In a direct challenge to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a new domain name registry has announced that it has begun selling an additional 20 top-level domains (TLDs), including .kids, .travel and .xxx, for US$25 per year.

The new TLDs are more logical and easier to remember than the existing TLDs and go beyond the seven new designations that Marina del Rey, Calif.-based ICANN announced late last year, according to David Hernand, chief executive officer of Pasadena, Calif.-based New.net Inc.

“We are a market-based solution to the naming system in contrast with a political-based solution, which has moved slowly,” Hernand said. “The first seven (TLDs) were released over 10 years ago…by great visionary minds who simply did not envision how popular the Internet would become. We hope to move quickly into this space to provide consumers the names they want now.”

At the same time, Hernand said New.net doesn’t view itself as conflicting with ICANN, calling it instead a “supplement to what ICANN has done thus far.”

In addition to .kids, . travel and .xxx, New.net is selling names ending in .shop, .mp3, .inc, .sport, .family, .chat, .video, .club, .hola, .soc, .med, .law, .game, .free, .ltd, .gmbh and .tech. New.net is using the same uniform dispute resolution policy that ICANN uses for protecting trademarks and resolving disputes over ownership of names, Hernand said.

But some of the TLDs in New.net’s list, particularly .travel, could put New.net on a collision course with ICANN because they are among those that ICANN wants to consider the next time it selects new TLDs. ICANN selected .aero, .biz, .coop, .info, .museum, .name, and .pro as new generic TLDs in November, but rejected .travel and several others for various reasons. Implementation of the new TLDs has been delayed.

ICANN had no comment on New.com’s announcement, said Brett LaGrande, a spokesman for the organization.

The TLDs work within the existing DNS (domain name system) infrastructure using a method New.net set up with UltraDNS Corp., a San Mateo, Calif.-based company that provides outsourced DNS services, Hernand said.

The 20 new TLDs are available for purchase at www.new.net and are being sold on a first-come-first-served basis, Hernand said. New.net has reached agreement with EarthLink Inc., Excite@Home Inc. and NetZero Inc. to ensure that the 16 million customers of those Internet service providers (ISPs) can reach the new TLDs.

The three ISPs have installed software that allows them to recognize New.net’s TLDs, said Steve Chadima, chief marketing officer of New.net, which is also seeking to sign up the largest ISP, AOL Time Warner Inc. The ISPs don’t complete DNS lookups, rather they send the request to New.net’s DNS servers, which are maintained by UltraDNS.

Internet users who are not customers of the three ISPs have to download a plug-in from New.net’s site to their browser to access the new TLDs. The software enables the browser to recognize the new TLDs and, without the user seeing it, adds .new.net to the end of a request for a Web site. The DNS server at the user’s ISP views it as any other request for a .net TLD, Chadima said. From there, the request goes to the UltraDNS infrastructure.

“It’s essentially living within the existing DNS to get to us, then we perform that final-phase lookup,” Chadima said.

He said ICANN’s process has gotten bogged down because it attempts to make everyone happy, while New.net “doesn’t feel at all constrained to make judgment calls.”

However, it has appointed another company, .Kids Domains Inc. as the registry of the .kids TLD to ensure that the delicate issues surrounding content for children are treated accordingly, Chadima said. .Kids Domains last year submitted an application to ICANN to be the registry of that name, but was rejected.

ICANN’s decision was based not on the technological competence of .Kids Domains, but on concerns that no consensus could be reached on what material should be excluded from the .kids name, according to Chadima.

The .hola TLD will appeal to Spanish-speaking families, while .soc, .ltd and .gmbh provide more sensible naming system for non-U.S.-based businesses, Hernand said.

In addition, New.net’s technology will allow the use of foreign-language characters in the domain name and extension, he said.

New.net also said it has signed a deal with MP3.com Inc. that makes it the exclusive registrar of .mp3 domain names.

Although New.net said it wants to stay clear of ICANN, Chadima admitted the company is taking a calculated risk on what will happen if ICANN in the future decides to create TLDs that are identical to those it supports.

“If we get a vast majority of ISPs to turn on our TLDs, I think ICANN would be very hard pressed to say it was just going to release (its own TLDs) on top of them,” Chadima said. “It would seem silly to take that confrontational approach.”

Although its following is still relatively small, observers say New.net could introduce instability into the system.

Barbara Dooley, president of the Commercial Internet Exchange Association, said the alternative server will only create confusion.

“Once you start splitting the root in this way and you no longer have a central authority source, then what happens when you have two different parties who want the same name?” she said.

Dooley added that a similar attempt failed because most ISPs refused to cooperate by changing their settings. There are more than 15,000 ISPs worldwide.

Still, ICANN critics have argued for years that the organization is too cautious for its own good.

“Instability is another word for innovation. It’s always destabilizing,” said David Post, a law professor at Temple University. “Some destabilization is very constructive, and I have no reason to think that New.net isn’t that sort of destabilization.”

– IDG News Service, with files from Kate Miller, The Industry Standard (U.S.)

