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What Should Happen To Expired Domains? 134

jathos asks: "It looks like Network Solutions is now refusing to release 'expired' domains back into the public domain. I've personally seen domains that have been expired for more than a month, yet NSI still insists that they are 'taken.' E-mail messages sent to NSI's tech support has incurred legalese responses basically telling me that I have no right to inquire about someone else's domain. Isn't it NSI's responsibility to release these names back into the public domain? Isn't it a violation of their charter if they do not? Furthermore, could they be holding back these domain names because they want to keep revenue from the other registrars (addition by subtraction)? See this message thread for more opinions." Expired domains really should be removed from the databases of registrars upon expiration. NSI does no one a service (except, themselves of course) by holding on to them. Since they now claim to 'own' all of the domains that are registered with them, what can one do?

A good example of why expired domains should be allowed back into the pool comes in the form of another question from Jonathan Mendelson: "I was recently searching to see if was available, and it surprised me to see that Network Solutions was holding it. I used the whois function to find out more, and I saw that their record expired on Nov. 14, 1999. This makes it appear that they are holding the domain illegally. Are they allowed to do this, and if not, is there any action that I can take to prevent them doing so? Is there any particular reason that they might be holding it, and might there be other domains with which they are doing the same?"

Of course, an answer (in the form of another question, obviously) might be found in this bit from conf00sledBynsi who asks:

"There is a domain name I am interested in, which is not being used. It was originally registered in March of 1988, and has not been reregistered, so it has 'lapsed' for over three months, but Network Solutions has not released it for re-registration yet. After a couple of emails to Network Solutions, I received the following reply:


Thank you for contacting Network Solutions.

The expiration date that shows in WHOIS is not the date that a domain name becomes available to be registered by another party.

The expiration date appears in the WHOIS database so that the registrant may be able to verify how long they have locked in there domain name registration.

The registrant still has until the end of the billing cycle before the domain name is deleted, and released to be registered by the public.

We do not release the date a domain name will be deleted from our database to third parties. Please continue to check the availability of the domain name on a day to day basis. As long as it is registered our system will not allow you to register the name. Once it is deleted, the name is able to be registered on a first come first serve basis.

There are no waiting list for domain name registrations.


Does anybody know how long their 'billing cycle' is, or what their algorithm is for determining when to release a domain name? For that matter, has anybody figured out their algorithm for when, exactly, during a particular day the database is updated?"

Could it be, that by arbitrarily defining their "billing cycle" NSI is able to hold on to domains that have been expired for years. I would think that your normal business cycle is measured in months so this seems rather fishy to me. Might NSI be squatting on their own domains?

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What Should Happen to Expired Domains?

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  • Well, technically NSI is no longer a monopoly. I think they need to get their head on straight and realize that they can't do whatever they want anymore! I think too many people are frustrated with their ever cryptic policies. Now that other players can give domains to people, this would definately constitute domain hijacking!

    CAD, kicked, good []
  • Why do we need NSI? Their customer service is terrible and they seem interested in becoming the Microsoft of domain name registration.

    How difficult would it be to replace them? The DNS database isn't complicated and shouldn't be difficult to replicate. The customer interface and billing software would be more complicated.

  • by Chairboy ( 88841 ) on Friday July 07, 2000 @08:55PM (#949510) Homepage
    As I understand it, it's not a matter of 'replacing' NSI, it's a matter of only doing business with the competing registrars as a protest to NSI's monopolistic practices.

    Network Solutions is abusing their unique position of power, first by claiming to own all domain names, and second by this fiasco.

    "DOJ, you've just gotten MS ordered broken up. How are you going to celebrate?"

    "I'm going to Disneyland, then I'm cracking heads at Network Solutions!"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, 2000 @08:56PM (#949511) :01-Feb-2000 :01-Feb-2000 :03-Feb-2000 :09-Feb-2000 :11-Feb-2000 :12-Feb-2000 :15-Feb-2000 :15-Feb-2000 :19-Feb-2000 :20-Feb-2000 :20-Feb-2000 :20-Feb-2000 :20-Feb-2000 :20-Feb-2000 :21-Feb-2000 :21-Feb-2000 :21-Feb-2000 :21-Feb-2000 :21-Feb-2000 :21-Feb-2000 :21-Feb-2000 :21-Feb-2000 :21-Feb-2000 :21-Feb-2000 :22-Feb-2000 :22-Feb-2000 :23-Feb-2000 :24-Feb-2000 :25-Feb-2000 :25-Feb-2000 :26-Feb-2000 :27-Feb-2000
  • by Phexro ( 9814 ) on Friday July 07, 2000 @08:57PM (#949512)
    this only furthers my opinion that nsi is evil.

    ever since they lost their monopoly, they have had the petulant attitude of a child deprived of a favorite toy. nsi needs to drop the bad attitude and focus on getting customers through superior service and cost. i suppose it can be hard to compete with the likes of joker [], who offers ~$12usd registration for a year, versus $35 - $85 to nsi.

    also, has anyone noticed that nsi seems to be giving themselves a rather large amount of domains? they have,,,,,,,, and - and that's just the ones i can think up off hand.

    i will never give a dime to nsi.


  • by barracg8 ( 61682 ) on Friday July 07, 2000 @09:00PM (#949513)
    I wonder if we will reach a point where people will find a way to start squatting.

    Cybersqutting is usually meant to mean buying a domain that you do not intend to use, to sting money out of people who will later want that name. This is more like cyber-real-estate-speculation.

    Squatting is when you make use of a property that you don't own, but that the owner isn't using. If people are going to register names, then leave them unused so they expire like this, then is it possible to start squatting in the domain?

    I guess squatting involves:

    1. Breaking in. (brute force password in some way?)
    2. Moving in. (set it to point at your IP)
    3. Swearing blind to the cops that you didn't actually break in, you just found it that way :P
  • by robt ( 197463 ) on Friday July 07, 2000 @09:01PM (#949514)
    An organization I work for had its web designer and maintainer recently go out of business. The defunct business arbitrarily placed the organization's website with a new third party host and vanished. After the group committed thousands of dollars to build a new website, I checked Whois to determine who was hosting their existing site. I was shocked to learn that their domain registration had expired 26 days earlier. I immediately called Network Solutions and, much to my relief, was told that there was a 30 day grace period on expirations. Without any assurance of being reimbursed, I took the responsibility to renew the registration for ten years--and was glad for the opportunity to do so!
  • I have my eye on one domain that expired Feb 07 2000... Its still in the NSI database...

    Looks like they purge whne they feel like it...

  • Personally, I don't think registering domains would be a viable or fun buisness for many people at this time. I mean, with putting up with angry customers saying "I want (fill-in-the-blank).com" and not being able to do anything about it would probably turn off many to this buisness. Also, with all the trademark problems with domain squatters &c. wouldn't be at all pleasing to deal with.

    However, on the other hand, NSI isn't helping at all with the lack of .coms by holding on to them. I suppose it's a catch 22.

  • How many on the millions of domains are registered with them ??

