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VeriSign Vs. ICANN

Under the WLS system, a .com name can be ordered from VeriSign. If the name is in use, it is back-ordered. When it's available, it's sold to the highest bidder. VeriSign says retailers and other speculators put a strain on the master registry by constantly requesting names to determine their availability. WLS would let applicants obtain back-ordered domain names on a first-come, first-served basis. But retailers complain that domain-name applicants would have to pay an annual fee to maintain their position in the wait list without knowing if the requested name will become available. In effect, the WLS threatens a business grown around an arcane way of administrating names.

Whether VeriSign has the authority to implement WLS will come down to the court's interpretation of the contracts between Commerce, ICANN and VeriSign. If Commerce does not like the court's interpretation, it could modify the contracts when they come up for renewal. Either way, a caretaker of TLDs should care more about the open process for name-dropping and less about a steady income.

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