ICAAN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, has warned that the introduction of seven new top-level domain names could be delayed by the poor economic climate.
After months of deliberation, the seven new web suffixes - including dot-biz and dot-info - were due to be launched this July. But ICANN vice-president Louis Touton told vnunet.com today that there could be delays.
"There have been a variety of hold-ups including the dot-bomb phenomenon," said Touton. He added that some potential registrars were having their business plans re-evaluated by investors.
ICANN officials are meeting in Australia next week, but are thought unlikely to revoke any applications.
Jonathan Robinson, CEO of registrar NetNames UK, one of the consortium behind the dot-info suffix, said that ICANN's credibility could suffer if the delays continued. "They have made exhaustive enquiries into the background of registrars, so there shouldn't be any question marks," he said.
When ICANN held the competition for new domain names last November, it said that one of its principal considerations was the financial stability of registrars.
Registrars are concerned that ICANN is talking in terms of the new suffixes not being available until the end of the year. "The whole process has been fraught with delays," said Robinson. "ICANN needs to start concluding these contracts as soon as possible."
Robinson is still hopeful of launching dot-info domain names by the middle of the year. Users are not able to register domain names in advance, he said, but they can register their interest.
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