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ICANN Releases Guidelines For Domain Registrars

The Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers has released preliminary guidelines to open up the domain registration process currently administered by government-sanctioned Network Solutions to other competitors.

ICANN is the non-profit group begun by the late Jon Postel and is the successor to the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority. Membership is comprised of leading international Internet authorities, including Esther Dyson, ICANN's interim chairman and Michael Roberts, interim president and chief executive officer.

Registrar qualifications include:

    Registrar must demonstrate basic capabilities to perform its obligations

    Registrar has not been disqualified for past violations of ICANN standards

    Registrars must abide by Code of Conduct for DNS Registrars

    Provide procedures that allow applicant's customers to change registrars without interruption of domain name

    Maintain necessary working capital

    Hold an existing second or third-level domain

Additional requirements under consideration include a commercial general liability insurance coverage of $500,000 in U.S. currency. That amount may vary depending on the registrar's location.

The 30-page draft seeks public commentary on the proposed guidelines before the March 4 ICANN board meeting slated to take place in Singapore. The group said it will consider and respond to public input at its public forum on March 3, also in Singapore.

On March 8, if the accreditation program is approved, the group will post the results on its Web site, and following that, will begin accepting applications for accreditation during a testing period.