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The Internet

NetSol To Do Domain Name Auctions 240

merrell writes: "It appears Network Solutions/InterNIC will be auctioning off any domains that have not been paid for. Apparently, they meant to do it soon; they sent out an e-mail to all "business partners" (ISPs who register a lot of domains on behalf of customers) saying that, "If the domain name is not paid for or is deleted by June 28, 2000, it will be entered on the NSI auction site. Any proceeds from the sale of the name (up to the full amount of the registration fee) will be retained by NSI and the domain name will be transferred to the successful bidder." I don't know if this is a one time thing, or ongoing, but apparently they are doing this without really consulting domain holders. I own three domains myself, and I am not particularly happy about this."

Here's an "official" email I've gotten.

Domain Name: XXXXX.COM
Creation Date: 03/28/2000

June 22, 2000

Kohn Doe

Important Message Regarding a Modification to Your Domain Name Registration Service Agreement

Dear Customer,

Network Solutions' records indicate that you are the Administrative Contact for the domain name listed above, but we have not yet received payment for our services, as your agreement with us requires. We have already sent two notices to the registrant's billing contact and have deactivated, but not deleted, your registration. We are now modifying your agreement to provide you with three options to satisfy your payment obligation and avoid collection agency action. The options are:

1. PAY: Pay in full by June 28, 2000 at: Upon payment in full, the registrant will enjoy the balance of their term of service and full rights to their domain name under the agreement. PLEASE DO NOT SEND A CHECK. Payment must be made online.

2. DELETE: reply to this email by June 28, 2000, instructing us to delete your Name immediately and we will do so. You will still be liable for payment in full and may be subject to collection agency action.

3. AUCTION: if you do not PAY or DELETE as above by June 28, 2000, we will enter the domain name in Network Solutions' new auction site in an attempt to satisfy the registrant's payment obligation. Any and all proceeds that we receive from the transfer of your domain name registration (up to the full registration fee) will be retained by Network Solutions and your domain name will be transferred to the successful bidder. By selecting this option, you hereby authorize us to act as your contact to perform all necessary actions relating to the auction and transfer of your domain name registration.

If this domain name account lists your hosting provider as the billing contact, please contact them directly. For others, please call our customer service at 1-800-779-1710 from the United States and Canada. Outside of these areas, call (703) 742-4777 Monday - Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. We hope this modification to your agreement is helpful to you.


Network Solutions(R)
A VeriSign(R) Company

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NetSol To Do Domain Name Auctions

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  • If you care, here is the company profile on Network Solutions [].

    John S. Rhodes [] -- Industrial Strength Usability
  • wouldn't be getting threating letters from NSI. Do you complain about the electrical company when it disconnects you for not paying your bills? NSI is far from perfect, but they're entirely within their rights on this one - you agreed to pay them for services, you didn't pay them, and now they're turning off the service.

    The only thing that makes this more interesting than a normal utility is that the service is distinctive - if you had and NSI transfers it, you can't just start paying the bill again to get service back. You'll never be able to get that service again, unless the new owner doesn't want it anymore.

  • It was complete with indents and ">" characters, as shown... Funny thing is, I don't recall that the business account agreement makes us liable for non-payments of our customers. Not that it matters, since we pay domain fees anyway as part of our service.

    From: Business Account <>
    Subject: Please Read: Important Announcement from NSI to Business Account Members

    > Dear Premier/Business Account Program Members:
    > Network Solutions, Inc. (NSI) is implementing a new practice that could
    > eliminate, or at least reduce, your obligation to pay us for your
    > customers that have failed to pay for our domain name registration
    > services. As you are aware, pursuant to the terms of your
    > Premier/Business Account Agreement with us, you are liable to us for
    > delinquency fees for the unpaid registrations of customers that you refer
    > to us. Effective immediately, we are providing your domain name
    > registration customers with an opportunity to satisfy their payment
    > obligation to us by placing their delinquent registration in our new
    > auction site. If such actions result in a transfer to a new registrant
    > through the auction site, the proceeds we receive from the transfer (up to
    > the full amount of the registration fee) will be retained by us to satisfy
    > your customer's registration fee. In such event, you will no longer have
    > the obligation to pay the delinquent registration fee.
    > We believe this to be a sound and reasonable course of action for
    > customers who register domain names, but refuse to pay for services
    > rendered. We also believe that these actions will alleviate the payment
    > burden from our partners. Generally, we have learned that if we have not
    > been paid, it is likely that our partners have not either.
    > So that you clearly understand the process leading up to this action we
    > offer the following information:
    > * We have sent the registrant three prior billing notices:
    > 1. Original invoice
    > 2. Late notice
    > 3. Notice of deactivation
    > The customer has still not paid for our domain name
    > registration services.
    > * On Thursday, June 22, the administrative contact for such
    > registrants will receive an e-mail from NSI requesting payment for such
    > domain name(s). This means that if a registrant has registered multiple
    > domain names and has not paid for them, he/she will receive a separate
    > e-mail for each unpaid name.
    > * The administrative contact will be given three options.
    > 1. Pay the registration fee electronically by June 28, 2000.
    > 2. Instruct NSI to delete the name by June 28, 2000.
    > 3. If the domain name is not paid for or is deleted by June 28,
    > 2000, it will be entered on the NSI auction site. Any proceeds from the
    > sale of the name (up to the full amount of the registration fee) will be
    > retained by NSI and the domain name will be transferred to the successful
    > bidder.
    > There will be no exceptions or exemptions from this e-mail as it is
    > extremely important that these registrants be given one final chance to
    > pay.
    > We thank you for your cooperation. Please direct any questions to your
    > Partner Relations or Business Support team.
    > Sincerely,
    > Thomas E. van Gorder
    > Vice President, Sales and Business Development

  • It would probably depend on the contract that was agreed to when the service was initiated. I haven't read the contract/agreement from NSI lately, but I assume it has some sort of "pay up or lose your service" clause in it.

