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VeriSign/NSI Proposes Domain Name Wait Listing Service 164

Posted by chrisd
from the step-one-underpants-step-three-profit dept.
David Harris writes: "Newsbytes and the folks over at DotcomScoop.com have good stories about VeriSign's proposal to start a "Wait Listing Service" (WLS) that would allow consumers to buy domain names before they expire. As with anything that has to do with VeriSign/Network Solutions the "WLS" ain't all it cracked up to be and there is opposition from the ICANN community. I'm not sure I like the idea of auctioning off domains before they expire either." CD: To quote Don Marti: "DNS is a consensus reality."
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VeriSign/NSI Proposes Domain Name Wait Listing Service

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  • This is strictly IMO, but it sounds like this is just another way for verisign to extort money from its customers... Notice how most other parties involved are against it? It probably will never pass or be an actual business plan, althouh Verisign would definitely make some cash off of this if it were to go through
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Exactly.. MONEY MONEY MONEY! I've had my eye on a domain name that expired back on April 15 2001. It has YET to be removed from their database and when I inquire, NSI suggests I sign-up for this new "first come first serve" registration queue.
      It was explained to me that for ONLY $45 (USD) you'd be placed in a queue to purchase the domain upon availability, through a third party company. Let me guess... the domain I'm looking at hasn't been removed in 10 months... but I bet if I pay this $45 to get in line, it will mysteriously be available?
    • I've been waiting for one that has been expired since March 2000. Almost two years now.

      They are just waiting for me to pay extra to make it available. This is simply netsol manipulating the circumstances to obtain more money than they deserve.
  • All the good million dollar generating through corporate extortion domains are taken...
    • The point is:

      Say your name is Bob Miller. You want bobmiller.com. Some other Bob Miller has it already. You could put your name on the WL, and get it if Bob2 doesn't reclaim it.

      The problem with this is, that Mail banks and resellers are likely to be the first ones in line, making it very difficult for any true benifit to the People to materialize. If anything, this will make things worse.
  • by mAsterdam (103457) on Monday January 14, 2002 @05:10AM (#2835355) Homepage
    ..."Wait Listing Service" (WLS) that would allow consumers to buy domain names before they expire. As with anything that has to do with VeriSign/Network Solutions the "WLS" ain't all it cracked up to be and there is opposition from the ICANN community. I'm not sure I like the idea of auctioning off domains before they expire either.
    A good friend of mine is interested in using a name which has expired for allmost a year now. The previous owner has no interest anymore.
    Verisign tells my friend he should ask the previous owner to use the transfer documents to transfer the domain to my friend. However, the previous owner does noet want to put any effort at all into it. "I am just not interested as to what happens to the name. That is why I let it expire. If you get it -ok with me. If not - ok with me." Now my friend is stuck. One wonders how they will handle names that did not even expire yet.
    • I never understood this either. I was looking for a potential name for an idea I had (This must be a sign of the "New Economy": Working out the name of your business based on whether the domain name for it is available :) ). Anyway, one of the names I checked had expired 2-Feb-2000 (this was only a week ago I was checking), and yet all the details were still there in WHOIS and the name still resolves to an IP using DNS. In fact, the last updated date was 13-Nov-2001, about a year and half after expiry!

      So it's expired but the owner can still use it because it still resolves? What's up with that? And especially if you're saying the owner needs to transfer it to you even if it's expired, seems to imply that they can keep the expired domain as long as they want.

      This is a computerised system, it should be that as soon as it hits the expiry date (maybe +1 week at the most incase there is a delay in payment) the domain is deregistered and removed from whois, and available free for all again.

      End Rant. :)
      • So it's expired but the owner can still use it because it still resolves? What's up with that? And especially if you're saying the owner needs to transfer it to you even if it's expired, seems to imply that they can keep the expired domain as long as they want.

        This is a computerised system, it should be that as soon as it hits the expiry date (maybe +1 week at the most incase there is a delay in payment) the domain is deregistered and removed from whois, and available free for all again.

        Ok. So it happened to you, it happenend to my friend. My guess is there are a lot more people, but (because of the nature of the problem) rather dispersed.

        Now what can they do? Did V violate a rule one can legally enforce? It is a gray area. Now the 10E6 Euro question is: what are the rules with regard to names BEFORE expiriation?

        Nice business ;-(
      • This is a computerised system, it should be that as soon as it hits the expiry date (maybe +1 week at the most incase there is a delay in payment) the domain is deregistered and removed from whois, and available free for all again.
        Exactly. Isn't this how Microsoft lost control of hotmail.com within 24 hours of the name's expiration [cnet.com] back in 1999? Or maybe that's the reason the system's been changed.
    • by httptech (5553) on Monday January 14, 2002 @05:42AM (#2835420) Homepage
      Verisign tells my friend he should ask the previous owner to use the transfer documents to transfer the domain to my friend

      That's funny, considering that Verisign won't let you transfer domains after they expire. I suspect if the original owner tried to, they would tell him he needs to renew with them first, so they can get an extra $70 for doing nothing. They tried to do it to me, but I said fsck that. Now my previous domain is owned by a porn site operator who re-registered it with another registrar before I could. That's where the domain your friend wants will probably end up too.

      • Hm.. I'ld mod your response up for having information, but I can't. Thanks anyway for unveiling this one.
      • Bingo. It's ridiculous that they are setting this up to handle existing names that haven't expired yet, when there are names which have already been expired for one or two years which cannot be claimed due to various registrars' screwed-up policies.

        The whole name registration racket is in dire need of either total decentralization (to empower the customer) or else some real regulation to make sure that all registrars are playing by the same rules. Since I'm not too confident in ICANN's regulation so far, decentralization sounds like the way to go.

        Heck, I'd love to see the Commerce Department (or an international disinterested party (you know, like ICANN was supposed to be?)) take back over the actual database, and provide the same access to all registrars alike. As it is now, any one of NSI's bad business ideas are basically unstoppable without a significant court battle.

    • They'll use a Sales Contract. They're binding, ya know.
    • I've been looking at a few domain names held by network solutions for almost three months now. They expired three months ago and are still not available.

