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ICANN Sued Over 'Waiting List' Agreement With Verisign

by Glen Shapiro,, New York

21 July 2003

A group of 23 domain name registration companies, calling themselves 'The Domain Justice Coalition' last week filed a lawsuit against the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) over an agreement entered into with Versign to create a global waiting list for domain names.

The Coalition has argued that the creation of such a list - which would create a single 'backorder' list of customers waiting for domain names to expire, and would effectively eliminate competition between registrars in this area - is in violation of ICANN's terms of agreement with registrars, and will afford Verisign's own domain name registration firm, Network Solutions, an unfair advantage.

Explaining ICANN's reasons for accepting the Verisign proposal to, spokesperson Mary Hewitt announced that:

'The board voted for it because they thought it was a boon to consumers. This eliminates a ton of people pinging to see if the name is available at once. [As a consumer,] instead of me paying three different people to try to get a domain name I may not get, [with the WLS (wait listing service)], if I don't get it, I don't pay any money.'

Although the Domain Justice Coalition - despite Verisign's protestations to the contrary - believes that the service will afford Network Solutions a huge competitive advantage, the lawsuit filed on Tuesday focuses principally on the alleged breach of contract between ICANN and the registrars.

The Coalition is reportedly seeking a ten-day restraining order to prevent the forthcoming launch of the WLS, to be followed by a hearing of its case.

'We're hoping for just enough time to get the facts out,' Christine Jones, general counsel for Coalition member, GoDaddy explained to

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