    I don't see a big motivation for them to change their ways anytime soon.. (it costs to leave them right?.. if you can actually get them to change your registration)

    All domains older then say a year are... Those are the domains that are expiring.. So they are all registered through NSI..

    Because of this fact there are also no other registers with bulk amounts of expired domains... so there is nothing to compare this to either...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The NSI is evil. Open Sourcing the registry is the only way to go.

    Only by eliminating all money will the world be free.

    Inspired by our leaders - ESR - we will conquer the world and make everyone free. Eliminating money, we will all starve. But we will be free.

  • Didn't a past /. post hint that Network Solutions was getting ready to auction off expired domains..

    Could be they are just holding a bunch until this new "service" of theirs is ready...

  • by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Friday July 07, 2000 @09:14PM (#949520)
    Through use of the nanotechnology described in John Sundman's Acts of the Apostles [], a well-funded and scientifically composed group of do-gooders could produce impeniterable nannites, with a payload of templates for a modified human genome map. The alterations of this map would reduce or eradicate the greed and idiocy genes of all involed at NSI.

    While this may seem an expensive endeavor, indeed, I believe that selling these expired domains back to their original owners (or to the public thereafter, should the offer be refused) at a reducced price should raise sufficient funds for such a project.

    For further humiliation, and as a warning to those who would follow in the footsteps of NSI, I also propose that sequences of genes be altered stamp all affected with the encoded phrase You have been owned by the Domain Name Liberation Front. This, of course, is purely optional and at the discretion of those who would lead this proposition to fruition.

  • If I wrote the rules, I would give the original owner of the domain name a reasonable fixed period of time, say, 90 days, to renew. After that, the name would go back up for grabs. Actually, that's probably more than enough time for the owner to cough up more dough.

    Why not release them immediately? It's one thing for someone other than Joe Domain to snap up immediately after Joe Domain lets his renewal slip. But a couple of months ago we had an incident...we host most of our sites with a certain hosting company who shall remain nameless. [] One client's domain name up and ceased to work one day. The client had paid us, we had paid the nameless hosting company...but the nameless hosting company had forgotten to pay NetSol, and this client had competitors who were dying to get their grubby little paws on his domain name. If that name had been released into the wild again right after it expired, there could have been a hell of a mess for us to clean up. So a reasonable delay, then, is good. Holding a domain name for a year or more is ridiculous. If Joe Domain hasn't renewed his name by then, NetSol oughta realize that he probably never will.
  • by jasno ( 124830 ) on Friday July 07, 2000 @09:19PM (#949522) Journal
    This may sound like lame, uninformed flame-bait, but why do we even need domain names?

    What about a distributed search engine type of approach? There's got to be some way of avoiding this kind of centralization and still manage the anarchy.

    Any Ideas?
  • Yes before the invention of money all the people starved to death. It wan only through the intervention of capitilistic aliens that all the people were resurrected and given economies so that they would not starve again.
  • by xercist ( 161422 ) on Friday July 07, 2000 @09:21PM (#949524) Homepage
    *sigh*...this is just another example of nsi acting irresponsibly without regard to the public they are (should be) serving.

    Back when I used them, I found that changing an IP for a name server was much harder than it should be (their systems will respond months later, sometimes never, even when simply responding that there has been an error in the 'automated' processing). Trying to find a phone number to call was quite hellish, and it took much searching through their site (cleverly designed not to let people find their number easily). Oh, yes, and it wasn't an 800 number either. Calling it, I'm immediatly put on hold for 45 minutes, only to talk to someone who claims 'I cannot help you, please call this number....'). I ask to speak to the supervisor, and here's what I find amazing -- he refuses! I ask him for his name - he refuses again, this time claiming he already told it to me!


  • Not to mention.. [] [] []

    and all the other domains that commercial had...
  • by xercist ( 161422 ) on Friday July 07, 2000 @09:24PM (#949526) Homepage
    "The expiration date appears in the WHOIS database so that the registrant may be able to verify how long they have locked in there domain name registration."

  • by ttyRazor ( 20815 ) on Friday July 07, 2000 @09:34PM (#949527)
    They're probably just trying to avoid ugly situations that might occur if someone misses the bills on and some squatter jumps on it faster than you can say Yet Another Precedent Setting Domain Name Related Lawsuit. Imagine if that domain that microsoft forgot to pay the bills for last christmas was snatched up by someone else. It doesn't make it right, but it could get really ugly if some high profile site let their domain slip and lost it to some idiot squatter.

  • It would be much easier to setup a competing DNS system that is completely open. Have an automated system to track registry of domain names.. first come, first serve with checks to make sure a person doesn't register more than X number of domains without putting them to use...

    Dude, shush!

    Don't try to talk people out of this, I want my damned impeniterable DNA-altering friggin' nannites! ;)

  • When in doubt use a different register? Several of the alt's are cheaper anyway. You can't force their hand but you can ask about policies such as this before picking who to register through.

    I could see a well documented and short waiting period after a domain expires before it was open to the public but anything over a month would be extreme I think. If someone hasn't noticed it's down by then well then I guess their site isn't very important to them. :) A good admin would update BEFORE the time limit was up anyway. The grace period would be just 'it got lost in the mail' forgiveness. The owner should be able to reregister through any of the competition also though.
  • It seems like it should be a relatively simple and profitable business. 99% of it could be automated. The only difficult part that I see is how to avoid getting caught in the legal crossfire over trademark disputes. The domain names should be first come, first served, unless you have a court order transferring the domain.
  • Well, as the article indicates 'has elapsed for three months'. Well, as far as I understand, NSI bills in yearly increments. So, would it not be safe to conclude that the end of a billing cycle would be one year from the date that registration expired?
  • Well, the chances of (and I just had to see if it really existed...hey, there used to be an, it could happen) letting their primary domain slip are slim to none. However, take one of our favorite litigation-happy companies for example. They have,, and, plus an assload of others I'm too lazy to look up right now. It's very possible that their Chief Gobbling-Up-Domain-Names-With-Potential-Typos Officer might overlook one or two when those kick the bucket, and have them snapped up by someone else with a legit claim to the misspelled trademark. IANAL (god, I've always wanted to say that), but while our litigation-happy friends might technically not have a leg to stand on, they would sure raise holy hell about it--not just with the new owner of the name, but with NetSol as well for letting it go.
  • It really would depend on how it's done. Can you be any more specific?

    If you mean to store the domain names in a distributed net (a gnutella [] type of thing) then every second porn site would be spamming it so and pointed to them - at least to the point where the same search went to different places depending on mostly random variables...

    Otherwise just storing search keys pointing directly to the site on a distributed network would probably end up with exactly the same sort of problem, wouldn't it?

  • So what's your email address again?

    mailto:jasno@street=main+st&city=bendoverandsqueal &region=arkansas&country=us

    or are you maybe


    methinks that could be a bit unworkable...

