System upgrades delay .biz registrations

NeuLevel, the US company responsible for registering .biz domain names, is delaying the start of live online registrations for...

NeuLevel, the US company responsible for registering .biz domain names, is delaying the start of live online registrations for .biz until 7 November, citing the need to upgrade its computer systems.

The company said the extra time is needed for additional testing to ensure its systems will be able to handle the anticipated rush of businesses scrambling to get .biz domain names. The .biz domain was originally scheduled to go live on 24 October.

Richard Tindal, vice president of sales and business development at NeuLevel, denied that the delay is in response to a lawsuit filed recently by a group of domain name applicants.

"The two are totally unrelated," Tindal said. Instead, the delay will provide time for the company to upgrade its servers and software to handle what it expects will be "millions and millions and millions" of applications for .biz Web addresses, he said.

The .biz lawsuit was filed on behalf of applicants who have made requests for the same Internet .biz domains as each other. Since multiple applicants cannot use the same domain name, NeuLevel set up a lottery to award the contested domain names by randomly selecting a winner. The plaintiffs, however, say it was unfair for NeuLevel to charge applicants a US$2 (£1.40) fee to get into the lottery even if they were not selected to use the domain name. The suit asks the court to block the use of the contested .biz names until a ruling is made.

Tindal said that between 40,000 to 60,000 .biz registrations, requested by multiple businesses, have been affected by the suit. However 80% of the 282,000 applications received so far are unaffected, he said.

Earlier this month, Afilias, the domain name registry for .info Web sites, went offline for several days after the domain's launch after high demand from applicants slowed the company's servers to unacceptable levels.

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