In a direct challenge to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a new domain name registry has announced that it has begun selling an additional 20 top-level domains (TLDs), including .kids, .travel and .xxx, for US$25 per year.

The new TLDs are more logical and easier to remember than the existing TLDs and go beyond the seven new designations that Marina del Rey, Calif.-based ICANN announced late last year, according to David Hernand, chief executive officer of Pasadena, Calif.-based New.net Inc.

“We are a market-based solution to the naming system in contrast with a political-based solution, which has moved slowly,” Hernand said. “The first seven (TLDs) were released over 10 years ago…by great visionary minds who simply did not envision how popular the Internet would become. We hope to move quickly into this space to provide consumers the names they want now.”

At the same time, Hernand said New.net doesn’t view itself as conflicting with ICANN, calling it instead a “supplement to what ICANN has done thus far.”

In addition to .kids, . travel and .xxx, New.net is selling names ending in .shop, .mp3, .inc, .sport, .family, .chat, .video, .club, .hola, .soc, .med, .law, .game, .free, .ltd, .gmbh and .tech. New.net is using the same uniform dispute resolution policy that ICANN uses for protecting trademarks and resolving disputes over ownership of names, Hernand said.

But some of the TLDs in New.net’s list, particularly .travel, could put New.net on a collision course with ICANN because they are among those that ICANN wants to consider the next time it selects new TLDs. ICANN selected .aero, .biz, .coop, .info, .museum, .name, and .pro as new generic TLDs in November, but rejected .travel and several others for various reasons. Implementation of the new TLDs has been delayed.

ICANN had no comment on New.com’s announcement, said Brett LaGrande, a spokesman for the organization.

The TLDs work within the existing DNS (domain name system) infrastructure using a method New.net set up with UltraDNS Corp., a San Mateo, Calif.-based company that provides outsourced DNS services, Hernand said.

The 20 new TLDs are available for purchase at www.new.net and are being sold on a first-come-first-served basis, Hernand said. New.net has reached agreement with EarthLink Inc., Excite@Home Inc. and NetZero Inc. to ensure that the 16 million customers of those Internet service providers (ISPs) can reach the new TLDs.

The three ISPs have installed software that allows them to recognize New.net’s TLDs, said Steve Chadima, chief marketing officer of New.net, which is also seeking to sign up the largest ISP, AOL Time Warner Inc. The ISPs don’t complete DNS lookups, rather they send the request to New.net’s DNS servers, which are maintained by UltraDNS.

Internet users who are not customers of the three ISPs have to download a plug-in from New.net’s site to their browser to access the new TLDs. The software enables the browser to recognize the new TLDs and, without the user seeing it, adds .new.net to the end of a request for a Web site. The DNS server at the user’s ISP views it as any other request for a .net TLD, Chadima said. From there, the request goes to the UltraDNS infrastructure.

“It’s essentially living within the existing DNS to get to us, then we perform that final-phase lookup,” Chadima said.

He said ICANN’s process has gotten bogged down because it attempts to make everyone happy, while New.net “doesn’t feel at all constrained to make judgment calls.”

However, it has appointed another company, .Kids Domains Inc. as the registry of the .kids TLD to ensure that the delicate issues surrounding content for children are treated accordingly, Chadima said. .Kids Domains last year submitted an application to ICANN to be the registry of that name, but was rejected.

ICANN’s decision was based not on the technological competence of .Kids Domains, but on concerns that no consensus could be reached on what material should be excluded from the .kids name, according to Chadima.

The .hola TLD will appeal to Spanish-speaking families, while .soc, .ltd and .gmbh provide more sensible naming system for non-U.S.-based businesses, Hernand said.

In addition, New.net’s technology will allow the use of foreign-language characters in the domain name and extension, he said.

New.net also said it has signed a deal with MP3.com Inc. that makes it the exclusive registrar of .mp3 domain names.

Although New.net said it wants to stay clear of ICANN, Chadima admitted the company is taking a calculated risk on what will happen if ICANN in the future decides to create TLDs that are identical to those it supports.

“If we get a vast majority of ISPs to turn on our TLDs, I think ICANN would be very hard pressed to say it was just going to release (its own TLDs) on top of them,” Chadima said. “It would seem silly to take that confrontational approach.”

Although its following is still relatively small, observers say New.net could introduce instability into the system.

Barbara Dooley, president of the Commercial Internet Exchange Association, said the alternative server will only create confusion.

“Once you start splitting the root in this way and you no longer have a central authority source, then what happens when you have two different parties who want the same name?” she said.

Dooley added that a similar attempt failed because most ISPs refused to cooperate by changing their settings. There are more than 15,000 ISPs worldwide.

Still, ICANN critics have argued for years that the organization is too cautious for its own good.

“Instability is another word for innovation. It’s always destabilizing,” said David Post, a law professor at Temple University. “Some destabilization is very constructive, and I have no reason to think that New.net isn’t that sort of destabilization.”

– IDG News Service, with files from Kate Miller, The Industry Standard (U.S.)



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