      Oddly enough, the owner of the *expired* name is willing to sell it. Net. Sol. is the most expensive registrar out there, with the worst agreement contract. The system is seriously broke. The only solution I can think of is government action, but I can't see the current Bush administration doing anything. I hold out some hope that maybe some technocrats in Europe will pick up and run with this travesty.
      • You think 3 months is bad... I'm looking at two domain names. One expired Aug 30, 2001. The other expired Jan 10, 2001, over a year now. I tried talking to a rep in their little live java chat and to someone on the phone. All they tell me is the domains are on registrar hold, but I know that already. When I ask when they'll be released or why it's taking so long, they tell me they both can't and won't tell me why, not even when I'm holding credit card in hand.

        I've noticed that some domains I had with register.com that I let expire were gone in a couple days from WHOIS, yet ones registered by netsol continue to linger. I'm not the least bit curious why netsol is the largest holder of domains... they don't ever remove them!
        • A domain I wanted had been expired for about 8 months. I wrote to NetSol about 3 times, got a single reply that said that no information was available since I was not the registering party...DUH, the name was EXPIRED. There wasn't a re

          The day after I sent my third email the WHOIS information became unavailable, but I still couldn't register the name. The day after that a bulk domain reseller showed up in the WHOIS.

          Needless to say, I was pissed.
    • Doesn't match with my experience.

      I accidentally let a domain expire (miscalculated by 2 weeks).

      Within 1 week of it expiring, some scumbag pr0nmeister had reg'd the domain and was using it to peddle his wares (whilst offering the domain for sale for a ridiculous price)...
  • by lamj (153635)
    Right now, a lot of people are already complaining about the expired domains with NSI being released at an un-timely fashion. Domains are released anywhere from 9 to 15 weeks and without consistency. Think about the frustration for domain to be released while knowing that it has already expired....

    Would this be a way for them to "selectively" release expired domain earlier?
    • NSI has NEVER played fair and they've always had the most horrible service of *any* company I've ever dealt with. If this company had to rely on staying in business by marketing a product that wasn't a granted monopoly they would have been out of business 10 years ago! Even now with an "open" registrar system NSI still controls the database! ICANN was smoking crack when they renewed NSI's contract yet again. Why not give it to another company or (better yet) an independent non-profit group to maintain?
      • You are giving ICANN too much credit. You assume that they want the system to work fairly for the average person. There is no evidence of this. There is a reasonable amount of evidence against it. I wouldn't say there is proof. They might just be incompetent. But I don't feel that that's the way to bet. (Then again, I tend to be quite cynical.)
        .
  • by ImaLamer (260199) <john.lamar@gUMLAUTmail.com minus punct> on Monday January 14, 2002 @05:11AM (#2835360) Homepage Journal
    New footnote at the bottom of your city's homepage:

    Be ready for hot teens in six months at www.CITYNAME.gov!!!

    Great idea! Sounds like another way to get money out of domain name holders.
  • Auctioning? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by astrosmurf (546405) on Monday January 14, 2002 @05:14AM (#2835368)
    If you are auctioning off the names, what is stopping the looser of such an auction from contacting the holder of an address, buy it directly and renew it, paying a nominal fee?

    The article itself does not mention auctions, maybe the poster is jumping to conclutions. This scheme seems to involve not notifying the holders of a domain that they controll something valuable.
  • I'm really not sure how many active users Slashdot has, but if we all donated a few bucks, think we could bid for some big domain names?

    I think it'd be interesting to see a bid from Slashdot on Microsoft.com, in 10 years it could be an open source page; directing users to the new Microsoft Home: www.geocities.com/microsoft.

    We could also buy some other big ones, including AOL or Time. Just think of the amazing site traffic you'd get on whitehouse.gov, assuming Bush neglected everything important (like he always does) and forgot to tell someone to renew his Verisign lease.

    Or maybe... just maybe... Anyone want to start a paypal to buy slashdot.org with me? If you still want to read the news, we'll provide a link to their new homepage, whichever company they decide to bid for.
    • The difference being, unlike the ordinary average netizen and small company operating on the web, any of those people could easily sick their lawyers on Verisign and their domain name would be renewed in less than an hour even though someone else bought it. It's really funny (in a sad sort of way) how the Internet has been changed and shaped to reflect the real life world. 7 or 8 years ago you could escape the "real" world into cyberspace where everyone was equal and everyone had an equal chance of putting up a killer site that would attract interested users. These days the only sites that seem to get many hits are the mega-conglomerates and the multi-billion dollar corporations that already have brick and mortar existences. These days we have bouncing flash ads that take up the entire screen in order to turn the Net into a god damned TV replacement complete with advertising and commercial breaks. Bah humbug.
    • Sorry. The cybersquatting laws are specifically designed to foil your plan. They won't stop you from buying the domain. Just from keeping it. So Verisign makes their rake off, and MS keeps their name, and you are out your cash. Unless you are foolish enough to be stubborn, in which case you are also out a bunch of lawyers fees and court costs.

      Of course, this only works for those who can afford the lawyers to back up the threat. Anyone else can be hijacked.
      .
  • by nsample (261457) <nsample&stanford,edu> on Monday January 14, 2002 @05:15AM (#2835371) Homepage
    Verisign is making money off an option that it may not even be possible to exercise! In their proposal, they plan to take the $40 to waitlist a .com regardless of whether or not the name becomes free. So, for instance, they'll happily sell you on to the waitlist for "ibm.com", even though you have no expectation of the name ever lapsing.

    It's something that would make stock brokers proud. It's an option that can never be exercised in many cases, yet Verisign would collect full face value. And that face value of $40 is way more than the $6 they get for actually registering a new name.

    I guess the theory is that "someone else bought it before, so you should pay us a lot for it this time around." Are there no limits to the intenet-ridiculous?
  • What we really need (Score:3, Interesting)

    by johnburton (21870) <johnb@jbmail.com> on Monday January 14, 2002 @05:16AM (#2835373) Homepage
    What we really need is an alternative DNS for those of us that know what we are doing.

    Sure, most people would never be able to get at our web sites or send us email, only those who knew enough to use an alternative DNS but that's almost certainly not a bad thing. Keep out most of the idiots and most of the spam.

