ICANN Approves Domain Waiting List

Gretchen Gallen
MARINA DEL REY, Calif. – The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) gave VeriSign permission Monday to go ahead with a controversial service that enables consumers to bid for domain names that are about to expire.

Although critics say that the service could create unfair competition with some of the smaller companies that offer similar services, many of which have already filed lawsuits against VeriSign and ICANN in an effort to stop the service from launching.

The proposed system would create a master list of domain names and would enable users to get on a waiting list to purchase the domain before it expires, the company stated. Although the U.S. Department of Commerce must give final approval before the service goes live.

VeriSign's waiting list service was suspended by ICANN In October for a technical review and has been two years in the making. VeriSign claims that its customers have been requesting a waiting list service for already-registered names.

"Most of our clients earn the majority of their revenue from that service," said an attorney representing several of the smaller companies trying to stop VeriSign's waiting list service. "When the wait listing service launches our clients go out of business."

VeriSign claims that its waiting list service would curtail the "feeding frenzy" that occurs when valuable and highly desired domain names come up for grabs, Reuters reports.

Other critics are saying that the new service will put constraints on consumers and require them to pay for their domain names in advance, in order to avoid losing them.

ICANN's approval of the new service follows a lawsuit filed by VeriSign against the governing body last week claiming that it had "overstepped its authority" when it pressured VeriSign to shut down its Site Finder service as well as its waiting list service.

But ICANN came out with a surprising reprieve early this week and fully endorsed the service that has caused an industry stir.

ICANN announced its endorsement at a meeting in Rome.