NeuStar has been selected by the US Department of Commerce to manage the .us domain space. They actually assumed operational control on 20 November 2001, and expect to offer domains for sale in the next six months.

This will change two of the most notable things about the .us TLD. Those domains have always been free to certain groups (non-profits, local governments, etc.), but were assigned geographically, so that your state and locality were required to be part of the domain. (For example I live in Anchorage, Alaska, so that any domain that I wanted would have been Doesn't exactly role off the tongue, does it?) Now, you will be able to register, regardless of locality.

The second change is that they will now cost money. There is no indication of how much money other than a none-too-specific quote on NeuStar's site: "Market-based retail prices for dot-US domain names will be established by dot-US accredited Registrars and their resale channel partners. The pricing structure will be an annual subscription fee with multi-year subscriptions available." So probably anywhere from $12 to $35 per year.

Registration is expected to begin in mid-2002.

More information (all links will open in new windows):