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nettime: Network Solutions responds to Internet domain name proposal

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<HTML><Title>Network Solutions responds to Internet domain name proposal</title>

<H3><center>Names on the Net</h3><P>
<B>Interview with Christopher Clough of Network Solutions</B><p>
<a href=""><B>by Paul DeRienzo</B> </a></center><P>

In February the International Ad Hoc Committee released its plan to
dramatically increase the number of available addresses in cyberspace. The
plan is also aimed at quelling disputes over the use of trademarks in
computer addresses. The plan introduces seven new top level domains, the
block of letters at the end of every Internet address. Currently most end
in com, edu, org,  mil, gov and net as well as two letter codes for various
countries like us for United States and ca for Canada. If adopted the new
plan would add web, store, info, firm, arts, rec and nom.<P>

The plan also includes provisions to resolve disputes arising over the use
of trademark names as Internet addresses. Disputes would be resolved
through mediation by the World Intellectual Property Organization. The plan
calls for establishing up to 28 competing registration firms to dole out
new addresses, currently one firm, Network Solutions based in Virginia,
hands out addresses in the most popular domains.<P>

Christopher Clough is a spokesperson for Network Solutions. He says the
company is concerned with the effect the new plan might have on the

<B>Clough:</B> Network Solutions has under the authority of the National
Science Foundation won a competitive bid to administer the registration of
domain names. Network Solutions has been in that role since 1992 and has,
up to this point, registered some 900,000 different domain names.<P>

<B>DeRienzo:</B> Is Network Solutions the only company that registers
domain names?<P>

<B>Clough:</B> There are over 180 registries around the world, many ending
in what we call country codes. For example, in England it would be uk, in
Canada ca, designating the origin of the registration. The registrations
that we control here are in com, org, and net, which are the most popular
and are globally recognized. <P>

<B>DeRienzo:</B> How was your company chosen?<P>

<B>Clough:</B> In 1992 the National Science Foundation issued a request for
companies to administer the registration process. When Network Solutions
won this competitive bid it began the registration process and handled all
of the domain name registrations.<P>

<B>DeRienzo:</B>  What do you think of the new proposal that the
International Ad Hoc Committee and the Internet Society have come up with
to add these new top level domains and increase the number of companies
that would be handling registries?<P>

<B>Clough:</B> We think the important points to consider is that the
Internet has grown exponentially and has been very efficient in the way
that names have been registered to allow for that growth. Our concern is
for the stability and the integrity of the registration process. We are
also concerned that there be uninterrupted  service for the existing domain
names registered.<P>

<B>DeRienzo:</B> Do you fear that somehow by bringing in these new domain
names there might by a confusion or muddying up of the Internet.<P>

<B>Clough:</B> There certainly is a possibility of confusion in the market
about these new domain names, but it is clear that in the future there will
be competitive domain name registrants. It's a universal concern to keep
any sort of new proposed system from impeding the growth of the

<B>DeRienzo:</B> How could this proposal go wrong and impede the growth of
the Internet?<P>

<B>Clough:</B> there are significant technical, policy and regulation
challenges with the current proposal that, at this point, are unclear.
Technical, having to do with sharing data bases around the world, policy,
in terms of fee structure and how people would be charged and what
countries would have authority, and regulatory issues about what countries
would take precedent over the enforcement of the current domain name

<B>DeRienzo:</B> Are you referring to the copyright problems may arise as
more names are given out?<P>

<B>Clough:</B> Certainly copyright problems are an issue and they also
would be, under the current proposal, subject to a bureaucracy that would
be established, causing a great deal of concern over the way that
bureaucracy would slow the entire registration process.<P>

<B>DeRienzo:</B> How do you handle disputes now? When somebody comes and
says '' is being used and we're the real McDonald's. How do
you handle that?<P>

<B>Clough:</B> The current policy is based on a first come, first served
basis. There is a dispute policy when there is a challenge to the existing
domain name. We are strictly neutral as a registrant and we ask that the
parties to the dispute, essentially,  settle the dispute between themselves
for the right to the domain name. The new proposal calls for some sort of
advisory committee that would oversee and attempt to negotiate these

<B>DeRienzo:</B> How about the pricing? Is there any idea how much of a fee
will be required under the new proposal?<P>

<B>Clough:</B>  There's no clear indication yet on pricing for end users
that would register names. There is some suggested pricing for companies
that would become registries of the domain names, but it unclear how that
would be rolled out.<P>

<B>DeRienzo:</B> How much does Network Solutions charge for someone who
wants to register a domain name?<P>

<B>Clough:</B> Current domain name registration process calls for a $100
for two years and then subsequently $50 per year for updating and

<B>DeRienzo:</B> How much does Network Solutions make a year?<P>

<B>Clough:</B> We do not have those figures publicly available for what we
have taken in, but it costs approximately $40 million to administer the
program that is currently registering over 90,000 domain names per

<B>DeRienzo:</B> Anything you'd like to add?<P>

<B>Clough:</B> We would hope that as these proposals come forth that end
users know that the current system will continue and we expect that there
would be no effective change in the current registration process and use of
domain names.<P>

Contact <A HREF="mailto:"><I>Paul DeRienzo</I></A>

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