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Internet

.info land grab overwhelms registry

Web homesteaders encounter a renewed delay as the company in charge of the Web's newest domain continues to tinker with its system.

Web homesteaders attempting to stake their claim on .info addresses encountered a renewed delay as the company in charge of the Web's newest domain continued tinkering with its system.

Afilias, which on Tuesday deferred its .info registrations, extended the suspension Wednesday after continued efforts to bring its system up to speed.

"We were doing performance optimization all through the night," said Heather Carle, a spokeswoman for Afilias. "Late yesterday afternoon we decided that the system wasn't to a level we were comfortable with, and we felt that might disadvantage some registrars. The process is still under way."

The company, which had estimated that the system would be up and running by 6 p.m. PDT Tuesday, now says it is "confident" its top-level domain registry will be operating by 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The trouble started this weekend when Afilias implemented a system for real-time registrations, meaning that people could see if a name was available, register it, find it in the Whois database and launch a site at that address within minutes. That system for instant gratification could not hold up under intense demand, the company said.

"We have had a large number of requests to register names, and the system was not performing as quickly as we thought it should," said Roland LaPlante, vice president of Afilias. "We couldn't remedy it while it was still operating, so to make sure everyone has equal access--that people were not competing on an unequal footing--we decided to take the registry down for maintenance."

Afilias delegated registration capabilities to 70 registrars internationally. Those registrars collected 50,000 names during a "sunrise" period reserved for trademark holders between July 25 and Aug. 27. The system opened to the public Sept. 12 and subsequently encountered a delay attributed to complications arising from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington.

Despite the delay and the suspension, LaPlante characterized the launch of .info registrations as "very successful."

The company sought to allay concerns that the backlogged demand would overwhelm the system once it was restored.

"The system should be able to handle the demand that will exist when our registry reopens," Carle said. "Demand has been gathering over the past two days. We're pleased at the demand that we see, that people are interested in the .info name."