ICANN Membership Drive Hits Snag

FRAMINGHAM (07/31/2000) - With a deadline looming of midnight on Monday for its membership drive, officials at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) conceded that their Web site was flooded with traffic and would not be able process all the membership requests from 'Net users around the globe.

Many people who tried to sign up for ICANN membership over the weekend either couldn't access the site, or they received an error message stating that the database was overloaded and that they should try again later.

ICANN posted a brief apology on its Web site: "The ICANN membership campaign has been far more successful than anyone anticipated, and recently the At Large Membership Web site has registered tens of thousands of new members. However, the system is under extremely heavy load, and we regret that our limited resources will not be able to accommodate everyone at this time."

Complaints about the ICANN membership system problems flew through the Internet engineering community on Monday, with some observers suggesting that ICANN delay its deadline until the demand for membership registrations is met.

Responding to one such compliant, ICANN board of directors member Vint Cerf said the at-large membership system was designed for 10,000 registrations but had received more than 145,000 registrations.

"Every possible effort was made to increase the rate at which registrations could be processed," Cerf said. "We've gone from about 1,000 a day to an artificially limited 5,000 per day [200 per hour] simply because staff time to process is limited."

Those who successfully obtain ICANN membership will receive a personal identification number in the mail that allows them to vote for five at-large directors in the October election.

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