ICANN Gets Financial Boost

The Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers is fighting a large debt and reportedly has called on a few big name companies to defray some of its costs.

The domain name group Friday secured $650,000 in loans from MCI Worldcom and Cisco to keep from going broke.

MCI Worldcom lent ICANN $500,000, and the remaining $150,000 came from Cisco. The funds are part of a $2 million target sum that would enable ICANN to pay its bills, the group said.

“These loans are part of an international effort to provide temporary financial support for ICANN until our permanent funding is put in place later this year,” said Mike Roberts, ICANN’s interim president and CEO. “Discussions with other corporations in the U.S. and elsewhere are currently in progress.”

ICANN has been plagued with financial troubles since its inception. The non-profit organization is overseen by the Department of Commerce, yet relies primarily on private donations. Testifying before the House Commerce Committee on July 22nd, Roberts said that ICANN was $800,000 in debt.

In June, the group considered charging registrars a $1 to help with rising operational costs, but after public and Congressional criticism of the measure, ICANN rescinded the proposition. As an alternative, at its July 26th meeting, ICANN’s board of directors agreed to borrow up to $2 million.

Even with the monetary injection, ICANN is reportedly still in the red.

In a related story, House Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley, who has in the past been one of ICANN’s loudest critics, this week sent an letter to the organization questioning its financial status.

The letter, sent to ICANN Interim Chair Esther Dyson, contained a series of questions about ICANN’s widely reported financial difficulties. He also questioned ICANN’s fundraising activities.

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