Domain Name Handbook
DNS NewsDomain DisputesU.S. PolicyICANNMailing ListsArchivesTable of ContentsReviews & CitesViewpointAcknowledgmentGlossarySpecial FeaturesBooklist

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Negative Acknowledgment. A message returned by authorized parties to indicate that changes requested to a domain name record are unacceptable. Also used in programming code to indicate that a block of data arrived with error.

name service

A network service for name-to-address mapping.

name resolution

The process of mapping a name into its corresponding address.

name server

Acomputer machine employed to perform name-to-address mapping. This machine is called either a host server or a client.


The general system for classifying computers to make linking and locating them possible and orderly. A commonly distributed set of names in which each is unique.


North American Network Operators Group A membership organization that provides for the exchange of tecnical information among public, commercial and private network service providers.


National Aeronautics and Space Administration, an agency funded by the U.S. government. NASA scientists engineered the Pathfinder mission that landed on Mars on July 4, 1997. See


Networking and Communications Research and Infrastructure. A group within the National Science Foundation.


A top level domain name denoting an abbreviation for network administration. In Internet addressing protocol, .NET indicates a site belonging to a network, and it is not used for commercial operations.


An abbreviation for "network," a system of interlinked computers. When capitalized, Net is used as a slang term for the Internet.


Internet etiquette. The unofficial standards that govern behavior on the Internet. The rules of netiquette are usually learned through experience.


Anyone who uses the Internet.

Netscape Navigator

A web browser that is widely used because of its speed and easy interface.


A data communications system which interconnects computer systems at various different sites.


Network Information Center. A description often applied to an Internet domain name registry but in a broader sense, an NIC provides information, assistance and services to network users.


National Institutes of Health, a federally-funded agency.


National Information Infrastructure. See


National Institute of Science and Technology. An agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Technology Administration, NIST's primary mission is to work with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements, and standards to improve product quality, ensure product reliability, modernize manufacturing processes and facilitate rapid commercialization. See


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. See


An addressable device attached to a computer network, located where the tree branches or at the end of a branch of individual computers running DNS software.


Notice of Inquiry, a U.S. government process wherein public input into issues of interest is formally solicited. In July 1997, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced an NOI for the registration and administration of Internet domain names.


Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, a U.S. government process wherein public input into a proposed rule is formally solicited. On January 30, 1998, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced an NPRM for the technical management of Internet domain names and addresses.


Programming code for the name server resource record (a file) for the indicated domain.


National Science Foundation. A U.S. government agency whose purpose is to promote the advancement of science. NSF funds science researchers, scientific projects, and infrastructure to improve the quality of scientific research, including networking and comunications technology. See


National Science Foundation Network. NSFNet was expected to become the core network of the National Research and Education Network or NREN. Until it ceased operations on April 30, 1995, it was was the major backbone of the Internet, a high speed network of networks which was hierarchical in nature. NSFNet had a backbone of 19 sites or nodes and 32 mid-level or regional networks that connected more than 1000 institutions. The NSFnet regional networks now are connected to the three primary NAPs by either MCI or Sprint.


Network Solutions, Inc. NSI was awarded a five-year cooperative agreement by the National Science Foundation to administer the registration services of the following top level domains: COM, EDU, GOV, NET and ORG. NSI is the largest registrar in the world and administers the .COM, .NET and .ORG registries. NSI is a subsidiary of VeriSign and is located in Herndon, Virginia. See


Network Service Provider; an Internet service provider on a national scale; one that provides service in many different states.


National Science and Technology Council, a cabinet level council of eight representatives which provides the principal means for the President to coordinate science, space, and technology policies across the Federal government.


National Telecommunications and Information Administration, established within the U.S. Department of Commerce and designated to coordinate U.S. NII initiatives. In the summer of 1997, the NTIA began a public inquiry (NOI) into the registration and administration of domain names in order to transfer Internet administration to the private sector. See http:/



An octet is 8 bits. This term is used in networking, rather than byte, because some systems have bytes that are not 8 bits long.


A top level domain denoting an abbreviation for non-profit institutions and organizations although anyone may register a .ORG domain name. See "Whither .ORG" for comments on the changes ahead for this TLD.


A domain name offered for resale by a domain name brokerage.



Policy Advisory Body established by the gTLD-MoU. See


The unit of data that is routed across the Internet or any other computer packet-switched network. The generic term used to describe unit of data at all levels of the protocol stack, but it is most correctly used to describe application data units. DNS packets are composed of five sections &endash; Header, Question, Answer, Authority, and Additional.

PGP key

Pretty Good Privacy is a level of protection for confidential information. A PGP key involves matching a signature with the sender's public key that is on file with the business or organization handling the confidential information.


