Press Release in PDF Format

Deputy PM Pellegrini Approved the Sale of .SK Abroad, Community Turns to ICANN for Help

Bratislava, September 6, 2017 – The county code top level domain (ccTLD) .SK has definitely gotten out of the reach of the Slovak people as it became the property of London-based company CentralNic. The administrator of the ccTLD SK-NIC was sold by its original owner, Danubiatel, for 26 million Euros. This happened only a few days after Deputy Prime Minister for Investments and Informatization Peter Pellegrini gave the go-ahead to signing of an unfavorable appendix to the contract between the state and SK-NIC on the administration of the national domain. The deputy PM did not make use of the state´s advantageous negotiating position, uncritically accepted the private company conditions while ignoring the comments of the Slovak Internet community and allowed the sale of the domain .SK to a foreign entity.

The Association of Webhosting Providers (ZPW) believes that the sale of the ccTLD abroad had been planned a long time ago. The deal could only be made possible with an active support of the Deputy Prime Minister´s Office for Investments and Informatization of the Slovak Republic. Under the management of Peter Pellegrini, the office´s officials accepted the terms of the private company SK-NIC and signed with them an unfavorable contract for the state. ZPW submitted detailed commentaries to the contract, actively cooperated with Pellegrini's Office and offered constructive proposals, of which almost none were incorporated in the contract.

"If, from the beginning, the sole objective was to sell the domain .SK abroad, it is regrettable that Peter Pellegrini had been misleading the Internet community around the petition. While pretending willingness to cooperate or willingness to accept the requirements of webhosting providers, operators and other entities, in the end he laughed off our sincere efforts,“ said ZPW President Ondrej Jombík.

Stealth redelegation

In addition, the Association of Webhosting Providers believes that policies of the international authority IANA were violated in the transfer of SK-NIC ownership. The policies clearly define that every redelegation of a ccTLD requires the consent of the local Internet community, which in Slovakia is represented by entities associated under the petition. As a result, the association is planning to turn to the global Internet authority ICANN to assess the legitimacy of the transfer.

"SK-NIC shareholder change is considered to be a so-called stealth redelegation, which is subject to the above-mentioned policies. The community associated around does not agree with the sale of the ccTLD .SK because the transfer conditions are clearly unfavorable for both the state and citizens of Slovakia. We ask the Internet authority ICANN for help," explains further initiative steps Ondrej Jombík.

The Internet community, on the other hand, continues to push for returning the administration of the ccTLD back to citizens of Slovakia, in particular by creating a nonprofit organization that would manage it and invest the profits in beneficial projects, such as educational ones, etc.

Threat and Advantage

Concerns are rising in connection with the new owner. CentralNic, which now owns the domain .SK, has a controversial image. For example, it obtained the ccTLD of Laos .LA and speculatively began to hike prices of certain domains in order to sell them advantageously to private businesses operating in Los Angeles. The Laotian government is now trying to get the control over the ccTLD back into its own hands from CentralNic. If a similar procedure was applied in Slovakia, it could happen that most domains would be already taken and offered for sale by CentralNic at sky high prices.

However, the new owner could also bring improvements according to webhosting providers. CentralNic has a more advanced system of domain administration, which could benefit registrars as well as domain owners.