Top Level Spectrum, the controversial .feedback gTLD registry, has threatened to de-accredit MarkMonitor unless it apologizes for “breaching” its registrar contract.
The move is evidently retaliation for the MarkMonitor-coordinated complaint about .feedback’s launch policies, which last month led to TLS being found in breach of its own ICANN contract.
De-accreditation would mean MarkMonitor would not be able to sell .feedback domains any more, and its .feedback names would be transferred to another registrar.
In a letter to MarkMonitor (pdf) yesterday, TLS informs the registrar that it breached its Registry-Registrar Agreement by releasing said RRA to “the press” as part of the exhibits to its Public Interest Commitments Dispute Resolution Policy complaint.
The problem we take issue with is that your exhibit should have redacted the “Confidential RRA Agreement” prior to being handed over to ” the press ” and it should have been marked in an appropriate way so ICANN would not publicly disclose it. As we can tell no precautions were taken and as a party to the action we find that you violated the confidentiality of the agreement.
I understand “the press” in this case includes DI and others. We published the document last October. We were not asked to keep anything confidential.
The RRA section of the document is marked as “private and confidential” and contains terms forbidding the disclosure of such information, but the name of the registrar is redacted.
TLS believes the undisclosed registrar is actually Facebook, a MarkMonitor client and one of the several parties to the PICDRP complaint against .feedback.
While Facebook may not have actually signed the RRA, MarkMonitor certainly did and therefore should not have released the document, TLS says.
The letter concludes that the “breach… seems incurable” and says: “Please let us know what actions you will take to cure this breach with us or we will have no other option but to de-accredited your Registrars.”
Despite this, TLS CEO Jay Westerdal tells us that an apology will be enough to cure the alleged breach.
The threat is reminiscent of a move pulled by Vox Populi, the .sucks registry, last year. Vox deaccredited MarkMonitor rival Com Laude in June for allegedly leaking a confidential document to DI (I was never able to locate or identify the allegedly leaked document, and had not published any document marked as confidential).
TLS was found in breach of the Public Interest Commitments in its ICANN contract last month by a PICDRP panel. It was the first registry to suffer such a loss.
The PICDRP panel found that .feedback’s launch had not been conducted in a transparent way, but it stopped short of addressing MarkMonitor’s complaints about “fraudulent” behavior.