VeriSign Favored to Run Major Internet Domain

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2005-03-29 Print this article Print

The company begins negotiations for a new contract with ICANN after ranking in an independent evaluation as the top choice for running the .net domain.

VeriSign has taken a major step toward retaining control of .net after beating out four rivals in a rating of the contenders seeking to run the Internets third-largest domain. VeriSign Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., ranked the highest in a report released late Monday by ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), the main oversight body for the domain-name system. ICANN now will begin negotiating a registry agreement with VeriSign, a process that is expected to last about two weeks. Once an agreement is reached, the selection of VeriSign as the registry for .net could go before ICANNs board of directors as early as its scheduled meeting in Mar del Plata, Argentina, on April 8. ICANN also has begun accepting public comments on the report.
Earlier this year, ICANN tapped Telcordia Technologies Inc. to conduct an independent evaluation of the five .net contenders. Telcordia conducted onsite visits and used a team of technical experts in Asia, Europe and North America for its evaluation.
"The evaluators found that all the vendors have the capabilities to run the .net registry," Telcordia wrote in the report. "The distinguishing characteristics are largely differences in experience, risk and price." To read about VeriSigns 2004 lawsuit against ICANN, accusing the domain-name overseer of violating its registry agreement, click here. For the first time since its inception, .net was opened this year to competitive bidding among registries. VeriSign gained control of .net in 2000 when it acquired Network Solutions Inc., and Network Solutions had run the domain since 1992. In January, VeriSign and four other companies submitted bids for the management of .net. The companies included German nonprofit DENIC eG, which manages Germanys .de country code, and Afilias Ltd., which runs .info. Also in the running were two international coalitions. One was a joint venture between NeuLevel Inc., which operates the .biz domain, and Japan Registry Services Co. Ltd., which operates Japans .jp country code, called Sentan Registry Services Inc. The other was the CORE++ Association, an international consortium of registrars plus a telecommunications company. In the Telcordia report, Sentan fell a close second to VeriSign. Afilias came in third, followed by DENIC and CORE++, respectively. VeriSign welcomed the news that it was the top choice of the evaluators and said that it will enter negotiations with ICANN to complete the selection process. Click here to read about VeriSigns "rapid updates" enhancement for speedier domain-name changes. "We intend to work with ICANN and the entire Internet community to further strengthen the .net infrastructure by raising the bar on its reliability and stability and by further expanding the infrastructure globally," said Mark McLaughlin, a VeriSign senior vice president, in a statement. ICANNs current .net registry agreement with VeriSign, reached in 2001, expires at the end of June. In addition to the ICANN board, the U.S. Department of Commerce also must approve ICANNs selection of a .net registry. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.
Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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