Domain launch delayed by WTC attack

New .info Net addresses will kick off later than originally planned as some registrars struggle to cope with the aftermath of last week's attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Internet addresses under the new .info domain will appear online later than planned as a result of last week's terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The 52,245 registered domain names ending in .info were scheduled to begin showing up as live sites Wednesday but will now appear Saturday, according to Afilias, the registry operating that top-level domain.

"What we the aftermath of this New York event and the incident in Washington is that some of our registrars are actually in New York and were affected by what happened," said Roland LaPlante, chief marketing officer for Pennsylvania-based Afilias. "We have taken into account the impact of this on our customers and will try to be flexible enough to accommodate their needs."

Afilias, a consortium of 18 domain-name registrars, said some of its registrars were located in the World Trade Center and in New York's financial district. Last week's events also caused disruptions in the financial system, making it difficult for the company to transfer funds, according to LaPlante.

"It was beginning to create a hardship on the distribution channels," he said, and might have given some registrars an advantage.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers adopted seven new suffixes in November in an attempt to ease the crowding in existing top-level domains such as .com, .net and .org. The agency chose to add .info, .biz, .aero, .name, .coop, .pro and .museum to the pool of Net domains.

The .info domain names to be released Saturday were awarded to trademark holders during Afilias' "sunrise period," which ran from July 25 to Aug. 27. The company said the preregistration, which let trademark holders claim their names before they were offered publicly, was an effort to thwart cybersquatting and other abuses that have plagued domain name registrations.

Afilias said it began accepting requests from the general public Sept. 12. The company said it originally planned to assign names to the public through two rounds of its random selection process but that, as a result of the disasters, it will take only one round to process the names.

Names assigned through that round will show up online Sept. 27, Afilias said.


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