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Critics slow domain name plan

Critics' complaints delay a new scheme to create a new set of Internet domains.

A scheme to create a new set of Internet domain names has been delayed by its critics.

The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) has announced that it will modify its scheme to alleviate over-crowding in the ".com" domain due to criticisms about its methods.

In response to charges that the IANA planned no process for resolving international trademark disputes, that its decisions were made with little public input, and that the U.S. body simply lacked the authority to administer domain names for the entire world, the body has invited the International Telecommunications Union, the World Intellectual Property Organization, and the International Trademark Association to sit on the rules committee, delaying the plan by at least one month.

Indicated by the last three letters of an address, Internet addresses in the ".com" top-level domain (TLD) have become as desirable as real Beverly Hills addresses in the last few years, some fetching upwards of $50,000 on the open market. Though many different bodies assign domain names, only the InterNIC issues names in the commercially desirable international TLDs (iTLDs), including ".com" and ".net". Under the IANA plan, hundreds of authorities could issue names in up to 150 iTLDs over the next three years.

The new appointments, however, won't assuage the plan's loudest critics who complain the IANA is selling off public property for personal gain and doing so without due process or governmental oversight. The plan calls for new iTLD registries to pay the IANA a $2,000 annual fee plus two percent of its profits each year. With six of the nine committee members coming from IANA, its umbrella organization, the Internet Society, and sister organization, the Internet Architecture Board, critics say the move is more symbolic than substantive.