DNS Second-Level and Lower Domains, Delegation of Registration Authority and Public Registration
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Deregulation of Public Registration
In the late 1990s, responsibility for name registration was given to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The registration process was deregulated, to borrow a term referring to removal of monopolies from industries like power generation. As of December 1999, there was still a single authority that has overall responsibility for each TLD, including .COM, .NET and .ORG. Today, Network Solutions is still the authority running .COM and .NET. However, they aren't the only ones that register names within these TLDs. They further delegate registration authority to a multitude of other companies, called accredited registrars. Any registrar can register names within the TLD(s) for which they are accredited.
Naturally, coordination becomes much more of a concern when you have multiple companies registering names in a TLD compared to just one. A special set of technical and administrative procedures is followed to ensure that there are no problems such as two registrars trying to grab a name at the same time. The system has worked well, and those who wish to use TLDs where competition exists now can choose from a variety of registering companies. The most noticeable result of this was also the most predictable one: the cost of registering a domain name in the deregulated generic TLDs is usually much lower than the fees originally charged by the InterNIC.
Once a company, individual or organization has a registered lower-level domain, he/she/it becomes the authority for that domain. Use of the domain then becomes private, but depending on how the domain is used, further public name registration may be required. See the topic on private registration for more.
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