.COM, .NET & .TEL Seek ICANN Approval to Offer 1 & 2 Character Domain Names

Late last week VeriSign, the registry operator for .COM and .NET, and Telnic, the registry operator for .TEL, submitted separate Registry Services Requests to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) that would enable both to release previously unreleased 1 & 2 character domain names.

According to VeriSign request documents,

“…VeriSign intends to allocate single and two-character second-level domains via an English-style auction with no ending date. The winner of the auction will be determined when no increasing bid has been made within a set period of time. . Receipt of payment in the amount of the winning bid will result in a five (5) year registration. This implementation may vary based upon consultations with one or more auction service providers that will be selected through a subsequent RFP process.”

While Verisign’s .NET Registry Service Request makes no mention of a similar release of .COM 1 & 2 character names, RFP documents released yesterday by VeriSign seeking an auction provider indicate VeriSign’s intention to submit a similar Registry Services Proposal to ICANN in the very near future for the auction of previously unreleased 1 & 2 character .COM domain names.

In contrast, Telnic has proposed releasing 1 & 2 character .TEL domain names in a series of 3 “rounds”. In the first round Telnic would solicit RFPs where applicants would have to demonstrate the following:

• Intended use of the domain name
• Value the applicant may bring to the .tel community
• Potential to increase awareness of the .tel technology
• Business reputation of the applicant
• Applicant’s financial commitments
• Objections the specific registration may raise (or lack thereof)

In the second round 1 and 2 character domain names that were not allocated in the first round will be made available on a first come, first served basis for a premium price. Finally, in the third round all unreserved 1 and 2 character domains that were not allocated during the first two rounds would be made available as normal on a first come, first served basis through all participating .TEL registrars.
Based on current information, the earliest any of the above-mentioned 1 & 2 character domain names would become available is early Q4 of 2010. CSC will continue to monitor these proposals as they progress through the ICANN approval process and will keep clients informed of any developments.