VeriSign Inc. was threatened yesterday with the loss of its right to sell “.com” domain names if it fails to clean up its public database that records who owns which Web sites.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which manages the Internet’s global addressing system, said VeriSign, owner of the largest and first commercial dot-com registrar, “blatantly ignored” its obligation to fix inaccuracies in its “Whois” database, citing 17 violations over the past 18 months.

ICANN said that while all of the 150 registrars occasionally have inaccurate entries, VeriSign’s Dulles-based Network Solutions unit “has exhibited a pattern of persistent violations of its contractual obligations to take reasonable steps to correct inaccurate or incomplete Whois data in spite of repeated requests and reminders by ICANN.”

VeriSign is the first registrar to be threatened with the loss of its right to sell registrations, ICANN said.