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The Iperdome Story

Iperdome formed in January of 1997 to offer Personal Domain Name services under the .per(sm) brand and TLD (Top Level Domain).  It was one of the first new registries on the Internet, one that offered many firsts to its clients.

For example, Iperdome was one of the first companies to offer domain name branding services, including web and email redirection services.  It was one of the first to offer Discrete Domain Name Assignments (a process that allows millions of individuals to share common family names).  And it was one of a handful of companies that joined together to create eDNS, the world's first not-for-profit, private root server systems.  Iperdome even hosted the eDNS formation meeting in Atlanta.

After enjoying initial success, Iperdome and the small companies behind eDNS came under attack from the supporters of a competing name space expansion plan known as the gTLD-MoU.  These attacks were so severe, that the fight was commonly referred to as the "Domain Name Wars" in the press.

While many thought the fight was over domain names, it soon became apparent to Jay Fenello (Iperdome president and founder) that the fight was really over who would control the Internet, a process he called Internet Governance.  Although this was extremely controversial at the time, many now consider this to be true.

In response to the assault, Iperdome joined the calls asking the U.S. Government to intervene.  On July 7th, 1997, they did as they began the first of three proceedings!  And for over two years, Iperdome and others participated in good faith in each of these proceedings.  (For an example, see Jay's Congressional testimony)

This process resulted in the formation of ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), an organization that was recognized by the U.S. Department of Commerce as the coordinating body for the Internet.  ICANN now controls many of the technical parameters for the Internet, and is responsible for many policy decisions that apply to the Internet world-wide.

Unfortunately, ICANN is structured much like the WTO (World Trade Organization), and has effectively eliminated civil society and end-user representation.  It is apparently run by big corporations and big government through an obscure, arbitrarily defined consensus process.  It has repeatedly been called before Congress to justify it's egregious actions, and today remains mired in controversy.  Examples include it's ongoing disputes with the Country Code Registries, and its alienation of the few members of the Board actually elected by Internet users.  

For its part, Iperdome suspended operation after it became apparent that ICANN had been captured, and that its decision-making processes were corrupt.  Today, ICANN has continued to consolidate power, as it removed user representation from its Board, and implemented a taxation scheme that all domain name holders now pay on an annual basis.

If you'd like to learn more about the history behind the takeover of the Internet, please read the historical record as summarized on this web site, on the Personal Domain Name Holders Association web site (PDNHA.org), or read the details in this Harvard Law interview.

 

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