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Network Solutions buys ICANN's cooperation

It's not exactly love, but it'll have to do...

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A contract approved by Network Solutions and the US government will permit the registrar to administer .com, .net and .org domains for another four years, though a bit less profitably than previously hoped. The company will charge its competitors $6 per year for access to its database, a significant drop from the $35 it's used to charging for registering new domains. NSI will also pay ICANN $1.25 million to keep it afloat, and has agreed to future financial arrangements of up to $2 million per year, a good deal less than the $1 per name, or roughly $5 million per year, ICANN had proposed earlier. Of course the $2 million is still a good deal more than NSI had wished to pay, but the spirit of cooperation seems to have infected all concerned. ICANN will get some money; and NSI will get to limit ICANN's power a bit. In exchange for the payoff, NSI has achieved some mild influence over ICANN decisions affecting it; a full two-thirds majority of ICANN members must now support any new policies bearing on NSI. ICANN interim chairwoman Esther Dyson professed her satisfaction that NSI will keep them solvent; Network Solutions CEO Jim Rutt expressed his satisfaction that ICANN will not be in a position to act as a "legislator" of the Net. It was a wonder they didn't kiss. Well, almost. The final hurdle will be ratifying the contract during ICANN's next meeting in November. This is hardly a foregone conclusion, considering the open contempt with which the two organisations have treated each other in the past year. But if it comes off without a hitch, the two antagonists will be well on their way towards a resigned coexistence, which is about all that can be expected under the circumstances. ®

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