By Rachel Chalmers The first of five testbed registrars for internet domain names has begun accepting registrations for the .com, .net and .org domains. Register.com has been registering domains through Network Solutions Inc (NSI) for about eighteen months, but now it will buy the domains wholesale and compete with NSI in retail channels, just as […]
By Rachel Chalmers
The first of five testbed registrars for internet domain names has begun accepting registrations for the .com, .net and .org domains. Register.com has been registering domains through Network Solutions Inc (NSI) for about eighteen months, but now it will buy the domains wholesale and compete with NSI in retail channels, just as ISPs will buy bandwidth from larger competitors so as to compete with them for end-users on services.
This is the first time any company other than NSI has been able to register domains directly. The US government gave NSI the monopoly over .com, .org and .net domain name registration in 1993. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the body overseeing deregulation of the domain name server (DNS), chose NSI’s first five competitors in April 1999. Of the five, the tiny New York-based Register.com is the first to get its services up and running.
Today we went live with the shared registration, president and chief executive officer Richard Forman told ComputerWire, NSI is no longer a monopoly. Register.com’s first value-added service is an expanded registrar database, Forman explained. They have their own and we have our own, he said, but the systems that we’re using make it seem that we have a more complete service. Register.com’s database includes registrars who registered domain names through NSI, but NSI’s does not include Register.com’s registrars.
The improved registrar database is the first of what Forman hopes will be many new DNS-based applications, including but not limited to email, net telephony and security. Your domain name really is the core of an online presence, he said. It’s more than just a web site or email. It’s the embodiment of your online presence. For example, Register.com has partnered with Staples to provide online businesses with everything from business cards to payroll services.
Ironically, the other big DNS news today was a long article in the New York Times listing the many criticisms that have been leveled at ICANN, the very group that made Register.com’s achievement possible. Forman said that while he’d seen the piece, he disagreed with ICANN’s critics. I think that ICANN is doing what the US government wasn’t able to do, which is to help deregulate DNS, he said. Everyone’s saying that the members of ICANN are self-appointed, but they’re definitely not. They were appointed by Jon Postel.
The trouble is that Postel, the director of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), died on October 16 1998. The often- criticized board of ICANN is his lasting legacy to the internet he helped create. When questions arise, as Forman drily suggested, the obvious reaction is: Let’s ask Jon. His death has given him the unanswerable last word. We don’t like the way they were chosen, Forman admitted, but can you seriously debate that they might actually be the right people to be sitting on a board like this? It’s a pretty diverse group from all walks of life.