A domain raider, an individual who intentionally registers the domain name of a well-know company or person, generally to hold name rights for a large ransom.


Policy Oversight Committee established by the gTLD-MoU. See

port address

A 16-bit quantity that identifies a specific process or application (i.e., network computer program) that is being executed on a host.

Principal Register

The official record of federally registered trademarks, administered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. A trademark owner is prohibited from using the mark in a manner that violates the public policy underlying granting of the mark.

proprietary name

A name which is afforded protection under trademark law, as opposed to a descriptive name, which is not protectable or ownable.


A formal description of message formats and the rules two computers must follow to exchange those messages. Protocols can describe low-level details of machine-to-machine interfaces (e.g., the order in which bits and bytes are sent across a wire) or high-level exchanges between allocation programs (e.g., the way in which two programs transfer a file across the Internet).


quiet title

Ownership in property that passes without notice to other parties who may have equal entitlement to it.



A symbol indicating that a name, phrase or logo to which it is affixed is registered as a federal trademark.


A company that provides registration services for domain names. ICANN has accredited 159 registrars worldwide for gTLDs.


The entity that administers a top level domain name on the Internet. InterNIC was the exclusive registry for .COM, .ORG and .NET domain names and delegted that authority to Network Solutions, Inc., through Amendment 11 to its Cooperative Agreement.


A set of routines residing in a system library that provides the interface that programs can use to access a domain name

resolution, resolve

Conversion of an internet address into the corresponding physical address. If a server on the local domain cannot resolve the client request, it attempts to locate a server that can through the use of iterative queries to other servers.

resource record

The data associated with individual domain names. The Internet class of resource records is by far the most popular.

reverse chronological order

Documents or historical events arranged with the most recent listed first. This approach is useful for examining documents such as RFCs, where the most recent one issued supercedes all earlier ones.

reverse domain-name hijacking

Abuse of the UDRP process by a complainant who asserts a spurious claim of bad faith to seize a domaiin name from a legitimate registrant.


Acronym for Request For Comment, a collaborative method for communicating new ideas to the networking community. RFCs are individually numbered official Internet documents generally used to provide information about Internet standards, specifications, protocols, organizational notices, and individual points of view. The RFCs relating to the .COM domains are reprinted or summarized in Appendix C of this book in reverse chronological order.Request For Comments (RFC). The document series began in 1969.


Réseaux IP Européennne. A collaboration between European networks which use the TCP/IP protocol suite. RIPE NIC is an IP registry, allocating Internet Protocol numbers to the European region. See

root cache

The root servers file, which contains a list of authoritative root servers. The location and name of this file are specified in the boot file.

root domain

The root of the tree. Final attempts at resolution occur here, if lower-level servers do not have the requested data.

root server

A computer that maintains root.cache -- the root servers file -- which contains a list of authoritative root servers. The location and name of this file are specified in the boot file, which contains zone names, authorizations, and pointers to zone database files.

root server confederation

Another way to articulate the DNS infrastructure. A root server confederation (RSC) is a network of computers -- typically 4 to 13 -- which, for operational convenience, service a root zone


A device which forwards traffic between networks. The forwarding decision is based on network layer information and routing tables, often constructed by routing protocols.


Registration Services portion of the InterNIC, operated by Network Solutions, Inc. See


Referral Whois protocol, a directory service that extends the WHOIS protocol for storing and retrieving information related to hosts, network information systems, and the individuals associated with those systems.



Science Applications International Corporation, based in San Diego, California. SAIC acquired Network Solutions, Inc. in March 1995. See

servers and clients

Each zone consists of DNS servers (computers that maintain hostname and address addresses) and DNS clients (networking programs, such as ping, rlogin, or telnet on a DNS server or client).

service mark

A word, phrase, slogan, design or symbol used to identify services and distinguish them from the services provided by others. Service marks may be registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and similar offices worldwide. In the U.S. and in other countries with legal systems based on English common law, service mark rights also accrue through common law usage. See also trademark.


An abbreviation for service mark, used to indicate the owner's rights to use the word, phrase, slogan, design or symbol in commerce. SM is optional and may be affixed prior to federal registration. Once a service mark is registered, the ® symbol is used.


Start of Authority. An acronyn used in programming to identify the start of a zone of authority for the specific domain database file.


A socket is a method for connecting a client with a server on the Internet. It can also be used for communication between processes within the same computer.


A disparing reference meaning to send out prodigious amounts of unsolicited and unwanted e-mail. Spamming is considered poor "netiquette". (See also netiquette.)


