August 29, 2018

Domain name provider Afilias sues NIXI over .IN domain tussle

The move seeks to block the transfer of the .IN domain to Neustar, which allegedly does not meet the criteria for handling Indian language domains.

Domain name provider

Domain name provider Afilias will be suing NIXI (National Internet Exchange of India) for allegedly rewarding the registration duties of the .IN domain to Neustar (India). The petition claims that the U.S. based Neustar does not meet the criteria for handling an Indian language domain name, which makes them unfit to handle the .IN domain.

Afilias say that NIXI is a government non-profit that manages the .IN domain, including implemented internationalised domain names (IDN) like “.भारत” in 15 Indian languages. They claim that since there are a vast number of languages and scripts in India, the technical expertise required to convert them into domain names is also immense.

According to Afilias, the technical service provider (TSP) of the .IN domain name since 2007, the bid submitted by the U.S. based Neustar does not comply with the regularities that are expected of a .IN domain name provider. They claim that Neustar have neither the experience nor the capability to handle Indian language domain names in the past.

Explaining this, Afilias alleged in the petition that for a TSP of .IN, the required bidders need to have experience as well as expertise in Indian language domain names and Indian scripts. They further stated that Neustar, that operates domain names like .US, .BIZ and .CO, emerged as the lowest bidder and was awarded the ‘Letter of Intent’.

According to the petition, Afilias claim that the committee found both bidders of the .IN domain equally qualified in technical terms, but Neustar’s bid of 70 cents per domain won against Afilias’ proposal of USD 1.10 per domain.

However, Indian media source Moneycontrol paints a different picture by saying that the NIXI board also made objections to the process since it was handled without any meetings or board consultations.

Explaining this, a board member commented:

They (Neustar) have said they will be ready to deliver Indian language IDNs in a year, which is not acceptable. Some board members objected to this but they were overruled.

Industry experts claim that this move by Afilias is likely to spur competition between them and Neustar to gain domain name market share. To know about the same, read this article on how Afilias acquired .AU domain from Neustar last month.