RealTime IT News

.Net Bids to Close at Midnight

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will announce in the next few days a list of bidders vying to take over management of the .net top-level domain (TLD).

As previously reported on internetnews.com, there are several frontrunners, including VeriSign , deNIC and Afilias.

Kieran Baker, an ICANN spokesman, said the organization will issue a statement Wednesday with the full list of bidders, though he isn't sure whether the request for proposals (RFP) from the bidders will be published in their entirety to protect business proprietary information.

In the near future, Baker said, the organization will also announce the third-party independent auditor overseeing the bidding process. Though they have a short list of candidates, ICANN can't announce an auditor, he said, because ICANN needs to ensure there is no conflict of interest between the company and the bidders.

Management of one of the Internet's oldest properties is a highly sought-after commodity. While it's not the largest TLD on the Internet -- it falls behind .com and Germany's .de country code TLD (ccTLD) -- it's one of the more important domain extensions used today, as .net was originally conceived as a transport layer for other domain sites.

Thus, Web sites like walmart.com and whitehouse.gov put their name servers on the .net domain, while operating out of the common domain address.

The bidding process has attracted some big-name attention. Companies like Sun Microsystems and Microsoft have already come out with their endorsements for U.S.-based VeriSign, the current .net registry operator. Others, like IBM and German telecommunications giant Deutsche Telekom , have opted for a more neutral approach that selects the most qualified company.