Transfer of .org control delayed

VeriSign and the Internet Society say they're holding off on transferring the domain for nearly a month to give companies selling .org addresses more time to comply with new requirements.

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VeriSign and the Internet Society on Friday said they are delaying the technical transfer of the .org domain for nearly a month to give companies selling .org addresses more time to comply with new requirements.

In a conference call outlining plans for the new domain, the organizations said the Internet Society (ISOC) now is set to start handling the back-end technical processing Jan. 25, several weeks after the original Jan. 1 deadline. David Maher, chairman of the Public Interest Registry (PIR), an organization set up by ISOC to handle .org, said his goal was to make the transition as seamless as possible for consumers and companies selling or using .org domains.

".Org (domain names) will continue to resolve, just as they do today, without any interruption," Maher promised during the call. PIR has selected Afilias to handle the technical operations of the domain.

To make the transition run more smoothly, both VeriSign and PIR will jointly manage .org for several months after the technical transfer. VeriSign is expected to phase out its role in late 2003.

VeriSign is relinquishing control of .org as part of a deal in which it gets to keep managing the .com domain. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which oversees the management of domain names, picked the nonprofit ISOC to take over .org in October.

After the first phase of the transfer is completed Jan. 25, PIR said it will start a second, longer phase that involves upgrading the .org system to a new protocol known as the Extensible Provisioning Protocol. As a result, registrars, the companies that sell domain names to customers, will have to certify that their systems work with the new, upgraded technology.

During the second phase, PIR said it also plans to improve the .org registration and tracking process by centralizing many domain functions, including creating a centralized Whois database, which will contain information about who registered a particular address.

During the conference call, Maher warned consumers to be wary of transfer-related scams asking them to pay more money to keep or transfer their domain.

Maher also said PIR plans to encourage nonprofits and public interest groups throughout the world to take advantage of the Web by establishing or beefing up their .org pages. Right now, he said, most .org pages are run by U.S. organizations.