On Wednesday September 10th Vancouver played host to CIRA for their 2008 Annual General meeting. Around 140 or so CIRA members attended the meeting and keynote at the Pan Pacific Hotel.
Guests were signed in and members were given their name tags and their ballots for the fabulous door prizes before moving on to a light lunch of finger sandwiches, cheeses and lovely little petit fors. Members and board members used this time to mingle and network before the start of the meeting. The meeting began as scheduled and the agenda ran smoothly covering the reports from the board of directors, the president and the financials.
After the reports was the member Q and A, which was both informative and entertaining as there are often colourful characters who are not afraid to ask the tough questions.
One of the comments made was that the event had not taken into consideration the needs of the physically challenged, to which the CEO of CIRA apologized and ensured, would not happen in the future.
Another member asked how CIRA came to the decision of who would be the Keynote Speaker for the AGM, he was quick to point out that although Amber MacArthur, New Media Specialist and Keynote Speaker was one of the reasons he was attending the meeting, that “with all due respect” he did not understand how she was relevant to CIRA or the AGM. CIRA CEO Byron Holland came to both Amber and CIRA’s defense by pointing out that part of CIRA’s mandate was to foster communication and open dialogue between registrants/members, registrars and CIRA. As Amber is a specialist in web 2.0 and tools to build community and communication that CIRA’s marketing team felt she would be an informative and entertaining Keynote speaker.
Going forward CIRA also plans to be more inclusive to its members in these decisions. The general feel was that CIRA under the direction of Byron Holland is truly interested in fostering communication, as CIRA has in the past been more of a behind the scenes and hands off . I think this new mandate will go along way in improving the .CA name space as well as broadening the scope and use of .CA domains, after all every Canadian should have a .CA domain.
.CA Governance and Registrant Feedback
Several members asked about the fair usage and ownership of .CA domains and their websites, and what involvement CIRA has in the governance of content and usage of the .CA domain names. This can be a complicated subject as there is much legality around the registration of any domain name be it .CA or any extension. CEO Byron Holland pointed out that CIRA governance is primarily in ensuring the 100% uptime of the .CA registry as well as the security of the .CA domain space and DNS. And although CIRA does provide assistance with and access to dispute resolution, CIRA is not in the business of governing the content of .CA websites or the ownership of .CA domains provided the domain owner meets the CIRA requirements. For specific legal questions regarding ownership of domains and their usage it is always best to seek legal advice, as trademark and fair usage laws are complex and varied.
An interesting issue that some registrants have encountered was brought up by another member. This registrant wanted domain.bc.ca but the domain.on.ca was already taken. He had been through a similar situation with another domain and was able to communicate with the other registrant and register the “conflicting domain” through the CIRA process. However, he was unable to reach the existing registrant of the .on.ca domain in the current situation and asked if CIRA had any process to force this registrant to respond. Byron Holland responded that if the other registrant has rightfully registered the domain, there was no obligation to respond to or share the domain with anyone else.
After the Q and A it was time for the Keynote Speaker Amber MacArthur to present on “How to use the top web 2.0 tools to build community and customer loyalty online.” Her presentation was lively, well paced and had the right amount of web humor thrown in to keep us all interested, informed and entertained. Some of the topics covered by Amber included Blogging, Twitter, the mobile web, networking sites and how web 2.0 lends itself to success in business by connecting business with their clients in new and interactive ways. Following Amber’s presentation there was another Q and A session giving members a chance to pick Amber’s brain on topics such as using networking sites to promote their business and how to manage and protect information and personal privacy while being open to communication and feedback from clients.
Then came the door prize draw, which again a few people must have had a hard time following directions as the draw submission close time was 12:30 and yet moments before the draw 4 or 5 members quickly ran up to the box and stuffed their ballots in last minute which rightfully drew the criticism of another member who was sure to point out that this was in direct violation of the draw rules and regulations. One could only assume that had one of those members actually had their ballot drawn that they would have had to forfeit the prize. Then it was on to the networking reception.
All in all the meeting went well and the members were thankful that CIRA came out to Vancouver to hold the AGM as they often do not make it out this far west. There were lots of interesting questions, answers, comments and suggestions. I was left with a sense that CIRA’s mandate to be more communicative and open to their clients suggestions is sincere and will ultimately benefit all .CA owners both now and for years to come.