  • that shut down hotmail access for millions of people because Microsoft was late on a $35 check? Now they're apparently offering multi-year "grace periods". If anyone is good for the money, it's MS. Messed up.
  • I would definitely like to try out this scheme:

    1. Person A registers a Trademark "Garblefizz"
    2. Person B registers at NSI
    3. Person A sues NSI for Trademark violation (they own the domain, right?)
    4. Person A and B share the money :)

    Anybody wants to help?
  • when i searched on guess what came up? is unavailable, but would you like to try The name(s) below. Select the ones you want and click Continue. There are no restrictions on using .com, .net, or .org -- anyone can register them.

    Rock 'n Roll, Not Pop 'n Soul
  • Not quite. When the domain name expires, it ceases to function (as we found out during that nice little incident with the nameless hosting company). But it doesn't go back up for grabs right then (if ever). They still technically own it; they just can't use it.
  • Three guesses who owns and the first two don't count. ^_^
  • Yeah. Isn't this all so much better when they were a natural monoploy! Opening the domain market to competition and allowing the invisible hand to guide us has worked wonderfully, hasn't it!

  • I thought trademarks were only valid while they were actually being used to sell something. You could always start selling Garblefizz(TM) bottled water or something else that was simple to do.
  • Hey, if it worked for dumb-ass script kiddies trying to take over Nike's site (see this article []), then it is sure to work when no one actually cares about the domain.


  • Don't you hate forgetting to log in to SlashDot? :) I am posting this, so I can better track the above message.
  • Intersting... I checked. But even more interesting is that "owns"
  • That would more than adequately explain NSI's behavior. They have always been motivated by pure greed with no desire to make the net a better place. It's a disgrace that NSI is still in business. The central database needs to be recovered & companies who behave like NSI need to be removed from registrar status.

  • The thing that really bugs me is that whenever the name finally becomes available, odds are some company that specializes in grabbing domains (like will likely get it first.

    I think they have arrangements with registrars like NSI such that they get the list of names that are going to be released before anybody else, and can then take all the ones they want.

    The reason NSI is giving until the end of the billing cycle is so they can sell off large blocks of expired domains at once to these name-stealing services, saving a lot of hassles.

    The whole first-come first-served policy is a load of crap, there are preferences being offered here...
  • Why is Slashdot using cookies to track me even when I'm browsing anonymously? I just thought that I'd use Lynx on the G4 box at work for a change, and lo!.. cookie: anon=-1-TxAA6zKVJn Allow? (Y/N/Always/neVer)

    So, out of curiosity, I take a peek around the source of this very page I'm posting a comment from, and what's this?

    <IMG SRC=",963044601" WIDTH=1 HEIGHT=1>
    <IMG SRC=",963044601" WIDTH=1 HEIGHT=1>

    Does anyone else see anything wrong with this? I'm glad that I can use JunkBuster to filter images* I guess Rob will have to wait a bit until I start loading the banners again! Is this in the Slashcode tarball? If so, what does it do? If it isn't, why not? Could someone familiar with Slash please clarify this?

    Watch me get bitchslapped...


  • You can always sell Internet domains, they are the simplest...oh wait...
  • This exact same thing happened to me about a month and a half ago. I wanted to get a domain that expired. I was watching it very closly, because i knew that it was going to expire in a few days. Anyway, once it did expire, I requested NSI for the domain and they said that they wait about 3 weeks before they send the person a message. After that they shut down the webpage to get the person's attention. Anyway, I waited over a month and I still couldn't get it and the guy finally re-registered...Now I have to wait another year for his domain.
  • The time after which a domain should become available again was something that Icann [] was going to regulate, but at least has some set rules on in their REGISTRAR ACCREDITATION AGREEMENT, see this document where it says:
    5. Registrar shall register SLDs to SLD holders only for fixed periods. At the conclusion of the registration period, failure by or on behalf of the SLD holder to pay a renewal fee within the time specified in a second notice or reminder shall, in the absence of extenuating circumstances, result in cancellation of the registration. In the event that ICANN adopts a policy concerning procedures for handling expiration of registrations, Registrar shall abide by that policy.
    If I read this correctly, the reaction to Network Solutions should be 'If you have notified the original domain owner twice without any response, you should release the domain'. Maybe I should quote that when asking Network Solutions about releasing the expired domain that I am very interested in.

    This document should exist in a version signed by the CEO of Network Solutions, so not following these rules could be considered 'breach of contract'....

  • by Virtual Fish ( 105802 ) on Saturday July 08, 2000 @12:59AM (#949551)
    joker is cheapest if you have your own nameservers ... i don't (not everyone does :-) but there are other registrars out there who don't charge you for that ... e.g. [] register your dotcom domain for £8 (i think that's $12 but i would have to check :-) ... i did have a whole list of cheap registrars but not to hand

    ob-disclaimer: i don't work for them, but i have used them in the past and found them to be very good.

  • by Masem ( 1171 ) on Saturday July 08, 2000 @01:57AM (#949552)
    NSI has recently implemented a plan where expired domains are put into an auction such that they can get even more money for said domains. The slashdot discussion is here [].

    However this does not fully explain the results from this question. This policy above has only happened within the last month, but as others have pointed out on the thread, there are domains expired as far back as Feb.

    IANAL, but there's an interesting case here to watch for that could bring contract violation charges onto NSI. If, as suggested, they take those domains into their public auction but AFTER they changed the contract, would this not be violating that? It's understandable if you fall a day or two behind, but NSI is claiming they're months behind. If they are that far behind then they are being inefficient adn should lose their gov't contract by the same point. (And from my recent experience with other registers, the case appears isolated at NSI).

  • ...why shouldn't NSI own our domain names? Same thing, really.


  • I've bought 50 domain names for clients before now when they KNOW they'll only use one of them for the project. The others just lapse after a couple of years. NSI have to hide the deletion date otherwise the domain hogs would run a little script to hammer WHOIS and buy anything that expires on the second it does so.

    NSI are indeed very annoying and unhelpfull but the billing cycle argument holds true. I've paid bills on expired domains before they were deleted and brought them back from the dead.

    If you like the idea of a dead domain then [] lets you search the database of expired domains in the manner you normally search active ones.
  • Could it be, that by arbitrarily defining their "billing cycle" NSI is able to hold on to domains that have been expired for years.

    No, it's just people writing Slashdot stories without taking 2 minutes to research the question. Why bother to do that when you can make a conspiracy out of it, eh?

    The billing cycle is a year of course, as anyone who's ever registered a domain or bothered to read the payment policy should know. Duh.

  • My domain name was near expiration lately, and so I went to renew it another registar (
    I waited, and waited. 3 weeks later my domain expired, and NSI *LOCKED THE DOMAIN*. I emailed totalnic asking why my renewal had not gone through, and I was told that NSI had not approved the move to a CORE registar yet. So, NSI has my domain on hold, and I could not get it transferred to another registar. So I paid NSI their f***ing money.

  • by AtariDatacenter ( 31657 ) on Saturday July 08, 2000 @03:28AM (#949557)
    If you think your registrar has policies that work against you, switch! I used the Domain Name Buyer's Guide [] to select a new registrar to transfer my domains to. (Mind you, they do direct ICANN registrars only, not TUCOWS or CORE.) My choice? Gandi.Net [] provided an excellent value ($12/yr), and have what is probably the best legal policy around. Get THIS... The client owns the registered domain name. GANDI simply acts on the client's behalf.