    I'm amazed nobody has done this already. Or did I just miss it?
    • by Lionfire (103856) on Monday January 14, 2002 @05:25AM (#2835393) Homepage Journal
      There are plenty of alternatives, but that's half the problem. Without a single, focussed effort, we'll never make a dent in the established system.

      If you're still interested, try:

      http://www.opennic.unrated.net/
      http://www.open-rsc.org/
      http://www.alternic.org/
      http://www.tinc-org.com/
      http://www.name-space.com/
      • Ah. Typical.

        What the world needs is to unify all of these in some way. Surely that's possible?
        • by ethereal (13958)

          Unity is good. But a unified, centralized root server system run by unscrupulous frauds got us into this mess in the first place. Are you willing to bet that the mistake-that-is-NSI will never happen again?

          My prediction: in 10 years DNS is obsolete. It will be replaced by the search-engine-name-system, where you ask your PDA's search engine where to find such-and-such a company, and it sends you to their site. Domain names are just a crutch to find the site; by then we'll have much better crutches.

          Of course, at that point there will be lots of squabbles over who gets listed first by which search engine, etc. It's always some damn thing :)

          • Unity is good. Centralization is not. The basic problem is the centralization of the registrars. What is needed is for the alternative registrars to develop a cross-registration protocol, and publish it as an open spec. That way groups of registrars can co-ordinate.

            People should be able to choose the order in which the registers are to be searched for DNS resolution. And uniqueness should be specified by an IP6 number. (I.e., if you want to specify a unique address then you use an IP6 number. Otherwise you take the chance of hitting a duplicate.)

            Alternatively, if there are multiple possible resolutions, then the page titles could be presented to choose from, but there would need to be some way to allow for duplications there to be resolved.

            Still, the basic thing is to eliminate the centralization. It's a "central" weakness in the current system. And it's not necessary. And it encourages monopolies to from with all the crazyness that that results in.
            .
    • by autopr0n (534291)
      you mean like this [unrated.net]?
    • Keep out most of the idiots and most of the spam

      As well as our brothers, sisters, best friends, and parents. I'm sure as Hell not going to every relative's home, setting up there system to use an alternate DNS, just so they can send me email.

    • They're called IP adresses. It's time we got back to them. It's like the early days of telephone. You could pick up the receiver and say, "I'd like to speek to Bill". After a while you needed to be more specific. "Bill Gates or Bill T. Cat, sir?" "Cat please." Now you there are so many people on the phone system that you need to fall back on numbers. The number system is already in place for the internet. With seach engines,hyperlinks and bookmarks. Nobody needs to know a name for a webpage anymore. No more fighting for domain names No more "who gets a .org" NO more "Well, I guess we need to buy OURCOMPANY.biz/.info now." Just a number system, and users.
  • Side effects? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by atcroft (123896) on Monday January 14, 2002 @05:23AM (#2835390)
    Since you can transfer names between registrars, what happens if someone decides to buy one in this when someone else is legitimately trying to get it but doesn't want to use Verisign/NSI (V/NSI)?

    This also sounds a bit like it is aimed for those same who would try to sue anyone with a domain name containing even the same letters or digits as their trademark (even though there are only 36 of them total). Now, if you fail to renew on time, will they be able to grab your domain from under you, or will there be a "cooling off" period for domains before they can be taken over by the person purchasing them in this auction?

    I am sure these are only the tip of the iceberg, once this policy is considered. It seems to me that such a policy would require the application of thought, logic, and common sense, to try to minimize problems should it be implemented. (I know-my experience leads me to believe that such won't be applied either.)
    • Well, if verisign keep it's normal QoS, a large corp with lots of cash and lawyers will be able to, while a private individual or small buissness without legal representation on tap will be pooched.
  • Well, this seems pretty stupid. I mean, Why not just have the people get in contact with those who already own the domain? If I wanted a domain that seemed to be out of use and someone was ahead of me in 'line' what's stopping me from just getting in contact with the person who owns the domain and buying it? Or will NetSol (the brand still used for name sales) put some weird shit in their contract saying you can't sell the domain if someone is on the wait list?

    Talk about lameness. Why did the government have to sell the DNS system to these losers?
    • >Why did the government have to sell the DNS system to these losers?

      I have a feeling that it wouldn't matter who gained the monopoly at the time Internic(?) went private. Netsol was in the right place at the right time in history. What private company in the early childhood of the Information Revolution *isn't* doing it's best to rape everyone?

      Unfortunately, business is business, and it is that mentality that allows people to act in a manner that in any other environment would be considered criminal.

      In a 1000 years, anthropologists will wonder and spend their lifetimes trying to unravel the Culture of Capitalism (Or is it the Culture of Consumerism, I'm beginning to forget if I'm supposed to make lots or spend lots. Please O Lord of TV-Ads, guide me...) Similiar to the way we ponder and gape at cultures that practice(d) human sacrifice.

      (I'm not equating human sacrifice with losing your domain name, just trying to illustrate a point.)

      Get on the waitlist for www.off-topic-rant.com!
    • There are several issues with contacting the current owner:

      1) Sometimes they no longer exist. Their contact information such as telephone number and email are not valid. This usually happens when someone spent $500.00 one night and registered a ton of names in speculation.

      2) They will reregister and then demand an outrageous fee for the domain name. That has happened more than once.

      Patrick
      • I definitely agree with number 2. I am watching a domain that expired in December, but I don't want to contact the old owner. They were trying to sell the domain and I am sure that they would ask far more than I would be willing to pay to transfer the name to me.

        -Joe
  • Waste of time? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Sobrique (543255)
    A waiting list for blah.com.
    So if I add my name to the waiting list for Microsoft.com do I get it after the current expiry? Now there's a pr0n URL :)
    Last I saw networksolutions were offering a 'automatic grabbing' service which you paid your money for, and if they didn't reregister in time it did it for you automatically.
    Just so you can try and steal someones domain [snapnames.com] (this is linked off network solutions). I don't really see how a waiting list is any different, and I also reckon it's a really daft idea.
    Then again, NSI (sorry, verisign) do have some decidedly dodgy practices regarding domain names. Like auctioning (not going back into the $35 pool or whatever the cost is) old domain names on "Great Domains" [greatdomains.com]
    Or charging a 'preference' rate to get a domain transfer request actioned in 2 days rather than 6 weeks.
    Looks like yet another extortion tactic by the domain monopoly.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Why don't we come up with a nice peer to peer system that does everything that DNS does and more?

