.Biz registrations delayed for upgrades

NeuLevel Inc., the company holding the registry for the .biz domain name, is delaying the start of live, first-come, first-served online registrations for .biz until Nov. 7, citing higher-than-expected demands that require a heftier system architecture.

In an announcement last week, the Sterling, Va.-based company said the extra time is needed for additional testing to ensure that the system will be able to handle the anticipated rush of businesses scrambling to get desired .biz domain names. The .biz domain was scheduled to go live today.

Richard Tindal, vice-president of sales and business development at NeuLevel, denied on Tuesday that the delay is in response to a class-action lawsuit filed recently by a group of domain name applicants.

“The two are totally unrelated,” Tindal said. Instead, the delay will provide time for the company to upgrade its servers and software to handle what it expects will be “millions and millions and millions” of applications for .biz Web addresses, he said.

Earlier this month, Afilias Ltd., the domain name registry for .info Web sites, went off-line for several days after its debut because high demand from applicants slowed its servers to unacceptable levels.

The .biz suit was filed on behalf of applicants who made requests for the same Internet domain names. Since multiple applicants can’t use the same domain name, NeuLevel set up a lottery to award the contested domain names by randomly selecting a winner. The plaintiffs, however, have charged that it was unfair for NeuLevel to charge applicants a US$2 fee to get into the lottery even if they weren’t selected to use the domain name. The suit asks the court to block the use of the contested .biz names until a ruling is made.

Tindal said the only registrations affected by the suit are between 40,000 to 60,000 .biz names that have been requested by multiple businesses. About 80 per cent of the approximately 282,000 applications so far are unaffected, he said.

NeuLevel began accepting .biz domain name registrations several months ago on a phased-in basis but will open the process on Nov. 7 to all businesses.