    About Network Solutions... they're anything but even handed or consistant. Of course, in the past, they HAVE let expired domains go back into the public pool and be re-registered by another person. (Take ""... that was a customer at an ISP I worked for that let their domain name drop.) I know of many others. I also remember years ago they're harassing us and denying us a registration for "", even though it was not taken at all! They would not let us register it!

    Anyone who has had a great number of dealing with NetSol will have some war stories. This is definately a case where I'm going to vote with my dollars. I encourage others to do the same.

  • Hmm, that'd be great, but I tried one of their main competititors and could never get the name server for my domain set up. They kept telling me the addresses were not valid nameserver addresses. This went back and forth for two months and I finally tried registering the .net equivalent of the domain via NSI. Two days later everything was up and running.

    NSI might be evil, but they have a hell of a lot of experience working for them.

  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Saturday July 08, 2000 @03:42AM (#949559) Homepage Journal
    You could rewrite a few magic functions in the C library (man gethostbyname should give you most of the functions you'd want to replace) and replace DNS with a protocol of your own choosing. LDAP maybe? Or some anarchistic communal scheme. Though not many people would use it at first, I have a feeling more and more people will become disenchanted with the ICANN and the current registrars. Already having a different solution in place and well tested at that point could be quite worthwhile...
  • And last year didnt Microsoft forget to pay for That would have been interesting...
  • Not necissarily. If I write a letter to the editor of a newspaper (like commenting a /. article) it becomes their copyright. But if I pay a lawyer to help me trademark a name, should he own it?

    The difference is that we don't pay /. to comment, but we pay (or a registrar pays) netsol for a name. If it was free the might have the right to own it, but it would not be feasible for them to say so.

  • I once owned a domain of a company I was once a part of. I registered it in February, 1998. Back then, you could only register it for two years for the initial signup, so it would expire February 2000.

    I got a notice in February that it had expired, then a final notice a few weeks later. I had no intentions of re-registering it, since it was not valuable anymore, and the company had dissolved.

    Then, in mid-May, I got a letter from NSI saying that since I had not renewed the domain, it was now freely available to anyone who wanted it. If I wanted, there was an URL on the paper where I could go and directly re-register this domain, so no one else could take it.

    Sure enough, the domain is available. However, I don't like the idea that someone is given notice that the domain is expiring, then a final warning a month later, and then two more months go by (a total of THREE months now) before it "expires", and then notice given that anyone can register it.

    This is just begging for squatters to grab it again, with their "enticing deals" of cross advertising with VeriSign's products for businesses. I really wish that ICANN would start watching the registrars, maybe give NSI a final smack on the back of the hand, before it sends it to the corner with a loss of registration of .com, .net and .org if it doesn't play nice.

    Dragon Magic []
  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Saturday July 08, 2000 @04:03AM (#949563)
    Is it possible that we might need actual laws regulating the behavior, rights, etc of domain name holders, registrants and registrars? As often as I hear complaints about NSI and see for myself the shoddy, greedy business practices they pursue I wonder if maybe there shouldn't be some law(s) providing a framework for how domain name and registrar conflicts should be adjudicated.

    I know that federal laws are seldom the "solution" to anything, but the existing "watchdog" group ICANN seems powerless or unwilling to force NSI to change its business practices, and the alternative, the civil court process is expensive and doesn't provide a particularly just outcome, especially in light of the way NSI continually tweaks their user agreement the way Voyager rotates sheild harmonics to their own advantage.

    What I envision is a framework for domain names that spells out rights for owners, obligations for registrars, and overall rules (to combat squatting or other abuse), as well as "penalties" for violation -- which could include cash fines for registrars up to an including loss of registrar certification for repeated violation.

    It would be nice to have a due process system as well, although I'm wondering if it wouldn't make sense to instead encourage adjudication of disputes through binding arbitration with perhaps an e-arbitration system that would allow written submission of arguments to an arbitrator for timely and inexpensive adjudication.

    Does this solve more problems than it creates, or have I been spending too much time in good-government land lately? How the framework rules are established is entirely unstated -- since it would be federal law, I'd think that a panel of community experts could draft the initial set with debate/modification by congress. It's far from perfect, but giving so much power to NSI and then expecting market forces to straighten it all out is rather naive IMHO.

    I know that .com, .net, and .org are somewhat global in scope and that what I'm suggesting would be US-only in scope but as these are "supposed to be" US-only, applying US laws to these domains & registrars thereof only makes sense. Having the same system for non-US TLDs isn't totally out of whack.
  • by Syberghost ( 10557 ) <syberghost AT syberghost DOT com> on Saturday July 08, 2000 @04:17AM (#949564) Homepage
    What about a distributed search engine type of approach?

    Let's see, how would that work.

    First, you'd have to have some way of knowing where to start searching. Say, a file listing the sites that knew the further info. There could be several of them, say 13 of them for redundancy.

    Then, you'd need a standard protocol for talking to them.

    You could type a name into a search tool, and it'd use that standard protocol to go get the information.

    Each of those sites would have enough information to know where to go for the next part.

    You could break it up by words; so that, for instance, all of the 13 core servers would know where to go for information about .com, and then the servers that new .com would know who knew about, and then that server or servers would know about

    That would let you have as little or as much redundancy at each stage as you cared to.

    Then you would have to fully document that standard [] according to currently-accepted Internet documentation standards [].

    Would that do the trick?

    (serious mode on)

    We already have a distributed search engine approach to DNS. It has to be deterministic, however; you don't want somebody typing the address you gave them on your business card and getting your competitor's page.

    Or, worse; sending email to your email address and having it go to somebody else.

    "Here's your password for online ordering using your credit; we're sending it to what our search engine says is your address. Order away!"

  • I too have had numerous problems with NSI. More than I care to mention here. I've recently started migrating all of my domains to another registrar. It turns out the process is much easier than I anticipated. I chose as my new registrar because I like their management system (being able to see and configure all my domains via a web interface). I called their "transfer of registrar" 800 number at 10:00 on a week night. In two rings I got a live person on the phone. I told him what I wanted to do and he informed me that I would be incur a charge of $35, but that this would extend my domain registration by one year.

    While I was on the phone, he initiated the transfer. An email was sent to the registered point of contact listed in whois. It contained a link, which I clicked on. The link brought up a transfer agreement at a form in which I typed "I agree to the transfer" and clicked submit.

    Five days later, I got a notice from NSI that they had approved my transfer. A day later the domain showed up in and no more NSI.

    Bottom line, there are alternatives, and as consumers, we can speak with our $. It also gives me great personal pleasure to diminish NSI's revenue stream, because they have put me through hell many times in the past few years.

  • by Wellspring ( 111524 ) on Saturday July 08, 2000 @04:43AM (#949566)

    I think domain names have a good use. Distributed approaches lose accountability (ie how do you convince someone that you are the 'official' site for something?). Also, you need a consistent way to lead people to your site-- search engines will return multiple possibilities rather than the specific site you want people to go to.

