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The Internet

DNS Stressed From Financial Maneuverings 196

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the hey-we're-all-stressed-man dept.
jcatcw writes "The Domain Name System is showing signs of being out of control. Automated software systems are being used to re-register large batches of expired domain names. In addition, speculators are using a loophole in the registration process that lets domains be tested for their potential profitability as pay-per-click advertising sites during a free five-day "tasting" period."
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DNS Stressed From Financial Maneuverings

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  • by djrok212 (801670) * on Monday April 16, 2007 @12:06PM (#18751525)
    Can someone explain to me why this is even news? Seems to me the domain name system has been out of control for years, this is nothing new.
    • by rs79 (71822) <hostmaster@open-rsc.org> on Monday April 16, 2007 @12:16PM (#18751667) Homepage
      It was news 2 years ago when it first started happening.

      ICANN which (on paper) "measures community consensus and implements it as policy" is the entity that had to approve the policies that lets this happen.

      No domain expires any more, the registrars snap them up on principle, try them out and if they get one click in the "don't have to pay yet" grace period then they keep the domain. Very very few, if any domains actually expire back into the free pool.

      What strikes me as hysterical is the people that went on to become ICANN accused the alternative root people 10 years ago of wanting to do exactly this. To be honest we hadn't even thought of it. We just wants to see no centralized single-point-of-failure control over the dns.

      I note with irony itoldyouso.com is taken by squatter.

      • by beckerist (985855) on Monday April 16, 2007 @12:27PM (#18751875) Homepage
        2 examples, both were websites I used to own:
        allpopcorn.com [allpopcorn.com]
        scientistscanvas.com [scientistscanvas.com]

        Both sites I owned, ran, updated...the problem is, I never had "automatically renew" (see: automatically charge my credit card) turned on. Both sites expired one January afternoon, and before that Friday (my payday), they were both picked up by link farms. ALSO, keep in mind I used Yahoo! Domains (now Yahoo! Small Business) for these sites. Now, I use GoDaddy, which will keep a temporary hold on them to allow for my renewal (which Yahoo! never did.) If anyone can get me these sites back (without having to pay the hundreds of dollars for them that they are each asking!), by all means!!!
        • by cortana (588495) <sam@robots.orYEATSg.uk minus poet> on Monday April 16, 2007 @01:10PM (#18752423) Homepage
          Why the hell aren't the .com/.net/.org registries run sensibly, i.e. in the same way that .uk is run by Nominet [nic.uk]? It is practically impossible to lose control of a .uk domain once you have it.

          After such a domain is detagged [nominet.org.uk], Nominet try to contact thet registrant to confirm that they no longer want to use the domain. Only if the registrant confirms this, or fails to settle an invoice if one exists within 30 days, does the domain become 'suspended'. After 60 further days, the domain is cancelled and can be registered by someone else.

          Nominet even make it a policy to dissuade domain spammers from registering expired domains:

          Why does Nominet not publish exact dates for when domain names are cancelled?

          Giving an exact date would compromise Nominet's policy of allocating domain names on a first-come, first-served basis. It could lead to an increase in speculative applications for domain names, which may result in an abuse of Nominet's registration automated systems.
          • by Isofarro (193427)

            Nominet even make it a policy to dissuade domain spammers from registering expired domains:

            This is a red herring. A spammer (or domain squatter) know that a domain name will expire in a certain period, so they just run a cron job to check the status of the domain every 15 minutes or so, and register it if they find its available. That's what they do with expiring .coms. Yes its a bit riskier with the .co.uk of another spammer sneaking in, but a spammer will be able to grab the domain name before a good

        • by guruevi (827432)
          Go work for an 'accredited' registrar, you can initiate transfers and depending on THEIR registrar, or you can go work for their registrar. It will even go automatically (even though the 'protection' might be enabled), we used to have a system that even would aggressively try to register domains that would expire that day (around 23.50, it would iterate through the list very, very fast). We once had a skew with our clock and we got blocked since we tried registering 1000's of domains in the middle of the da
        • by Pope (17780)
          I've never had auto-renew on any of my domains either: I'm automaticaly emailed a reminder 60 days before they expire, and again at 30 days before they expire. Probably again as they come close, but I've never needed anything other than the 30 day reminder.

