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The organization that oversees Internet domain names floated two proposals on Thursday to help businesses and individuals fight extortion by speculators, known as cybersquatters.
ICANN, or the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, said at its quarterly meeting that it was close to adopting a new system to give owners of domain names extra time to renew their contracts and to establish a waiting list for coveted domains that become newly available to the public.

The two measures could be ratified by the ICANN board on Friday.

The first proposal, which would establish a 30-day grace period for owners to renew their contracts, received widespread approval.

"ICANN receives a large number of complaints for inadvertently deleted affects churches, schools, businesses," Daniel Halloran, an ICANN employee assigned to the grace period task force, said. "This would be a safety net."

The measure seeks to address the recurring problem of cybersquatters registering coveted expired domains before the original owners renew their contracts.

Halloran explained the four4-year-old ICANN never formalized a procedure by which domain name registrants could renew contracts, which typically run on annual basis.

"We get a lot of complaints from people who wake up to find their domain has expired and now has porn on it, or it's linked to a casino site," he said. "Then, they'll ask for a ransom to get it back."

The waiting-list proposal, again designed to improve the odds for legitimate parties to claim an available domain, may have more difficulty passing.

Under the proposal by dominant U.S.-based domain registration company VeriSign, a bidder would pay a fee to get first dibs on any newly available domains.

VeriSign has proposed charging other domain registrars as much as $28 for the service. A number of registrars have argued that the price is too high.

A controversial vote on whether to retool the makeup of ICANN's executive board to include more government delegates, plus security and technical experts, is slated for Friday.
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