Between July 2002 and November 2004, Whois.sc (Whois Source) published a series of news articles about the domain industry. These articles have been resurrected for your enjoyment.
|Domain News Archive|
October 19th, 2002
By Sergey Kuznetsov
MOSCOW -- The Soviet Union dissolved more than 10 years ago, and the dot-su Internet domain may finally follow.
A spokesman for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced recently at a Moscow conference on Internet development that the domain dot-su will be revoked sometime next year. As innocuous -- and logical -- as that may sound, however, there are many in the former Soviet Union who are fighting to save dot-su.
In 1990, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) registered the country-code top-level domain (ccTLD) dot-su, for the Soviet Union. Later, a Russian non-governmental organization, RosNIIROS, was delegated to manage it. The dot-su zone included second-level domains (like www.yourname.su) as well as third-level domains (like www.subname.yourname.su).
When new, independent states founded after the Soviet Union's fall created new ccTLDs, the registration of second-level domains was frozen, but third-level domains were permitted. So, the general number of domains in the dot-su zone continued to increase. As of May, there were more than 28,000 registered, according to the RIPE Network Coordination Centre.
A year ago, RosNIIROS and the Foundation for Internet Development (FID) unfroze the registration of second-level dot-su domains. In a bid to protect new domains from cybersquatters, the FID set a $15,000 price tag on registering a dot-su domain. Registration for the top-level Russian domain, dot-ru, costs less than $30.
At the time, Russian Internet activist Andrey Stolyarov sent an open letter to ICANN calling for an end to any registration in the dot-su zone.
Stolyarov wrote: "$15,000 can't be the price of the process of registration; it implies that ownership over the registered domain is established. But how can anyone own a subdomain in a TLD which itself doesn't belong to anyone and must in fact disappear in the future as being obsolete?"
However, some Russian Internet activists didn't agree that the domain should die.
"I like an idea of some domain affiliated not with some state, but only with a geographic area," wrote Anatoly Levenchuk in a letter published on his site Libertarium.ru. As for the domain's price, he added: "I suppose that there is a place in this market for domains of any prices -- from $1 to $15,000, as well as we have watches, ties or even cars of different brands in the corresponding markets."
Levenchuk's Internet incubator, TechInvestLab.com, offered a $1,000 grant to a Web developer with the best proposal for a project to support the continuation of the dot-su domain.
After winning the grant, Andrei Veialis of Novosibirsk created the site Save.SU
In a survey Veialis posted on the Russian polling site VoxRu, 54 percent of 5,649 voters supported saving dot-su, while only 24 percent opposed keeping it.
The hype surrounding dot-su reached such a fevered pitch that the Department of Communications of Russia recommended that RosNIIROS stop registering second-level dot-su domains until the issue was resolved. RosNIIROS had put dot-su registration on hold for half a year in early 2002, but it announced in August that it would reopen registration in October at a price of $100, but limited to trademark owners only.
When ICANN spokesman Herbert Vitzthum announced at the Moscow conference in late September that dot-su would be revoked, the situation got stickier.
While it was reported in some Russian media outlets that it was an unofficial -- and therefore unbinding -- statement, Vizthum made it clear at the time that ICANN's position would not change.
Later, however, Vitzthum denied making any official statement. And Mary Hewitt, ICANN's director of communications, wrote that the future of dot-su as a top-level domain is still under consideration.
Those involved await a decision on dot-su's fate, which will likely be announced at the ICANN meeting in Shanghai at the end of October.
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