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Thursday, July 23, 1998 Published at 20:37 GMT 21:37 UK


Web experts debate new Net addresses

The new body will decide whether to add new domain names to the Web

Representatives of industry and Internet groups from across the globe meet to reform the Web's name and address systems.

The gathering in Geneva, on Friday, which is to be attended by President Clinton's Internet policy adviser Ira Magaziner, follows a meeting in Brussels hosted by the European Union.

[ image: Bidding wars have broken out over some names]
Bidding wars have broken out over some names
The goal is to try to agree on a framework for a new non-profit corporation that will manage the address, or domain, system on the Net.

They will debate a new plan published last month by the US Commerce Department for phasing out government management of the Internet address system, whereby users call up Web pages or send e-mail.

Among the most pressing issues a new body will have to deal with is deciding how to develop popular suffixes of ".com", ".net", and ".org" which go at the end of Internet addresses.

As the Internet grows, lack of agreement on how to add new domains has led to growing pressure on new names, bidding wars over desirable names and in some cases, lawsuits by trademark holders claiming infringement.

The US Commerce Department has set a deadline of September 30 when a new corporation must be in place.

The US plan has the private sector establishing a new organisation to represent industry and consumer interests around the world.

It would deal with issues such as growing commercial pressure for new address names and for simplifying the process.

[ image: The new body needs to be in place by September]
The new body needs to be in place by September
European countrieswant to ensure they are fully represented in the new corporation.

In Brussels, industry representatives agreed to set up an industry panel to channel input into global talks aimed at implementing the US plan.

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