The Internet Council of Registrars (CORE) says it will roll out in March its Shared Registry System, a worldwide network that will allow businesses and consumers to register domain names on the Internet.
CORE, which includes 89 firms, will initially administer a set of seven new generic top-level domains: .firm, .shop, .web, .arts, .rec, .info and .nom., the organisation said in a statement. The registry's servers will be ready for operation in mid-February, when CORE will start testing the system for security, backup and disaster recovery.
Registration for the three most popular top-level domain names --.com, .net, and .org -- is currently handled by the National Science Foundation; its exclusive contractor, Network Solutions Inc; and subcontractors. But Network Solutions' contract expires at the end of March. An initiative led by US President Clinton's administration has opened up NSI's monopoly to competition, of which CORE's Shared Registry System is one result.
Clinton's privatisation of the process is set to bring customers more registrars to choose from, and a broad selection of accompanying services, such as the issuing of security certificates to support electronic transactions, and domain name directory services. But observers have also noted that the system could lead to confusion, since no central body has been established to govern all the registrars, and no standard registration practices have been set.
CORE, based in Switzerland, represents 89 registrars in 23 countries, with 25 registrars in the United States. Its registry system was designed to meet specifications laid out by the Internet Engineering Task Force, the statement said.
CORE can be contacted through its Web site, at http://www.gtld-mou.org/.