New organization takes over .org domain registry

The newly created Public Interest Registry started the year by assuming registry operations for the .org top-level Internet domain.

Registry operations had been handled by VeriSign Global Registry Services under a Commerce Department contract with VeriSign Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif. That contract expired Dec. 31.

PIR is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Reston, Va., created by the Internet Society. It was one of 11 organizations that submitted bids to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to manage the domain.

During a 25-day phase-in period, VeriSign will continue to handle back-end technical services. On Jan. 25 those operations will be taken over by Afilias Ltd. of Dublin, Ireland. Afilias will manage the registry of 2.4 million .org names for PIR at a data center in Horsham, Pa.

"PIR is now handling administrative operations" of the domain, said spokeswoman Julie Williams. The organization has a board of directors in place and is searching for a CEO, Williams said.

Top-level domains, such as .org, .com and .gov, are used in uniform resource locators to identify Web sites tied to specific IP addresses. The Commerce Department, which had handled IP address assignments and domain name registration through private contractors, is in the process of turning over these responsibilities to the independent ICANN.

The .org domain is reserved for nonprofit organizations. Commercial operations typically use the .com domain. Private registrars will continue to sell .org names, and registration and renewal of names will continue through registrars with no new requirements. Williams said the only change customers should notice is an improvement in service, with registration resolution times reduced from a matter of hours to several minutes.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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