Kerry of SatelLife/Healthnet shares the following quite
interesting and informative article from the New York Times:
> "Move Over '.com'! There's a Whole World of Good Domain Names."
> By JAMIE MURPHY and CHARLES HOFACKER
> "...The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, cyberspace's
> post office, activates a country's top-level domain when the
> necessary computers are online. And, if there's an administrative
> contact in the country.
To review that article, visit
For further on the IANA, check their web site, or that of the
InterNIC, two of the key registration "authorities" of the Internet.
I say "authorities" in quotation marks because my impression is that
these organizations find themselves in positions of authority that
they don't really want -- they keep insisting that they are
managers for a cooperative, not authorities for an organization. I
gather they weren't quite expecting all the turmoil about authority
-- but then, who can really anticipate anything in this business?
One of the interesting "Requests for Comments" or RFCs is number
1591. You can read it by refering to:
Persons desiring an email copy (of this or any other web page) can
request it by web-email request. Send the command
to the address [log in to unmask] A very nice service...
Here are some excerpts from the RFC:
> This memo provides information for the Internet community.
> This memo does not specify an Internet standard of any kind.
> Distribution of this memo is unlimited. ...
> The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is responsible
> for the overall coordination and management of the Domain Name
> System (DNS), and especially the delegation of portions of the name
> space called top-level domains. ...
> The key requirement is that for each domain there be a
> designated manager for supervising that domain's name space. ...
> These designated authorities are trustees for the delegated domain,
> and have a duty to serve the community. ...
> The designated manager must be equitable to all groups in the
> domain that request domain names... This means that the same rules
> are applied to all requests, all requests must be processed in a
> non-discriminatory fashion, and academic and commercial (and other)
> users are treated on an equal basis. ...
[There may be implications here for the administrator of the Congo
and Zaire domain and their preferential pricing scheme. JC]
> Significantly interested parties in the domain should agree that
> the designated manager is the appropriate party. ...
> The IANA tries to have any contending parties reach
> agreement among themselves, and generally takes no action to change
> things unless all the contending parties agree; only in cases where
> the designated manager has substantially mis-behaved would the IANA
> step in. ...
> There are two cases where the IANA and the central IR may
> establish a new top-level domain and delegate only a portion of it:
> (1) there are contending parties that cannot agree, or (2) the
> applying party may not be able to represent or serve the whole
> country. ...
> The Internet DNS Names Review Board (IDNB), a committee
> established by the IANA, will act as a review panel for cases in
> which the parties can not reach agreement among themselves. The
> IDNB's decisions will be binding. ...
> Author's Address
> Jon Postel
> USC/Information Sciences Institute
> 4676 Admiralty Way
> Marina del Rey, CA 90292
> Phone: 310-822-1511
> Fax: 310-823-6714
> EMail: [log in to unmask]
"USC" is the University of Southern California, which includes
the Information Sciences Institute, which serves as the Internet
Assigned Numbers Authority, chartered by the Internet Society and the
Federal Network Council. Jon Postel is the Associate Director for
Networking of the ISI.
The part in the RFC above about "binding" is what I find most
interesting, and has to do with what I asked about earlier, refering
to the "Internet Police". It refers to the practical steps to be
taken, and who would take those steps, if the "significantly
interested parties" (SIPs?) in a country were to decide that the
holder of their country's top-level domain name was not acting in the
There is also the matter of how authoritative an RFC really is. My
impression is that Jon Postel doesn't consider himself to be writing
"laws" when he writes RFCs. Decisions taken by the Internet Society
seem somewhat more authoritative, but only somewhat, mainly because
they are taken by a broader group of "significantly interested
parties", but probably not all the SIPs. Consider this excerpt from
an Internet Society press release available at
> Since the qualified adoption of the IANA proposal by ISOC, "there
> has been considerable international debate on various aspects of
> the proposal, with no consensus," Heath [President of the Internet
> Society] said. "Additional important issues have surfaced and it is
> in the best interest of the continued beneficial evolution of the
> Internet that these issues be aired and resolved," he added. A
> centralized electronic forum will be employed to facilitate and
> support the process.
It looks like the ISOC (Internet Society) took a decision, but then
there was public outcry, so now there will be a bit of study. So
much for "authority". 8*)
Additional interesting reading is available at
Jeff @ Washington
[log in to unmask]
1111 North 19th Street Suite 210
Arlington, VA 22209 USA
Tel 1-703-235-5415 Fax 1-703-235-3805