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RealTime IT News

The 'Sunrise' For .us Begins Soon

NeuStar, the controversial new registry for the .us country code top-level domain (ccTLD) extension, will soon open the doors for trademark holders, officials said recently.

Starting March 4, the registry begins its Sunrise period on proprietary domain names before opening the domain extension to the general public April 9 on a first-come, first-served basis. Interested parties need look no further than the .biz TLD for a better understanding of the process; NeuStar owns NeuLevel, the .biz registry.

Jeffrey Ganek, NeuStar chairman and chief executive officer, said the now-public domain gives people all around the world a U.S. presence.

"Users all over the world will be able to obtain a name that establishes an American identity for them on the Internet," he said. "A .US address will tell the world who you are, where you live, or where you do business."

New .us domain extension owners also have the added benefit of second-level ccTLD names for their domain as NeuStar rolls out nationwide domain extensions (for example, "yourcompany.us"), a process that will save trademark owners from buying up to 50 domain extensions to protect their name. In the past, the .us was broken down at the state level (for example, "yourcompany.ny.us").

So far, 29 registrars throughout the world have signed on to become .us resellers. Potential domain owners must prove they have a U.S. presence or citizenship before getting approval.

The Department of Commerce awarded NeuStar the ccTLD back in October 2001, a planned migration of the domain extension from government control and management to the business world.

The decision was met with disbelief and disgust by many domain name advocates and Congressional members alike; until then, .us was paid for through taxpayer support. What particularly galled opponents was the fact NeuStar got the keys to this shiny new car free of charge, after the government built up and paid for the infrastructure.

NeuStar completed the domain's transition from the government in November 2001.

To be fair, NeuStar is going to beef up the ccTLD infrastructure considerably, implementing what officials call their "thick registry," an XML-based registry system that gives registrars and potential domain owners nearly real-time information on the status of a particular domain name. By contrast, the Big Three of domain names -- .com, .net and .org are refreshed only every 24 hours.