ICANN’s TLD Choices Upset Many

While the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers approved seven
new top-level domains Thursday at its annual meeting in, it also rejected a
lot more, triggering outcries from the many applicants who had their
recommendations killed.

ICANN settled on .aero, .biz, .coop, .info, .museum, .name, and .pro, all of which
will take up plots on the Net in early 2001. In the process, highly sought
after TLDs such as .health, .kids and .web were left out.

The World Health Organization Friday it was upset by
ICANN’s decision rejection of .health. The WHO made a bid for the TLD for
health care sites whose quality and ethical standards it would approve with
the help of public health organizations, consumer groups and academic

“We are extremely disappointed with this outcome, if this is confirmed, and
are eagerly awaiting the rationale of this decision, especially in light of
decisions made to grant other TLDs (top level domains),” the WHO said in a
statement. “We will begin immediately to explore ways of recourse.”

Greg Hartl, WHO spokesman, told a briefing a .health domain name “would have
been a great benefit to consumers for guaranteeing the quality of health and
medical information on the Web.”

Registry Image Online Design Inc., who had used .web for the last five years
for some 20,000 domain name holders, also saw its dreams of their .web plea
go up in smoke. The firm had been in competition with giant registrar consortium Afilias Group over that TLD.

“IOD is disappointed that ICANN chose not to include .Web as a new TLD,”
said John Frangie, chief executive officer of IOD. IOD is disappointed that
ICANN chose not to include .Web as a new TLD. Over the last five years, we
have established the most sophisticated pioneer registry in the country. By
any objective standard, IOD passes all the criteria that ICANN established
at the beginning of the competitive process. Equally as important, we enjoy
strong support within the Internet community.”

Frangie said IOD would continue to fight for their .web cause.

As for the competition between the mighty Afilias and IOD, there seems to be
two schools of thought for the members of ICANN, which addressed the rival
organizations’ fight for .web.

While ICANN Vice-President, Secretary and General Counsel Louis Touton
lobbied for Afilias to grab .web, Internet pioneer Vinton Cerf, disagreed.

Cerf mentioned .web’s function in commerce for the past four years, as well
as its intellectual property interests in the TLD and its associated

“I’m still interested in IOD,” Cerf said. “They’ve worked with .WEB for some
time. To assign that to someone else given than they’re actually functioning
makes me uneasy,” he said.

While .web seems to be a issue that will linger unpleasantly in IOD’s mouth,
Afilias did not comes away empty-handed, having secured .info.

Richard Lindsay, chairman of the Afilias board of directors, said in a
statement Friday that .info will have great international appeal.

“Afilias is confident that .info will be widely used because of its
international appeal and relevance,” said Lindsay. “We believe .info will
satisfy pent up demand for a non-U.S. centric top-level domain.”

After the meeting, Cerf, widely-known for being one of the founders of
TCP/IP communications, took the reigns from ICANN member Esther Dyson and
became chairman of the board.

Despite sitting on the board, Cerf was disgruntled with the review process
ICANN engaged in for the new TLDs, complaining of the organization’s
“mushrooming activity.” He said the market, not ICANN, should dictate the
financials of the TLD bids.

“We can’t manage this whole process so that the Internet can’t grow,” Cerf


And, of course, there are two schools of thought on Cerf’s appointment to
the board, which is a non-paid, one-year stint. Some feel Cerf’s vast
Internet knowledge will benefit the board, which analysts say is often too
wrapped up in other issues. Others see Cerf, senior vice president of
Internet Architecture and Technology for WorldCom Corp., as just another big
business head — not as a technical expert.

Cerf is so well respected that the FBI gave him a private demonstration of
its Carnivore e-mail surveillance system in September. Cerf endorsed the tool.

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