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Selection of a .NET Registry

18 May 2005


On 8 June 2005, ICANN’s Board chose VeriSign to succeed itself as the next .NET registry. Despite the ALAC’s request, the Board did not respond to public comments on this matter prior to its vote. Post your views At-Large forum.

VeriSign was awarded the .NET registry by the Board in an 8 - 4 vote with three abstentions. The ALAC had urged the Board to “acknowledge, consider, and respond to the many thoughtful comments submitted during the public comment period” before deciding which company would be the .NET registry. While we have been assured that the comments were considered, the Board did not publicly respond to the specific concerns and suggestions submitted during the public comment periods.

The current .NET registry contract between ICANN and VeriSign expires on 30 June 2005. ICANN launched a process last year to designate a successor. Five companies submitted applications to the run registry, and the independent firm hired to evaluate the applicants ranked VeriSign as the top applicant. Citing matters of public interest, such as the stable operation of the .NET registry, the ALAC asserted that “the most important comments are those of the registrants who ultimately will be served by the registry operator, not the commercial bidders competing for the award.” As of this writing, responses have been posted to applicants’ comments, but not to public comments. Additional information and relevant links are included below.

Share your views by posting comments to the At-Large forum and ICANN’s .NET public comments (Send an email to both and Comments submitted will be publicly posted).


Last year, ICANN issued a "Request for Proposals" (RFP) to solicit applications for a registry operator for the .NET Top-Level Domain. The current .NET Registry Agreement between ICANN and VeriSign, Inc. was signed in May 2001, and will expire on 30 June 2005. The procedure for selecting the successor registry operator was developed through an open and transparent process incorporating opportunities for public review and comment at multiple stages, with consideration by ICANN. The final procedure was approved by ICANN's Board of Directors on 29 June 2004.

Applications to operate .NET were submitted to ICANN from Afilias, CORE++, DENIC, Sentan, and VeriSign. ICANN solicited public comments on the applications. Telecordia, an independent firm retained by ICANN, evaluated the applications and on 28 March 2005 issued a final report ranking VeriSign at the top. ICANN requested comments on the report from the public and the applicants. Public comments were posted online and delivered at the public forums held during ICANN’s Mar del Plata meeting in April 2005. On 3 May 2005, Telcordia published a review of their evaluation report in light of letters recived from .NET applicants and responded to the questions raised by applicants.

While the ALAC has not made any recommendation to ICANN about which registry operator ultimately should be awarded the .NET contract, it has urged that “the selection process should be open and transparent” and that “all public comments solicited by ICANN and submitted in a timely manner by concerned persons, including the ALAC, should be reviewed and considered in the .NET evaluation.”

ICANN has entered into negotiations with VeriSign, and “ICANN and VeriSign have reached agreement in principle on all substantive terms” for a new .NET Registry Agreement. The matter now goes to ICANN’s Board for approval of a new .NET Registry Agreement.