Equity is a provider of equity for middle market corporate acquisitions. VeriSign retained a 15% equity 
stake in the company.
  Had this sale been accomplished, by May 2001, VeriSign would have received an 
automatic extension as the registry for 
 until 2007.
 In the absence of a sale by that date, 
however, VeriSign was required to transfer 
by the end 2002 and agree to have the 
 registry open to 
competitive rebid during 2005. This is a significant development in terms of the subject of this paper. It 
underlines the point that ICANN needs to make allocative decisions over existing resources as well as any 
consideration over the creation and allocation of new resources. 
Following the reforms introduced by ICANN, to open the registrar market to competition, Network 
Solutions market share has fallen from 100% to around 21% (
Figure 6
Figure 6.  Changes in Network Solutions market share from July 2001 to December 2003 
July, 2001
Jan, 2002
July, 2002
Jan, 2003
July, 2003
Dec, 2003
: OECD, based on Registry Monthly Reports. 
One other aspect of the registrar segment of the registration market structure may need to be 
considered by ICANN. The introduction of sTLDs has created some registries aimed at relatively small 
communities. In these cases it may be difficult for small registries to attract the interest of registrars, 
because of the low potential volume of sales, and the need for authentication in the case of restricted 
registries. One option ICANN could consider is allowing registries serving relatively small communities to 
offer services direct to users. One way to accomplish this would be to set a threshold level of registrations 
below which direct services to users would be permitted.  This might take place alongside service from 
accredited registrars, or in the case of very small registries, be an exclusive right as long as registrations 
fell below the threshold.   
At the time of writing all registrations under sTLDs need to be made via ICANN accredited registrars. 
ICANN does allow sponsors to register a certain number of names for their own use. In the case 
, the sponsor can register up to 1 000 names for their own use. The registry can not, however, 
offer direct services to their community. For the future, if a greater number of sTLDs are introduced, it 
could be worth considering a threshold below which direct services could be offered. A large number of 
ccTLD registries offer services direct to users. There may, of course, need to be contractual safeguards if 
such a measure was introduced to prevent any misuse of such a system. One such safeguard would be to 
specify the maximum price that could be charged prior to reaching the threshold. 



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