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ICANN is an acronym for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. This organization consists mostly of members of internet society and originates in California. This organization was founded in September, 1998 as a non-profit corporation charged with completing a number of internet tasks for the United States Government. This was the governments effort to consolidate the internet related projects that had previously been outsourced to other companies.

The current leader of ICANN is President Paul Twomey who has led the organization since 2003.

When ICANN originated, there was a bid process. However, it was “sole sourced.” That means that no other corporation was eligible to bid on the contract for these tasks. Primarily, ICANN manages the distribution of IP addresses and domain names.

ICANN is responsible for the introduction of new domain levels, other than the original .com and .org.

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Initially, there was a mechanism by which public opinion could influence the work of ICANN, however that changed on March 14, 2002 at a board meeting. Although, ICANN does still hold public meetings to remain accessible to the public. Ironically, the public meetings are often held outside of the U.S. in countries where the residents have very limited internet access, and in locations where interested individuals would most likely not normally travel.

Criticisms of ICANN include the fact that although it is a global organization, it primarily represents the interests of only the U.S. On of the leading critics of the operations of ICANN are the members of the Working Group on Internet Governance within the United Nations.


ICANN is responsible for launching new [top-level_domains|top level domains]] including .travel, .XXX and .jobs. They have also suggested charging Domain Registrars a fee for domain name issuances and transfers. There is serious opposition to the imposition of these fees, which have been listed as a part of ICANNs 2004-2005 operating budget to be used to cover the almost doubling of their current year spending predicted for the coming year.