ICANN confirms date for .name release

Individuals will be able to submit their requests for personal domain names by the end of August, but there is no guarantee that they will get their first choice
Written by Wendy McAuliffe, Contributor on

The Internet's governing body will soon be making it easier for individuals to register their names as personal URLs, after confirmation that the new top level domain name (TLD) .name will be available by the end of August.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced on Wednesday that it has signed an agreement with the Global Name Registry (GNR) for the introduction of .name as a suffix. Individuals will be able to request domain names in the form of jennifer.smith.name after GNR opens the registration process in late August.

The announcement follows lengthy delays, having been held up by the implementation of new TLDs, which include .name, .aero, .coop and .pro, allegedly caused by complaints from companies which tried in vain to get the rights to manage the new domain names. A US Senate investigation was launched into complaints that 200 candidates had been whittled down to just 23 during the ICANN selection process.

Individuals will submit their requests to ICANN-accredited registrars, and they will then be submitted to the GNR central registry. ICANN has announced that GNR will conduct a randomised selection process among multiple submissions of the same name.

"This is a fair process to select among competing requests," said Stuart Lynn, president of ICANN. "Understandably everyone would like their first choice for use by themselves and their families, but this is not possible in a world where thousands of people may have the same name."

But Robin Bynoe, partner at city law firm Charles Russell, has criticised this "sunrise period" for being anti-competitive. "There is no procedure for this [selection process] to be challenged -- ICANN gets paid per application, and names can be weighted by one person putting in thousands of applications."

Registered names are expected to become operational by 1 November.

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