Marina del Rey, California USA (14 October 2002) – The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Board of Directors voted 11 to 1 (with three abstentions) today to select the proposal submitted by the Internet Society (ISOC) for a new registry operator of the .org top-level domain, to replace VeriSign.
ISOC has established a new organization, Public Interest Registry (PIR), which will be the registry operator, subject to agreements to be negotiated between ICANN and PIR. PIR will subcontract with Afilias, the operator of .info – the new gTLD approved by ICANN last year – to provide operational support. ISOC is responsible for appointing the Board of Directors of PIR, which will otherwise operate as a not-for-profit entity separate from ISOC.
Subject to final agreements, PIR will assume operations of the .org registry from VeriSign on 1 January 2003. Stuart Lynn, president of ICANN, noted "ISOC/PIR presented ICANN with a very solid transition plan. Current registrants in .org should notice no interruption of service."
An extensive bid solicitation and evaluation process was launched last April. Eleven bids were received in response to a request for proposals. These bids were analyzed and evaluated by three evaluation teams that operated independently of each other. Lynn thanked all eleven bidders for the excellence of their proposals and for their "commitment and interest through a long and arduous process. It is a shame that we cannot select all eleven, but obviously that is impossible."
As part of the evaluation, two evaluation teams focused on technical issues: one from Gartner, Inc., an international consulting and research organization that specializes in information technologies, and the other a team mainly composed of CIOs of major universities that just participated in the early stages of the evaluation. Another team was provided by ICANN’s Non Commercial Domain Name Holders Constituency that focused on the effectiveness of the proposals to address the particular needs of the .org registry. Additional input came from extensive comments by the public and the applicants themselves.
ICANN is re-assigning the .org registry under a revised agreement among ICANN, VeriSign, and the U.S. Department of Commerce that was signed in May 2001. Under that agreement, VeriSign was permitted to keep its registrar business, NSI provided that it agreed to relinquish .org at the end of December 2002, and subject to other provisions of the revised agreements. As part of those revised agreements, VeriSign agreed to endow the new operator with US$ 5 million to help fund operating costs, provided that the new operator was a not-for-profit organization.