ICANN closes at-large membership registration

ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, closed as scheduled the registration period for its At-Large membership yesterday, despite calls for the registration period to be extended because of problems with access to the registration web site.

At the close of registration, the organization had over 158,000 applicants for At-Large membership (see table below.) The At-Large members will be able to elect five members to ICANN’s board in elections set for October.

ICANN, which was formed in late 1998 to take over management of the Internet’s domain name system, IP (Internet Protocol) address number allocation and protocols, began accepting membership applications for the “At Large” membership in February. Back then, it set midnight UTC/GMT on July 31 as the deadline for applications.

In recent weeks, as the deadline approached and several nations launched large membership drives, the organization found itself unable to cope with the volume of applications – not on a technical but on a logistical level.

ICANN, which is in a constant struggle to find the money it needs to continue operations, has a handful of staff working on the At-Large membership, but they cannot cope with more than 200 applications an hour and so the Web site has been limiting access, board member Vint Cerf confirmed earlier today.

At the midnight close of the registration period, Asia and the Pacific had the largest number of applications, thanks mainly to a membership drive started in Japan (with 38,931 applicants) and mirrored in China (33,670 applicants), Taiwan (9,193 applicants) and Korea (6,439 applicants).

Those figures make Japan and China the two nations with the largest number of applicants, way ahead of Germany, in third place with 20,475. The United States was the only other nation where applications reached into the five-figure range, with 19,501 applicants.