VeriSign Acquires Network Solutions

Small businesses may have a one-stop shop for getting up, running, and selling on the Web. VeriSign announced it will acquire Network Solutions in a $21 billion deal.

As a result, VeriSign, provider of authentication and validation services for electronic commerce transactions, will soon offer .com, .net, and .org name registration through Network Solutions.

"We think we've got the Internet trust company with critical Internet infrastructure services from cradle to grave--from Web site identity all the way through to global trading initiatives," says Jim Rutt, Network Solutions' chief executive officer.

Network Solutions used to control the main Net name registry, the chief database for all Internet addresses. But a number of other registrars have set up shop. Although these companies must use Network Solutions' registry to deposit them (to ensure an address cannot be registered twice), they are cutting into Network Solutions' registry revenue.

Through the merged assets of VeriSign and Network Solutions, customers can go to one company to buy and register a Web address, as well as enable e-commerce and secure transactions.

"Bundling is the answer; people want to buy a coherent set of services," notes Stratton Sclavos, VeriSign president and chief executive officer.

No pricing for the bundled services have been announced. Combined service packages will include domain name registration, global directory listings, DNS distribution, e-mail, and basic Web site creation, as well as digital certificate-based authentication, credit card payment services, and global domain name management.

When Network Solutions was founded in 1979, the Internet was a much smaller and less competitive place. Times have certainly changed, and so too must Network Solutions. Currently, the nonprofit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers oversees about 100 registrars that are authorized to register .com, .gov, and .org names online.

The acquisition coincides with an ICANN meeting in Cairo. The organization is responsible for IP address space allocation and domain name system management worldwide. ICANN is considering whether to introduce new top-level domain name endings.

If that happens, yet more other companies may start registering domain names and crowd the market even more.

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