    But as the guy who wants to burn all TLDs , I do agree that we need to move to a more elegant system for universal addressing (I favor, basically, the idea of having everything being a TLD-- so unless you are a gov site or edu site, your TLD is your domain name). Ultimately, there will need to be addresses, and with those will go trademark and property issues.

    What disappoints me about this NSI thing is that it is such pathetic customer service. Their draconian agreement, high price and poor service is going to screw them sooner or later-- we can just register with companies which are more on the ball. In the long run, companies which don't produce a useful product get swept aside. Legal sneaky games and clever tricks might help you a little on the margin, but you can't build your business on it. Unless you are a trial lawyer. But I digress....

  • by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Saturday July 08, 2000 @05:02AM (#949567) Homepage

    And last year didnt Microsoft forget to pay for That would have been interesting...

    Major point: Microsoft did not forget to pay for Network Solutions screwed up and sent the notifications to the old billing contact at Passport Radio, the company that had sold to Microsoft.

    This brings up another good reason to not immediately put a domain name up for grabs: Network Solutions could end up in a world of hurt had they further screwed up and let someone else grab

    There needs to be a well-documented, fixed time period (90 days after the expiration date seems reasonable) after which a domain name is available.


  • It looks like NSI is holding
    This being significant for two reasons...

    Lunix is the often used mispelling for Linux... is the user group page for a Linux user group.

    Lunix is also a Unix like system for the Commodore 64.

    Now... if the author of Lunix wanted the domain he can't have it. Thanks to NSI.

    (I rember at one point seeing a page offering the domain for sale but thats gone.. it now clames the domain is just waiting for a page to go up.. as a rule you don't see those pages becouse the author usually gets to the website pritty quickly)

    Now say NSI grabbed the name of a new busness and waited for that busness to go for it's Internet home. What then?

    Say a busness gose under... the domain reverts to NSI and the busness name is sold. The new owner wants his domain. But NSI won't let go.

    Now on this domain...

    It seems NSI has a webhosting service. Thow I've seen nothing on it byond a larg amount of websites hosted by NSI.
    While it's not odd for a webhosting service to be relitively obscure. Even one by such a larg company like NSI and it's not odd to find a default page for a new website.
    It is odd to find so many such pages from one source. Thies pages usually stay idle for a long time and that is odd.
    Normally a person would jump into the website as soon as it's live. Often before the domain will accually resolve.
    Now it seems odd that a person with the time and energy to research web hosts.. find and chouse NSIs hosting service and then not have the time to do anything with the site.
    Odd but it might happen... on occasion... but this would be like... really rare...
    Somehow some mystical reason... huge numbers of people research find and chouse NSI then mysticly become overloaded and can't work on the page itself.

    In plain terms... NSI is hosting the site themselfs there isn't a user. It's just a placeholder so no one can have the domain.

  • by dagashi ( 60865 )
    i've been watching a domain supposed to 'expire' a month ago and im sick of it. lets all tell icann how nsi are behaving!
  • I have been hosted with NSI in the past, and I can
    say that I am disappointed with there conduct as a
    business, and their performance as a hosting company. I would encourage people to take their business else where.
  • I forgot to pay NSI to renew my registration. I stopped getting email for two days and quickly realized the problem. I just went to NSI, paid the bill, and was back in business. I didn't have to worry about re-registering and nobody could steal it in the few days that my payment was late.

    It was nice to have that grace period, but after 30 days or so I think that the names should be released. If the owner hasn't realized that it has been 'repossesed' in 30 days then the really don't want it that much.

  • The government should hand over NSI's contract to the Department of Motor Vehicles. The DMV couldn't do a worse job. After waiting an hour in line at least you get to talk to someone.
  • Before money there was barter...
    Before that people pritty much had what they made for themselfs. Some times sharing with others.
    Barter came becouse someone wanted something someone else had.

    Before you can abolish money you MUST find a reasonable alternitive. (Socalism isn't a reasonable alternitive.)

    For domain names a reasonable alternitive is what the domain name service was before it became a busness.
    In fact I'm more than a tad pecved at the way NSI handles domain names.

    A solution to Network Solutions (A solution to a solution? circles within circles... swerllying wheeee) an alternitive service...

    Start the domain service from scratch... new protocal.. new software... GPL the whole mess.
    Make a version of the software with the BSD liccens and had it over to the BSD people.
    Convence Sun and Apple to support it (not easy) and Netscape (in browser so it dosn't need to be supported in OS).

    Then do what all the the TLDs do... send postal mail to EVERY domain holder saying "get your service name for FREE.. Don't pay to protect your domain.. just get it for free..."

    Then... pray... It's not as simple as I make it... It may take a small sacrafice to make it posable. Who do we place on the alter... hmmmmm
  • Since when are 1x1 GIFs with tracking numbers considered ads?


  • My company owns several domains (for use as IRC vhosts), several of which are registered with NSI. We planned to move all domains that were still registered with NSI to other, cheaper, registras as soon as they expired.

    Recently one of those domains expired, but we had forgotten about it so didnt terminate it the day before the expiry. We didnt remember till a week later when I finaly recieved the Final Notice from NSI (how kind of them, one bit of paper telling us to pay before a date a week before :-P).

    We thaught that they'd just delete it and we'd be able to re-reg our domain straight away... but no, they carried on holding onto it. So I tried to terminate the domain.. I got the auto replies from their system, but it was never deleted.

    I am now left with one of our domains unusable, and no way to get it back. As you can imagine I am quite ****ed off with NSI over this as I'd very much like to be able to re-reg the domain.
  • by (deleted - SCI) ( 207889 ) on Saturday July 08, 2000 @06:04AM (#949576)
    Well, technically NSI is no longer a monopoly...

    Actually, they are. NSI is still the monopoly on the Central Registry. No matter who you register through ...,, etc., that registrar has to pay NSI a fee to put you in the central registry.

    Frankly, I think this runs counter to the concept of independent registries. I'd even go so far as to say that the central registry owner should not be allowed to compete with other registrars by selling names directly to the end user.

    They act like a monopoly, too. Remember when their (monopoly) contract was taken away by the same US Department of Commerse that granted it? The Govt had to allow allow extension after extension. Then they similarly 'negotiated' with ICANN, when ICANN is supposed to regulate them.

    Fundamentally NSI is holding DNS hostage. They can do (or more specifically, 'allow' through pretend negligence during a handover) enormous damage to the integrity of the system and nobody wants that. I'd almost be tempted to say we should take the hit now (i.e it will only get worse with time) but too many people are hoping to avoid 'the great DNS blackout of 200X' altogether.
  • How difficult would it be to replace NSI?

    Well, the problem is simple. They can cause a lot of people a lot of problems if they try to obstruct the changeover. They can pretend negligence on this ("it is no longer a priority"), and they have done this many times.

    I, for example, have been fighting to get the registry entry on my domain name corrected for a long time (eight months) but they simply refuse to make the changes. Twice I was asked "why it mattered so much to me" that the owner e-mail was correct, when the rest of the entry (including technical contacts) was fine [duh - billing!]. Once I was asked point blank, in an accusing tone, if I was planning to transfer my registration.

