Proven technical services, a strong orientation toward the needs of the international Internet community, and a business model that invests surplus profits in infrastructure improvement: these are the foundational concepts of the proposal submitted to ICANN today by DENIC eG in the bidding race for the management of the .net Top Level Domain (TLD).
DENIC, the German domain registry that currently manages more than eight million .de domains, holds a strong and unique position to win the bid for .net. “In addition to our proven and highly regarded technical and operational capabilities — which have been consistently and reliably delivered over the past ten years without a single breakdown — the fact that we are a European registry is an advantage,” said DENIC Executive Board member Sabine Dolderer. “All of the current operators of generic TLDs are located in North America, and many members of the international Internet community are calling for an expanded international presence in domain management.” Further, DENIC’s not-for-profit status, which allows it to steer clear of potential commercial conflicts of interest and also to reinvest profits back into the infrastructure, makes it attractive as a new operator.
“DENIC’s thoughtful, carefully crafted proposal takes the needs and demands of .net users and registrars fully into account, and will provide a new impetus for the continued development of the Internet,” said Dolderer. “Since the company is not obligated to distribute profits to shareholders, all income goes directly into operating the domain registry, expanding the infrastructure, maintaining the financial stability, and improving the services offered.”
ICANN, the international Internet organization, late last year issued an international Request For Proposal (RFP) to take over the management of .net, the third largest TLD worldwide with more than five million registered domains. Today marks the official deadline to submit a proposal, and the registry chosen by ICANN in March will assume operational responsibility for .net starting on July 1. DENIC, with its eight million .de registrations, is the largest country code TLD registry in the world.
Last November, DENIC’s members approved its participation in the .net bidding process, and its application is enjoying broad support from the industry at large. DENIC’s members, including well known international domain registrars, Internet service providers, and carriers, are experienced national and international registration entities, users and providers of .de and .net domains.
Security and stability of the technical services to be provided are decisive criteria set by ICANN. This limits the circle of serious contenders to only a handful of bidders, including DENIC, which is one of the leading international registries. All bidders are required to include very detailed evidence of their technical capability in their offer, in response to the comprehensive RFP presented by ICANN. Similarly, the bidders have been asked to document a clear transition plan, to take place between April and July, to ensure a seamless and secure handover from VeriSign to the new .net registry.
The fact that DENIC has been offering high-quality, reliable .de technical services for more than ten years is a significant factor in its favor. DENIC and VeriSign, also a bidder, are currently the only registry operators with experience managing more than five million domains, the approximate number of current .net registrations.
DENIC’s successful introduction of Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) in March 2004 showed that hundreds of thousands of additional registration requests per day can be successfully managed. DENIC is already operating a failure-free international network of name servers for .de domains at eleven locations worldwide, and preparations for their expansion are already under way. DENIC’s membership structure is equally international, with more than 220 companies in twelve countries, including major Internet Service Providers in North America and Great Britain. By its nature, the focus of .de is Germany, but the clientele for .net is international. In addition to language support in German and English, DENIC plans to also offer providers support with requests in French, Spanish, and Korean, should it be awarded the .net contract. In addition, an extensive multi-language web offering will be made available.
In its application, DENIC is pursuing a transparent, not-for-profit approach that distinguishes it from other bidders. All earnings are reinvested into the expansion of the infrastructure, so that better and more innovative services can be offered to registrars and users. DENIC’s not-for-profit status also allows it to offer high-quality services at lower prices.
A decision in favor of DENIC will promote competition in the international domain market, as it will introduce a new participant on the market that does not currently manage any other generic TLDs.