For Immediate Release
February 8, 1999

ICANN Releases Draft Accreditation Guidelines for Domain-Name Registrars-
Proposal to be Available for Public Comment at

Los Angeles-In a first step towards establishing fair and consistent guidelines and 
procedures that will increase competition and global participation in domain-name 
registration services, the non-profit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and 
Numbers (ICANN) today is releasing for public comment a draft proposal for the 
accreditation of Internet domain-name registrars.  The draft includes criteria for 
selecting the five registrars who will test the system for a two-month period 
beginning at the end of April.

The proposed accreditation guidelines, comprising nearly 30 pages of detailed analysis 
and proposed standards, will be published on ICANN’s Web site ( today 
for public comment and suggestions.  The final version of the guidelines will provide 
requirements for accreditation of domain-name registrars in the .com, .org and .net 
top-level domains (TLDs).  Following public comment submitted in response to today’s 
posting, and comment and discussion at an open meeting in Singapore on March 3, 1999, 
ICANN’s initial board will consider adoption of the proposed guidelines or a revised 

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to work with the Internet community to create 
a stable but competitive market for domain-name registration services in these three 
important domains,” commented Esther Dyson, interim chairman of the ICANN board.  “One 
of the major reasons for the creation of ICANN was to foster fair and open ground 
rules in the domain-name system, and we are now approaching a major milestone in 
achieving that goal.  We aim to design a system that promotes the stability of the 
Internet and is capable of evolving in the future.”

The immediate development and adoption of accreditation guidelines is necessary to 
implement an agreement by Network Solutions Inc. (NSI) to develop a system that allows 
multiple registrars to register names in the .com, .net, and .org TLDs in competition 
with NSI.  Since 1993, NSI has been the sole provider of direct domain-name 
registration services in these TLDs as part of a cooperative agreement with the U.S. 
Government.  In the interests of opening the process to robust competition, a recent 
amendment to the cooperative agreement paved the way for other companies to register 
unique second-level domain names on behalf of their customers in the NSI-maintained 
TLD database (the “registry”).

NSI initially will open the database to five registrars as part of a test phase in 
which the shared registration system will be launched, evaluated and improved.  Rather 
than participating in the test as one of the five registrars, NSI will continue its 
existing registrar operations during the test phase.  After completion of the test, 
NSI will be required to provide equal access to registry services through the shared 
registration system to all accredited registrars (including itself) at prices to be 
agreed upon by the U.S. Government and NSI under the terms of the cooperative 
agreement.  The price charged by NSI for registry services will be based on NSI’s 
costs, plus a reasonable return on its investment.

Key elements of the proposed guidelines on which ICANN is soliciting comments include 
minimum technical, operational and financial criteria for entering the registration 
business; requirements for portability of domain names among registration companies; 
protections against fraud and infringement of intellectual property rights; data 
security, privacy, and protection; and special technical requirements to protect the 
stability and operational integrity of the Internet.  ICANN is seeking public comment 
on these proposed criteria, as well as on a proposed fee structure based on an initial 
accreditation fee and an ongoing charges on regisration volume.

Because testbed participants will be required to provide enhanced technical and 
engineering support to interface with NSI during the testing phase, the proposal 
specifies additional criteria for selection of the five testbed registrars.  The early 
accreditation of these registrars for the test period is not intended or expected to 
give them any competitive advantage.  Indeed, they will be required to devote 
significant time, expertise, and resources to ensure the success of the testing 
process, and they must be prepared to publish operational information as part of the 
test evaluation.

“Much of the material in these proposed guidelines reflects planning and analysis done 
by others in recent years,” said Michael Roberts, ICANN interim CEO and head of the 
proposal drafting effort.  “We’ve pulled that thinking together, updated it to reflect 
the agreement between ICANN and the government, and tailored it to the needs of NSI’s 
agreement with the U.S. Government for the introduction of competition in the .com, 
.org and .net domains.  ICANN thanks all those who contributed.”

As with any other change in Internet management, the introduction of the guidelines 
will be controversial. “We recognize that implementing changes in the domain-name 
system will be a contentious issue,” said Interim Chairman Dyson.  “The point is to 
make the transition fair, and the results fair.  As long as everyone knows the rules 
and can play on the same terms, we will have achieved that.  As the initial board 
considers comments on the guidelines, we will work hard with the Internet community to 
develop guidelines that strike everyone as reasonable, sound, and transparent.”

Along with the draft guidelines, ICANN also is posting several other policy drafts and 
documents on which it is seeking public comment-including a draft conflict of interest 
policy, a draft reconsideration policy, and applications received from entities 
seeking recognition as ICANN Supporting Organizations.

About ICANN:  
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is a new, private, 
non-profit, international corporation formed by the global Internet community to 
assume responsibility for managing Internet technical coordinating functions including 
domain-name system (DNS) management, IP address block allocation, the coordination of 
the assignment of technical protocol parameters, and root server system management, 
now performed by, or on behalf of, the U.S. Government.

ICANN was created by the global Internet community in response to “Management of 
Internet Names and Addresses,” a U.S. Government statement of policy issued in June 
1998, that invited the global Internet community to form a new, private sector 
organization to undertake management of Internet domain-name system functions.  In 
November 1998, ICANN entered into an agreement with the U.S.  Government to design and 
develop the methods and procedures that should be in place to transition DNS 
management responsibility to the private sector from the government.  It is expected 
that this transition will be completed by September 2000.

ICANN’s initial board is led by interim chairman Esther Dyson, and has members from 
six nations.  This initial board, with assistance from staff and several committees, 
is working to pave the way for a smooth and stable transition to private sector 
management of technical management functions.  The day-to-day management of ICANN is 
led by its interim President and CEO, Mike Roberts.  The initial board members will be 
succeeded by board members elected by four different constituency groups, collectively 
representing a broad range of the Internet’s technical and user communities around the 


ICANN contacts:
Esther Dyson
Interim Chairman 
+1 (212) 924-8800

Michael M. Roberts
Interim President and CEO
+1 (650) 854-2108

Sean Garrett 
Director of Technology Policy Communications 
Alexander Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide
+1 (415) 923-1660, 170

Patrick Worms 
Vice President, Technology Communications 
Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, Brussels 
(+32-2) 545 6609

Patricia Ratulangi 
Senior Associate, Technology Practice Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, Singapore 
+65 2779563 


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