          It takes less than 2 minutes for me to login to my hosting company control panel and renew for x many years. What's the big problem? It sounds like your resgitrar/hosting company sucks, or you're lazy. Always give yourself 2 years' breathing room on a dom
      • by miller60 (554835) on Monday April 16, 2007 @01:13PM (#18752449) Homepage
        Actually, it wasn't even new when folks started noticing it 2 years ago. It actually started as early as 2001, as documented in a history of name tasting [circleid.com] posted by veteran domain professional Frank Schilling over at Circle ID. Changes in 2004 made it easier, which is when the huge volume kicked in. But the earlier activity established a precedent for the practice.
        • by rs79 (71822)
          Uhm... it's been going on since 97. It's just easier now because of policy (but harder because everybody is doing it).

    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Monday April 16, 2007 @12:16PM (#18751677)
      And I completely disagree with it.

      If you want to test the domain, then LEASE the domain name. None of this automated click-count crap for free while other people who would USE the domain name wait to see if it will ever be available.
      • by eln (21727) on Monday April 16, 2007 @12:26PM (#18751855) Homepage
        I agree. I don't understand why this is even offered. The only reason you would want to know how many hits your potential site would get based on its domain name alone is because you were counting on accidental traffic for all or the majority of your income. This pretty much means you're a squatter looking to capitalize on ad impressions. If you're a legitimate business looking to start a web presence, you're going to just buy a domain that pertains to your business, and ADVERTISE it. Then, people who are interested will visit the domain you have advertised.

        I could see offering a trial period if a domain name cost $10,000 or something (and maybe they should), but these days you can buy domain names for pretty much nothing anyway, so a trial period is utterly pointless.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by gad_zuki! (70830)
          >This pretty much means you're a squatter looking to capitalize on ad impressions. If you're a legitimate business

          Who says DNS registrars care about promiting legitimate business or stopping ad click farms? Its pretty much their bread and butter right now. If there's a problem here, then it can be solved by regulating these registrars. Now, considering these registrars are usually ad impression squatters and domain typo resellers themselves, well, dont hold your breath expecting them to regulate themse
        • Presumably the process works like this:

          1) Register to trial a domain
          2) Wait a few days and count the hits
          3) If it didn't get the required number of hits then drop it, otherwise pony up to keep the domain.

          If there is some way that I can get a feed of each of the 35 million new names each month, then i can have a script simply wget a couple of pages off each site from each of a few IP addresses.

          That way they'll think they've hit paydirt, pay to keep the domain and suddenly realise that it doesn't get any hits
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CastrTroy (595695)
        What's an acceptable lease rate though? At $20 a year what should they charge for 5 days? The bigger problem is that they let you test out names at all. Either you want the name or you don't. There's no reason other than typosquatting/domain stealing that it would be a good idea to let people try out a domain name for 5 days.
        • yes, but marketing divisions would rather have "someoddmovie.com" instead of "someoddmovie.someoddstudio.com"
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by CastrTroy (595695)
            Movie web sites? Does anybody actually go to those? Just about everybody I know goes to apple.com and watches the trailers there. There's no reason to go to 30 different movie sites every month when you can go to 1 and watch previews for all 30 movies.
            • My point applies to more than just movies - its a general "marketing thing" that kinda makes it look (at least to me) like they use these kinds of practices just to consume their corporate budget ("Hey boss, we used all the money you gave us, can we have some more?")
          • if they want a name to match a specific product that they know they are going to release then they can damn well pay for a year in advance like mere mortals do. They'll probablly wan't to keep it for a few years anyway.

            imo 5 days is not enough to build significant new users for a domain so the only use of theese "trials" is to assess how much holdover traffic there is from the sites created by previous owners of the domain.
        • by dgatwood (11270) on Monday April 16, 2007 @01:36PM (#18752745) Journal

          What's an acceptable lease rate though? At $20 a year what should they charge for 5 days?

          $20.

          Actually, if you want to rid yourself of domain squatters forever, what is needed is a tiered DNS pricing scheme in which short periods cost MORE than long periods. People who have held a domain name for years should be able to renew it for progressively less, while people registering a domain name should have to pay for more because it requires additional work to set things up on the part of the registrar (even if that work is basically automated). Make the first year $100, the next year $50, the next year $20, the next year $10, and subsequent years $5. The domain squatters would balk because their next renewal of any domain name would cost them $100+, and most of those link sites wouldn't justify that level of payment.

