Services & Software

Top candidate named for .org

The Web's governing body issues a report recommending the Internet Society over 10 other competitors vying to run the .org domain when VeriSign relinquishes it in January.

The Internet's governing body has recommended that the Virginia-based Internet Society (ISOC) take over the .org domain.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) issued a report Monday recommending the nonprofit ISOC over 10 other competitors vying to run the .org domain when domain name registrar VeriSign relinquishes it in January.

In May 2001, VeriSign signed an agreement with ICANN and the Commerce Department to relinquish control of the .org domain in exchange for keeping the rights to oversee the lucrative .com domain. ICANN has been looking for a successor to oversee .org.

Eleven candidates submitted proposals, and ICANN ordered three evaluation teams to study whether the plans met the technical and practical requirements of the .org community, which mostly consists of nonprofit organizations.

"The ISOC proposal was the only one that received top ranking from all three evaluation teams," ICANN President Stuart Lynn said in a statement. "On balance, their proposal stood out from the rest."

Other applicants included subsidiary Register Organization and the Union of International Associations, which is affiliated with VeriSign.

ISOC is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization involved in standards, policy issues and educational workshops. Its members include industry bigwigs such as Microsoft and 3Com. It will run .org in conjunction with Affilias, operator of the .info domain. ISOC officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Upon learning of the proposal, some ICANN watchdogs blasted the plan, saying it amounted to an "insider deal" that will derail the .org mission of serving nonprofit organizations.

"The ISOC board is now controlled by corporations that buy memberships," Michael Froomkin, operator of, wrote in a comment on the site after learning of the report.

He pointed out that ICANN has two people associated with ISOC on its board, including Chairman Vint Cerf, a former head of the organization, and Alejandro Pisantry, ICANN's vice chair and chair of ISOC-Mexico.

The proposal for ISOC to take over .org is still open for public input.