Prior to 2003, the Domain Name Supporting Organization (DNSO) was one of the three ICANN supporting organizations called for under the ICANN Bylaws. It has since been replaced by the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO). The DNSO advised the ICANN Board about handling issues related to the Domain Name System (DNS). Its primary agenda was to discuss how and when to expand the Internet by adding new TLDs beyond .com.
The DNSO chair at the time of restructuring, Thomas Roessler, wrote "At some point of time between 9:10 and 9:40 a.m. Amsterdam time on Sunday [15 December 2002], the DNSO ceased to be (and will, perhaps not unlike a phoenix from the ashes, become the GNSO).." His entire farewell email can be found here.
The DNSO was comprised of two bodies: the Names Council (NC), which was made up of elected representatives from the DNSO Constituencies, and the General Assembly (GA), made up of all interested entities and individuals.
One of the biggest complaints with the structuring of the DNSO came from ccTLD registry operators, who felt that the SO was mainly concerned with gTLDs and that they needed their own separate organization. On October 29, 2002, the country code managers emphasized their dissatisfaction by withdrawing completely from the DNSO. This action prompted and expedited the transition to the GNSO, which was created in December 2002. Work began on creating the Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO) in September 2002, culminating in the creation of the ccNSO at ICANN 17 - Montreal in June 2003.
The initial constituencies of the DNSO were as follows:
- ccTLD Registries
- gTLD Registries
- Commercial and Business entities
- Non-Commercial Domain Name Holders
- Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Connectivity Providers
- The DNSO served in an advisory role to the ICANN Board and provided the Board with substantive policies related to the DNS.
- The DNSO first needed to reach a consensus before submitting requests to the Board.
- All the recommendations made by the DNSO to the Board were made open to all Supporting Organizations (SOs) so that they could comment.
The ICANN Board accepted the recommendations of the DNSO only if:
- The policy is in the interest of the Corporation and helps to further the purposes of the Corporation
- The policy is consistent with the Articles and Bylaws of the Corporation
- The policy was framed through an open and fair process
- The policy is not opposed by other Supporting Organizations
The Board would not adopt any recommendation by the DNSO unless the votes, excluding those of the DNSO-selected Directors, are in favor of adoption by the Board. If the Board is not satisfied with a recommendation then it can return it to the DNSO for further consideration, citing the reasons for its declination. If the DNSO still fails to make the policy acceptable, then the ICANN Board may initiate, modify or amend and then approve the recommendation.