          Of course, this technique would only work for about 90% of domains. Any domain that was worth squatting on for $100 at the time the pricing went into effect would likely remain squatted upon forever. Even still, that would significantly reduce the current pool and would eliminate future squatting (because there are almost zero domains that are likely to be worth $100 to a speculator without some assurance of ROI.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by dgatwood (11270)

            One last thing. The free tasting period is really just a "you can get your money back within X days" policy. The fix for this policy is "If you made a mistake, you can change the registration to the correct domain within X days, but you must extend the registration one year at the same time. Allow a one-time exemption for the "maximum 10 years ahead" rule, but in effect, this would mean that typo squatters and domain squatters would be able to shift to a different domain exactly once and then they would

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by MrPeach (43671)
              It seems to me that the simple fix would be to not allow the entry into the DNS servers until the "tasting" period has passed.

              If the purpose is indeed to allow people to change their minds, fix mistakes, or whatever, then this would not in any way cause them problems.

              If they want to live test, they can set the IP address in their local DNS. Hell, they can do that without even registering.

            • by shmlco (594907) on Monday April 16, 2007 @06:46PM (#18758573) Homepage
              No leasing, no tasting, and price a .com domain somewhere from $100 to $1,000 a year to register and maintain. No automated renewals. Registrants need to have a valid address and email address, and be validated similar to what occurs when you try to get a SSL certificate.

              And no squating. If you sitting on that domain name primarily to offer it for sale then it returns to the pool. No parking. No ad/link farms. If you have address.com and you went out of business then you went out of business. Sorry.

              This is why we have Flickr, and Digg, and all of those other "mispelled" domain names. All single words are used up. All three and four and most five letter acronyms are gone. Double-word combinations are getting there. Common words with i or my are few and far between.

              A friend tried to get a .org domain for an open-source project, only to find some company squatting on it, and offering to sell it for $3K. Shouldn't be legal. Names are a finite public resource and, when, no longer needed or abandoned, should be returned to the pool to be reregistered and reused.
          • by QuickFox (311231)
            A good proposal, insightful, interesting.
        • The Registry charges Registrars a standard fee for registering a name for a year - it was $6, but I think it's just gone up by 10% or so. The Registrars charge whatever the market will bear for their services, making money on convenience or cooperation for abuse, etc.
          The $6 fee isn't particularly cost-based; it was a scam from the beginning, but it's supposed to cover their costs for handling transactions, maintaining reliable database storage, etc.

          The "Add Grace" period lets you return domain names for fr

      • Well, according to the OP, it's not a "testing" period, it's a "tasting" period. But I don't know how you taste a domain, and I sure as hell don't want to know what domains like goatse.cx taste like.
    • It's not about being news, it's about presenting it in a way that communicates the danger to the people.

      "Everybody RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! The Domain Name System is out of control! Bolt the doors shut, cannibalize your pets, and hug your children good bye!"

      That ought to do it.
  • Timely! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Southpaw018 (793465) * on Monday April 16, 2007 @12:07PM (#18751533) Journal
    This actually just happened to my organization two weeks ago. A .com version of one of the .org names we hold was expiring, and we did the backorder thing with Godaddy to try to acquire it since there's really no other way to even have a remote chance at an expiring name.

    We got a notice that the name was re registered within a few seconds of its release, and Godaddy had not acquired it on our behalf. The backorder thing also came with monitoring service that notifies us of any changes to the domain's whois.

    Three days later, I received a notification that the domain's whois had changed again. I figured the new owners were setting it up for their use, but instead it was changed to my info. We suddenly had the name in our account.
    • by rossz (67331)
      I've been trying to get a domain for several years now. It's my family name, but it's being sat on by a link farm and they keep renewing it. It's a .org so it shouldn't be used for its current purpose. The .com is owned by a fancy hotel of the same name, quite legitimate. The .net is owned by a very distant cousin. I want to use the .org for the family geneolgy. Oh, well.

