From: Norm Jacknis (email@example.com)
Date: Sun Jun 16 2002 - 20:52:05 EDT
Below are excerpts of a NY Times article. Since WATPA is a .org, this is
relevant, also interesting.
Competition Is Heating Up for Control of .org Domain
June 15, 2002
By JOHN MARKOFF
SAN FRANCISCO, June 14 - An intense, largely
behind-the-scenes competition is under way for the right to
manage the global database that keeps track of Internet
addresses of noncommercial organizations.
Although the business of registering Internet names has
begun to shrink this year, as many as eight or nine bids
are expected at a meeting this month in Bucharest, Romania,
when the group that oversees Internet addresses will decide
who should manage the list of names that end in .org.
The decision will shift the .org domain from VeriSign Inc.,
which currently manages the list of 2.7 million
organizations. The company struck a deal with the oversight
organization, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names
and Numbers, or Icann, last year that extended VeriSign's
control over .com and .net addresses in exchange for giving
up the .org designation. VeriSign, based in Mountain View,
Calif., also promised to contribute $5 million to assist in
Although the management of .org was once intended to go to
a nonprofit organization, the competition has more recently
attracted some profit-minded businesses.
In addition, the competition is likely to become much more
visible with the entry on Monday of two iconoclastic
Internet pioneers who say that many of the entrants have
served as shields for large businesses that are hoping to
help themselves to what some analysts estimate will be a
One of those pioneers, Carl Malamud, has previously forced
the government to make Securities and Exchange Commission
financial data available freely over the Internet. His
partner, Paul Vixie, has been a longtime Internet software
developer and a determined opponent of unsolicited
commercial e-mail, known as spam. The two said they
intended to run the .org registry on a nonprofit basis.
Mr. Malamud and Mr. Vixie say their plan differs from those
of other competitors because they intend to place the
database software needed to operate the .org name system in
the public domain.
Icann's request for proposals has emphasized both
diversifying control over the approved domains as well as a
complex proposal process to qualify the bidders.
Mr. Malamud, who heads the Internet Multicasting Society,
an organization in Stewarts Point, Calif., that develops
open source Internet software, and Mr. Vixie, who founded
the Internet Software Consortium, a group in Redwood City,
Calif., that develops open source versions of crucial
Internet infrastructure software, said they planned to
place the complex software used to manage domain names in
the public domain as open source, freely available to any
They say that would have the twin effect of making it
simpler for Icann to diversify control of the domains as
well as making it easier to create new ones. The issue is a
hotly debated one that the organization, which was created
under a contract with the United States Commerce
Department, is struggling with.
"This shouldn't be a dot-com opportunity," Mr. Malamud
said. "There has been a lot of smoke and mirrors, but what
we need is actually a public utility that is well managed
in the public interest."
Copyright 2002 The New York Times Company
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