RealTime IT News

Iperdome Blames ICANN for Its Demise

An Atlanta firm that pioneered the idea of personal domain names announced Friday that it's going out of business.

Iperdome Inc., which has been registering domains since 1997 under the .per top-level domain as part of the Enhanced Domain Name System (eDNS), said it has suspended operations immediately.

Iperdome President Jay Fenello Friday blamed the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers for his company's demise. While the Internet governance body has yet to issue a policy on whether to expand officially the global top-level domain (gTLD) space beyond the current .com .net and .org, Fenello said ICANN has made clear that it opposes the idea of allowing private companies, like Iperdome, to license exclusive rights to handle registrations under new gTLDs.

"The game is fixed. How much longer can I be expected to hang in here for this sham process to produce a decision that's going to be against me? Why should we continue the charade a day longer?" Fenello told InternetNews.com.

According to ICANN CEO Mike Roberts, the group has made no decisions yet on expanding gTLDs. ICANN's domain name supporting organization is currently studying gTLD expansion and will hold meetings on the topic at ICANN's upcoming meeting in Los Angeles in November, en route to making a recommendation to the ICANN board.

Roberts admitted, however, that he personally opposes what he called a "monopoly grant."

"Fenello and a couple other people convinced themselves that they could pull off another Network Solutions. But if you look at the record, the government realized too late in the game that they gave too generous a deal to Network Solutions. From an entrepreneurial point of view it's a great deal if you can get a piece of the action, but if you look at the white paper, it's riddled with references to 'robust competition' which is one way of saying 'we did this once, but we sure don't want it to happen again'," Roberts said.

At present, .per and other eDNS top-level domains, including .web, .biz, and .gay, are not entered in the Internet's root name servers. But Iperdome and other eDNS backers have been lobbying for the past two years for inclusion and for the right to act as registries for the new domains.

Fenello said he has personally invested several hundred thousand dollars into Iperdome, which has not been profitable despite signing up several thousand customers, who pay it $10 a year for e-mail service at an address ending in .per. Fenello said his company will offer pro-rated refunds to customers who have pre-paid for the service.