      • I have my .org, but I don't have my .com, which I would really like for my business (which bears my name). Unfortunately, it is farmed out as a pay-per-address email server (which should be serviced by .name now). I don't think I'll ever have a chance at getting it.

        Sadly, I did check the registration before is was registered, but didn't have access to the servers required to reserve it (this was back before you could buy such things on the open market).
        • by Fozzyuw (950608)

          Unfortunately, it is farmed out as a pay-per-address email server (which should be serviced by .name now).

          I hear you. My family names .com is like this too. I have the .net (I use to have the .org, but gave it up and it's since been snapped up). Sadly, I was like a month or two too late to get the .com. Well, if I ever wanted it as an email address, I know where to go. hehe.

      • Did you try the .name? That's what it's there for, after all :)
      • Have you looked to see if .info is available? I think its probably the tld that something such as your family history should be on.

        I believe .org is supposed to be reserved for non-profits organizations.
        • by rossz (67331)
          .info is so completely overrun by spammers that I don't want anything to do with it. I've seen wholesale blacklisting of the entire tld by some of the more agressive administrators (.biz is even worse).

          I hadn't considered .name.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by auntfloyd (18527) *
          I believe .org is supposed to be reserved for non-profits organizations.

          FALSE. FALSE. FALSE.

          This has NEVER been true. Why do people insist on spreading this lie around?

          Please read the RFC [rfc-editor.org] before you continue to propagate this utter nonsense. In fact, I'll even quote it for you:

          ORG - This domain is intended as the miscellaneous TLD for
          organizations that didn't fit anywhere else. Some non-

      • by robpoe (578975)
        Even stupider,

        I owned my last name .com (poe) WAAAAY back in the mid 90's. Someone spoofed an email from me and stole it out from under me -- nobody wanted to do anything about it ..

        And it sits .. link farming away since ..

        They offered to sell it to me ... for $45k

  • by Graham MacRobie (1082093) * on Monday April 16, 2007 @12:09PM (#18751571) Homepage

    Here is a slick, free typosquatting search tool [citizenhawk.com] that lets you find and explore the kind of problematic domains mentioned in the article. Try playing with the various search options - it's addictive. For instance, there are 141 registered domains that contain the word "slashdot", and 199 more that are a one-character misspelling of "slashdot". That's within just 4 TLDs.

    The firm also offers a novel service that allows companies to recover lost traffic without necessarily filing lots of lawsuits.

    Full disclosure - I am CitizenHawk's president. That being said, I can say we are intimately involved in tracking DNS updates daily - and I agree. Tasting is a serious problem that threatens to push the DNS system beyond its limits.

  • by notlisted (645771) on Monday April 16, 2007 @12:16PM (#18751669)
    This article seems not to understand that the DNS system and the Registar system are completely separate entities.. The mass registrations are done through the various registrars for .com, .net, .info, etc., with current estimates that there are are about 5 million domains being "tasted" at any given time. This number is fairly constant so it's not producing spikes or a significant increase in DNS usage at any one time.
  • "showing signs of being out of control"

    I'll say. A domain I owned expired recently and was bought up before I could repurchase. There is nothing special about this particular domain name and I can't imagine anyone wanting it except to use it for resale profit on pure speculation only.

    Nice system. Gets me loads of spam and doesn't offer shit otherwise.
    • by rs79 (71822)
      "A domain I owned expired recently and was bought up before I could repurchase."

      There's a grace period. It's like, 15 or 30 days or something.

      I have half a dozen domains with buttloads of actual content. I'm lazy and stupid and they're always expiring. Somebody allways calls or emails after a few days or so reminds me and I renew the errant domain.

      Use it or lose it.

      • by djupedal (584558)
        "Somebody allways calls or emails after a few days or so reminds me and I renew the errant domain."

        Millions of domains and you think they all follow your example and experience? Oh but if it were that simple :)

        Contact information goes stale. Changes are difficult if not impossible without help from the original supporting registration agent. Expiration tracking agents and grab tools cost more than the price of the domain. The reasons behind a less than happy outcome are varied and real. Good for you t
    • They're not just stealing the name because they hope to extort money selling it back to you or your competitors - they're mainly doing this because they make money selling advertising banners, and stealing a real name means they'll get some traffic from real users of that name, in addition to anything they might get because the domain name used keywords people might search for.


