This is an unfinished outline/draft for an article about ICANN. Warning: Some information in it may be obsolete, as, in its current state, it reflects the state of affairs circa late 1999.

What is ICANN?

ICANN-accredited regitrars, , have authority to register open generic TLDs (gTLDs) .com, .net, .org .

Country code TLDs (ccTLDs): Established by ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency, , run by representatives of French, USA, UK, German, and Swedish standards groups, plus five international organisations. List maintained by IANA, . .us is one such domain, and is administered by IANA, delegated in part to state and local governments.

Where does ICANN get its authority?

DNS was developed under the supervision of DARPA, SRI, and Jon Postel. With the shutdown of ARPANET in 1990, National Science Foundation took over DARPA's role. NSF gained USG (United States Government) statutory authority in that role, and, on Dec. 31, 1992, delegated DNS supervision to Network Solutions, Inc., under five-yearcommercial contract -- which expired Sept. 30, 1998. Network Solutions's current contract, which introduces competitors for some key functions, expires Septmber 30, 2000.

ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) works as a "global consensus entity", aiming at transition away from USG technical coordination of DNS, and was formed in response to a US Department of Commerce January 30, 1998 Green Paper, , and a June 1998 White Paper, , calling for formation of such a non-governmental group to supervise an open, competitive DNS-registration system with international participation, with transition to be completed before year 2000. US Department of Commerce then indicated its backing of ICANN in a Memorandum of Understanding = MoU on Nov. 25, 1998, .

ICANN is taking over the functions of IANA, set up long ago by DARPA and run as a research project by Information Sciences Institute ("ISI") of USC's School of Engineering under DARPA contract, to establish, implement, and oversee IP-allocation and assignment policy, to do likewise for DNS, assign technical protocol parameter numbers and maintain their assigned values, and oversee operation of the DNS root server system.

Advisory groups for ICANN are Domain Name Supporting Organization, Address Supporting Organization, and Protocol Supporting Organization.

Who runs the root servers?

There are 13 of them. About half are USG-maintained.

A-ROOT-SERVERS.NET NSF-NSI, Herndon, VA (Network Solutions, Inc.) This is the "primary root server". Network Solutions continues to function as root-zone administrator on an interim basis, unless and until instructed otherwise by the USG Department of Commerce.
B-ROOT-SERVERS.NET DISA-USC, Marina del Rey, CA (Information Sciences Institute, University of Southern California)
D-ROOT-SERVERS.NET University of Maryland, College Park, MD
E-ROOT-SERVERS.NET NASA Moffett Field, Sunnyvale, CA
F-ROOT-SERVERS.NET Internet Software Consortium, Palo Alto, CA
G-ROOT-SERVERS.NET DISA=Boeing, Vienna, VA (Defense Information Systems Agency)
H-ROOT-SERVERS.NET US Army, Aberdeen, MD (Army Research Laboratory)
I-ROOT-SERVERS.NET NORDU, Stockholm, Sweden (NORDUnet)
M-ROOT-SERVERS.NET WIDE, Keio, HI (possibly Tokyo, Japan?)

Those ultimately define standard, consensus DNS. Registries outside that system include AlterNIC ( and eDNS ( USG policy opposes creation of competing root-authority systems, but these outside registries are outside its authority.

Who else has been a player in the sundry bureaucratic machinations?

National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), an agency of the USG Department of Commerce
IANA,, authority supervising IP allocation, definition of Internet protocol standards, and managing the DNS, including delegating top-level domains and overseeing the root name server system
Internet Society (ISOC),
International Ad Hoc Committee (IAHC or Ad Hoc Committee) (failed),
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
International Telecommunications Union (ITU),
Federal Networking Council (FNC)
Council of Internet Registrars (CORE), Switzerland,
Policy Oversight Committee (POC) (proposed, failed)
APNIC (Asia Pacific Network Information Centre),, the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) distributing IP addresses in the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan, Korea, China, and Australia.
RIPE (Réseaux IP Européens),, the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) distributing IP addresses in Europe and surrounding areas.
ARIN (American Registry for Internet Numbers),, the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) distributing IP addresses in North America, South America, the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa. ARIN took over this duty from Network Solutions, Inc.
National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences
Internet Engineering Task Force, , which also runs Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG), and Internet Architecture Board (IAB),

Who were ICANN's first five new "testbed" registrars for the Shared Registration System?

America Online,
CORE (Internet Council of Registrars),
France Telecom/Oléane,
Melbourne IT,,

Who are ICANN's subsequent, "post-testbed" registrars for the Shared Registration System?

