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Internet Domain Names
By Roger Cochetti

The Issues

To what extent should the private sector-as opposed to governments-manage the infrastructure of addressing on the Internet?

As an experiment in nongovernmental, international management of the Internet, how has the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) fared? What lessons can we learn that are relevant to other global Internet system management questions?

Given the unusual nature of the medium-in that it permits largely domestic networks (closed ccTLD networks) to coexist with global networks (open gTLD networks)-can these two different approaches to the Internet continue to cooperate with each other? What are the strengths and weaknesses of each? What evolution is likely?

The Players
  • Governments
  • Intergovernmental organizations
  • gTLD registries and registrars
  • ICANN Board of Trustees and management
  • ccTLD registries and registrars
  • Registrants, including merchants, noncommercial entities, and individuals

The Forums

  • ICANN Board of Trustees and councils
  • ICANN Government Advisory Committee
  • International Telecommunications Union
  • World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
  • European Union
  • U.S. government

The Prospects

  • Role of nongovernmental solutions: very long-term debate, with shifting experiments
  • Lessons from ICANN: medium-term lessons to be learned and applied
  • Role of ccTLDs versus that of gTLDs: short-term issue with accommodations likely

What the Private Sector Is Doing

  • Participating in policy debates
  • Influencing industry groups
  • Identifying and pursuing shareholders' interests

What You Can Do

  • Participate in policy debates
  • Influence governments and nongovernmental bodies

For more information, contact:

  • U.S. government
  • European Union
  • Individual companies such as Network Solutions and register.com
  • WIPO
  • Nonprofits and think tanks such as the Center for Democracy and Technology

About the Author

Roger Cochetti is an executive with Network Solutions, the registry for the major open gTLDs-.com, .net, and .org-and a major registrar for all Internet names.

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