ICANN approves '.coop' operating agreement


The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has finalized the terms of an operating agreement with the National Cooperative Business Association, a non-profit organization chosen to operate the new '.coop' top-level domain (TLD). The '.coop' TLD is the second so-called 'sponsored' TLD to gain final approval.

Unlike general TLDs, which are operated by commercial entities for profit, sponsored TLDs are run by non-profit policymaking groups answerable to stakeholders or members. In this case, the stakeholders are cooperative businesses. Founding members of the '.coop' domain registry include the National Cooperative Bank, the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative and the United Kingdom's Cooperative Union.

The '.coop' domain is one of seven new TLDs selected by ICANN in November 2000. The National Cooperative Business Association is the sixth of seven new TLD operating entities to reach an operating agreement with ICANN. Several of the other new TLD operating organizations (including Afilias, which operates '.info' and NeuLevel, which runs the '.biz') have had operational and legal problems with their launches. The National Cooperative Business Association does not expect to have similar problems because the number of businesses that can register '.coop' names is small.

The domain will launch on January 30 this year.

Douglas Wood and Linda Goldstein, Hall Dickler Kent Goldstein & Wood LLP, New York

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