    It could even run in parallel with the existing domain name servers. If it turned out to be better then it will eventually superceed the existing system.

    We need to get out from under this obsenity that is the monopoly on domain names. Doesn't it worry anyone else that what is essentially an extension of the US government runs the DNS system? I bet the NSA maintains the root DNS servers as part of the Echelon program and monitors exactly who is asking for what domain names.

    It may even be possible to use this new system to make new kinds of peer to peer file systems scale to any size.
    • Peer to peer DNS sounds like a fun idea (well I rather like it). The drawback is the arbitration of domain names (or whatever). I mean, if everyone is peers, then that means that multiple people can lay claim to a particular name.
      IMHO that's why the current system works well enough - it's a first come first served, and sue them if you don't like it, but at least I don't have to worry about my vanity domain being taken off me by someone else on the P2P network.
      • I like the sound of peer to peer dns.
        The problems with the current system are that it requires a "root" and whoever owns that root has the power to impose their will on the rest of the system.

        So far I've not managed to think of a way to make this work though :-(
        • If you could design a good peer-to-peer dns that scaled well for name assignment and resolving, that would be wonderful. (Then the problem would be getting it adopted, or at least made useable.)

          Unfortunately, I haven't been able to think of a peer-to-peer system that would work. I think that a more scaleable system would be based around rings of DNS systems of more-or-less the current version, connected in a hierarchical net. One would need to give up unique naming (see my comments elsewhere in this thread), but the IP6 unique numbers could be used as unique identifiers (I don't expect that there will be much contention over particular numbers [except, perhaps, for 03.14.15...]). Names outside of the local area might need a search engine to choose the one that you were after, but bookmarks could store the unique id, so that repeated access would be no more difficult than at present. (etc. see other post.)
          .
    • Over a decade and a half ago, the domainists tried to talk everybody into giving up the decentralized name system the UUCP network used and going to a centrally-coordinated hierarchical name system. "Foo" said some of us "Nobody'll give up the ability to go naming their computers whatever they feel like, or at least the 17 people who already named well-known machines 'frodo' or 'mozart' won't want to fight over who gets to keep the name, and besides, ihnp4!allegra!houxa!wcs is a fine naming convention, and Peter Honeyman's 'pathalias' tool is and excellent automated tool for finding paths if you don't already know them from reading email or Usenet messages."


      Much more eloquent things [bell-labs.com] said Rob Pike [bell-labs.com] and Peter [menlo.com] Weinberger [bell-labs.com].
      Also, SDSI [mit.edu] by Ron Rivest and Butler Lampson touches on the same territory.

      • Well, bang routing is fine for a few hundred or thousand hosts, but doesn't really scale to hundreds of millions of hosts. And unlike dns can't cope with any of the route changing.

        On the other hand, the article you mention SDSI [mit.edu] looks really interesting. I've only looked at it quickly, but it does look like a good way to organise what is essentially a peer to peer replacement for dns, but which can incorporate dns too.
    • by drsoran (979)
      You don't need to replace the DNS system. The DNS system works fine the way it is. The problem is the administration that controls the DNS database that gets pushed out to the root servers is corrupt. The answer is an international non-profit group that has no shareholders to please and isn't worried about making money to inflate their stock prices based on their monopoly. It's easy to do guys. You just need to convince the majority of DNS servers in the world that your root servers are the blessed ones and have them use your root.cache file instead of NSI's. Suddenly, overnight NSI and ICANN becomes completely irrelevent to the world. It's something that'll never happen of course because people are too reluctant (or lazy?) to change these days. We've become sloppy and let the corporate monopolies take over the one world that we still had a chance to mold to our liking. I guess in the end, Americans (and the majority of Internet users) are just a bunch of capitalist lap-dogs at heart. That really saddens me. We need to stir up enough grass-roots support to get people to at least use another common root system that doesn't overlap with NSI's in parallel and eventually just cut over to it completely.
      • The problems of the DNS system are inherent in it's centralized control structure. So it does take a redesign. The exact details might be a bit problematical.

        I tend to favor a round-robin based hierarchical net of resolvers more or less like the current system, but with non-unique naming (i.e., names are unique withing a ring, and stacked within a hierarchy). This would allow names to be locally unique, so "Bob's Burgers " could exist in several different cities without clashing with each other (as long as they were in different nodes). To reach a address by name outside of unique resolution space one would need to either do a global search by name, and select by page title (think of a google-esque front end here) or perhaps one could specify city & state. Names would be first come, first served in any local area, but finding a distant site would register it locally, so nobody could register a name that duplicated a name that had already been searched for.

        There are only so many reasonable names in any language, and the internet is large enough that nobody should automatically be granted global ownership of a name. If you want a unique identifier, use an IP6 resolver. If I want to register "lnet.mineAllMine.com", and you do too, then there isn't any necessary conflict, as long as we hang off of different nodes. And if people want to bookmark one of the sites for global access, then the bookmark should remember the IP6 number instead of just the name.
        .
  • NSI's bus. practices (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MathJMendl (144298) on Monday January 14, 2002 @05:36AM (#2835411) Homepage
    Hmm. Does anyone remember this [slashdot.org] story, about how NSI holds expired domain names? I guess we are seeing the resolution of that. They really have no right to auction off domain names before they expire. This is just another example of them abusing their control of the DNS registries (in addition to things such as taking a large commission out of every domain name sale, so that even if you register with their competitors they gain money).

    Someone really should do something. Too bad ICANN can't do anything. Maybe they could, but I don't see the old members giving up their spots to the elected anytime soon. Plus, NSI could "accidentally" cause down time if they tried to move the DNS registries. Unfortunately though, there are no feasable alternates.
  • Downward Spiral (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jesus IS the Devil (317662) on Monday January 14, 2002 @05:45AM (#2835425)
    We are ALL collectively being screwed by NSI and we need to recognize and put a stop to this. Slowly they've been implementing changes that do nothing but erode our rights in order to increase their corporate profits and protect what little monopoly they have left.

