Services & Software

ICANN crowns .org successor

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers names the Internet Society, a nonprofit group of computer professionals, the new overseer of the .org domain.

A nonprofit group of computer professionals has cleared the final hurdle to become the next operator of the .org domain.

The board of directors of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) voted 11-1 Monday to endorse the Internet Society (ISOC) as the new overseer of the .org domain.

ISOC will take control of the domain in January, when VeriSign relinquishes its rights to the Web address. VeriSign, which once held a government-granted monopoly over domain names such as .com and .org, gave up the rights to the domain in exchange for keeping the lucrative .com address.

"We are thrilled to have this opportunity to serve the worldwide .org community," ISOC president Lynn St. Amour said in a statement.

ISOC was expected to win the bid after receiving two earlier endorsements from ICANN's staff, but it was a contentious journey.

In August, ICANN's staff issued a report backing ISOC over 10 other groups competing for the name. However, competitors then asked ICANN to reconsider its decision, with some charging that some ISOC members had unfairly close ties to ICANN's board. ICANN agreed to examine supplemental submissions from some of the competitors, but the body ended up reaffirming its recommendation of ISOC to the board.

ISOC is creating a separate group called the Public Internet Registry to control the database. Meanwhile, the organization has been busy creating a public Web site for the .org address and compiling its own board of directors, which includes professors, privacy experts and business people.

An ISOC representative said current .org sites won't see any change in operations except for an upgrade to new software created by Afilias. ISOC said it plans to add new services for .org operators, including offering education campaigns to help nonprofits use the Web more effectively for activities such as fund raising and reaching new members.

ISOC said it also plans to encourage nonprofits that aren't online to create Web sites.