Network Solutions Inc. is delaying the launch of its Dot-Com Directory.
The directory, which has already stirred controversy, allows Web users to search for businesses on the Internet. The directory uses data NSI has gathered when businesses register domain names.
The Commerce Department late Friday formally requested NSI open the data to other companies. House leaders also Friday sent a letter to Commerce Security William Daily characterizing the Dot-Com Directory as “a very troubling development for a company in a monopoly position that already appears very reluctant to give up that position.”
Federal officials turned up their scrutiny of NSI after the company refused to give competitors access to the data. NSI maintains that it owns the database because NSI employees created it. However, the U.S. Department of Commerce maintains the database should be considered public since it was created under an exclusive government contract.
Many are criticizing the fact that NSI is effectively giving participants in The Dot-Com Directory free domain name registration. The company is charging $119 for a listing, but that includes domain fees. Anyone who registers a domain name with a competitor but wants to be
listed in the directory will pay the same $119. NSI currently charges $70 for a domain registration
Network Solutions attributed the launch delay to technical concerns and said the postponement had nothing to do with government concerns. The company said the directory should launch later this week.