Feeds

VeriSign loses control of .org domain

A Pyrrhic victory

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Domain monopolist VeriSign is to hand over the .org domain name over to a non-profit organisation (as was the original intention) at the end of 2002. This is the first step on a long road to remove VeriSign's special status and break up the gentleman's club that is Internet infrastructure. It will however retain ownership of the .com and .net TLDs.

VeriSign - in its former incarnation as Network Solutions - was the beneficiary of several lovely deals with the US government and then ICANN. In 1993, it was basically given a monopoly on domain names. It decided that $70 for a two-year domain name licence was about right and made billions on the back of it.

At the end of 1999, however, the US government decided enough was enough. And so it told NSI that unless it splits its ownership of the registry for TLDs with its registration service for those domain names, it wouldn't let it maintain its monopoly after November 2003. If was a good boy, it got to keep the Registry for a further four years, until November 2007.

VeriSign was obviously shocked that it had only four years to profit from its position. And so what it's done is gone to ICANN this year (2001) and said it will hand over the .org domain as long as it can continue to make a fortune on the back of .com and .net. You can imagine how hard a choice it was between the three domains.

This is a good solid agreement for the benefit of the Internet, said ICANN. This is a good solid agreement for the benefit of the Internet, said VeriSign. Verisign will hand over .org domain and this is a good solid agreement for the benefit of the Internet, said all the media companies that had read the two press releases. This is toss, says The Register.

One of the major, major concerns we have with all ICANN decisions is it's apparent confidence that four years is a good timeframe for handing out its all-encompassing contracts. Do you remember what the Internet was four years ago? Not much, let's be honest. And can you imagine what it will be like in four years' time? So why does VeriSign get the registry (and registration) until 2007?

One thing that ICANN and VeriSign consistently point to is the fact that the cost of domain has plummeted. This is true. But is the implication that this was thanks to ICANN and VeriSign true? No, it's not. Make a mug and it'll cost you £5. Make 30, you could knock it down to say £3 each. Make 200 million of them and you'll see things get a little cheaper. This is all that's happened to the Internet.

ICANN has knighted around 180 registrars now. And they, apparently, have made the market competitive. That's why VeriSign only takes about 40 per cent of new registrations. Isn't that good? No, it's not. It's rubbish. VeriSign has basically sacrificed its weakest branch so it can continue to gain unfair advantage on .coms and .nets.

That is a poor situation. And it's one that will be tied up in contracts - two years before the renegotiation was due to start - if no one stops it now. There's a public discussion in Australia on 12 March on this topic. ICANN has also set up a public forum here. Posters so far don't seem so impressed.

That was a tenner we gave you. No, it wasn't, it was a fiver. It was a tenner. Well I'm only giving you change for a fiver. ®

Related Links

Public discussion forum
ICANN press release
VeriSign press release

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather
Founder (and internet passport fan) now says privacy is precious
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?