    Rather than simple theft, it looks more like cleaning up of delinquent accounts.
  • I wonder if they contacted their own administrators? If you don't pay your bills, they should take away the domain name. It is like your house, they take it away if you don't pay the mortgage...just like your virtual home online.

    Registrant: Network Solutions, Inc. (NETWORKSOLUTIONS4-DOM) 505 Huntmar Park Drive Herndon, VA 20170 Domain Name: Administrative Contact, Technical Contact, Zone Contact: Network Solutions, Inc. (NSOL-NOC) noc@NETSOL.COM Network Solutions, Inc. 505 Huntmar Park Drive Herndon, VA 20170 US 703-742-4777 Billing Contact: idNames, Accounting (IA90-ORG) accounting@IDNAMES.COM idNames from Network Solutions, Inc 440 Benmar Suite #3325 Houston, TX 77060 US 703-742-4777 Fax 281-447-1160 Record last updated on 20-May-2000. Record expires on 13-Dec-2000. Record created on 12-Dec-1997. Database last updated on 22-Jun-2000 16:41:25 EDT. Domain servers in listed order: NS1.NETSOL.COM NS2.NETSOL.COM NS3.NETSOL.COM
  • At first I was a bit befuzzled at this move. After all, the standard practice used to be to simply let the domain lapse and then make it available again (so that someone else could register it).

    Now, why would NSI not want to do this? The reason is that if they let it lapse then they give up control over the registration of that domain. In other words, under the old system, if someone didn't pay their NSI bills, then when the domain lapsed, someone else (or the same person) could easily pick up the domain and register it at another registrar, such as etc. By auctioning off the domains they retain total control over them and thus simultaneously snag potential business away from their competitors and gain a little extra cash (and publicity) in the process.

    It's quite devious really, just the kind of thing I'd expect from NSI / VeriSign.

  • get back to work and stop reading slashdot you.
  • I must be dense (or not patient enough to research it on my own), but I thought non-renewed domain names simply went back into the pool.

    Last year, negotiations broke down between me and a squatter over the transfer of a domain name I wanted. Rather than entertain his ransom, I decided to wait and see. I watched as the record expiration date passed and kept checking to pounce on its return to availability. After two months, I contacted Network Solutions, the registrar, and the reply I received was that registrants were given 30 days to renew or the domain name would be made available for sale. Well, that was nearly 90 days ago and the domain name still rests in expired but unavailable status. Now, am I to believe that "return to availability" means that it will be auctioned? Does NetworkSolutions somehow hold rights to a domain name in perpetuity simply because someone used them to register in the first place? If so...what a crock.

  • by jayhawk88 ( 160512 ) <> on Thursday June 22, 2000 @11:24AM (#982145)
    It's disturbing considering that NSI doesn't exactly have a history of keeping their paperwork straight. How many times have they transferred someone's domain after simply recieving an e-mail from a hijacker? How long after this policy is implemented until someone forget's to mark my domain as paid after recieving my check, and my domain is auctioned off? How many notification e-mails will they forget to mail off?

    On a side note: I fail to see how auctioning off a domain name will hurt anyone but individuals or small businesses. Do you actually think if some Big Company with a recognizable name would let their registration expire, and their domain was auctioned off, that whoever bought it would be allowed to keep it? No, said Big Company would simply sue the pants off of the buyer for "copyright infringement" or something.

    Every time I see a story like this, I see a little bit more of the Internet slowly swallowed up by the machine that is Corporate America(World). PETA get's back Coca-Cola shuts down some fan-site. Fox goes headhunting Simpson fan sites. I know that some of this is inevitable with the growth of the internet, but it's still disappointing to see coroporations take over another thing in this world.

    Hey, Rocky! Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!
  • Network Solutions does not own ANY domain names apart from those that they themselves have registered. I agree that they should not be obliged to support any deadbeats who haven't paid their fees (including Microsoft), but once the domain name is freed, it should go back in the pool for a first-come, first-served process.

    Network Solutions, in its capacity as a government contractor, has already been through a carefully negotiated and litigated process to determine that they couldn't charge as much as $100 per two years, reducing the price to $75.00.

    Further, Network Solutions is no longer the "owner" of .com space, sharing that with many other registrants.

    Auctioning off domain names is something for the non-contractors to do -- NSI cannot do both without a conflict of interest, and certainly the appearance of impropriety. IMHO, they should either stop the practice immediately, or be stripped of their right to issue SLDN in .com space.
  • by DHartung ( 13689 ) on Thursday June 22, 2000 @11:24AM (#982147) Homepage
    jhk asks:
    Does that mean, according to the most recent legal arguments about intellectual property, that NSI is in violation of IP law for owning someone else's trademarks?

