New .info Web registry back online after shutdown

The new domain name registry for .info Web sites reopened for business this morning after being shut down due to performance problems shortly its launch on Monday.

Afilias Ltd., which operates the registry that keeps track of all Web sites registered under the newly-available .info domain, said that "unacceptable system slowness" bogged down the open registration process when it began Monday, so the system was taken off-line for repairs.

"[The system] was overwhelmed by the amount of business coming in," said Roland LaPlante, a vice president and chief marketing officer at Afilias in Newtown, Pennsylvania. "We're getting the kinks out of the system."

Afilias began accepting registrations for .info domain names in July in a series of orchestrated phases. The open registration period began Monday, meaning that any person, company or group can now apply for a .info domain name and pay fees to buy it.

About 70 registrar companies are taking applications for .info names, and as the names are approved, they're being added to the master registry list kept by Afilias.

The .info domain was approved last November by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a Marina del Rey, California-based nonprofit group that oversees domain name registrations and administration. It's the first time a major top-level domain has been added officially to the Internet since the original seven domains in 1985, according to ICANN.

More than 360,000 .info domain names have been registered since July, including names by major brands like American Express Co., Budweiser, Dell Computer Corp., Wendy's International Inc. and Nokia Corp.

About 6,000 new registrations came in Monday before the system had to be shut down, LaPlante said. He said he couldn't provide figures for how much traffic there was when the problems began.

Since the new .info top-level domain is endorsed by ICANN, the Internet Domain Name System infrastructure that allows visitors to access Web sites has been modified to recognize .info domains.

The .info domain is open to anyone who wants to register a Web site, unlike other domains that are restricted to organizations (.org), education (.edu), government use (.gov) or the military (.mil).

Afilias was launched last September and has its international headquarters in Dublin.

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