A consortium of Internet users and service providers, called eDNS, has come up with its own set of top level domain names for Web addresses, in defiance of recent proposals from official Net bodies.
The group has set up an alternative root server to maintain and coordinate the new TLDs, claiming its system of allocating and registering site addresses will be more open and more focused on user needs than that proposed by the Internet committees.
Earlier this year, the main groups that administer and allocate Web site addresses - the Internet Article Numbering Association (IANA) and Internet Ad Hoc Committee (IAHC) - proposed increasing the number of top level domains, or suffixes to Web site names. There are currently seven such TLDs, such as .com and .org. The bodies also wanted to open the business of registering new site names, currently handled entirely by Network Solutions, to competition.
However, this provoked a storm of controversy from various Internet parties, which claimed the proposals had not arisen from a democratic process, that key interests had not been consulted and that the competitive system of registrars was too restricted. It also complained at a delay period of a month that the IAHC suggested before new addresses were fully registered.
These complaints led the eDNS to set up its own root server and set of TLDs, which will be issued and registered on a first come, first served basis. In its official statement, the body says: "Under the IAHC's arrangement, IANA maintains control over existing TLDs with no open market based incentive to offer fair, high quality service to the ever-expanding Internet community."
Among the seven new TLDs eDNS will offer are .biz, .corp, .k12 and .web - the last also one of the IANA's proposed suffixes.
But the eDNS will have problems gaining broad acceptance for its plans. Few company servers are likely to access roots not maintained by the IANA and so surfers may have problems finding sites with 'unauthorised' suffixes.
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