ICANN taps ISOC to run .org

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) weighed in with its choice on who should run the .org domain name registry Monday, tapping the Internet Society (ISOC) in Reston, Virginia.

"On balance, (ISOC's) proposal stood out from the rest," ICANN President Stuart Lynn said in a statement. ISOC is an international not-for-profit organization dealing with Internet addressing issues, and home to the Internet Engineering Task Force and the Internet Architecture Board. The group, which boasts 6,000 individual and 150 organizational members, proposed running .org in conjunction with Afilias Ltd., the registry that launched the .info top-level domain name.

Afilias' experience with .info, which houses over 1 million domain names, puts ISOC in a strong position to run .org, Lynn added.

ISOC is just one of eleven bidders that have been gunning for possession of the .org domains, which are allocated to nonprofit groups and charities.

The .org registry is currently controlled by U.S. registry VeriSign Inc., which also runs the .com domain names. After concerns were raised that VeriSign held too much sway over domain name allocation, the registrar struck a deal with ICANN and the U.S. Department of Commerce last year to give up .org. Under the deal, VeriSign will be allowed to keep its registrar business, which it was previously obligated to sell, but has agreed to cede control of .org and endow the new operator with US$5 million to help fund operating costs.

Verisign is under investigation by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for alleged unfair marketing practices related to its domain name registration business. Rival registrars have also sued the company for its marketing tactics, claiming that it snagged their customers by sending them deceptive renewal notices.

ICANN's recommendation that ISOC run .org isn't the final word, however. The group's report on the matter is subject to public comment, as well as feedback from the other 10 bidders, before the recommendation is submitted to the ICANN board for approval.

The winning .org bidder is due to take over responsibility for the registry on Jan. 1, 2003.

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