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NetSol to supply digital IDs

A new service for Net-bound merchants can reserve a domain name, the equivalent of a Web address, and a digital ID to conduct Internet commerce.

Merchants that want to set up an Internet storefront now can take advantage of a one-stop service that reserves a domain name, the equivalent of a Web address, and a digital ID to vouch for their identities when conducting Internet transactions.

Network Solutions, which issues most domain names in the North America, now lets registrants apply for a digital certificate from VeriSign at the same time. Users even get ten percent off VeriSign's standard price of $290 for a Web server's digital ID.

Network Solutions provides worldwide registration services for names within top-level domains such as ".com," ".net," and ".org" and allocates Internet Protocol resources for the Americas. The VeriSign option simplifies making a site commerce-ready, and Network Solutions intends to add similar services to its registration process.

"We are pleased to offer this option to customers who desire the added level of security that digital authentication provides," Gabe Battista, Network Solutions CEO, said in a statement. "Customers have responded positively to this option during beta tests, and VeriSign's offering has integrated well into the registration process."

Digital certificates are important for secure electronic commerce and communications because they are a way to authenticate each party in an online transaction. Using cryptography, these certificates prove the owner's identity and can attest to authority to conduct a transaction. Digital IDs, a key component of the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) protocol, are applicable both to secure email and to purchases or other exchanges over the Net.

Getting on the sign-up menu for the 80,000 domain names Network Solutions issues each month represents a huge advantage for VeriSign, which to date has issued some 15,000 certificates for Web servers. Its consumer business is more robust: 600,000 individuals have VeriSign digital IDs.

In addition, the 1 million customers that already have domain names from Network Solutions also can get VeriSign certificates through Network Solutions.

Most Web server software, including servers from Microsoft, Netscape, and other vendors, already support VeriSign digital IDs.

A domain name costs $100 for a two-year registration and $50 per year for renewals. Yearly renewals and volume discounts are available separately.