    Not per se. At this time the "property" status of domain names is still unclear. While there was a string of decisions through 1999 that supported the domain-holder-owns-it theory, two decisions this spring instead supported the domain-as-product-of-contract theory. In other words, it only exists as a product of a valid contract between you and the domain registrar.

    Could a company like Microsoft sue NSI for trademark infringement and demand ownership of the name, which would necessitate direct access to the root nameservers?

    Under current ICANN policy, and recent court decisions, registrars are pretty much wholly indemnified, unless they themselves do something intentional against a domain-holder. Essentially, this is to get registrars (NSI,, anybody) out of the middle of lawsuits between trademark/domain disputants, but it also has the effect of holding them essentially blameless in cybersquatting or domain-hijacking cases (cf. recent decision in case).
  • This may be totaly redundent or totaly wrong {if I'm lucky maybe both} as I haven't looked at every post but, As I understand it to hold a name that you are not using, that some one else has a legitimet use for, then auction it off for more then it would cost to regester it in the first place falls dead on for cybersquatting. They only say what will be done with the money up to what is owed but say nothing of what happenes with the rest of the money and if it's an auction then the bidding will go well over the price for meny names {if they cut it off at the owed amount then there will be no highest bidder as every one that wants it will top it out}. Taking colection actions and deleting the name would be fine, but I see auctioning it off as nothing different then what so meny people gripe at the cybersquatters for doing.

    Dyslexics of the world UNTIE!! {doing my part to promote creative spelling}
  • OK, mea culpa. I guess I should have been more surprised to see NSI come down on the right side of an issue for a change.

    In your place I'd be pissed off too.

  • Sorry, I meant "sharing that with many other registrars", not "registrants."
  • Buy the domains off auctions, and then transfer control to another company. Transfer any domains you have right now, to. Bleed them of everything they have, they certanly deserve it.
  • The NSI letter says that auction proceeds "up to" the due amount will be retained by NSI. What it doesn't say is who gets the rest. What if I let "" go into arrears and it's sold for hundreds of thousands. Who gets the hundreds of thousands less $70? Me, as the prior owner? If not, and NSI keeps it, I think they're letting themselves in for a class action suit, since NSI would be asserting an ownership interest that it isn't entitled to, IMO. If I as a private individual get a judgement against a party and attach and sell their property to satisfy it, I'm only entitled to what I'm owed, not the entire proceeds.

    NSI is acting with ever-increasing arrogance (remember their new provision in their agreement that says, effectively, that they own your domain and can take it back at any time?). It's time to get a legislative rein put on these banditos.
  • Before you hit me with the flamewall, I see that they limit their take to the full registration fee. Objection Withdrawn, your Honor.
  • What they should do and what they can do are 2 different things. I'm not saying that they are doing what they SHOULD, but they are doing what they CAN. And they do deserve to be reimbursed SOMEHOW. This seems a lot nicer than suing everyone, and a lot easier. Even if it is just typing 2 lines into a config file. If you buy something, you have to pay. They may not deserve the money, hell registrars may not even deserve to be paid for what they do, but when it comes down to it, they don't deserve the shaft either, and they are just covering their own ass.
  • Hey, if they kicked it back into freespace, they'd only get, what, seventy bucks for it.

    They're not stupid.

    No, not stupid at all: greedy is the more accurate description.

    So they'll auction them off, because, hey, that way, they can make a hundred times... nay, ten thousand times!... more money.

    You know, it's time we took the Internet back. Greedy bastards are making it next to impossible and damned unaffordable to have reasonable/meaningful domain names.

  • Unfortunately their PGP support has been fucked up for over a year and their "support" people don't seem to be able to come up with an explanation or advice besides "switch to another authentication method."

    This was the #1 reason I just ditched NSI.
  • Hell their own billing system is seriously twisted... I transfer'd *ALL* my domains away from NSI months ago yet I'm still getting "Final Notice" invoices demanding payment for domains that are not registered through them... Personally I was getting tired of there systems always screwing up and modifications not getting made, ie- I left an ISP over 1.5 years ago... there are still domains hosted by my previous employer with me as the contact even though I've sent in domain modifications AND fax'd the changes AND call'd them on the phone and spoke to a body (can't really say one way or the other as to it's warmth)... They [NSI] have many other things they should be concentrating on rather than trying to auction off domains that aren't paid for.
  • this is a troll. whoa.
  • While I agree that they probably have a right to do whatever they can to recoup losses for delinguent accounts, with their past record of billing on time, this could cause problems. I own several domains. For a couple, I didn't receive the invoices for them until weeks after they were due. What if I had lost these domains to an auction where it was Network Solutions' fault?

    Also, what about the case where a disgruntled employee who was fired or quit is still the billing contact? Sure, the company should have changed it, but with companies with many domains, it may get overlooked. Sure, I'll probably get flamed saying that is the company's responsibility, but I think there should be some checks and balances in the process.
  • Slow down cowboy!

    Slashdot requires you to wait 1 minute between each submission of / in order to allow everyone to have a fair chance to post.

    It's been 1 minute since your last submission!

  • At a minimum it is disturbing because it is anti-competitive. They should be able to attempt to recover their losses from the original registrant, but doing so by public auction means that no other registrar has an oppourtunity to dip into the existing pool of names.