      It's scum messing up the domain name space's usefulness, and it ought to be stopped.

  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Monday April 16, 2007 @12:19PM (#18751737)
    In popular parlance, DNS is the Domain Name SERVICE, which is fine. The Domain Name SYSTEM is breaking down due to communication problems between or within registrars. Nothing to do with the root servers.
    • by rs79 (71822)
      "The Domain Name SYSTEM is breaking down due to communication problems between or within registrars."

      It's actually not. There's no difference in the capability (or stupidity) of registrars since the first one went live.

      Pet peeve: they nearly all still publish A records when they don't need to, never mind we've known for almost two decades this is a bug. To this day people are being bit by it.

    • Uh what? DNS stands for domain name system ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domain_name_system [wikipedia.org] , http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/D/DNS.html [webopedia.com] ) . This could be a system for resolving ips on a local machine (service) or a system for resolving them over the internet (servers). No one said it was a technical problem with the root servers. The registrar part of the domain name system is being stressed.

      Nothing wrong with the title at all.
  • by scenestar (828656) on Monday April 16, 2007 @12:20PM (#18751745) Homepage Journal
    What if they applied the same rules to domains as RIPE uses to give out IP adresses. Basicly the first batch is given out no questions asked. After that you can still get extra ones as long as you can prove you use them for a legitimate reason.

    Sure it might sound restrictive, but with bots drop catching domains with brute forcing techniques it could weed out the worst of abuse.
    • by gregmac (629064) on Monday April 16, 2007 @01:07PM (#18752373) Homepage
      This is a good idea in theory .. but how do you determine that someone is using them for a "legitimate reason" ?

      Is advertising a legitimate reason? Sure, any rational person can see that the typosquatter sites are really just advertising sites, and no content. However, some of them have "search engines" (that just return advertising results..) and how can you argue that those are not legitimate, while google (also a search engine, also returns some paid results/advertising) is? If you mandate that sites have to have useful content, then they'll probably just start inserting blobs of random content, or news feeds, or something else that technically complies with the requirements. Why shut them down, but not, eg, MSN or Yahoo, which are both a bunch of ads crammed around some content?

      Unfortunately I don't know how you solve the problem that way. In the end, the squatters will continue, making changes to their sites whenever you change the content requirements, and in the worst case, legitimate sites will be forced to make changes in order to comply (even though a legitimate site should never have to change, since they are legitimate).
      • by bendodge (998616)
        Want reform? Just charge $.50 to "try out" a domain. That would make it much less cost effective to domain spam, and it would also make a money trail.
        • by gregmac (629064)
          Why do you need to "try out" a domain? Either you need it, or you don't - the only people "trying out" domains are squatters. I just say the minimum should be a 1yr registration (at $8+ like it is now). You need a lot of clicks on your ads to pay that off, it quickly becomes unprofitable.

      • I agree that legal definitions are hard.

        However legitimate use of a domain for serving a webpage could include:

        * validates as a (x)html page
        * each page differs from others on any domains owned by the applicant by at least 20% of code content (#1)
        * does not advertise clearly illegal products or services (in the jurisdiction of the registry)
        * has valid and verifiable domain contact details in the registry entry (#2)
        * has a abuse@ address which is answered on request (#3)

        #1 - is probably quite easily abused (e
  • by miller60 (554835) on Monday April 16, 2007 @12:20PM (#18751751) Homepage
    The method for squashing "name tasting" (the expoitation of the five-day grace period) is well known: impose a small fee for each returned domain. The Public Interest Registry (maintainer of .org) recently became the first registry to impose such a fee [domaineditorial.com] of 5 cents per name. VeriSign has not followed suit. Some argue that this is because enough "tasted" domains are registered that the sales benefit from the practice outweighs the stress on the infrastructure. ICANN is requesting a position paper [icann.org] from a coalition of registrars on the topic.
    • by WoTG (610710) on Monday April 16, 2007 @12:49PM (#18752109) Homepage Journal
      I don't have the link handy, but I recall reading about one of the other TLD managers implementing a maximum return ratio before they stop refunding the fee. Something like 10% or so.