#1 Domain Names International, Incorporated (WV, USA),
1stDomain.Net, a division of G+D International LLC (HI, USA)
2Day Internet Limited dba (New Zealand),
7DC, Inc. (Korea)
7WAYS (France)
9 Net Avenue, Inc. (NJ, USA)
A+Net (CA, USA)
A Technology Company (Canada)
ABC Telemedia AG (Germany)
Active ISP (Norway)
Affinity Hosting, LLC (CA, USA)
Alabanza, Inc. d/b/a Bulkregister (MD, USA)
All West Communications (UT, USA) (CA, USA)
American Domain Name Registry (United States)
Animus Communications, Inc. (OK, USA)
AT&T (United States)
BB Online UK Ltd. (United Kingdom)
Capital Networks Pty Ltd. (Australia)
CASDNS, Inc. (United States), Inc. (United States)
CommuniTech.Net, Inc. (United States)
Computer Data Networks (Kuwait)
Concentric Network Corp. (United States)
CSL Computer Service Langenbach GmbH (Germany)
Cydian Technologies (USA)
DADA (Italy)
Datasource Network Australia Limited (Australia)
Deutsche Telekom AG (Germany)
Domain Bank, Inc. (United States)
Domain Direct (Canada)
DomainPeople, Inc. (Canada)
Domain Registration Services (United States) (United States), Inc. (United States), Inc. (United States)
Dotster, Inc. (United States)
Eastern Communications Co., Ltd. (China)
Easyspace Ltd. (United Kingdom) Corporation (United States)
eNom, Inc. (United States)
EPAG Enter-Price Multimedia AG (Germany) (United States)
FloridaNet, Inc. dba ValueWeb (United States)
FreeYellow.Com (United States)
Gal Communications Ltd. (Israel)
GANDI (France) (Canada)
Go Daddy Software (USA)
HANGANG Systems Inc. (Korea)
HKNet Company Limited (Hong Kong)
IBI Company Ltd. (Republic of Korea)
iDirections, Inc. (United States) Inc. d/b/a (United States)
Info Avenue Internet Services (United States)
InfoBack Corporation (United States)
InfoNetworks (USA & United Kingdom), Inc. (United States)
InnerWise, Inc. d/b/a (United States)
InterAccess Company (United States)
Interactive Telecom Network, Inc. (United States)
Interdomain, S.A. (Spain)
Internet Domain Registrars (Canada & United States)
IDR (Internet Domain Registry) Ltd. (Israel)
Internet Fr SA (France)
InterNeXt (France)
interQ Incorporated (Japan);
Intuit, Inc. (United States) (United States)
Marksonline, Inc. (United States)
Marvin Enterprises/Global Knowledge Group (United States)
Melbourne IT (Australia)
Mr., Inc. (Canada)
MS Intergate, Inc. (United States)
NameEngine Inc. (United States)
The Name It Corporation (United States) (United States) (United States)
Name.Space (United States)
NetBenefit (United Kingdom)
NetNames (United Kingdom)
NETPLEX LLC (United States)
Network Solutions (United States)
Nobel Networks (United States)
Nominalia (Catalonia)
NORDNET (France)
Omnis Network, LLC (United States)
OnlineNIC, Inc. (China and United States)
pair Networks, Inc. d/b/a pairNIC (USA, United Kingdom and Germany)
Parava Networks, Inc. (USA)
Port Information System (Sweden)
ProBoard Technologies (United States)
PSINet, Inc. (United States & global)
PSI-Japan (Japan)
PSI-USA (United States)
RCN Corporation (United States) Ltd. (United Kingdom) (United States)
Research Institute for Computer Science, Inc. (Japan)
Schlund + Partner AG (Germany)
Secura Company (Germany)
Shaver Communications Inc. (United States)
Signature Domains, Inc. (United States)
Siteleader, Inc. (United States)
SiteName (Israel)
Speednames, Inc. (United States, Denmark, Singapore, Sweden)
Stargate Communications, Inc. (United States) (USA)
Techdogs (United States)
TelePartner AS (Denmark)
The Direct Connection Ltd. (United Kingdom)
TierraNet Inc. (United States)
Total Web Solutions (United Kingdom)
Verio (United States)
Virtual Internet (United Kingdom)
Virtualis Systems, Inc. (United States)
Web Express, Inc. (United States)
WebTrends Corporation (United States)
World-Net (France)
Xin Net Corp. (China)
YesNIC (Republic of Korea)

Current status of all registrars is summarised at .

How does the Shared Registration System (SRS) work?

The USG Department of Commerce required Network Solutions, under Amendment 11 of its Cooperative Agreement ( , effective Oct. 7, 1998) to set up a protocol and software to allow competing, certified registrars access to the shared registration databases.

Amendment 11 allows Network Solutions to charge for its registry functions "no more than a dollar amount per registration/year to be specified in a further amendment reflecting NSI's costs and a reasonable return on its investment," plus adjustments to reflect certain "demonstrated changed costs". Network Solutions nontheless continues to contest the amount of this fee with ICANN and the USG Department of Commerce, and most recently (Amendment 13 to its Cooperative Agreement) set a registry fee of $9 per domain name per year.

Network Solutions, as registry, maintains a gratis, public TCP port 43 rwhois service at, to furnish registration-status information (with a Web-based front end) for second-level domains. Accredited registrars are allowed write access to the rwhois database: the "Registry Registrar Protocol". (Note that the rwhois database consists of static files that currently lag the working registry database by about a day.) Network Solutions also offers bulk access to .com, .net, and .org zonefiles as described in

How does ICANN accreditation work?

Registrars must agree to follow ICANN's Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, , with arbitration provided (if needed) by the CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution, . Other requirements and arrangements are described at and .

In order to get access to the registry database, registrars must also sign a licence agreement with Network Solutions: . The firm maintains an information site on its registry role at

To be written:

Look into OpenSRS, . Service for bulk providers of SLDs registering 25 or more SLDs per year. Thus, second-level providers such as JumpDomain. says:

The registrar you are transferring to makes a request to the NSI Registry (where all domain names are registered and pointed). The NSI Registry then emails the registrar you are leaving (in your case NetSol) and lets them know a request for your domain name to be transferred has been made. If NetSol has any objections, then they have to write back saying so, if they agree to the transfer they have to write back indicating that as well. Now, normally (and we all know NetSol doesn't follow the rules of normal) Netsol will let the transfer take place if no moneys are owed to them for that domain name, nor are there any pending disputes with the name. Having said all this, if the NSI registry does not get an answer from the leaving registrar (NetSol) in 5 days, the transfer goes ahead any ways. After it has been transferred- NetSol can send you notice after notice for non payment, but it does not matter as you are under the management of a different registrar.

Contract change in mid-term

Unilateral cancellation

Alternative TLDs.