    You bet I am. Even if I wasn't before, I'd do it now, after dozens of calls, letters and faxes have gone ignored. (BTW, while others have had much better experiences, I have never had anything fixed by NSI in under 2 months, three calls, and two written correspondences...

    Except payment (due to their mistakenly putting me down for a 1-year reg when I paid for more, my domain name expired for several days last year. Of course all e-mail went to my erroneous e-mail address. Paying for another year with them is the only cost-effective way to resolve this when delay means more days off-line. The reinstatement started propagating within hours of my e-payment.
  • They're webbugs designed to keep track of people through a site. Looking through the source I decided to see where that tracking number is used elsewhere.

    Why looky...
    <A HREF=" article,apcc0017en"><IMG SRC=" gif?5642376112" WIDTH=468 HEIGHT=60 ALT="Click Here!"></A><BR>

    The number is associated with the banner ad. I'm real curious as to what is going on here. I don't see the number being submitted directly to the advertiser but I'm curious as to why this number is associated with the ad like that.
  • Basicly research valid alternitives for money. In some cases money is totally inaproprate in the first place.
    So we go after areas where money is totally unsuted and existing systems are better suted.
    Example... Domain Name Service.. PRE NSI it workes great.
    And Software... free software is preferable to commertal software.

    Start with areas where matereal goods are not used. Such a value system. Your value as a person is rated by the value of your contrabution.

    As this takes over it may be posable to barter credability for matereals the way actors and other well known people sell themselfs to endorce products. The rules that normally apply (The product must be worth it or you come off as a sellout) are increased by a magatude of 10.

    "I drive Ford trucks..." - The author of xLifeScan.
    (He drives em becouse Ford gives em to him.. in trade for his endorcment)

    However for a total elimination of money or at least a reducntion by less than 75% of the population relying on it you MUST find valid alternitives to matereals and costly services. (Not all inetelctual propertys can be produced with out encuring costs or expiring matereals)
    [Expering matereals... words chosen carefully... you can use and reuse many matereals... some [paper] are single use or have a limited reuse value.. thus they expire on use and incure a matereal cost]

    If valid systems can be found, accepted, welcomed and addopted for ALL matereals and services then we are well on the way to abolishing money.

    If addoption of such systems reached 40% we will have proven the modle. At 60% we are at general acceptence. 75% the modle has dominated.

    A requirem of 1% for credits or whatever for some may be required. At such a point an unusual occuence shall happen... At that point.. for the first time in history... the only people to have money will be the poor....

    This may not be posable... and if anyone wishes to undertake this goal beforward... It will not happen in your lifetime... unless your immortal... and even then... you never know...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    While I don't like NSI's policies and business practices, I have used, and continue to use NSI to register and manage my domains. Why?? They seem to be the best bet for being there 10 years from now.
    The pricing for joker, gandi, etc. is attractive, but if I register for 10 years at NSI, it's $350, for joker or gandi, it's $120 (or so) $240 is a great savings, but in 5 years, how do I know that they will be in business? (Also, they are not US based companies which presents additional potential problems (such as international long distance for support, and being subject to another country's laws and regulations concerning contract and posssibly content)
    NSI ain't the best, but for now, I don't have enough faith in the others.
  • by (deleted - SCI) ( 207889 ) on Saturday July 08, 2000 @06:35AM (#949581)
    Don't think it's so easy to 'do business with others' if you already have a domain (I have domains going back 5 years)

    1) your registrar still has to pay NSI a fee.

    2) they can and will refuse to acknowledge the transfer on any minor technicality. And if that technicality is an error in their customer data -- as it often is, you'll have the devil's time getting it corrected (in my experience)

    3) The dirty secret of their 'auction' is that it really hides the fact that it guarantees that any NSI-registered domain is registered via NSI by the new owner.

    4) NSI expressed doubts as to my 'validity' and refused to honor a transfer of one of my domains last year (I'd have been okay if my ISP had cooperated, but they seemed frightened of having to learn to learnother registrars, or registrar transfers, and actually chastised me for trying to leave NSI) So, since it was a minor domain, I let it expire, figuring I could probably pick it up via another registrar in a few weeks/months. No dice. I ended up re-registering the expired domain via NSI (with a check, hoping that I could use the correct info on the check as proof). They took my money but still refuse to correct my info (even though the e-mail address and phone number they had for me are both dead now)
  • The reason NSI is giving until the end of the billing cycle is so they can sell off large blocks of expired domains at once to these name-stealing services, saving a lot of hassles.

    I disgree. I think the reason they hold suctions is reduce the chances that the name will be registered via some other registry. Basically, if you buy at auction, you end up registering via NSI

    This, in effect, gives preference to 'devoted NSI customers' (which soon will mean: "anyone willing to do business with us vs. all those geek scum") and assures that once a name is registered with NSI, it will be re-registered with NSI
  • It's pretty clear in their user agrement that you can't sue them. their only liability is to correct any error (and in my experience, it'd take a lawsuit to get them to do *that*)
  • I went to NSI's website about a month ago and paid the renewal fee. I was three days late, which appears not to be a problem. The charge went through on my credit card, but the whois entry still shows it expired 8 June. Emails have gone unanswered.

    I'm going to They even offer free DNS service.
  • Learn to read. At the top of the page

    "The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. Slashdot is not responsible for what they say. "


  • God I love having alternatives to NSI.
  • Check Slashcode []. The module (I believe it's called mod_adbanner) was released a week or so ago.
  • Read the requirements to become a registrar []. Check out II.D.1.b.ii which is:

    D. General Obligations of Registrar.
    1. During the Term of this Agreement:
    b. Registrar shall comply, in such operations, with all ICANN-adopted Policies insofar as they:
    ii. do not unreasonably restrain competition.

    Looks like NSI couldn't be a registrar if they weren't already. Of course II.D.2.i has some language that is confusing to me that might allow them to.
  • The problem is not that the database is central by nature, it is meant to be distributed. The problem is that the authority over those databases is central.

    What is really needed is a distributed authority and a protocol to support that. The cost of entry would be a requirement to contribute a server to act as a root server and whois. Any one of those servers can claim a domain name by contacting any other root (owned by someone else) and agreeing to a timestamp (with crypto signature). The timestamp and domain name is then propogated to all roots and becomes provisional. If no other claim for that domain comes in with an earlier timestamp before the handshake completes, that name becomes registered.

    The above is just one suggestion, I would like to hear others.

  • I think most everyone who reads slashdot would be in agreement that NSI holding on to domains is a bad thing. So instead of asking what everyone thinks about this and beating a dead horse, lets offer some alternatives and solutions.

    Like, a boycott of NSI. Lets do some research into other registrars, find out which are the good ones, and use them instead. Also, getting the world out about NSI and it's tactics would be a another way.

  • The problem with eliminating TLDs is compressing the namespace. Imagine if all of the .coms immediatly claim their TLD. Now there is no room for the .net .org etc. The namespace is too small now.

