VeriSign to control “.com” domain until 2012

By : |October 25, 2005 0



Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON: VeriSign Inc. said on Monday it would maintain control of the lucrative “.com” Internet domain until 2012 in return for dropping an antitrust lawsuit against the nonprofit body that oversees the Internet’s addressing system.

The settlement also requires the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, to review within 90 days new products or services introduced by VeriSign and its competitors in the domain-name system that guides traffic around the Internet.

The agreement settles a long-running dispute between ICANN and the most powerful company under its jurisdiction at a time when ICANN is coming under attack from China, Iran and other countries that want more direct control over the domain-name system.

“It really hits the reset button (for) the relationship between VeriSign and ICANN and allows everybody to get more focused on more important things,” VeriSign senior vice president Mark McLaughlin said in an interview.

“The settlement opens the way for a constructive and productive relationship between ICANN and VeriSign that will benefit the global community,” ICANN president Paul Twomey said in a press release.

Mountain View, California-based VeriSign introduced a search engine in September 2003 that directed Internet users who mistype domain names like “www.example.com” to a search engine which contained advertisements.

ICANN ordered VeriSign to temporarily shut down the service a month later after engineers said that it could interfere with the stability of the Internet.

VeriSign sued in February 2004, saying the Internet body had overstepped its authority and illegally restrained competition.

The case was thrown out of U.S. court in August 2004, but VeriSign refiled in California state court.

Under the terms of the agreement, VeriSign gets to maintain control of the database of 35 million “.com” domain names until 2012. Its current contract had been scheduled to expire in 2007.

VeriSign makes $6 per year from each of the 35 million .com domain names in use. It also controls the .net domain, which contains nearly 6 million names.

McLaughlin said VeriSign has no current plans to bring its search engine back online.

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