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Afilias Grabs Some Registry Support

Officials at Afilias Ltd. Tuesday put in a bid for LibertyRMS, Inc., a back-end registry support subsidiary of Tucows, Inc., giving the .info owners more control over their service and the potential for profit down the road.

The bid, approved by the board of directors on both sides for an unannounced number of shares and cash, gives Tucows money needed to return to profitability and returns the company to its core business of providing registrar services for top level domains (TLDs), said Afilias CEO Hal Lubsen.

Officials on both sides expect a seamless and trouble-free transition, as both companies have been working with one another since the start of .info. LibertyRMS will remain a separate subsidiary of Afilias.

According to Afilias officials, the agreement puts control of its .info TLD more securely in its hands and ends a two-year contract with the company to provide technology support for the registry.

It also opens the door for providing country code TLD (ccTLD) back-end support as registries around the world convert their relatively antiquated systems to support "thick" registries.

"Certainly if the opportunities present themselves to provide in the relief of the other registries we'll do that," said Heather Carle, Afilias spokesperson. "We're already working with .au to update their registry system, and we're always open to bringing in as many others, if the opportunity presents itself."

Afilias is part owner of AusRegistry, Pty Ltd., managers of the .au ccTLD.

Thick registry technology is a standard currently in the review process at the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), and uses extensible markup language (XML)-based programming to give domain owners real-time information of their WHOIS database.

LibertyRMS is one of a few companies in the world providing thick registry services and the market for bringing the technology to registry owners is on the rise, as registrars and potential domain owners demand more than the 24-hour WHOIS database refresh rate found at .com, .net and .org.