    Why stop at non-payment. If I decide to cancel my name, why won't they (or do they already) schedule and auction in order to keep the name 'in the family' if you will.
  • interesting. not only does NSI jumpstart it's new auction operation but it prevents "competitive" registrars from ever getting a potshot at SLDs freed up due to nonpayment. oh, and what exactly happens to the resale price in excess of the unpaid bill? gee, i wonder.

    that question is especially important because arbiters under ICANN's UDRP have tended to regard reselling an SLD as a sign of "bad faith" -- punishment for which is the loss of the SLD. but here we have NSI, a registrar/registry, auctioning off SLDs itself!

    i can't wait to see what ICANN has to say about this dubious maneuver. of course, if ICANN and "competence" could fit in the same sentence, this possibility would have been solved when the UDRP was first imposed by its yet-to-be-elected board. but they can't fit in the same sentence, and the problem remains. oops, NSI just solved it.

    and roger cochetti, the former IBM washington cheese largely responsible for installing dyson at ICANN, now works for NSI -- so i imagine what with the rather large favor she owes him, she might not have much to say all. what a pity.

    scoundrels and incompetents, the lot of them. i do hope slashdotters wake up en masse to what a scam ICANN is.
  • I'll bid a six pack of Coke and a bag of nachos. (Where money fails, junk food is sure to rule :) ).
  • As you'll recall, last Christmas was suspended because Microsoft forgot to pay it, and Hotmail went down.


  • Not necessarily the deleted ones, but there's a searchable database of expired domains over at [].

  • I'm no lawyer, but I think that's grounds for a lawsuit. As much as I hate solving things through lawsuits, NSI deserves it after THAT.

    -- Dr. Eldarion --
  • Why hold an auction? Just dump the domain name back into the pool of free names. Do they think I'm really going to bid millions of dollars to own
  • Dear Customer:

    Network Solutions, Inc. ("NSI") has received a request to transfer your domain name from NSI to another Registrar. This is to notify you that the transfer request has been approved by NSI and was sent to the Registry for processing.

    Please contact REGISTRAR@NETSOL.COM if you have any questions.


    Registrar Change Group
    Network Solutions, Inc.

    Good bye NSI, hello JumpDomain [] and OpenSRS!

  • What if you haven't 'forgotten' to pay for it, but intend for it to lapse? I don't recall my agreement with NSI saying that I'm authorizing them to keep the domain alive past the amount of time for which I initially paid. It should be thrown back into the pool for whoever wants to register it next, if anyone. How long is this 'auction' process going to keep the domain off the market?
  • Ok, think of it like this. A company makes a load of toxic waste, and dumps it in the ocean. Was it the right thing to do, no. What if there is no way that they can legally get rid of it? What if even having it is illegal? They didn't just wake up one day and say, "You know, I hate baby seals, lets poison them all!" They don't want to go to jail. They can't get rid of it in any legal fashion, so what do they do, they dump it. If you were in the same situation, you would probably do the same thing. Do you really think that they can assemble an underground storage facility somewhere without being found out ever? Of course not. Unfortunately, someone has to cover your ass in this world, otherwise you're gonna get f*cked. They're tightening their chastity belt, and right or wrong, they're doing it.
  • Here's the really interesting thing. Under recent decisions, the owner of a trademark or copyright or whatever can sue to get their domain name from someone else, even if the previous owner had otherwise legal possession of the name. (Think PETA) So let's say I get lucky in the upcoming auction and snap up for a fraction of what it's probably worth. Amazon finds out and is pissed, rightfully so. So Amazon decides to sue me to get their name back. Now, they can easily afford to beat my poor self in court, but they aren't going to recover any damages for lost business as I have no money to my name. So they get clever and add NSI to the suit as a co-defendant to recover damages for illegally auctioning a trademark they don't own. That'd be pretty nifty, eh?

    law school as life []

  • There's a difference between harming the company and harming the trademark. Harming the trademark would be providing goods or services that trade on the good name of the trademark holder but aren't provided by the trademark holder. wasn't doing this. They might have been trying to harm PETA the organization by hosting a parody/anti-PETA site, but they weren't misappropriating PETA's trademark to do so. That is, no reasonable person could believe that was really operated by the ethical PETA. Use of a trademark in a parody is fair use, remember?

  • Network Solutions says it will take all of the proceeds *upto* the Registration fees.

    My question is: Is there a minimum bid price? Otherwise instead of paying the $35 a year, I let my domain expire, then bid my $0.02 for a domain name that no one wants and end up paying $0.02 a year compared to $35.

    Comments? Mods?
  • by Lord Kano ( 13027 ) on Thursday June 22, 2000 @10:15AM (#982174) Homepage Journal
    Look at that peta decision. Lets say I buy one of these domains at auction. NetSol gets my cash. The former owner sues me because he has a copyright on that domain and a judge forces me to give it to him. So I just lost whatever I paid to buy it at auction, my fee to NetSol, AND however much I paid content creators for their work.

    No fucking thanks.

  • The right to create a parody is protected. Peeople for the Eating of Tasty Animals can in no way be confused with the animal rights nuts so there is no way they there could be any confusion in the mind of any reasonable person.

    The anti-cybersquatting act was a bad idea. Have you heard about This law is all about giving power to big money organizations and businesses.

