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Verisign Cooperative Agreement

The Verisign Cooperative Agreement is an agreement between Verisign and the Department of Commerce to manage certain Domain Name System responsibilities. The Agreement has evolved over time. Below is an overview of this evolution.


The United States undertook a number of efforts to commercialize the Internet in the 1990s, including the establishment of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), founded in 1998, to manage the Internet’s technical functions. From 1998 to 2016, Verisign (and its predecessor Network Solutions) managed the Internet’s authoritative root zone file under the Cooperative Agreement No. NCR 92-18742 with the Department of Commerce.  Verisign's responsibilities included editing the file to reflect recommended changes, publishing the file, and then distributing the file to root server operators.  

Root Zone Maintainer Function  

  • In 2014, NTIA announced its intent to transition its stewardship over key Internet domain name functions – including maintenance of the Internet’s root zone file – to the global multistakeholder community. The multistakeholder process which culminated in the 2016 “IANA Transition.” The IANA transition remains a powerful demonstration of the success of the multistakeholder system of Internet governance.
  • In 2015, NTIA asked Verisign and ICANN to propose a path for removal of NTIA’s administrative role associated with root zone management. Verisign and ICANN responded with a high-level plan that ultimately manifested in the Root Zone Maintainer Agreement (RZMA).  
  • The RZMA was signed by ICANN and Verisign in 2016. Subsequently, the Department of Commerce amended the Cooperative Agreement to release Verisign from root zone operation, management and maintenance responsibilities.

Top Level Domain Name Registry Functions

  • Historically, under the Cooperative Agreement, Verisign also managed the .com, .net and .org top level domain name registries.  
  • Prior to 2016, the Department of Commerce released Verisign of its obligations under the Cooperative Agreement to manage the .net and .org operations and only operations of the .com agreement remained.  
  • In 2016 and in 2018, Verisign agreed to continue to manage .com in a content neutral manner and committed to continue to participate in ICANN processes.  
  • The Department of Commerce also approved more flexibility in .com pricing. The Department of Commerce continues to oversee a set of limited functions associated with .com outlined in Amendment 35.


Amendment 10 (October 1, 1998)
Amendment 11 (October 6, 1998)
        • ICANN designated as "NewCo" for certain purposes under the Cooperative Agreement (as pertains to Amendment 11) (February 26, 1999)
Amendment 12 (March 12, 1999)
Amendment 13 (April, 1999)
Amendment 14 (June 30, 1999)
Amendment 15 (July 15, 1999)
Amendment 16 (August 10, 1999)
        • Domain Name Agreements between the U.S. Department of Commerce, Network Solutions, Inc., and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) (September 28, 1999)
        • Domain Name Agreements Fact Sheet (September 28, 1999)
Amendment 17 (October 5, 1999)
Amendment 18 (October 5, 1999)
Amendment 19 (November 10, 1999)
Amendment 20 (June 2, 2000)
Amendment 21 (November 2, 2000)
Amendment 22 (April 24, 2001)
Amendment 23 (May 9, 2001)
        • Commerce, ICANN AND Verisign Agreement in Principle (May 5, 2001)
Amendment 24 (May 25, 2001)
Amendment 25 (September 12, 2002)
Amendment 26 (June 9, 2003)
Amendment 27 (July 1, 2003)
Amendment 28 (October 26, 2003)
Amendment 29 (August 12, 2005)
Amendment 30 (November 29, 2006)
        • Fact Sheet
Amendment 31 (July 6, 2010)
        • Testing and Implementation Requirements for the Initial Deployment of DNSSEC in the Authoritative Root Zone (October 29, 2009)
       •  DNSSEC Practice Statement for the Root Zone ZSK operator (May 28, 2010)
Amendment 32 (November 29, 2012)
Verisign/ICANN Proposal in Response to NTIA Request (August 2015)
Amendment 33 (October 20, 2016)
Amendment 34 (October 20, 2016)
Amendment 35 (October 26, 2018)