“The Domain Sector is Simply Fascinating”

A new committee has been established in eco: the eco Names & Numbers Forum Steering Committee has started its work. Thomas Rickert, eco Director for Names & Numbers, explains the role of the steering committee, and why domains are such an important topic for the largest Internet industry association. 

Thomas, what exactly is the eco Names & Numbers Steering Committee?

It is a group of influential and experienced experts from the domain sector with whom we would like regular discussions on eco’s domains-related activities. Workshops, white papers, studies, cooperation with other associations and event organizers, and work in international committees – there is an abundance of things that we can do for our members. We already cover a good deal of these, but unfortunately not everything is feasible.

The membership of the steering committee represents the broad spectrum of providers and perspectives. Registries, not only for ccTLDs , but also for “old” and “new” gTLDs, registrars, the secondary market, technology, marketing, business and a range of other positions are represented in the very international group. The group’s task is to help us to use our resources in the best way possible in the interests of our members.

Why is this work so important?

Working with the steering committee is important because in this way we have closely integrated an expert group into our planning. Even though we are already in regular contact with the more than 120 member companies from the domains sector, the somewhat more formal collaboration with fixed group makes a big difference. We are able to gain the attention of, and establish continuity with, people who cannot be targeted through general communication via a large mailing list. We therefore benefit more directly from the market knowledge and industry experience of the participants, and can enable their needs to flow into our work. That certainly makes eco more relevant for members from the sector, and in turn it makes membership more valuable.

But I don’t wish to conceal how much of an honor it is that globally renowned industry heavy-weights have agreed to collaborate. Those who have not yet become aware of eco in the way we would wish may do so on account of these crowd-pullers. In this respect, we see the members of the steering committee to a certain extent also as ambassadors for the association.

How will the committee work on a practical level?

Quite simply: We propose a project plan with focal topics and specific activities, and get feedback during telephone conferences and, when the occasion arises, in face-to-face meetings. Are we addressing the right topics? Are we presenting the most relevant events? We are interested in these and other related questions. So far, the feedback has already helped us a lot in the fine tuning of our work.

Why is the Names & Numbers topic so important to you personally?

The domain sector is simply fascinating. There is a lot going on, and we can influence things and make a difference for our members. Just think about the successful conclusion of the US government oversight of ICANN. We were able to make a decisive contribution to that success. Apart from that, the DNS plays a central role in the functioning and the stability of the Internet. In this respect, the topic isn’t just fun, it’s also seriously important.