  • by Perianwyr Stormcrow ( 157913 ) on Thursday June 22, 2000 @10:15AM (#982176) Homepage
    This seems to me to be a pretty logical idea (although I'd prefer they just kick the domain name back out into freespace instead of auctioning it off.)

    If you aren't paying for a domain, why should you be allowed to hang onto it?
  • Where did you find this?
  • Absolutely correct. If I own a domain, it's like my own little plot in cyberspace. It's my virtual home.

    No. Absolutely incorrect. You don't "own" a domain in the same sense that you "own" a house. You lease it from any of a number of properly-licensed registrars. It's your virtual apartment.

    Now some corporate entity is going to take that away, put someone else up on that domain? There is no justification for this. The Third Amendment states:

    No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

    Now I know Netsol is not the U.S. government.

    Seeing as you realize that Network Solutions isn't the US Government, you also realize that the Third Amendment doesn't apply to them; it is therefore irrelevant in this context.

    I do not consent to have my domains compromised by two-bit enterprises.

    Really? Is that so? Please answer the following questions truthfully:

    1) Did you register a domain name with Network Solutions?
    2) If so, did you agree to their terms and conditions?

    If your answer to Question #1 is "No," then this is none of your business. You're not involved. These aren't the old days when NSI having the monopoly on .COM/.NET/.ORG. You can choose your own registrar now. Allow NSI to alienate its customer base by screwing it over. If they end up pissing enough people off, they will die.

    If your answer to Question #1 is "Yes," then your answer to Question #2 also has to be "Yes." You have to agree to their terms and conditions to do business with them. You may not like it, but you agreed that they could change the agreement upon notifying you, which is what they just did.

    Perhaps the problem is that you didn't read what you were agreeing to. If that is indeed the case, you have nobody to blame but yourself. Grow up. Deal with it. Move on. Find a different registrar.

  • I recently registered a second domain with a different registrar.

    I do some web hosting for small businesses and individuals. Since I read about Dotster [] here on /., I've registered 19 domains with them. It's been problem-free and the web interface is light years better than NSI's stupid email-based crap. I am concerned, however, about 3 personal domains I've had for some time that are still over at NSI. I'd like to move them, but I don't want them to disappear into a black hole, and NSI just seems to be getting more aggresive about losing existing domains to other registrars.

    "Rex unto my cleeb, and thou shalt have everlasting blort." - Zorp 3:16

  • by Dungeon Dweller ( 134014 ) on Thursday June 22, 2000 @10:16AM (#982187)
    Hey, I hate to say it, but if you wanna play, you gotta pay. I know that I don't like working and not getting paid for it. They are merely trying to press users to pay for what they have, and are repossessing just like everyone else does. I know that if I was running a webhosting firm, and you didn't pay me for a year, and ran up a huge debt, that I'd take off your website and sue you for the losses. This is a relatively minor action on their part by means of what they legally COULD do, they're actually being fairly civil about this, despite the flack that they will surely take in the threads of this article.
  • by Tiro ( 19535 )
    You might be taking a risk by not informing your former employer.

    I don't know how important this domain is to the company, but say their main site goes down because they lost their domain. What will they do?

    They will go after NSI. When they realize NSI is bigger than they are, they will go after you. Nevermind the ethics of the situation; just protect yourself and your $$$ and send a note to your former employer, and wash your hands of this business.

  • Nice move on their part. Let's imagine- what happens when something like goes unpaid (which has happened before?) That's right... instead of getting 35$ (or whatever NSI is charging during this phase of the moon) when someone realizes their mistake, now NSI gets to extort the new owner for however much they feel like. Note that the notice doesn't say what happens to the money above and beyond what is owed... think that it disappears? I doubt it. It'll go straight into NSI's pockets. For most names that will expire, this isn't a big deal- at most they'll clear only a slight amount above what they are owed. But for names that expire and are highly in demand, this gets NSI a huge return. Nothing illegal in it, I guess... but it reeks just the same.
  • by datacaliber ( 202682 ) on Thursday June 22, 2000 @11:41AM (#982203) Homepage Journal
    I think alot of people are missing the point here. It's not really about the previous owners rights, if they didn't pay for it then yes they don't deserve to own the domain. It's about the fact that NSI is trying to hold onto it's monopoly by NOT letting domains out of it's system. Alot of the money Registrars make is from people regging domains that drop from NSI. This move if it goes through could seriously damage the domain free market as users no longer have a choice of registrars. The only way to change registrars is to pay NSI!

    Also, wasn't it NSI that claimed that domains were not property so they wouldn't be liable for hijacks? They're not making sense because by holding these auctions they are making it clear that domains ARE property and contradicting themselves.
  • by MagnusDredd ( 160488 ) on Thursday June 22, 2000 @11:44AM (#982208)
    If you don't pay for your domain you should lose it we can all agree. However somehow not truly connected but somewhat on the same thread is the whole PETA dispute. I love tasty animals too, especially that bit of a chicken I ate for lunch. What is to keep big corporate enterprises from not paying and then suing you when you register the domain they let lapse? Register with Joker is a reseller for Core []. The interesting thing about Core is, if you follow the link and look at the bottom of the page, that they are based in Switzerland. The Swiss seem to be less stupid about such things than these US people are. So if they try to drag you into court over it, your domain is registered internationally. Lawyers, politicians, and other such people(?) seem to be infatuated with physical jurisdiction. Let them know that they can talk to you in international court.
  • Umm ... I think you mean The Register [].


