IE Watch is a group that is concerned that the .ie domain registry be prudently and fairly  managed. The .ie domain registry is in charge of registering domain names ending in '.ie'. We  would like to see the .ie domain being governed in an open, transparent way by a structure which reflects the Irish industry and community. Read More>

War In Heaven?
Canal+ Sues For $1B: Claims Murdoch Operation Pirated C+ Cards
1100 Hrs 13 March 2002
In a lawsuit filed in California, Canal Plus Group claims that the Murdoch owned NDS Group, the companies responsible for the security of the Sky cards, cracked the Canal Plus smartcards and made the source code available to pirates via the internet. The lawsuit claims that NDS group violated the (Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organisations) RICO statutes and the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.
Read More>

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