Internet Society chosen to run .org domain registry

The board of directors of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) today tapped the Internet Society (ISoc) to operate the .org domain registry beginning Jan. 1.

ISoc will take over operation of the .org registry from U.S. registry VeriSign Inc. in Mountain View, Calif., which also manages the Internet's .com domain names.

ICANN selected ISoc's proposal over those submitted by 10 other bidders, all of whom hoped to run the .org domain names, which are allocated to nonprofit groups and charities. Reston, Va.-based ISoc is an international nonprofit organization that focuses on Internet addressing issues.

The group, which has 6,000 individual and 150 organizational members, has established a new nonprofit organization, the Public Interest Registry (PIR), to operate the .org registry. PIR will run the registry in conjunction with Afilias Ltd., the global domain name registry that launched the .info top-level domain name.

The board at Marina del Rey, Calif.-based ICANN based its vote, in part, on the recommendation of its staff, as well as on recommendations of two other research teams, one comprising analysts from Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc. and the other including CIOs from major universities. The teams focused on the technical issues of the proposals, according to an ICANN statement.

"ISoc's proposal went through an extensive evaluation process and it was given the top technical ranking," said ICANN's president, Stuart Lynn.

ICANN initially announced its support for ISoc early last month, but that recommendation didn't become official until the public and the other bidders could weigh in on the idea (see story). Officials at ISoc couldn't be reached for comment this afternoon.

In a statement, ISoc CEO Lynn St. Amour said, "ISoc's legacy of responsible stewardship in matters relating to the welfare of the Internet, coupled with Afilias' track record of operating a large-scale registry, underscores ICANN's confidence in our ability to preserve and further enhance the [.org] registry," said St. Amour.

St. Amour said ISoc would work with VeriSign to ensure a smooth transition for all .org users.

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