VeriSign Gets Go-Ahead on .net

In a process that took more than a year to accomplish, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) board of directors gave its blessing to VeriSign as managers of the .net top-level domain (TLD).

The Mountain View, Calif., Internet services company beat out four other bidders, Afilias, Denic, Sentan Registry Services Co. and CORE++, for the six-year contract to manage the third-largest Internet property. The bidding process began in March 2004.

“We’re gratified our track record operating .net has been recognized, however, we don’t intend to rest on our laurels,” according to VeriSign. “We intend to work with the entire Internet community to continue to strengthen the .net infrastructure by raising the bar on its reliability, stability and global reach.”

Telcordia, a controversial choice for independent evaluator, produced its final report on the four bids in May, after hearing comments on its initial findings.

Heather Carle, a spokeswoman at Afilias, said the company was disappointed with the results of the findings and the evaluator’s inability to recognize their technical capability to run the .net registry.

“We believe our registry services offering is one of the best in the market — as our customers will testify,” she said. “Neither the original nor final reports reflects that reality.”

VeriSign will pay ICANN $132,000 the first year of the contract, an amount that increases 15 percent annually.

VeriSign officials were pleased by the announcement that gives them registry control over two of the three biggest names on the Internet, .com and .net. The second-largest TLD is operated by Germany-based Denic, registry for .de.

Tom Galvin, a VeriSign spokesman, said the terms of its new contract will go into effect when the existing contract expires June 30. Beginning July 1, the company will lower the price it charges to registrars for a domain name, from $6 per name to $4.25. That includes the addition of the so-called “Internet tax,” a 75 cent surcharge imposed by ICANN for every new or renewed domain names in the .net space.

According to the company, it will also improve the performance requirements for registrations, adding more requirements to its service-level agreements (SLA). New facilities are also in the works thanks to one of the terms in VeriSign’s bid to add more reliability to its services globally. A building in South Korea is already running with one in China under construction, while officials plan to start work on a facility in South America and Africa.

“We would like to thank all five qualified applicants, the entire Internet community, ICANNs generic supporting organization, and Telcordia for the work in making this a successful process,” said Paul Twomey, ICANN president and CEO, in a statement.

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