    First they started holding onto domain names that have expired. Then they implemented a system that makes it really tough for someone to transfer their domain name to another registrar. Now this.

    Let me tell you what NSI is REALLY up to.

    They've had the lionshare of domain name registrations since the beginning of the internet. So it's of no surprise that they have the largest pool of expired names. NSI holds on to every single one of them. Thousands, perhaps millions. They pay $0 to hold on to those names.

    Now they start auctioning off these names. They've turned into nothing more than the world's largest CYBER-SQUATTER!

    Let me make another prediction. If this change is allowed to go through, next they'll be saying, "if you win a name by auction for say $10,000, then from that point on every year you will have to pay $10,000 to renew that domain name, and you won't be allowed to change registrars either!"

    It's time for the government to castrated NSI/Verisign.
    • Hey, I just sent an email message to this guy [doc.gov] email [mailto] pointing out that Verisign is cybersquating and the Dept of Commerce has an obligation to do something about it or else they are breaking US law.

      My proposal was that they should release names on a published schedule.
    • Re:Downward Spiral (Score:4, Insightful)

      by zerocool^ (112121) on Monday January 14, 2002 @08:34AM (#2835636) Homepage Journal
      It's time for the government to castrated NSI/Verisign.


      Then let's do something about it. Contact your local better business bureau [bbb.org] and complain, citing specific examples of how they've screwed *you*. Make it professional and personal. The web hosting company I work for has already called the BBB (last week, actually) about Network Solutions on behalf of some of our clients, and the person handling the case sounded rather interested.

      ~z
  • by ukryule (186826) <slashdot&yule,org> on Monday January 14, 2002 @05:47AM (#2835429) Homepage
    It seems there is a problem to be solved here: at the moment there is no process for registering for soon-to-expire domains.

    Verisign have been granted a monopoly from ICANN to handle the registration process. However, this proposed system is clearly extending this monopoly from the registration of new domains (via registrars) to a pre-registration phase.

    This must be a matter that ICANN should take responsibility for. The way to allow pre-registration should be defined, and explicitly included in any registry agreement - if the only sensible way to approach it is to allow Verisign a monopoly then it should be regulated accordingly (i.e. $46 is way too much to be allowed). Apart from anything else, it would be nice to have a standard process for all TLDs (.com/.uk/.whatever).
    • I hate to disagree but I cannot see any reason for a "pre-registration" process. NSI^H^H^HNetSol^H^H^H^H^H^HVerisign should simply be forced to release domain names on a known schedule (i.e. 0/5 days after expiration, preferably at the original time of registration). Then everyone can jump in and try to buy it first :-) As long as their is no systemic preference for who will get any domain (like people who pay the extra to go through the worst registrar [netsol.com] should not be able to purchase first) this system would be fine.

      As for having a standard process across all TLDs, you are living in a wildly optimistic dreamland, but that's ok with me, I'd rather let some TLDs make their own bizarre rules than have one set of rules created by one global devil.

      • Actually this is how the current system works, if you can even say it works. The problem is that this system is proving to be too expensive on the Registry side of things - they cannot handle the load (which is similar to a denial of service attack) and cannot afford to augment their systems merely to handle domain deletions.
  • by guttentag (313541) on Monday January 14, 2002 @06:12AM (#2835463) Journal
    "What do you mean they've found a way to sell used stuff for six times its original value?! We've been trying to do that for nearly a century!"

    You know, I've had my eye on my neighbor's car for some time now... maybe I should put myself on the DMV's waitlist so I can snatch it from him when he's late in renewing his registration. I'd better start saving now, though, because I saw the old lady across the street checking it out today.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I hope this isn't redundant, but wouldn't this mean that domain owners would have to re-register their domains several times a day to make sure it doesn't fall into the wrong hands when it expires? (ie, the domain expires every minute of every day since anyone can come along and buy it just like that)

    Or people would be forced to register domains for 50 years and on? In that case it would cause an even bigger lack of available domain names than there already is.

    /penhead
    • No, it just means that you need to register through a Registrar which can be trusted to not delete your name without getting explicit permission. The burden will always be upon your (the registrant's) shoulders but a good registrar will offer facilities to make protecting your name easier.
  • I wouldn't mind paying some amount of money to pre-register a domain which I expected to expire for some reason. But such a scheme would be dependent upon Verisign to keep my interest confidential from the current owner.
  • by guttentag (313541) on Monday January 14, 2002 @06:45AM (#2835506) Journal
    Perhaps I missed something in both articles. I don't see any mention of how this system is supposed to work, but here's what I envision:

    January 2002

    • My domain name expires in 6 months.
    • My neighbor wants my domain name, so he pays NetSol $50 to be waitlisted.
    June 2002
    • I log on to netsol.com and renew my domain for another year.
    • NetSol takes my renewal money and keeps some or all of my neighbor's money.
    • My neighbor is SOL (but he'll get another chance next year!).
    IIRC from the college entrance experience, "waitlisted" is not a guarantee. It's a "we'll see." It sounds like NetSol is forming an online gambling institution: people pay NetSol for the right to purchase a domain name in the event that the current doesn't renew.

    That's like going to the only real estate agent in town and giving him money to guarantee you your neighbor's house in the event that your neighbor decides to sell. In fact, you have to do that this becomes the only way you can buy an existing house in town because if you don't someone else will.

    :::GASP:::

    Could the proverbial "abuse of absolute power" we've all heard about in fables but never seen with our own eyes?

    I think there's a way around this. Contact the owner of the domain you want and ask if he's going to renew. If he's not going to, offer to buy it from him for half of what NetSol would charge for the waitlist fee. That way you save money, the person who was dropping the domain makes some money, and NetSol doesn't get anything it hasn't earned.

  • I can just imagine the frustration when someone gets bid sniped for hotteenllamasex.org
  • So they start auctioning off domain names before they expire. Then when the domain name does expire jack up the price of renewal now that the "fair market value" of the domain has been determined. They are just renting the domain names out after all, so they probably figure charging 10% of the value of the domain name is fair.

