Neulevel, the company in charge of administering the registry for domain names ending in .biz, yesterday began to accept real-time registrations online. This came a fortnight after the company cleared a legal hurdle in the United States. It also announced the activation of 160,000 .biz domain names. An executive in Hong Kong for the launch downplayed the impact of the lawsuit on the domain. The lawsuit alleged Neulevel acted illegally during the registration process. 'We're working through it and will resolve it. It won't affect the go-live at all,' Neulevel vice-president Richard Tindal said. He indicated 2.5 million offline applications had been received since the process began in June. There were applications for more than 300,000 names and the lawsuit affected about 16 per cent of those. In cases where only one, or a small number of applicants, applied for a given name, the lawsuit had no effect, he said. In 80,000 cases, intellectual-property owners applied for names for which they owned the copyright. Disputes were being resolved for at least 140,000 names. They tended to be generic names not associated with trademarks, he said. 'It is quite literally the travel.biz, where a bunch of people have applied for the same name.' Ecommerce.biz was another popular name. Neulevel's .biz was one of seven new top-level domains recently approved by the Internet Corp for Assigned Names and Numbers, the US organisation regulating the Web, in an effort to make more addresses available for electronic-commerce and other purposes. It indicated 18 per cent of the allocated .biz names were from Asia. As well, there were about 8,000 resellers in China taking registrations. Earlier this year, Neulevel was named in a California lawsuit that alleged its lottery system, in which applicants paid US$2 to pre-register a name, with no limit to the number of applications made by a single user, was illegal. On October 25, the plaintiffs declined to post a bond that would have prevented Neulevel from going ahead with issuing the names, although they vowed to continue their lawsuit. Neulevel has received criticism for possibly implying on its Web site that multiple applications would increase an applicant's chances of winning a given .biz name, but Mr Tindal insisted the assignment process was supported by mathematical algorithms that were not tied to the number of applications made. 'It's completely random,' he said. The allocation also would be audited by Ernst & Young. Domain names such as .biz and .info had garnered some attention in the past year, but it may be years before they reach the popularity level of older domain names such as .com, which accounts for about two-thirds of the 3.6 million domain names worldwide. Neulevel's plans include eventually introducing .biz in Asian languages such as Korean, Chinese and Japanese, although Mr Tindal said the company would wait until international standards had been agreed upon. 'We think that introducing our own proprietary solution would be a very bad thing,' he said. Companies such as Verisign had already begun taking applications for non-English names ending in .com, while companies including DotCC and Chinese Domain Names had begun registering multilingual names ending in .cc and .cn. Standards-setting bodies such as the International Telecommunications Union had been working on establishing underlying technical specifications that would allow the different systems to work together without any overlap or misdirection of Internet traffic. Mr Tindal expected those standards to come out within the next three to nine months. More than half the interest in .biz names came from Europe and Asia, while more than half the company's resellers also were located outside the US, Mr Tindal said.