  • Do you actually think if some Big Company with a recognizable name would let their registration expire
    You mean likeMicrosoft? [] didn't let Hotmail [] expire?


  • This is very very wrong for them to do because once someone registers a name with NSI, it can NEVER be registered with another registrar. It seems they're trying to reclaim their monopoly hold in a small way.

    Of course if someone registers the name they can always switch it over to another registrar, but they're still stuck with having to pay money to NSI.

    This is complete bullshit, NSI should not be able to do this.

  • I agree. It works the same way as a public storage company. If I don't pay my bills, the storage company auctions off the storage unit and all it's contents unseen. They have to recoup lost income some how.
  • Perhaps you can provide some more background on the nature of the case--or even a case number--that's common practice when citing Supreme court opinions.

    Anyway, there are two reasons why that opinion isn't valid here:

    1. Unlike a railroad, which is built up of rail belonging to multiple companies and has managed junction points, when a .COM/.NET/.ORG domain name registrar screws its customers over, its customers can always change to a different registrar without harming the customer and other registrars.
    2. The domain registrars aren't in bed with each other like the railroad companies were, so this portion:
      roads owned by those companies were operated in connection with each other on joint account, or that there was such community of interests among them as would make all of them liable for the acts of agents or employees of one.
      just doesn't apply here. Domain registrars directly compete with each other in the same market, so they aren't likely to manage each other in a manner consistent with a "community of interests among them as would make all of them liable or the acts of agents or employees of one."

    Any court case about this using that opinion as a precedent would get thrown out by a level-headed judge.

  • Somebody pointed out on Usenet that Network Solutions is sending these renewal announcements out from, which isn't a valid E-mail address. Worse, isn't a valid domain name. Thus, many anti-spam filters will discard the mail as spam with a forged source address.
  • NetSol is simply trying to get there monopoly back through a back door. Let's all complain to ICANN, though that will not help. Let me guess: this auction is an unofficial test bed for the new TLDs that nobody needs but that surely will come if we read the ICANN site... They might also auction those in stead of selling them for a mere $6 (which is what other registrars pay NetSol). I am sure will fetch more than $6 or $35 (which is what NetSol charges to customers). Why stick to the first come first serve principle? It isn't good for business. I think I'll set up a registry, yeah! If you think I'm nuts, look at
  • I'm tired of the NSI bullshit. I have two domains registered with them. I'm not planning to renew with them, because I do not want to be bound by the new contracts which have been implemented over the last twelve months.

    The only problem is, I'm not sure how to handle the process of transferring my domain name without getting screwed by NSI. I've heard a lot of horror stories from people who have attempted to do just that. Could someone offer some advice on when, how and what to do for transferring your domain name from one registrar to another? Specifically from NSI?

    Should I wait until it has expired and just renew it somewhere else? Should I do it before it expires? Do I have to send any paperwork or follow any specific process through NSI themselves? I know a lot of this info is available on NSI, but it's so obfuscated and unreliable that I would rather have information not from what they say but from the reality of what occurs -- and who best to ask than people who may hav already gone through this?

    Thanks for any help you can provide!

  • If you don't pay for a domain name it should go back into the pool for other people to register(like it has always been). NSI is trying to prevent their current batch of domain names registered through them from being registered via other registrars. Complete and utter bullshit if you ask me.
  • Right. I did read the PETA decision from yesterday. This particular instance (defaulting on a domain, and losing it even though you have trademark rights) is not the same situation-- apples and oranges. While the judge did give the right of PETA.ORG to PETA, it was not because of a payment failure.

    Again, I'm not involved with the law industry in any way (thank goodness), but I do think that if a company/person/corporate entity does not pay for a domain name that they registered then they no longer have the rights to it, even if they try to use trademark law to prove otherwise. Since they are not paying for it, they are (in essence) not actively pursuing to protect the trademark and would probably (read: should) lose in court.
  • interesting. not only does NSI jumpstart it's new auction operation but it prevents "competitive" registrars from ever getting a potshot at SLDs freed up due to nonpayment. oh, and what exactly happens to the resale price in excess of the unpaid bill? gee, i wonder.

    Good point. When a bank auctions off a house, after the bank is paid off, the auctioneer the fees, etc.. if there is anything left, it's supposed to go to the guy who had the house seized (or his other creditors perhaps). I'm sure NSI will (perhaps illegally?) pocket the change.

    This is a bad faith thing, especially given NSI's poor record of missing received payments, of which stories on /. have been made before.

  • The really scary thing here is not that they're actioning off names of deadbeats to recoup losses, thats fine.

    But lets think for a moment...

    They *own* your domain name, not you. If you loose it for whatever reason, too bad.

    They can now auction off deadbeat names instead of sending them back into the pool, with the potential to make huge sums of money.

    Their billing practices are horrible (read further down this thread for examples).

    So... for all you conspiracy theorists, whats to stop a big company from simply paying someone at NSI off to "accidentally loose" your billing info. You don't get the handy reminder that its time to pay, in the hope that you forget about it for whatever reason. You do that, it goes on the auction market, somebody else buys it out from under you for a large sum of money. You have no recourse, because they own the domains and can do whatever they want with them.

