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VeriSign To Launch Waiting List Service

In the words of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, "The waiting is the hardest part."

So true is that statement in the world of domain name registry. All of the best names seem to have already been taken up by cyber-squatters and large corporations with deep pockets.

Coming to the aid of the little guy, Verisign Friday announced an upcoming Wait Listing Service (WLS). The plan is expected to charge people $40 a year for the right to register an expired domain name.

Mountain View, Calif.-based company expects the new service to launch on March 20, 2002.

The dot-com domain name registrar is coordinating the plan with Portland, Ore.-based SnapNames, which licenses its Parallel Registry technology for VeriSign's .COM and .NET registry architecture.

"This is a positive move for our industry -- one that will ensure an equal-access, first-come, first-served, and reasonably priced service that would be available to every registrant, regardless of sophistication," says SnapNames chairman and CEO Ron Wiener. "For years, people have been waiting for a way to be next in line for domain names. WLS would finally and directly meet this need."

The idea is to allow parties to be next in line to register a domain name once it is deleted from the registry. Currently the wait listing services is a virtual free-for-all.

"People tell us that they follow some sites on a daily even hourly basis," says VeriSign spokesperson Cheryl Regan. "The time is right for a service like this, with the volume of names coming up."

VeriSign says offering its Wait Listing Service at the registry level would provide equal access to all registrars and would result in a higher efficacy rate for applicants, as the registration is virtually assured, should the current domain name registration be deleted.

The proposal has been sent off to ICANN-accredited registrars (who represent the distribution channel for this service). The comment period ends January 18.