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<nettime> Plugged In: Net name monopoly to crumble soon
Name.Space on Thu, 15 Apr 1999 01:31:53 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> Plugged In: Net name monopoly to crumble soon


Update:

Name.Space was solicited by the US Department of Commerce to send
in a proposal on running TLD infrastructure and "registry" functions
for the DNS.  According to our estimates, the base cost for maintaining
and staffing the infrastructure and database cost about $2.00 per
name.   NSI can't handle that kind of cost efficiency.  The DoC
could be forced to re-bid the contract if there is enough pressure.

It's possible that this process can also pave the way for new TLDs
and let com org and net remain as is, and cost more than new TLDs.
 If NSI manages to reamain as the contractor for the com org net
registry database, the price will most likely stay at the higher range.

If the contract is re-competed, NSI could likely lose their position,
and become just another comeptitor.  The NSA and their friends at
SAIC probably won't let that happen, so expect com org and net
to still cost more, but don't rule out low-cost new TLDs, which
looks more and more likely as time passes.

--Paul Garrin



http://fast.quote.com/fq/quotecom/news?story=9730680&symbols=nsol

      Plugged In: Net name monopoly to crumble soon

      Reuters, Monday, April 12, 1999 at 20:31

  By Aaron Pressman
  WASHINGTON, April 12 (Reuters) - Ever since 1993, when
the federal government
decided it wanted to get out of the business of
registering the names of new Internet sites, there
has been just one place to go to get your own ".com"
address.
  But starting at the end of April, the government's
exclusive registrar -- Network Solutions
Inc. -- will face competition for the first time.
  Instead of going to the Web site of Herndon, Va.-based
Network Solutions at
http://www.networksolutions.com to register a new
Internet address ending with .com, .org or .net,
Web surfers will have five alternatives to choose from.
  Just who the five will be is to remain a mystery until
the government's hand-picked
overseer, the non-profit Internet Corp. for Assigned
Names and Numbers, or ICANN, announces
its selections on April 21.
  The five, to be followed in a few months by many more,
will be the guinea pigs for new
software that is supposed to allow Network Solutions to
remain the sole holder of the vast
database of Internet addresses while allowing multiple
companies to act as registrars, adding new
addresses from customers around the globe.
  ICANN has not said how many applications it received
for the first five slots, or who any
of the applicants might be. The names of major telephone
companies and Internet service
providers like Sprint Corp. and America Online have been
rumored as possible selections, along
with a host of much smaller start-ups.
  No matter who the first five are, competition will
almost surely lower the price of
registering a domain name.
  Network Solutions charges $70 for an initial two-year
period with annual updates priced
at $35.
  One of the most critical issues yet to be decided
between the U.S. government, ICANN
and Network Solutions is the price competing registrars
will pay to cover Network Solutions' costs
of maintaining the database.
  Under the system worked out by ICANN, Network
Solutions will continue to manage the
vast database, which holds more than 4 million addresses
already. That should keep the Net's
critical address system routing everything from e-mail
to Web page requests running without a
hiccup.
  Competing registrars will be allowed to make their own
entries into the database, paying
Network Solutions a small fee each time.
  If the fee is set at $25 or $30 per year, new
companies will have little room to offer
registrations below the current rate and still eke out a
profit. But if the so-called wholesale price is
set at $2 to $5, expect to see super-cheap .com
addresses proliferate quickly.
  Analysts and onlookers predict something closer to the
low end.
  William Whyman, Internet analyst at the Legg Mason
Precursor Group, said the fee is
likely to be less than $15 and more than $2.
  "They want a competitive market, but they don't want
to push Network Solutions out of
business," he said.
  Aside from the denizens of cyberspace seeking to
register new Web sites, the competitive
system could also have a major impact on investors
holding stock in high-flying Network
Solutions.
  On Monday, the company's stock rose $6.75 to $114.75
on Nasdaq in afternoon trading,
more than five times higher than a year ago but well off
an all-time high of $153.75 reached a few
weeks ago.
  Short sellers, who sell borrowed stock they hope to
replace in the future with lower priced
shares, have targeted the company as due for a fall. But
several Wall Street firms are predicting
the company's shares will continue to rocket ahead.
  In a separate move Friday, the company made a small
concession to government officials
and proponents of competition.
  The company had drawn fire last month when it
eliminated a Web site called Internic.net
that provided information about already registered Web
site addresses. The company redirected all
traffic from that address to its own.
  The site was managed by Network Solutions, but
government officials said they were to
be consulted before any changes could be made.
  The revised Internic site did not have the
registration search and information functions



                        restored but offered links to Network Solutions,
ICANN and a government site.
                              (NYSE:AOL) (NYSE:FON) (NASDAQ:NSOL)
                              Copyright 1999, Reuters News Service

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