CORE is a non-profit corporation created by leaders of the Internet community to administer the worldwide registration of new names on the Internet. The names -- .firm, .shop, .web, .arts, .rec, .info and .nom ? will be available through independent CORE registrars on five continents as part of a multinational system designed to administer expanded domain name registration in a new era of self-governance, competition and customer service.

CORE evolved from a rigorous process of global consensus, launched by the Internet Society (ISOC) and the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) in fall 1996, to plan for the end in 1998 of the monopoly status enjoyed by Network Solutions, Inc., as registry and registrar for .com, .org and .net. For the first time, Internet users everywhere will be able to shop for the best service and competitive prices, rather than being limited to dealing with a single, for-profit registry.

"CORE was established from a direct realization that the Internet was born and evolved as a grass-roots community," said Alan Hanson, chairman of the executive committee of CORE. "Deregulation and competition are vital to the future of the Internet, as is a global collaborative effort regarding its governance."

The old system was ill-prepared to administer the Domain Name System (DNS) when the Internet burgeoned from its infancy as primarily an academic- and research-oriented tool to a powerful medium for business-to-business and personal communications. Users grew increasingly frustrated at the delays, mistakes, lack of service and rigid pricing structure they encountered when trying to register new addresses on the Internet through a monopoly.

In late 1995, IANA saw the potential logjam building and proposed that up to 150 new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs), such as .com, be created and made available worldwide through competitive registrars. This would allow more descriptive names, based on the type of entity registering, and would also serve to remove some of the burden from the heavily taxed .com domain.

The next step was the formation of the International Ad Hoc Committee (IAHC) to develop concepts for the registration of Internet domain names in a new era of deregulation and self-governance. The Policy Oversight Committee (POC) succeeded IAHC. It developed specific plans for a global infrastructure for adding and administering new names, with CORE as the non-profit administrator of the gTLDs ? the suffixes that serve as addresses to route mail and data on the Internet and help create an identity for each user wherever they may be.

This private sector approach exposed the CORE model to the world and involved hundreds of companies and individuals in contributing to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), a dynamic document that serves as a global constitution and set of standards to clearly delineate issues of authority, protocol, competition and growth in the DNS. The MoU has been signed by more than 200 companies around the world and forms the foundation for future growth of the Internet in a competitive environment. Internet advocates have long realized that internal, global, democratic governance is needed for the Internet to operate at full capacity in its diverse functions including the untapped potential from business-to business and consumer commerce.

Key signatories committed to supporting the gTLD-MOU include : MCI Communications, Bell Canada, Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC), Internet Society (ISOC), Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), Internet Policy Oversight Committee (POC), Internet Software Consortium, European Telecommunications Standard Institute, France Telecom, Internet Society of Australia, International Trademark Association, Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property, Tokyo Internet Corp. and the Internet Societies of Geneva, Vienna, Israel, Japan, Ghana, Norway, Mexico and Thailand.

Funded by its registrars and committed to an aggressive development program, CORE has become the world leader in developing the protocols, procedures, systems and software to administer competitive domain name registration. Its Shared Registry System (SRS) and Domain Name Service are deployed on computer systems around the world to administer the worldwide registration of new names on the Internet.

CORE currently lists 85 registrars in 23 countries, with 25 registrars operating in more than 100 U.S. cities. All are committed to fairness and competition in the DNS process. The individual registrars are responsible for marketing the new domain names throughout the world and providing registration services and support in the markets they serve. Consumers then can choose their registrars based on price and service. If dissatisfied, the consumer owns their domain name and can easily change registrars.

POC and CORE initially proposed to place seven new generic top level domains (gTLDs) into the hub of the Internet, known as the Root. The new domains were chosen through the IAHC process to provide new choices and improved identity -- .firm (for businesses or firms), .shop (for businesses offering goods to purchase), .web (for entities emphasizing activities related to the World Wide Web), .arts (for cultural and entertainment activities), .rec (recreation/entertainment activities), .info (information services) and .nom (individual or personal nomenclature). The system is designed for easily adding more gTLDs as needed.

CORE has created a customized Shared Registry System (SRS) to administer new domain name registrations. This centralized repository completed acceptance testing in February 1998 and is being maintained and operated by Emergent Corporation, under contract to CORE. The SRS officially registers new domains and in conjunction with IANA translates the alphanumeric name "newcompany.firm" to its numeric IP counterpart, "", which allows it to be accessed on the Internet.

In the transition to self-governance and deregulation, CORE and POC have recommended that IANA continue in its role as manager of the Root , where Domains are housed. With the Root effectively managed by a single, private entity, the different registrars from around the world can collaborate on other aspects of Internet governance.

In addition to registration and administration details, CORE and POC developed plans to specifically address intellectual property issues. David Maher, chairman of POC, is a trademark attorney with the firm of Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal in Chicago and an expert of Internet law. He said the MoU provides specific procedures through the Administrative Challenge Panel administered by the Arbitration and Mediation Center at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The Domain Name Challenge Panel provided by WIPO will allow trademark owners to resolve disputes in the new gTLDs quickly and inexpensively.

"CORE is the only organization that has worked with the worldwide Internet community to establish the protocols, procedures, systems and software for administering both the short-term transition to new domains and supporting the long-term growth of the Internet," said Hanson. "We want to facilitate the continued betterment of the Internet. The world has seen the benefits of competition for long-distance telephone service and access to the Internet from different service providers. CORE's plan will bring lower prices, more freedom and better service to the Internet when it comes to domain names."