    Feel free to add your own conspiracy theories, thats just a sample. The real point is that this is almost a license for them to print money. Not that it'll help anybody steal names from big corporations who can just sue over them anyway, but the little people will get shafted around nicely here.

    Especially if you take it to the next logical step. If this sticks, whats to stop them from auctioning off *all* domains? Think about it. Its not that far away from this, because once again they own the domain. So, you could pay $35 to renew it, but what happens if someone else is willing to pay $100? $1000? $10000? That may sound rediculous now, but go back a couple short years, and the notion that anybody but you owned your domain names was equally rediculous. Its not that far fetched do this kind of auctioning anymore.

    I really hope ICANN does something about this, but... yeah right. ICANN seems to work for NSI, not the other way around.
  • Not how I read it. I read the text of the message being that the auction will only go as high as the $35 registration fee.

    Any and all proceeds that we receive from the transfer of your domain name registration (up to the full registration fee) will be retained by Network Solutions and your domain name will be transferred to the successful bidder. By selecting this option, you hereby authorize us to act as your contact to perform all necessary actions relating to the auction and transfer of your domain name registration.

  • Well, they gained control of the domain names, they don't want to lose the revenue from them, they were promised revenue, they are trying to recover that revenue. Life isn't always so clear cut. I know that if I have a porsche that I can sell, I'm not going to give it to someone else to sell, even if I do step on a few toes. It may not be the ethical thing to do, but it makes business sense. I don't necessarily agree or disagree, but their legal right to do so could be argued.
  • I'm confused.
    Payment received from the auciton 'up to the full amount of the registration fee' will be kept by network solutions.. does that mean that excess money will be handed to the domain registrant?
  • `First I've heard of it,' said Merrell, `why's it got to be auctioned?' Mr. NSI shook his finger at him for a bit, then stopped and put it away again. `What do you mean, why's it got to be auctioned?' he said. `It's a domain name. You've got to sell domain names.'
  • I agree.. they have done this.. it's awful. After reading further.. it seems what they are saying is this:

    certain ISPs and other companie shave 'premier' agreemetns with NSI, in that they can register domains on behalf of their own clients *without paying nsi immediately*. (you or I can no longer do this.. we must pay immediately).
    By contractual obligation, these companies *MUST* pay NSI for domains registered, whether their own clients back out or not. So.. generally, at an ISP doing this in volume, many people (enough, anyway) will bail out and leave the ISP hanging with an obligation to pay NSI for the domain (as per contract) and no client to collect from. So, until the payment is resolved, the domain is *technically* registered....
    NSI is saying that now, rather than simpliy *having* to pay NSI for the defaulted domain, they may choose to have NSI auction it off, whereby NSI will collect fees 'up to the amount owed' and then the rest would go to .. they don't say.. presumably, to the ISP in question.
    This actually does make sense in context ..
  • by weave ( 48069 ) on Thursday June 22, 2000 @12:07PM (#982266) Journal
    "Mailbank" two years ago registered 12,000 surnames and they are starting to expire now. The one I have my eye on expired a few days ago. I've been watching for it to pop up as available since they haven't paid the renewal fee.

    Well perfect, now I guess it'll be auctioned off "to recover collection fees?" That's ridiculous. It sounds like you enter a lifelong committment to continually renew your domain or else face foreclosure or something.

    As far as the one I've been watching, I guess it'll just go on the auction block. Cripes...

    Next thing they'll probably do is modify the CGI script on their home page that let's you "check domain availability" and then roll it right into a new auction so all new domains are instantly an auctionable item too... :(

  • Unfortunately their PGP support has been fucked up for over a year and their "support" people don't seem to be able to come up with an explanation or advice besides "switch to another authentication method."

    Really? I never had any trouble with it.
    I'd always fire off 2 copies of everything - one signed cleartext, the other ascii armored.
    One of them would always go through in a couple of days.

    I may have had many reasons for fleeing NSI, but the PGP authentication option wasn't one of them :-)
    Email address is real.
  • You're missing the boat. Let's say that apple, forgets to pay their bill on and I buy it at auction and set up an e-commerce site for selling fruit. A judge would be within the letter of the law to make me give it back to Apple.

    This is precicely what just happened with PETA.

    Do you really not get it or are you pretending?

  • give it to someone who has a copyright on it.

    Not copyright. Trademark. Very big, very important differences. Not least of which is that, for most trademarks (i.e. marks that are not "famous" and are not-generic terms like "United" or "Garden"), more than one person can use the identical trademark, provided they're in different businesses.

  • The game "Monopoly", that is. No one has a monopoly anymore on domain name registrations (thanks ICANN for that).
    Now, in the game "Monopoly", doesn't it state that if a player is not willing to buy a new estate, it will be auctioned and sold to the highest bidder?
    Looks like Internic is still addicted to "Monopoly", be it for real or a game ;)
  • any chance you could post the lottery results for the past 9 years?
  • Except.. you can't do this anymore.
    Netsol, and other registrants, according to icann guidelines, require immediate payment (ie: visa or prepaid account) in order to register a domain. You can't do this anymore.
  • NSI already has "some kind of insurance against this kind of thing". Two, in fact. They're called CRYPT-PW and PGP.

