Icann defers Verisign decision

Icann bows to public pressure and agrees to a (short) period of public consultation before ruling on the future of the top level domains

The Icann board today deferred its decision on the VeriSign agreement, as foreshadowed by chairman Vint Cerf at yesterday's public forum.

The board instead resolved to finalise the matter in a conference call scheduled for 2 April, giving it time to receive and consider comments from the Domain Name Support Organisation and other interested parties.

These comments can be lodged through Icann's Web site or sent to touton@icann.org until 31 March.

The board's discussion today suggested the weight of opinion favours "Option" . As happened at the public forum, most of the concerns expressed seemed to be about due process, rather than either of the options facing the board.

"My view is that [Option B] is an improvement and a benefit," said Cerf, shortly before he left the meeting prior to the close of business.

Following the discussion, Elliot Noss, president and chief executive of registrar Tucows, said "This deal [Option B] is much preferred to the previous deal," although Icann had missed "an opportunity to get concessions that would have been good for competition".

The .org domain is to revert to strictly non-profit Web sites, but the scheme for transferring ownership holds plenty of profit for two companies. Matt Loney thinks that the fact that Icann and VeriSign have been able to get away with this raises serious questions over the relationship between the two. Go to AnchorDesk UK for the news comment.

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