Behind the scenes of Slovaks' fight to liberate their .sk domain

What's really going on in battle to block sale of top-level address

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In the case of SK-NIC, it has a seven-person committee overseeing the organization with three seats representing the internet community, two representatives from SK-NIC and two from the government.

Although this has meant that .sk has not been subject to market forces, it has also dulled innovation at the registry and created a situation where it is almost impossible to unseat the current operator since all committee representatives must agree to a change.

In that respect, a shift to Centralnic would actually make a lot of sense for Slovak internet users. The company has extensive experience in running top-level domains and has the latest technology on hand. That should mean, faster, easier and cheaper .sk domain registrations.

And in the negotiation of a new contract, the Slovak government should – if it is any good – be able to insist on a level of investment into .sk and change the structure to make it easier to shift the contract away from Centralnic in future as a way of keeping it on its toes. The Slovak government could still retain overall control but farm out the running of a complex technical task to a specialist company.

It is far from certain than the creation of a new non-profit organization that would not have its own funds and so would quickly become reliant on the registrars to function is a better alternative. In fact, you would think that in a former Communist state that the introduction of such an organization would set off alarm bells.

And so, as ever, it's a case of follow the money: but in this case it is the money funding the campaign. That campaign appears to be as much about scoring political points against government officials as it does about internet domain names. And it appears to be arguing against the introduction of an updated and less expensive system for registering .sk domains.

That alone should give Slovaks pause for thought before they sign the petition to have the .sk registry "returned to the people of Slovakia." ®

PS: Check out part two, here.


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