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ICANN Reaffirms .org Appointment

Despite vocal criticism and numerous delays, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Monday re-affirmed its nomination of the Internet Society (ISOC) for management of the .org registry.

The final report now goes to the ICANN board of directors, who will sign off on the decision or select another of its choosing Oct. 8. The 10 losing bidders in the .org process and the Internet community have until then to submit comments to ICANN.

It's the next-to-last-chapter in the ongoing saga over who takes management of the third-largest domain extension on the Internet when a contract with current .org operator VeriSign ends Dec. 31.

Since the beginning of the bidding process, the self-imposed timeline set by ICANN has been pushed back -- six times, to be exact. At one point, some in the industry became concerned that too many delays might affect .org, since VeriSign is technically free to shut off the service at midnight on Jan. 1, 2003, and some of the bidders would need to set up the registry.

The delays only made losing the nomination bid harder when the results were announced Aug. 20. Critics charged the results were inconsistent and skewed; in addition, the winner was an old hand at ICANN, since ISOC has current and former senior members on the ICANN board of directors.

ICANN staffers reiterated their confidence in ISOC, saying in their final report that while the criticism was noted, and that "although the comments contained much useful insight and, indeed, pointed out some errors in the original evaluations, none of these errors was sufficiently material to change the ultimate conclusion."

While ISOC officials didn't exactly call the criticism sour grapes, they came close, and maintained they were more than qualified to take over the .org domain extension.

In the event ICANN's board of directors rule out ISOC as their choice, staffers proposed two alternates who also scored high marks from registry proposal evaluators. NeuStar should take second preference if ICANN directors overlook the staff's recommendation, and GNR as another.

Individuals who wish to comment on ISOC's nomination to the ICANN board of directors are encouraged to send an e-mail to org-eval@icann.org by Oct. 1. All e-mails will be publicly posted.