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Preparing companies for domain registry

June 21, 1998|By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

Having the right Internet domain name - for example, iselltoothbrushes.com for a toothbrush manufacturer - can be the key to attracting Web surfers to your site.

But since each Internet site address has to be unique and the number of sites has proliferated, it is becoming less and less likely companies can get the address they want, said Alan Sullivan, whose company is working to help solve the dilemma.

Sullivan, 36, is co-owner and managing director of VoTiV Systems, which recently opened an engineering office at Hagerstown Junior College's Technical Innovation Center.

One of its main thrusts is to engineer systems and provide consulting services for companies that will help people get the names they want once the domain registry system opens up later this year, he said.

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The address crunch is the result of the current non-governmental Web site registry system, which has limited the pool of top-level Internet domain names available to businesses to .com, .net, .org, Sullivan said.

A single company has held the government's registry contract for those top-level domains, but that is planned to change once the contract expires this year and an initial 88 CORE (Council of Registry) companies will be allowed to register domain names with new suffixes, he said.

Proposed new top-level domain suffixes are .info, .shop, .web, .firm, .rec, .arts and .nom, Sullivan said.

Countries also have domain name suffixes, like .us for the United States, .uk for the United Kingdom and .jp for Japan.

The company, which has eight employees, including Sullivan and partner Eric Leinberg, of Rochester, N.Y., started out providing registry services for the .us domain in September 1997.

The company is now marketing systems to register domain names and consulting services to the 88 companies that will become domain registrars later this year, Sullivan said. Next year, the number of registrars is slated to increase to 500 companies, he said.

Sullivan said he envisions a day when most Internet service providers become registrars.

In addition to its registry products and services, the company offers a full array of computer consulting services, productivity-enhancing tools, hardware, software and system designs.

The company offers services that can give customers a low-cost presence on the Internet, including setting up e-mail forwarding to take advantage of free sites and automatic rerouting of Web site browsers, Sullivan said.

It can help save money another way by creating Virtual Private Networks, which allow companies to link different offices' computers over the Internet and save the cost of dedicated telephone line costs, he said.

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