    Really, it's about the same as real estate. There's not enough room in sillycon valley so the price of EVERYTHING there goes up. Businesses pay it because it is a desireable address. (SV = .com). Meanwhile, there's many acres of cheap land to be had in other states that the tech industry is NOT flocking to even though the land is perfectly good and the infrastructure is there simply because it is not as fashionable (other places = .cx etc).

    The solution to the above is NOT to nuke everywhere else nor is it for SV to annex the world.

    We DO need more TLDs, and some way to educate the masses that .com is not the only adress in the world. Then we need to find a way to convince businesses not to clutter up things by registering everywhere in the world.

  • when I closed down my software company, I let the domain name lapse (of course)

    I was fairly shocked to go to the site after it had expired, and find that a company had taken the name and was squatting on it.

    Struck me as an extremely slimey, underhanded thing to do. (note: this name was one that was very unique, the name of the software company, and couldn't possibly be of any use to anyone else)

    I can't imagine any purpose for grabbing a domain, and sitting on it, other than to try to extort money from the previous owner if they forget to pay the bill. I'd imagine there are companies with scripts that scan the available names every few minutes, and grab any which become available.

    Imagine if the whole microsoft / hotmail thing had happened now, if domains can be grabbed once they expire.

    1995: Microsoft - "Resistance is futile"

  • Personally, I use []. Twelve Euro's (~ $12, US) is pretty good for a domain. But if you want to do your own research, check out the Domain Name Buyers Guide []. They rate registrars by price, leagal contract, and best overall. It's well worth a look.
  • Part of the problem is that the TLDs weren't developed with the idea that soon there'd be umpteen billion websites. None of the growth of the Internet was adequately planned for.

    I like the system Canada is using. If you are publishing a personal web page, your address is www.[whatever]

    The only way you get provincial or national domains is if you are a registered business. National domains go to businesses that are federally registered (do business in more than one province).

    There can not be name collisions with this system. If a company has a federal registration, no other business can register the same name. A smart company will also trademark their name, offering further protection against infringement.

    As well, owners of a national domain own all the provincial domains as well. There will never be a www.[whatever].ca and www.[whatever] I suspect provincial owners also own all the city domains.

    The result is that for a person/company in BC: a) for the personal webpage "goatsluts," your domain will be b) for a business offering goatslut services as a BC-registered company, it'll be c) for a national goatsluts business, it'll be

    The only flaw in this system so far is that those people who own web pages that use a company tradename may risk losing their domain if the company registers its domain (national > provincial > city).


    The .com TLD goes to multinational companies, and can only be registered for their tradename and trademarks. They can not register generic domains (, only domains for products (, trademarks ( and tradenames (

    The country code TLDs go to big businesses with national registration. Same rules apply as for the .com domain.

    The state/province domains go to small businesses, ones that are not nationally registered. Same rules as above.

    City/county-specific domains go to businesses as well. This allows franchises and such to deal with their local community.

    New TLDs are created for other uses.

    A .xxx/.sex domain is needed, without a doubt. It's open for businesses and people, with no rules about names: you can register phrases, words, tradenames, trademarks, what-have-you. No country/state/city codes are mandated. If you want them, you can have them (allowing to list prices for the locals).

    The .org domain goes to registered non-profits. The big user groups and so on will have to get a bit more formal. Non-profits that operate as a business (Oxfam & such) will probably also want to register their .com/.cc domain.

    International non-profits get a plain .org; national/state/provincial ones will be in the appropriate form of

    The naming rules of the .coms applies to .orgs.

    Note that a lot of community groups (ARSTechnica, PlanetNameYourGame) are profitable ventures and would be registered as .com/.cc entities. If they want to the TLD entry, they'll have to provide proof of international business registrations!

    Where do personal pages fit in? As sub-domains of a country code. I suggest There are no naming rules: you can use tradenames, trademarks, phrases, words, whatever. And, no, companies can't shut you down for using a trademark or tradename: the "personal" subdomain makes it very clear that this is *not* a business page.

    I'm not stuck on naming it "personal," but it does have to make it clear that the page isn't a business-authorized one. An internationally-recognized word would be good.

    ISPs will be responsible for not allowing business to be conducted on personal pages. No ad banners, no shopping carts, no promoting one's business.

    The enforcement rule: if someone wants your domain name and discovers that you're doing business, they'll report you to your ISP, and you'll lose your domain. Ergo, you *can* sneakily do business on a page, but you're at risk of losing it if you're successful. 'cause if you're successful, you should be a registered business (otherwise you take the far greater risk of having your ass nailed to the wall for tax evasion!)

    Most registrations will be handled by the country represented by the .cc TLD, however they see fit (could be a government service; could be privatized; could be contracted to NSI, even). The international domains will be handled by NSI. The key advantage to all this is that it opens up the domain name space.

    It sensibly restricts what names businesses can use, while opening up all possibilities for private users.

    It eliminates camping: businesses own their trademarks/tradenames, and .personal users aren't going to cough up big bucks.

    It recognizes that non-competing businesses (ie. businesses in different states/countries) may want to register the same name (and differentiates them by the postfix).

    It recognizes that big businesses own their names/marks, and that little businesses don't get to name themselves after a national/international business.

    In short, it seems to work very well, and for that reason alone will probably never come to pass...


  • There seem to be conflicting stories about how hard/easy it is to move your domains away from NSI, so should try to transfer to a new registrar and tell us how it went.

    This will have a few cool effects:

    • If everything goes smoothly for a high profile, valuable domain (without them having to release their lawyers!) then that's good news;

    • If things go badly, NSI will get lots of bad press;

    • If things go really badly, and slashdot loses their domain name as a result, NSI will be in the middle of a serious shitstorm: they'd have to answer a lot of questions about their screwed up practices to major news media, and it might actually result in them changing.

    Failing that, how about someone collect a summary of peoples' experiences trying to change registrars?

    If I believed it would work, I'd change all of my domains away from NSI, but I don't want to risk losing any of them, so I'm not gonna be the guinea pig...

  • by AtariDatacenter ( 31657 ) on Saturday July 08, 2000 @10:13AM (#949604)
    Mind you, I'm sure NetSol will have a good [fake] explanation for this.

    As shown in a previous message, "" is one of the domain names that have expired back in February, yet is still unavailable for re-registration. Here are the revelant parts of the WHOIS information:

    Domain Name: ICY.COM
    Record last updated on 08-Mar-1999.
    Record expires on 15-Feb-2000.
    Record created on 14-Feb-1996.
    Database last updated on 7-Jul-2000 16:34:07 EDT.

    Go to Network Solution's Home Page [] and try to register "". You can't. Netsol says "Sorry, is not available.". Fair enough. So, I've decided that on behalf of the owner of, I'm going to pay his bill. So I go to the NSI Online Payment System []. I enter "" as the domain I want to make a payment on. Here's the response I get:

    Related information could not be retrieved for the domain. This could be because:
    1.The top level domain is not a com, net, or org.
    2.An invoice number could not be created for this domain.
    3. The invoice number given does not match with that in the database.