      FWIW, the Godaddy.com CEO has blogged about this topic a few times, the numbers are staggering.
      http://www.bobparsons.com/index.php?/archives/118- MayKiting.html [bobparsons.com]
    • by ivan256 (17499)
      I have a novel solution to this problem.

      Leave everything as it is, but once a person or corporation takes advantage of "name tasting", revoke all their domain names, and ban them from registering a domain name for life.

      Seriously, there is not a single good thing that can come out of this service beyond lining the pockets of the registrars.
  • by TheLink (130905) on Monday April 16, 2007 @12:21PM (#18751763) Journal
    The problem is with the ICANN - they're mainly collecting money and doing nothing really good for the long term (they approve TLDs that are just "yet another .com"s - see any significant innovations/improvements?). A single Jon Postel could replace the entire ICANN and the world would probably be better for it.

    The bigger problem is everyone currently lining up to replace ICANN is probably worse than the ICANN.

    Financial maneuvering? Add political maneuvering.
    • 1. Find a feasible method for resurrecting the dead.
      2. Resurrect Jon Postel.
      3. Profit!!!!
    • by rs79 (71822)
      "A single Jon Postel could replace the entire ICANN and the world would probably be better for it.

      The bigger problem is everyone currently lining up to replace ICANN is probably worse than the ICANN.

      Financial maneuvering? Add political maneuvering."


      Financia; and political maneuvering is how was born. While Ira Magaziner was running aruond in foreground trying to get the community to agree on bylaws and structure he was running around in background getting a board and bylaws set up from left field who knew n
  • Two obvious fixes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by davidwr (791652) on Monday April 16, 2007 @12:24PM (#18751805) Homepage Journal
    Fix #1: Eliminate the free tasting period.
    If you register fo0.com on May 1 and on May 2 you realize you goof and you meant to register foo.com, fine. But your registration still expires next May 1. In addition, you only get 1 or 2 "free goofs" after which you pay a paperwork fee, maybe a few pennies or less, to cover the actual costs of changing things around.
    The people who run DNS should neither gain nor lose if I register 1 name for 1 year vs. I register 100 names for short consecutive periods that add up to 1 year. Currently they lose big time.

    Fix #2: Meaningful domain-lapse rules
    In general, if a domain is revoked or lapses, nobody except you should be able to claim it without your permission for a certain period of time. I'd suggest a minimum of 30 days.
    I theory this is the way it was supposed to work but in practice ....
    Obviously there will be special cases, such as names transferred by court order.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nine-times (778537)

      Also, you can just charge a nominal fee for some of these things. Let's face it-- a 1 year fee for most hosting isn't that much to begin with, and if you messed up and registered the wrong domain, you'd do that approximately once, and for that a $1 fee probably wouldn't cause anyone to flip out. But if you're registering tons of domains all the time, it will add up.

      Am I wrong? Are there legitimate reasons to register tons of domains that might result in purchasing hundreds of mistaken domains in a year?

      • by inviolet (797804)

        Also, you can just charge a nominal fee for some of these things. Let's face it-- a 1 year fee for most hosting isn't that much to begin with, and if you messed up and registered the wrong domain, you'd do that approximately once, and for that a $1 fee probably wouldn't cause anyone to flip out. But if you're registering tons of domains all the time, it will add up.

        There already *is* a nominal fee for these tastings: five days' interest on the $6 deposit, which is worth about $0.006. Considering that the

    • by mosch (204) on Monday April 16, 2007 @01:02PM (#18752319) Homepage
      If you register fo0.com on May 1 and on May 2 you realize you goof and you meant to register foo.com, fine. But your registration still expires next May 1.

      Screw that. If you register fo0.com and you meant to register foo.com, screw you, you're out whatever you spent ($10-35). That's a slightly annoying lesson if you're a regular person. But it would destroy the typosquatting market.
    • by metamatic (202216) on Monday April 16, 2007 @02:01PM (#18753079) Homepage Journal
      Actually, there's an even more simple way to totally eliminate domain squatting and domain speculation.

      It's just politically unacceptable to the people who have a religious belief in free market capitalism, and who can never admit that it's what's causing the problems with DNS.

      It's this: Make domain name registrations non-transferable.

