On October 1st, real time registrations began for the first new top level domain name, .info. This was a landmark in the history of the internet and marked the success of nearly a year's work. In November 2000 ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) who control the allocation of domain name extensions and IP addresses, announced that 7 new Top Level Domains (TLDs) would be created. These were:
- info - general use
- biz - businesses
- pro - professionals (doctors, lawyers etc.)
- name - individuals
- aero - aeronautical sites
- coop - co-operatives
- museum - museums
Of these TLDs only .info is available for anyone to register. Over the past few months, both .biz and .info have been in pre-registration stages. This began with people who own trademarks being allowed to register their domains. This was followed by a time when people could apply for names, which were then batch processed, with everyone having an equal chance of getting the name they wanted.After this pre-registration, the names would then be able to be registered in real time.
The schedule for .info was as follows:
September 12th-20th - Pre-registration open for consumers
September 21st - Afilias (the registrar) processes pre-registration names
September 22nd - Sunrise period (trademarks) names begin to resolve
September 22nd-October 1st - Registry closed. Startup period names begin to resolve
October 1st - Registry opens in real time
Although .biz has already gone though some of these phases, .info was unique, both in being the only TLD to be freely avilable (as .com was) and as the first new TLD to become fully available for real time registrations. Everything hasn't gone as smoothly as planned, though. Since October 1st there have been problems with the registry, as so many names are being registered, resulting in the WHOIS database (which registers which names are owned by who) becoming unavialble for short periods (meaning that new names cannot be registered) and it currently takes quite a long time for new names to show up in the database. These problems are slowly being resolved, though, and it is likely that .info's registration system will soon be as reliable as .com's.
Although it is very early to say anything for certian, .info looks like it will be come a huge success. Over 350,000 .info doamins have been registered already and they are being bought at a huge rate. The future looks good for info, as well as the other top level domains. .biz and .name are the next two to be launching. .biz domains will be available to register in real time from October 23rd and .name domains are set to become available on December 13th.
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