    What scares me is that Verisign would probably pull a stunt like this. Makes me oh so happy that I moved all my domains away from these a-holes years ago.
  • This IS ridiculous. Anyone that PAYS Network Solutions to join a waiting list for a domain name needs a small brain bypass.

    In the most trivial of cases you would be the only one in the queue, and the registrant would renew and NSI would make money out of you.

    In the more complicated cases they would be a few people in the queue for the same domain, and the registrant would renew and NSI would make a shed-load.

    Most people buy domain names for the haul ... the chances of you wanting one that is going to expire ... are small.

    NSI are just out to fleece their users.
    • NSI are just out to fleece their users.

      Of course they are. They've always been out to make money ever since they started charging for domain names. Yet every time their contract comes up for renewal someone keeps them on. They must have some pretty dirty laundry on whoever is granting this monopoly to them because if I was ICANN I'd have given them the boot already. Publicly traded companies should NOT control a vital part of the Internet infrastructure as a monopoly. Period.
  • by The Mutant (167716) on Monday January 14, 2002 @07:31AM (#2835556) Homepage
    I've got several domains (you-suck.com and lots of other classy names), and over the years have experienced multiple attempts to steal them.

    Now the jokers will have a real incentive, having paid cash for something they haven't gotten!

    This will only escalate fraud!

    • thanks for blocking IE browsers on your homepage. it's really classy, and you've really shown me the error of my ways. just out of curiosity, what kind of amazing stuff do you have there that will only render in Netscape and not IE? because artificially breaking compatibility is something i'd expect from MS...
  • ICANNWatch links (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    There's a good discussion of the issue at ICANNWatch.org, in particular: http://www.icannwatch.org/article.php?sid=511&mode =&order=0" [icannwatch.org]
  • by dbaker (7409) <dbaker-slashdot@cuckoo.com> on Monday January 14, 2002 @07:35AM (#2835564) Homepage
    The entire concept is absolutely absurd.

    Such a product (I'm uncomfortable calling it a 'feature') would encourage domain squatting and further pollute the available namespace.

    However, I'm not oblivious to the fact that it would be profitable for registrars that are involved. I miss the days of the non-profit Internic. With all of the 'progress,' I don't really see a single thing that's better about root management and domain registration today than it was in, say, 1994. In 8 years, all that we've done is create a handful of useless companies and waste a significant amount of money. That's without even mentioning the countless leeches (domain squatters) that are encouraged by this system.

    This is the wrong step to take for Internet DNS. Luckily, this is only a proposal and thus not much should be made of it. I'd be quite shocked if this made it much further, especially in the state that it's in.

    Cheers.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Verisign is making money off an option that it may not even be possible to exercise! In their proposal, they plan to take the $40 to waitlist a .com regardless of whether or not the name becomes free. So, for instance, they'll happily sell you on to the waitlist for "ibm.com", even though you have no expectation of the name ever lapsing.

    It's something that would make stock brokers proud. It's an option that can never be exercised in many cases, yet Verisign would collect full face value. And that face value of $40 is way more than the $6 they get for actually registering a new name.

    I guess the theory is that "someone else bought it before, so you should pay us a lot for it this time around." Are there no limits to the intenet-ridiculous?
  • by Dynamoo (527749) on Monday January 14, 2002 @07:50AM (#2835581) Homepage
    Making a wild stab in the dark, NSI/Verisign are doing this in response to the similar service offered by Snapnames.

    If you don't know about Snapnames, read about it here [dynamoo.com], but essentially it's a back-ordering service.

    NSI are actually a Snapnames affiliate, so they get $7 per back-ordered name through their site. I guess they want the rest of the money too.

    • SnapNames doesn't circumvent the process of deleted/expired domains. Basically they check the available names each day to see if yours is available. They wait like everyone else to see if it is available.

      I use Name Winner at http://www.namewinner.com. They do the same thing, but for less cost.
    • Snapnames gets a cut of the NSI $40 waitlist fee. Snapnames IS providing the technology to NSI. So, Snapnames and Verisign are in this together.
  • by kawaichan (527006) on Monday January 14, 2002 @08:41AM (#2835655) Homepage
    The main reason why this would probably work is the fact that this is to scare the s*** out of current domain name owners, let me explain.

    Let's say you are the owner of Slashdot.org, you surely don't want someone to "steal" your domain if you have forgot to renew your domain. Remember they've just have an option to register the domain for 10 years? Seeing next to no one is going for that (god knows what happens to the net in 10 years). With ths waitlist thing, more people would probably go for a longer registratoin period because they don't want to lose their domain name.
  • by spooge21 (160717) on Monday January 14, 2002 @09:10AM (#2835713) Homepage
    I would like to offer a bit of perspective on why Verisign is doing this. First it is important to note that it is Verisign GRS [verisign-grs.com] (the registry) which is considering this and not Network Solutions [networksolutions.com] (the Verisign Registrar). Currently when a name expires it is up to each registrar to determine what happens to that name. When a domain expires it is actually automatically renewed by the registry. It is then up to the registrar to decide if the name should be deleted permanently. The registrar has up to 45 days to make that decision before the 1 year renewal fee is permanent.

    Now, Verisign the Registrar releases a lot of domains to the public right now after a certain period of time. At this time the names are released and numerous registrars attempt to snag those names when they are dropped. This practice has caused headaches to no end at Verisign the Registry. It essentially acts as a denial of service attack as all the different registrars pound the registry trying to snatch those dropped names. Were talking hundreds of thousands of queries every minute.

    This new propsed system is a response to this situation. It is designed to end the constant pounding of the registry. Granted it may not be the best solution but it is only the first draft and it must be okayed by ICANN first, thus there is a strong possibility that it will not be implemented. However something is needed in order to make the domain deletion process less system intensive as the registry cannot continue to support the amount of traffic caused by these domains dropping.
    • Now, Verisign the Registrar releases a lot of domains to the public right now after a certain period of time. At this time the names are released and numerous registrars attempt to snag those names when they are dropped. This practice has caused headaches to no end at Verisign the Registry.
      But that's their fscking job! That's exactly what they are contracted to do: cope with the registration/expiration process. If they don't want the headaches associated being a government-sponsored monopoly, they should get out of the business rather than propose an illegal lottery [wired.com].
      • Verisign the Registry has tried to cope with this situation. They have been working for the past 6 months to try to find a reasonable solution which provides equal access to all registrars. Unfortunately they have not been able to do that using purely technical means.

