November 13, 1996 6:00 PM PST

Ad hoc group to address domain dearth

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With the debate over how to create new Internet domain names threatening to turn into a stalemate, the Internet Society has appointed 11 members to an Internet International Ad Hoc Committee with the mission to resolve the dispute.

The current domain naming scheme includes a number of top-level domains such as ".com," ".net," and ".org" that end most email and Web addresses. The field of companies that have ".com" addresses has become so crowded that businesses are asking for an expansion of the number of top-level domains to include three-letter tags such as ".bus" for businesses or ".med" for hospitals or medical Web sites.

In response to these demands, the Internet Society and its daughter organization, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), last month moved to modify its scheme for creating new domain names including a plan to add up to 150 more descriptive top-level domains.

The proposal drew criticism, however, from the International Telecommunication Union and other organizations, which complained that the IANA hadn't consulted them about any changes; that the U.S.-based IANA had little international authority; and the new domain system under consideration could lead to a rash of international trademark disputes.

To ward off the heat, the Internet Society has chosen from several standards bodies to pick members for the new Ad Hoc committee. The members include Sally Abel of the International Trademark Association, Robert Shaw of the International Telecommunication Union, and George Strawn of the National Science Foundation.


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