      Think about it. You don't get rampant speculation in phone numbers. You don't find it impossible to get a new phone number because none are available. You don't have to pay $5k to a speculator to get a phone number in your desired area code. Why? Because you can't sell your phone number to someone else on eBay, and you can't keep phone numbers you aren't using for a trivial cost. If you *could* do those things, numbers like mine (which by chance ends in "00") would fetch serious money.

      If Joe Slimeball couldn't sell the cooldomain.com he wasn't using and had no plans to use, he wouldn't spend $30 a year to keep it.
  • Testing period (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 16, 2007 @12:26PM (#18751837)
    (posting anon because I used mod points)

    Who does the testing period benefit besides spammers and squatters? Does someone who legitimately want to use a domain name "test" it for five days... and then what? Of course someone who wants to the domain is going to keep it. But if you don't want it, why did you register it, unless of course you were testing it for how many people accidentally typed your domain name, and then we come back to the spammers and squatters. I'd be interested in knowing a legitimate purpose for this five day testing period.
    • Suppose I run davidwristhegreatest.com. Suppose a few links exist on the web and I get a handful of hits a day from people clicking on those links.

      Now I get tired of being vain so I let the domain expire.

      Someone tastes the domain and their ads get viewed by 3-4 people a day.

      That's a few thousand people a year.

      Pretty soon that adds up to real money.
    • Ok, so it's 99.999% bogus and

      Typos - Domains used to cost $35 from Verisign or its predecessors. Making a mistake was really annoying. At $6, who cares?

      Trademark Conflicts - you can't always tell that somebody else in the world (or even the US) isn't using a name that's pretty similar to the one you're trying to register. You could offer to sell it to them, but that's treading on abusive domain name squatting and can lead to high legal costs. Even so, it's still going to cost you more than $6 to deal

  • Who gets to fix it? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fizzbin (110016) *
    Jason H. Fisher, an attorney at Los Angeles law firm Buchalter Nemer Fields & Younger, said the biggest obstacles to fixing the Domain Name System are its international nature and the reluctance of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to take action. Fisher said ICANN "would rather do nothing than make waves."

    If ICANN doesn't take action, who will? Who can?
  • by pembo13 (770295) on Monday April 16, 2007 @12:59PM (#18752261) Homepage
    Just don't allow it. There's no possible positive in even allowing cyberquating. If someone wants to register a website that looks like a cybersquat, attach a clause saying they have x amount of days to put up an actual website, assuming there is a port 80 attached to that domain. Or can the registrars not stay away from the easy money themselves?
    • Who determines if something is an "actual website"? Being of a (mildly) technical bent, I would say that any document, even a zero byte index.html, that is coughed up by some variety of server software if presented with an HTTP request - that is an actual website. But we all know that this would not be the interpretation placed on "actual website" if this wording actually became part of the rules.

      As far as so called "domain tasting" goes, I prefer Bob Parsons' term "domain kiting" with all the same negati
      • by cdrudge (68377)

        Who determines if something is an "actual website"?
        It's like obscenity. It's hard to define, but you know it when you see it.
  • by Animats (122034) on Monday April 16, 2007 @01:10PM (#18752421) Homepage

    It's worse than that. And it's all ICANN's fault.

    ICANN has become a trade association for domain registrars. Which isn't surprising; they're the ones that pay it money.

    A big problem is that registrars are allowed to speculate in domain names. ICANN has the power to prohibit this (see section 4.2 of the Registrar Agreement [icann.org]) but has not done so. To speculate in domain names, it helps to be a registrar, which isn't that expensive. ICANN's pricing starts at $4000/year. As a result, there are now about 800 "registrars" [icann.org], most of which are fronts for domain speculators. Most of them don't register domains for others at all.

    As a result, ICANN's constituency is now composed primarily of typosquatting slimeballs. That's why we're in this mess.

  • It shouldn't be that hard to setup something simpler than the current mess. For example, mycompany.com might point to DNS squatters in the ICANN domain, but to an actual "mycompany" in the "new" domain. The new domain would feature low registration fees to those willing to put up a real website. Perhaps something like torrents could be used to spread the DNS updates to eliminate control by evil entities.