        The agreement with the Department of Commerce [verisign.com] states "NSI shall take all reasonable steps to ensure the continued operation, functionality, and accessibility of the Shared Registration System." Appearently this is the next reasonable step.

        As I stated in my previous post there proposal may not be the best solution. However I think it is unfair to compare what they are doing with what occurred at that other registry [neulevel.biz].
        • Unfortunately they have not been able to do that using purely technical means.
          As you seem to be in the know, can you tell us what is considered "reasonable steps?" Exactly how much money did they spend on fatter pipes and faster servers before deciding that extortion is a better option?
          • I do not have exact amounts but I can tell you that they were dedicating multiple machines just for the deletion process. While I cannot be sure, I believe that they took machines away from the normal registration system (which operates at a fairly stable transaction rate) to support the deletion process.

            They have also limited both number of allowed connections per registrar as well as allowed bandwidth when accessing these machines. These actions helped for a while but utilization is now back up to near 100% on a regular basis and they have had to put new limits in. In order to keep the system running they cannot continue like this indefinately...unless you would like them to raise normal registration fees to support it.
            • they cannot continue like this indefinately...unless you would like them to raise normal registration fees to support it.
              If that's what it takes to keep the system above-board, yes. My problem is that I have a
              typosquatter [definition] [techtarget.com] who has registered a lookalike domain name, with "Domain for sale" on the top line of his whois registry. I'm waiting him out, and plan to register the domain when he finally gets tired of spending money on it (no, my domain is not a trademark, and I can't afford to sue). The last thing I want to do is put up a billboard at NetSol telling him what I'm thinking.
          • As you seem to be in the know, can you tell us what is considered "reasonable steps?" Exactly how much money did they spend on fatter pipes and faster servers before deciding that extortion is a better option?

            There is a limit to the size of pipe that is available. There are no fatter pipes available at any price. There are no routers capable of routing them.

            Why do people in the DNS world seem to think that spending money on hardware is the solution to every problem? What happened to engineering and protocol efficiency? All the waitlist provides is a somewhat more efficient mechanism than polling.

            To understand the nature of the problem it is necessary to understand the type of business model the attackers are involved in. A typical approach is to scan the net for church group sites, locate those that are about to expire, grab the name and put up a porn site or a casino site in its place. The original owner is then offered the site back for a substantial fee.

            If you have a business model of that kind, the best way to lower your overheads is to pay to become a registrar.


        • Verisign the Registry has tried to cope with this situation. They have been working for the past 6 months to try to find a reasonable solution which provides equal access to all registrars. Unfortunately they have not been able to do that using purely technical means.


          If so, then they are bloody idiots.
          One very simple thing they can do to reduce the problem is publish the dates at which expired domains will become available. There would still be a rush, but registrars wouldn't need to attempt 10,000 domains every second, just 1.

          Still not good enough? Then accept registration from all accredited registrars for a period of 1 week, and assign it to a randomly chosen one at the end of the week. One could even use cryptographic protocols to insure that the random selection was actually random.

          But Verisign doesn't want to solve the problem. Verisign wants to make more money. If ICANN decided that the WLS was a good idea, but that Network Solutions wasn't allowed to run it,
          then you can bet they would be as opposed to the idea as all the other registrars are now.

          Lack of preparation on your part, does not constitute an emergency on my part.
    • When a domain expires it is actually automatically renewed by the registry.
      But they're creating their own headaches by doing this! Just delete the name every time, without exception and without fanfare, and let the other registrars figure out that it's gone when it's gone. Better yet, randomize the release time over, say, a week or two, and IP ban anyone who hits the site more than once or twice a minute. This is not exactly rocket science here, you know. If someone really did want to renew it, they're maybe entitled to one or two warning emails and maybe a week's grace period, but after that delete the domain and let them scramble for it.

      There are domains that are still registered which have expired more than a year ago, so somebody's not doing their job right. The public shouldn't be denied the right to get those domains just so that NSI/Verisign can coddle a few ruthless domain speculators. And if they had some leadership in realms other than money-grubbing, maybe NSI/Verisign would figure some of this out.

      • If Verisign GRS can't handle the load given the current delete process (where the deletion time is a well known value) then how do you think they would be able to handle random drops 24/7? They can't IP ban anyone because their agreement with the ICANN forbids them from selectively denying access to a registrar. It helps to understand the number of requests as well - it is very easy for a registrar to generate thousands of checks per second! The registrars would not agree to a system which limits to a few checks per minute.

        As for notification of renewals as well as actual deletion of domain names, it is up to each registrar to handle that. Thus if you choose a subpar registrar which doesn't notify you or doesn't protect your intellectual property (your domain names) then you are to blame. Consumer beware.

        This whole discussion should make one thing clear: choose a registrar you can trust and if they ever break that trust then transfer your name BEFORE it expires.
    • I don't believe one word of the meaningless drivel you just spewed. You are trying to convince a technically-oriented audience that it costs the registry too much resources (read: money) to delete records? Look, it was Versigin that paid everybody off to be in the middle of things, now that the dot-com boom has busted, they want to plead "losing money" on a losing proposition, namely domain name speculation. Yes, VERISIGN is the biggest speculator of them all.

      My response is TOO BAD FOR VERISIGN. Boo-fucking-hoo. The sooner Versign goes the way of Enron, the better. They made their bed, now they should sleep in it.
  • My grandparents have a house that they own, which I'm going to place on the real estate. Since they are in their mid-eighties, they should be set to expire in about three to four years. This is of course if their divine power fails to renew them. Why should they be upset if I presell their house?
  • I don't even understand how this would work. It seems to indicate that they would be trying to sell the domain, before it even expires? Thought one pretty much had up till the expire date on the record, get they next payment in?
  • As others have mentioned, this so called "new feature" isn't for sqautters. To put it plainly, it's corporate extortion on a global scale.

