WASHINGTON, D.C. - The little-used dot-us domain will be opened to the general public next year, giving American companies and individuals new alternatives to Internet addresses in the already heavily populated dot-com name space.
Under a two-year contract announced last week by the Department of Commerce, NeuStar, a Washington, D.C., company, will open the registry that until now has been reserved for use primarily by state and local governments. "Now, for the first time, Americans can have an Internet identity that tells them and others on the Internet who they are and where they are. It tells them they are Americans," said NeuStar CEO Jeff Ganek.
Critics, however, said the move was anti-American and anticompetitive.
"We sold our name," said Karl Auerbach, a member of the board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which oversees the Internet Domain Name System. "It was done without very good procedures within the Department of Commerce. Its egregious that the public had so little input in the sale of our countrys name."
Others questioned why the contract was awarded to NeuStar. Its NeuLevel subsidiary recently won approval from ICANN to run the new dot-biz domain, one of seven domains being added as alternatives to the popular dot-com. The DOC spurred ICANN and guided the domain name expansion with the goal of breaking the monopoly of former government contractor Network Solutions Inc. on registrations for Internet addresses.
Giving control over both dot-biz and dot-us to the same corporate juggernaut does not foster competition, said Larry Ehrlich, a partner at DomainRegistry.com in Philadelphia.
A DOC representative said NeuStar "provided the greatest overall benefit and the best value in response to our request."