ICANN Considering Lottery for New Registrars
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The Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers is considering an international lottery to pick the five companies that will be the first competitive domain name registrars once Network Solutions loses its government-granted monopoly.
According to published reports, Esther Dyson, ICANN's interim chairperson, hopes to see competition for registering the three most popular top-level domains, those ending in .com, .net and .org, by the end of April.
Since 1993, that task has been handled by Network Solutions, which currently charges $70 for registering the names. The company recently announced it had registered 3 million domain names.
Dyson said ICANN was putting together a panel of 10 experts to work with Network Solutions on the technical aspects required to bring competition to the domain market. That group will also establish criteria that prospective registrars must meet.
ICANN is limiting the number of initial competitors because several issues must be handled before full-scale competition can begin. Those include how to structure the supporting organizations -- regional Internet address registries and others with legitimate interest in domain name issues.
ICANN's bylaws allow the body to delegate substantial policy development to the supporting organizations. ICANN has taken the view that putting the decisions closer to Internet professionals will produce better results and better working relationships.
Once new registrars are established, Network Solutions will be required to transfer registrations of top-level domain names to competitors if their customers desire to move to one of the new registrars.