    Legitimate businesses won't take the risk of loosing their domain, so it artificially increase Verisign's revenues. The problem with this approach is it's predatory. Hopefully ICANN and corporations can speak out against these practices and prevent it. This feature isn't about joe blow who has a personal domain. It's about corporations. Registrars know corporations won't think twice about the chance of loosing their domain considering the cost of legal battle.

    On the otherhand, the cost of registration and renewal is so cheap these days, it could slip by under the radar.

  • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Monday January 14, 2002 @10:49AM (#2836049)
    So there I was, bee-bopping through my work day, and the phone rings.

    "Hello?"
    "Is this Mr. Fantastic Lad?"
    "Why, yes it is! What can I-"
    "Please hold."
    "What?" I'm on hold. So I hang up.

    Ring ring ring:
    "Y'ello?"
    "Um, Mr. Fantastic Lad?"
    "That's me. Who is this?"
    "I'm calling from Network Solutions. Are you the owner of *********.com?"
    "I don't think you understood my question. I don't care who you work for. Who are YOU? What's your name?"
    "Um. . , (gives name)" Let's call him, 'Bob'.
    "Okay, Bob. Did you just call ten seconds ago, ask for me, and then put me on hold?"
    "Well, yes, but I have an important-"
    "Stop talking Bob. You blew your chance at 'nice' by being incredibly rude. Nobody likes to be put on hold for no good reason. Do you understand just how rude it is to call somebody and then immediately put them on hold? It's a psychological trick used to establish dominance in a conversation. Do you think I want to be in a submissive position when I'm talking to a total stranger? Bob?"
    Pause. "It's not a psychological trick. I'm just calling-"
    "Look, Bob. You might be a somewhat nice guy on your own time, but for the purposes of here and now, I've decided that I really don't like you. I don't want to have an actual conversation with you. So I'm only looking for one word answers here. Look up from your little script, and answer either 'Yes' or 'No', or I'm ending this call. Got it?"
    "But I've got important information about your account. I've-"
    "Bob. . !"
    "Sorry. Sorry."
    "Alright then. Okay. Now first things first: Please answer this question: --Do you think I like being called up and put on hold by a total stranger?"
    (Annoyed sound) ". . . No."
    "That's right, I don't. And most people don't. In the future, you should consider that before being acting like a dick on the phone. I don't care if this is how you were instructed to treat people. If you find yourself faced with having to choose between being socially decent and following instructions by your boss to mistreat people, you should take it up with your employer and if you can't get beyond the impasse, you should quit. You've got a crappy job anyway. There are a lot of other things you could be doing in the world. Being rude to people over the phone is a choice you're making. And it's a dumb one. Now then. . , you tell me you work for Network Solutions?"
    "Yeah."
    "Alright. Now then, does Network Solutions really have something to call me about that I actually need to hear, or is it just an attempt to sell me something I don't want?"
    "You might want it."
    "Ahh. I see. So this is a sales call, then. So what, exactly, are you selling?"
    "Well, I don't know, actually. . . My job is just to call people up, and verify that they own the web address on my list, and then connect them to the sales people."
    "Sigh. Oh, Bob. I see you've been compartmentalized. I sympathize with you, Bob. -I'd quit your shit job in five seconds flat if I were you, but I do sympathize with you. And you don't actually have any idea what your sales people want to push on me?"
    "I'm just told to tell people that it's important."
    "Gotcha. Well, I'm sure if it's that important, they'll be in touch. I'm going to hang up now, Bob. Good luck with your life, and honestly. You should really consider quitting. Don't let the world bully you into thinking that you need to take their bullshit treatment of you. You won't die if you take the jump, Bob. Goodbye."
    "Bye."
    Click.


    I got this call about five months ago. I'm told by others who received similar calls, that Network Solutions was trying to get people to buy similar sounding website names before competitors bought them up. A lame sales fear-tactic.

    Verisign can go to hell.


    -Fantastic Lad

    • I had something similar happen to me, several months ago. I wasn't home, so they left a voice mail with a number for me to call with regards to an "important matter" regarding my domain name. I called them back, got put on hold, and then got transferred to a salesdroid who started in...

      "Do you realize that you only have xxxxxx.com registered? You should protect your online identity by registering xxxxxx.org and xxxxxx.net. Blah blah blah blah..."

      I couldn't beleive that they had suckered me in to returning their call, only to get a sales pitch layed on me. I told them so and hung up.

      I still can't believe that they used my phone number, which I am required to provide, to telemarket me. You are right - Verisign can go to hell.

  • That there is no mention of how the current holder of the address would be handled? Would they get a chance to renew their contract? Or do they have to prepay to be on the waiting list? I can see these people doing the latter because it woul dgive them the most money. Either way, this idea doesn't sound good at all. We all one type of site that would be on almost every waiting list--p*rn.
  • It was interesting to read about this. I think there's a fair chance it may explain something that happened to me. I have a number of domains that just came up for renewal. I got notices for all of them except for one. It is one that I have been approached about before but I want to keep. It may just be a coincidence but it leads one to wonder.

    I think a WLS would be a very questionable service all around. Even if it is implemented with every intention of being on the up and up, it still poses a very significant opportunity for abuse.

    There is also the question of a waiting period for the current registrant of an expired domain name. I'm not sure if there is any offical grace period at the moment. I beleive there should be at least a 30 day period, preferably 90 days, from expiration to pay the renewal fee.

    In addition to a grace period I beleive that anyone who is interested in an expiring domain should be able to register their interest for free on or AFTER the expiration date. If the domain has not been renewed at the end of the grace period it should then be auctioned off to all those who have registered interest.

    I think that this would be an equitable solution that would be above reproach. Of course this mechanism may not be as profitable as the WLS.
  • After getting all of these people onto the "wait list", watch them try to auction the names at renewal time instead of merely accepting a renewal payment from the existing owner. That way, when you buy a name you will eventually have to outbid everyone else just to keep it. Of course a dishonest registrar could put bogus people on the wait list and drive up the auction price with bogus bids. Hmmmmmm.

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