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Registrars rally behind ICANN

Forty-four accredited registrars sign a letter supporting ICANN amid mounting criticism over the Internet naming body's tactics.

Forty-four accredited registrars signed a letter Friday supporting the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), amid mounting criticism over the Internet naming body's operations and tactics.

In a letter addressed to the Commerce Department, the registrars, all accredited by ICANN, said the governing body remained "the most viable solution to ensure the ongoing stability of the Internet's naming and addressing systems."

"As the domain-name marketplace continues to mature, we strongly believe that market forces and governmental authorities will be the principal guiding forces," the letter read. "We believe that somewhere within those guiding forces there exists, and will continue to exist, a significant role for ICANN that has been recognized by the Department of Commerce."

The letter comes a few weeks after a California judge ordered ICANN to open its books for inspection after board member Ken Auerbach sued the body in March, alleging he had been denied access to its records. ICANN has also come under criticism by members of the Senate for being a "flawed and ineffective" governing body for the Internet domain system.

Critics claim ICANN has been hampered by infighting between competing factions and have questioned the organization's authority to dictate policy.

Nevertheless, the 44 members who signed the letter insisted that the differences between ICANN and the registrars can be solved in a "mutually agreeable manner."

ICANN is a nonprofit organization formed in 1998 to allow more competition in the domain-naming business. The organization has a contract with the U.S. government to approve Web domain names ending in .info and .biz, and oversees policies to allow smaller companies to sell domain names.