Interview d’Erik Seeboldt, d’Unified Root, à propos des racines ouvertes

Suite à notre article de lundi sur les racines ouvertes, nous avons interrogé Erik Seeboldt, l’un des responsables du projet hollandais d’Unified Root. Voici sa vision des racines ouvertes, et notamment de leur cohabitation avec l’internet « icannien ».

Nous poursuivrons ce tour d’horizon dans les jours à venir, avec une interview de Louis Pouzin, à l’origine du projet français Open Root, et à l’origine de… l’internet.

Mailclub : Erik, can you explain us what is unified root, and what service you offer ?

Erik Seeboldt : Unifiedroot is a privately held technology company headquartered in The Netherlands that has built, and operates its own root server platform.
After 6 years of development we have created a state-of-the-art (IPv6 ready) root server platform that offers businesses anywhere in the world the ability to register and use new top-level domains (TLD’s) and Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) on its system.

You have also created a web browser, allowing to surf on your naming universe as well as on the « normal » one, can you speak a bit about it ?

Erik Seeboldt : Unifiedroot has recently developed a new web browser we call “Sundial”. The Sundial browser was developed from the open source code of Mozilla’s Firefox with the aim of allowing anyone surfing the Net, to seamlessly navigate to websites having domain name extensions (TLDs or IDNs) from both ICANN and Unifiedroot.

Unifiedroot has created an independent site for the Sundial Browser at ( From here one can download and have the Sundial Browser installed in a matter of minutes.

You kind of create a second naming system, sort of twighlight zone of the « official » internet, do you think it is a good thing to break the key principle of unicity of the internet ?

Erik Seeboldt : Unifiedroot provides an alternative root system with the aim of fostering growth and innovation on the Internet. Unifiedroot believes in and endorses the principle of a united Internet. It is for this reason that Unifiedroot developed the Sundial Browser which allows for open and seamless navigation on the Internet.

Icann fees for a new tld will be 185 000 dollars, and gloabl cost to companies will be close to 300 000 euros +. How much is it, in comparison, to have a .brandtld with your system ?

In contrast with ICANN, there is no fee to apply for a TLD or IDN with Unifiedroot. If Unifiedroot accepts an application the cost to register the TLD or IDN is 50,000 EUR.

Your « only » advantage vs the current Icann program of new TLD is the price. Do you think it is sufficient to justify the fact that a minority of people will have access to these sites ?

Erik Seeboldt : Price is just one of the advantages Unifiedroot has versus the current ICANN program of new TLDs. Another major advantage is that Unifiedroot has already opened its application process and is registering TLDs and IDNs on its platform. Businesses are now developing live content around their TLDs and IDNs and are using them in commerce. This is very important as intellectual property rights are established and strengthened based upon “first usage”.
We are seeing many of our TLD and IDN owners at Unifiedroot ramping up to place content live online. They will then be reaching out to their various communities of interest to inform them of this new content and invite them to download the Sundial Browser. The joint efforts of our TLD holders reaching out to their respective communities will build a critical mass of users to the Sundial Browser.

What if there is a « collision » of tlds, with « icann » ones being similar to yours ? How will your browser manage this ?

Erik Seeboldt : Unifiedroot is careful not to cause conflict with ICANN or to jeopardize the security and stability of the DNS (domain name system). Unifiedroot will not allow a party to register a TLD that already exists at ICANN. Unifiedroot advises ICANN of all new TLDs and IDNs that are registered on its system.

How does Icann react to your offer ?

Unifiedroot’s legal council is in communications with ICANN’s lawyers in an effort to reach a mutually agreed solution on respecting each other’s TLDs and IDNs. So far, these talks are ongoing.

Do you already have live tlds (appart from your own), and real clients ?

Erik Seeboldt : Links to live TLDs can be found on the Sundial Browser start page. I should also mention that will be new TLDs going live in the next thirty days.