(Network Solutions, Inc., Herndon, VA, www.netsol.com) The first private organization to register Internet domain names. Founded in 1979 as a consulting company, it continues to be perhaps the best known registrar along with about 600 others accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Sold in 2007 to global private equity firm General Atlantic, the products and services of Network Solutions have expanded well beyond domain name registration. A complete line of Web hosting, Web design and e-commerce services is offered to a target niche of small businesses, most with less than 10 employees. History of a Strong Brand In 1993, agreements between the National Science Foundation, General Atomics and AT&T formed the InterNIC project, which turned the U.S. government's name registration over to Network Solutions. The company initially provided the service for free, but began charging in 1995. It remained the only domain name registrar until 1999, when the registration business opened up to competition. In 2000, Network Solutions was acquired by VeriSign, Inc. In 2003, VeriSign sold its Web-related businesses (e-mail, websites, hosting and Web presence) to Phoenix, Arizona-based Pivotal Private Equity. Pivotal, which renamed itself Najafi Companies, retained the registrar function and Internet services while resurrecting the Network Solutions brand name until 2007 when it sold that part of the company to General Atlantic. VeriSign kept the master registry database of .com and .net domain names (COM NET Registry) and website authentication service, renaming it VeriSign Naming Services. VeriSign is also the directory provider for .tv and .cc names. See ICANN and ARIN.