    Well, it isn't #1, and it isn't #2. It certainly isn't #3 because I did a lookup by the domain name, not the invoice number. And if I enter a domain name that completely doesn't exist, I get a different error:

    Related information could not be retrieved for the domain. This could be because:
    1.The domain information has not yet been processed or updated into the database.
    2.You entered an incorrect domain name.

    So, the domain name can't be registered. Okay. The domain name can't be renewed either. (Netsol *might* try to claim that they can do it with an invoice number -- but COME ON. Why would it be blocked in their automated payment system? I'm sure they'll have a good lie for this one.)

    Network Solutions is making up the rules as they go along, and they need to have their feet held to the fire and be accountable for their actions. Someone ought to sue them over this.

  • Bah. I don't believe the Domain Name Buyers' Guide one bit. Not only does their information appear out of date, but they seem *way* too biased as well. The Domain Registration system is screwed up enough as it is, we don't need people like that spreading misleading information around.
  • The problem is not that the database is central by nature, it is meant to be distributed. The problem is that the authority over those databases is central.

    What is really needed is a distributed authority and a protocol to support that.

    It's thirteen different servers now for the root, and millions once you go below the TLD. How distributed do you want it?

    BTW, those thirteen are not owned by a single company. They're owned by companies, and military sites, and government sites.

    They're not even all in the United States.

  • There is a company in California with a company name and domain name that is the name of a piece of software that my company designs. The CEO asked me to register the domain since he tried to browse to it and it didn't come up. Well, this was true but the whois information says:

    Record expires on 07-Jun-2000.
    Record created on 06-Jun-1995.
    Database last updated on 8-Jul-2000 18:43:43 EDT.

    I tried to register it on the 8th of June thinking that an expiration date meant that the registration expires on that day, but no. So I called Network Solutions.

    Apparantly the expiration date means nothing. It's not accurate and is designed to make it so that technical people that know to check whois information for expiration dates don't have "an unfair advantage over non-technical people in the battle to get the rights to a domain." This is honestly what they told me.

    Personally I'm sick and tired of their shit. I think it's high time we do something about it. Now, I'm not exactly a major activist or anything, but I'm going to write a letter to them listing domains that are not released and the names of people that are complaining. I hope I don't crash my ISPs mail server with a /. effect, but if you want me to add your name and/or a domain that isn't released e-mail me. Hell, I'm doing this for work anyway, so why not get a group effort behind it.

  • The good news is that if you go to another registrar when renewal comes around (e.g. []), it goes through smoothly in recent months, and you just saved $20 and your soul, maybe.

    The bad news is that first Net Sol sends you a threatening 'late reminder' bill, addressed to the billing contact. Not much real threat there. Then a couple weeks later they send a threatening bill to the "CEO/President" of the registrant, announcing that the billing contact, who is named, has failed in renewing the domain, and that you better get your ass in gear and send 'em their 35 bucks or you're sold down the river. Now, this even happens after, in response to the first billing, you e-mailed them and - wow! - actually got an answer back that sure things were cool. They're just gonna try to bill your boss anyhow and get your ass in the fire.

  • Paid for or not, ICY.COM in DNS. WWW.ICY.COM even has a web server attached to it, but it asks for a password even for the index page. ICY is registered as the "International Chinese Yellowpages". It's routed to a server at [], a New York based ISP and content developer which claims "tremendous operational experiences and skills on the Internet".

    As for that error message, I've seen it a few times when Network Solutions was having a bad day. But I thought they'd fixed that.

  • On a side note, I would like to comment on the fact that NSI now seams to be offering domain names for free for 90 days. The deal is, you register a domain name and you get to use it for free for 90 days. At the end of 90 days, the registrant can either pay to continue using the domain, or they can lose it.

    I read through NSI's FAQ on the subject, but I didn't see where they said what really happens to domain names that aren't paid for after 90 days. I am seriously concerned that they might not be imediately released as they should be. If you look at all of the 'interesting' things that NSI has been doing and tie them all together .. well ... As it stands now:

    1. Joe Schmoe can register a domain name for 90 days for free. Considering how cheap most people are, guess who's going to take a lot of business away from the other registrars. The fact that someone feels they need to 'try out' a domain name for 90 days hints that these people aren't serious about owning the domain name and, more likely than not, will let it 'expire' after the 90 days. This will also be a very popular with domain speculators who won't pay for the domain if it doesn't sell within the 90 days.

    2. NetSol doesn't say exactly what happens to those free domains that exire after 90 days.

    3. NetSol doesn't say exactly how long names are expired before they are released back to the domain pool.

    4. NetSol has a new 'service'where they have decided to auction off expired domains to the highest bidder rather than release them back into the pool like they should.

    Does everyone see where I am going with this? This isn't exactly normal merchandise now. Either you need/want the name or you don't. You'll have to pay for it sooner or later and if you can't cough up $12 for it sonner, then you obviously really don't need/want it. I forsee many, many people registering a free domain just because they can and have no intention of really keeping it. Then when the names expire and aren't paid for, NSI puts them on the auction block to 'recoup their costs' and to do whatever else with the extra money. It all sounds a little too well timed and convenient if you ask me. They are just flat out abusing their past, total monopoly and current, practical monopoly. This is just another example of why I support a floating DNS-root, but that's another rant for another time.

    So .. my question once again is:

    1. What exactly are they doing?
    2. Better yet, what is ICANN going to do about it, if anything?

    My answers to these questions are:

    1. I think I spelled it out prettly clearly
    2. Nothing, except maybe take a cut behind their closed doors.
  • > Paid for or not, ICY.COM in DNS.

    That goes to show even further that there is more manual manipulation of this. Why wasn't DNS cut off? The domain was expired in February, hasn't been turned off, can't be re-registered, and can't be paid for! What the hell is NetSol doing?

  • BTW, those thirteen are not owned by a single company. They're owned by companies, and military sites, and government sites.

    Yes, the database itself is distributed. The problem that I was getting at is that the ability to alter the database is centralized. The registrars have the authority to request that the database be altered, but it all still has to go through NSI.

    When I say a distributed authority, I mean a system where the various registrars actually have the ability to directly update the root servers. In order to limit cheating, I suggest that the update require an authenticated request from one registrar and a signature from another. The next step is to make sure that anyone with an adequate setup can easily become a registrar (Tucows is close to that with their resale system).

    It doesn't matter if there are 1,000,000 independantly owned root servers if only one entitity has the authority to update them.

  • My personal favourite: []
    12 Euros for a domain with basic (free) dns hosting. No legal strings or ties (ICANN dispute policy) and no hassles changing and configuring your data. Sweet
  • Why the hell is the dns system privatized anyway? I mean, the internet is at *least* part of national infrastructure, and more logical international. Why doesn't some UN department run this? Why is the internet, almost a public service, in the hands of a couple corporations in the first place? Shouldn't NATIONS be the ones voting for TLDs for their country, etc?
  • A judge ruled that domain names aren't property and therefore...

    I don't mean to be flippant, but a judge with jurisdiction over what area? If a French company says its my property when I buy it from them, can a judge over a completely different part of the US have any weight on the contract?

There's a whole WORLD in a mud puddle! -- Doug Clifford