Group yet to reach consensus on setting new Net naming policies

ICANN’s chairwoman Esther Dyson says
a consensus on domain names will give registrars more power in the long run.

Internet leaders gathered in Washington last month to hammer out management policies
for the vast Domain Name System under the Internet’s new governing body.

A Domain Name Supporting Organization (DNSO), the key to Net privatization, will be one
of three new policy groups formed to advise the board of the Internet Corp. for Assigned
Names and Numbers, or ICANN. The Commerce Department last year gave ICANN the job of
oversight during the government’s two-year withdrawal from Net management.

“The medium is too important for the government not to move in if we are not
successful,” said Jon Englund of the World Information Technology and Services

Representatives from five organizations that proposed DNSO schemes were trying to iron
out their differences and draft a unified proposal.

“If you do not meet the deadline, we cannot vote on the proposal March
4’’ when ICANN next meets in Singapore, said Esther Dyson, the
corporation’s interim chairwoman. “We want you to come to some compromise that
represents a consensus of the views out there. If you do this now, you’ll have a lot
more power in the outcome.”

DNSO will direct the emerging multimillion-dollar business of registering names in the
.com, .net and .org domains, handled until now by Network Solutions Inc. of Herndon, Va.,
under an exclusive contract with Commerce.

ICANN could select as many as five new registry companies by April, and scores of
registrars eventually could compete for the business. DNSO will recommend policies for
adding new top-level domains to the Internet address mix.

ICANN will call its two other advisory groups the Address Supporting Organization and
the Protocol Supporting Organization. Each group will have three directors on the ICANN

At last month’s meeting, shined shoes and styled hair were more in evidence than
sneakers and ponytails. Groups that submitted proposals for DNSO bylaws were, a
confederation of individuals and groups that collaborate over the Net; the International
Trademark Association; the Open Root Server Confederation; the Association of Internet
Professionals; and the Council of European National Top-level Domain Registries.

Although the five DNSO proposals overlap somewhat, areas of disagreement include
individual vs. organizational membership; personal voting vs. bloc constituencies;
membership approval of all recommendations to ICANN; and incorporation of DNSO separate
from ICANN.

Despite the differences that remained at the end of the meeting, it was very
productive, Dyson said. “We’re defining the areas of disagreement. I think
we’re getting closer, but we’re not there yet.”

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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