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Afilias Bids For Rights to Run .NET Registry

Afilias proposes to bring state-of-the-art technology, research and innovation funds, and competitive pricing to support the .NET domain

DUBLIN, IRELAND - 19 January 2005- Afilias Limited today announced that it has submitted a proposal to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to become the next registry operator for the .NET generic top-level domain (gTLD) registry when VeriSign (NASDAQ: VRSN) Global Registry Services' contract expires on 30 June 2005.

"Afilias believes it is critical to move the .NET domain from the incumbent in order to enhance effective competition in the registry market," said Roland LaPlante, Chief Marketing Officer of Afilias Limited. "Afilias believes that it would be the best steward for the .NET domain due to its technical proficiency, competitive pricing, and unmatched transition experience. We have submitted a proposal that allows .NET to emerge from under .COM's shadow in the domain name market."

Afilias' proposal details its plan to transition and upgrade the .NET registry onto its state-of the art registry system, which currently supports nearly 7 million domains including the fifth and sixth largest TLDs - .ORG and .INFO - as well as seven country code domains. Highlights of Afilias' proposal include:

  • Technical Improvements for .NET Registry System: Afilias' proposal details a plan to upgrade the registry protocol from the legacy RRP to the more secure EPP 1.0 and upgrade the registry to a "thick" system that will centralize all registrant contact details at the registry.
  • Safe & Secure Registry Migration: Afilias is the only registry services company with credible experience (with .ORG in 2003) in transitioning a gTLD on scale with .NET. Afilias will provide a $0.25 per domain allowance to registrars to defray expenses related to technical upgrades associated with the transition.
  • Strong DNS Security & Network Uptime: Afilias' primary DNS provider, UltraDNS, has developed and implemented a new platform that enables normal query resolution even while under severe attack, a significant advancement over the current service provided for .NET.
  • Competitive Price for .NET: Afilias proposes to reduce the "wholesale" price for .NET from $6.00 to $4.00/domain year (including the new $.75 ICANN fee) - an estimated market savings exceeding $60 million over the course of the .NET contract.
  • New Promotions to Grow .NET in the Market: Based on its successful experience building INFO to the Internet's #6 domain, Afilias is proposing a promotional rate of $1.00 for the first domain year of new registrations. This promotion will run until at least the end of 2005, and includes ICANN's $.75 per domain year fee.
  • Strict adherence to standards: Afilias has a strong track record of adhering to ICANN policies, and rolling out registry services in a standards-compliant manner. Afilias also supports ICANN goals through involvement in Internet community activities, including the Working Group on Internet Governance, which strengthens private sector management of the DNS. Afilias is the only gTLD registry accredited and participating in the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).
  • Creation of a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) and Infrastructure Innovation Fund (IIF): Afilias has created this group to provide advice on security, services, and other technical matters critical to the .NET domain and its users. Afilias will also establish a $1,000,000 IIF to be placed at the disposal of the TAG for research, development, testing, and implementation trials.

"As a company, Afilias is 100% focused on the domain name industry and investing in technology that will result in a more reliable, secure and efficiently functioning Internet," said Hal Lubsen, President and CEO of Afilias Limited. "We believe that, with this sharp focus on the needs of the .NET registry and with our proven experience, we are well qualified to operate the .NET registry."

Background
The deadline for ICANN's receipt of proposals interested parties was 18 January 2005. Public Comment on the submitted proposals is expected to be open between 19 January and 2 February 2005. ICANN has indicated that it expects to make its decision following its March 2005 Board meeting. VeriSign's current contract with ICANN expires on 30 June 2005.
About Afilias

Afilias Limited, a fully integrated global provider of domain name registry services, maintains international headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, sales offices in London, England and Düsseldorf, Germany, sales and operational facilities in Toronto, Canada, administrative offices in the U.S. near Philadelphia, PA, and operational offices in New Delhi, India. Afilias provides a full range of registry services leveraging proven technology that is fast, reliable and secure. Afilias provides registry services support to the .ORG gTLD (under contract to Public Interest Registry), the .INFO gTLD and several country code TLDs.