Shared Registry System. A system designed by Network Solutions, Inc. to open the registration of domain names in .COM, .NET and .ORG to competion as required by the U.S. Department of Commerce. See


A domain that branches off another, such as rivers.mynet.COM.

suggestive name

A name utilizing words or word parts that suggest the goods or services, but do not literally describe them. Unlike descriptive names, suggestive names are often protectable but are weaker as trademarks than coined/fanciful or arbitrary names.

summary judgment

Summary judgment is appropriate when there "is no genuine issue of material fact and ... the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c);The initial burden of establishing that there is no genuine issue of material fact lies with the moving party. Summary judgment is disfavored in trademark cases because of the inherently factual nature of most trademark disputes.

Supplemental Register

A registry of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for names that are not distinctive. The protections afforded marks in the Principal Registry are not offered to those in the Supplemental Registry.



Transmission Control Protocol over Internet Protocol. This is a common shorthand which refers to the suite of transport and application protocols that allow different networks around the world to communicate packets to each other.


Trademark Cyberpiracy Prevention Act, signed into law on November 29, 1999. Also called the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act


Acronym for top level domain, the highest category of namepace on the Internet. (See top level domain.)


Trademark Law Treaty, adopted in 1994 and ratified by 11 nations. The TLT simplifies and harmonizes procedural formalities of trademark registries. See


A U.S. abbreviation for trademark, used to indicate the owner's rights to use the word, phrase, slogan, design or symbol. TM may be affixed prior to federal registration. Once a mark is registered, the ® symbol is used. (See also trademark).


Acronym for trademark owner.

top level domain

Uniquely identified Internet addresses used worldwide. Some top level domain addressing is done on a geographic basis according to country codes determined by ISO 3166. There are six international top level country codes: .COM (commercial), .EDU (educational), .INT (international), .MIL (military), .NET (networks) and .ORG (organizations and non-profits).


A word, phrase, slogan, design or symbol used to identify the source of goods and distinguish them from other sources. Trademarks may be registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and similar offices worldwide. In the U.S. and in other countries with legal systems based on English common law, trademark rights also accrue through common law usage. See also service mark.

trademark classes

Trademarks are divided into 42 international classes, each comprised of similar goods or services. A registered mark is protected only in the class which is relevant to the business area of the product or service. A name may be protected in multiple trademark classes, assuming registrations for each class have been granted and they are relevant to the market area of the product or service.


Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. Adopted in 1995, TRIPS establishes a multilateral framework of principles, rules, and disciplines for intellectual property rights.



Universal Domain Naming System, an alternative root server system that administers top level domains not already in use.


Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy, established by ICANN for all its accredited registrars. See: http:/


Uniform Resource Locator. The letters that correspond to an IP address and identify the location of a particular document on a particular host computer.


The top level domain suffix and country code denoting the United Kingdom


The top level domain suffix and country code denoting the United States of America. Businesses prefer to use the .COM domain because it is widely recognized as an international identifier, whereas a .US domain must be used in connection with a geographic region.


United States Patent and Trademark Office, the federal agency that administers registration of trademarks, patents and service marks. See




Wide Area Information Servers A distributed information service which offers simple natural language input, indexed searching for fast retrieval, and a "relevance feedback" mechanism which allows the results of initial searches to influence future searches.

web browser

Client server software used to query world wide web sites. Mosaic was the first popular browser.

White Paper

A U,S, Department of Commerce policy statement issued on June 5, 1998. The White Paper provided the outline for the transfer of Internet administration to the private sector.


An Internet program which allows users to query a database of registrants published by ICANN-accredited registrars.


World Intellectual Property Organization. Established in 1967, WIPO is one of the 19 specialized agencies of the United Naitons. It administers many international treaties dealing with intellectual property andis based in and is based in Geneva, Switzerland. WIPO had one vote on the International Ad Hoc Committee and was tasked by the Department of Commerce White Paper to lead public consultations and development recommendations on the intersection of domain names and trademarks. See


World Trade Organization; etablished in 1995 as the successor to GATT (the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs). WTO promotes fair competiton and trade development and administers various multilateral trade agreements. See


World Wide Web, an Internet hypertext-based global multimedia information network


Acronym for "What You See Isn't What You Expected," the authors' fanciful term to describe what happens when a domain name which suggests particular content at the site is very different from what is actually there.



The CCITT (Comite Consultatif International de Telegraphique et Telephonique) and ISO (International Standards Organization) standard for electronic directory services.




An electronic magazine, usually produced on a small budget.


A portion of the domain name space that is served by a primary name server and one or more secondary name servers. A zone is a logical group of network devices and may be an entire domain, a domain with all of its subdomains, or a portion of a domain for which a name server has the authority to maintain data.

zone transfer

The process of downloading all the records associated with part of a domain from a domain server.














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