Icann Delaying Web-Domain Project as ‘Glitch’ Persists

The Internet’s address-system manager will indefinitely delay announcing which companies applied for new Web suffixes as it diagnoses a breakdown that’s kept its application system offline since April 12.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is still working on fixing a “glitch” that allowed a limited number of users to view other applicants’ user names and file names, the group said in an April 21 fact sheet posted online.

Icann said it will postpone its planned April 30 announcement on which companies and organizations applied for new Web suffixes such as .apple, .nyc, or .love. It didn’t provide a new date.

Icann, based in Marina del Rey, California, operates under a U.S. Commerce Department contract and began accepting applications Jan. 12 for new words to the right of the dot in a Web address, including company and city names. The group approved the expansion last year in a move to spur online innovation. It has said the program may result in thousands of new Web suffixes, known as generic top-level domains, beyond the commonly used .com and .org.

More than 40 companies, including General Electric Co., Johnson & Johnson, and Coca-Cola Co. have opposed the domain-name expansion, saying a proliferation of Web suffixes will increase costs for companies and confuse consumers. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has said the plan may increase opportunities for Internet fraud and called on Icann to reduce the number of domains created.

Application System

Icann said it discovered an issue in the way the application system handled attachments, and said it has no indication the system was hacked or the target of a cyber attack, according to the fact sheet.

The first user report of the application-system deficiency appears to have been made March 19, and Icann took the system offline on April 12 after confirming the issue hadn’t been resolved, the fact sheet states.

Icann said it would provide an update by April 27 on when the application system will reopen. Once it reopens, it will stay open for at least five business days, the group said in an online statement on April 20.

Brad White, an Icann spokesman, declined to comment beyond the organization’s posted statements. Moira Vahey, a spokeswoman for the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which oversees the Icann contract, declined to comment.

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