    Since normal DNS servers would get ICANN entries, non-evil people can point to port 53 to use non-ev

  • by Deagol (323173) on Monday April 16, 2007 @01:29PM (#18752637) Homepage
    Is it possible to get flat-text lists of the domain names registered? There have been times when I've wanted to grep for domains in the big 3 TLD name space. Does any entity on the net provide simple, *free*, public archives of the various TLDs?
  • My Idea (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ryanisflyboy (202507) on Monday April 16, 2007 @01:37PM (#18752759) Homepage Journal
    I think one way to fix this is to devalue the main gTLDs. Right now there are very few gTLDs that anyone can register for any purpose. I think we need A LOT more gTLDs and train the public further that everything isn't '.com'. This will devalue the existing .com domains that people are squatting. Example gTLDs that I think should have open registration: .global .earth .tech .www .files

    So on and so forth. And if you act now, for only $100,000 you can register a custom non-reserved gTLD for your own purpose (subject to approval, id check, no squatters, etc.): .godaddy, .verisign, .linux, .microsoft, .???.

    This will make that $40,000 .com collection a lot less valuable. This isn't real-estate. It is virtual. When you run out of land on the Internet you just make more land! Well, that will be easier with IPv6, but you get the point. I think the reason why these tactics are occurring is due to the perceived limitation of the .com space. So what, who cares, just make more gTLDs.
    • Re:My Idea (Score:5, Informative)

      by rs79 (71822) <hostmaster@open-rsc.org> on Monday April 16, 2007 @02:30PM (#18753537) Homepage
      "I think we need A LOT more gTLDs"

      Holy 1995 batman.


      Date: Fri, 15 Sep 1995 12:40:30 -0700
      From: Jon Postel
      Message-Id:
      To: rick@uunet.uu.net
      Subject: Re: ISOC Statement on Domain Name Fees

      Rick:

      I think this introduction of charging by the Intenic for domain
      registrations is sufficient cause to take steps to set up a small
      number of alternate top level domains managed by other registration
      centers.

      I'd like to see some competition between registration services to
      encourage good service at low prices.

      I do think we need to proceed with some care, to understand what are
      the requirements and responsibilities of these service centers, what
      informatrion they have to provide to the community, what oversight they
      are subject to and by whom, etc.

      I'd be happy if you could help me come up with a plan for this.

      --jon
  • Profit motive makes the world a better place in every way... Right... If you believe that I've got a swamp to sell you.
  • by fishbowl (7759)
    I sold my domain name for $10,000 a couple of months ago. No regrets at all. But what I can't figure out, looking at what the guy who bought it used it for, why it was worth that much to him. All it is now, is a page with links, mostly to things I used to host on my site for my own purposes. Just seems weird.

  • One of my domains (not an important one for business, thank goodness) expired. It was registered through GoDaddy and I decided to allow it to expire and re-register it somewhere else. After the grace period had elapsed, where you can re-activate it for an absurd fee, I tried to register it anew with another registrar. Too late! A speculator had obviously noticed it was a domain that had expired and snatched it up. I was pretty angry. Since then the domain has been active and is a traffic catcher for w
  • I guess I have a hard time getting worked up about this issue of people registering typo-close domain names.

    Look, if you want to take a guess at a domain name and type it into your address bar in your browser, feel free. Maybe you'll get lucky and hit the real site, maybe you won't. I admit it, sometimes I don't bother with Google and I take a guess and just type in a domain.

    But if you REALLY want to be sure you're hitting the REAL web site of interest, just Google it! 99% of the time the site you really
  • Cybersquatter are scum and need to be delt with heck recently I suffered this issue when a cybersquatter took the domain name seconds after it came up for grabs. I suggest we educate people about the issue

    I have a family friedn whom I shall call "Bob", Bob likes to think hes tech savy (he is not) he has alot of money as well, one day at a family BBQ Bob made an appearence and told us about this great investment opportunity, for £1500 hes bought 50 web domains with adverts on, they adverts are pretty m
    • by Stevecrox (962208)
      Damm missed the preview button try the below for the grammar checked version

      Cybersquatter's are scum and need to be dealt with, preferably with penalties. Recently I suffered from cybersquatting when a cybersquatter took a domain name seconds after it came up for grabs. But instead of us all moaning about the issues they cause I suggest we educate people about the issue

      I have a family friend whom I shall call "Bob", Bob likes to think he's tech savvy (he is not) he has a lot of money as well. One day a

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