    I still wouldn't use NSI anymore, but they do have better protection than the stupid MAIL-FROM that everyone loves to hate.
  • NSI changed their polices so they own your domain name no matter what. Now if they get your contact info wrong for some reason or you change email addresses, its next to impossible to change said information.

    So, yes, everyone using NSI is at risk of being affected by this, not just deadbeats.
  • So all they are saying is that if you don't pay what you owe them, they will take the name away form you. This seems reasonable as long as you are notified of it before hand. Anyone hear of a "Repo Man?"
  • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Thursday June 22, 2000 @10:19AM (#982300)
    I got an email a few minutes ago from NSI saying basically the same thing, that a domain name I was listed as a contact for (not billing contact) was going to be auctioned off, and that collection proceeding would be brought against me.

    Since I don't work for the company in question I fired off a reply telling them so. However, knowing NSI's notorious lack of ethics, I wouldn't be surprised to see my credit rating impacted regardless. Won't make any difference -- I don't pay former employer's bills and they will get nothing from me.
  • "[There is] no question that an admission of making false statements to government officials and interfering with the FBI and the CIA is an impeachable offense."

    Notice he said "interfering". He finds nothing wrong with illegaly getting hundred of FBI files on his opponants and critics.


  • by Misch ( 158807 ) on Thursday June 22, 2000 @10:19AM (#982305) Homepage
    This seems to be a pretty standard practice in the real world... auctioning off a foreclosed home, or repossesed car... granted that they're doing things fairly quickly... that's hardly even enough time to get in touch with anybody regarding reposession of a domain name...

    It'd just be nice to see one of the bigwigs get nailed with this... Seeing Microsoft lose would be funny... of course, even if you won the auction, you couldn't really do anything with it, because of recent laws and court decisions against cyber squatting and trademark infringment... that could be an interesting scenario...
  • But it's also business. Network Solutions is hardly doing this without contacting the domain holder, as the published email clearly shows.

    It's a little hypocritical in that NSI seems to have claimed in a court case that domain names are not property, but there are plenty of examples of corporate hypocracy out there. This is a pretty minor example, in my book.

    I think that the answer to the problem is simple: Pay your bill! NSI is due their money if your domain is registered through them. If you don't re-register it with another registrar, or if you don't cancel the domain, they are certainly entitled to their payment for maintaining it in their system.

    My gut feeling is that all the people complaining about this don't like NSI because they are's great to pile on NSI just like it is with Microsoft. But I don't think that NSI is doing anything wrong, other than maybe looking a little foolish in their arguments over what is property and what is not.


  • by JCMay ( 158033 ) <> on Thursday June 22, 2000 @10:20AM (#982308) Homepage
    This past week the my employer's domain was hijacked twice. Twice. By somebody sending NSI an email. It even made the local paper, Florida Today [].

    Perhaps NSI should be made accountable for this kind of stupidity. I can't imagine not getting an encryped password from NSI. I can't imagine NSI not requiring confirmation on domain name changes. They've even admitted that this thing has happened before.

    I don't speak for my employer, of course, but I'd think twice about renewing my domain through NSI without some kind of insurance against this kind of thing.

    Yes, I'm a little perterbed about it. No, it doesn't effect me personally. Yet.


  • Let me get this straight. Somehow, a domain that is not renewed is in a 'special' state that may be auctioned? Give me a break.
    If it isn't paid for, then it's not registered. If it's not registered, then nobody should be able to 'auction' it without registering it first. And I belive netsol should not be allowed to do this.
  • They are saying that in order to be auctioned, someone must
    a) register a domain
    b) Not pay for it after several notices.

    In effect, netsol has performed a 'service' for them, and have yet to be paid.

    I think it's sleazy, and the real answer should simply be to delete the domain immediately upon non-payment, and allow it to be re-registered by someone else, as technically, the contract is void.

  • Check out The Register at . They have a cool article on how to hijack a domain name and how to guard against it. G
  • One difference, if I owe $5,000 on my car, and it gets repossessed and auctioned off by the bank for $10,000, the bank keeps the $5,000 they are owed and I get the $5,000 that was in excess of the debt.
  • by jhk ( 203538 ) on Thursday June 22, 2000 @10:20AM (#982331)
    Question - does NSI *OWN* domain names? It was my impression that they owned now non-exclusive rights to the root servers. Their service provides fast updates, but they no longer have the monopoly on it. So if I registered with another provider, say, would NSI in its mistaken efforts put up my domain for auction? The right thing to do, IMHO, is to put the name back into the public domain until someone else tries to buy it.

    JHK and stop on by for a latte, huh? []

  • Under auctions, the same rules about copyrights, trademark infringement, etc., still apply.

    I guess it would get interesting if, say, the US corporation "ABC" decided to go head to head with the Australian Broadcasting Coproration - both of whom would have a valid claim to the domain.

  • by Phroggy ( 441 ) <slashdot3.phroggy@com> on Thursday June 22, 2000 @10:22AM (#982341) Homepage
    ...but apparently they are doing this without really consulting domain holders.

    Uhh, that's not how I read it.

    Network Solutions' records indicate that you are the Administrative Contact for the domain name listed above, but we have not yet received payment for our services, as your agreement with us requires. We have already sent two notices to the registrant's billing contact and have deactivated, but not deleted, your registration.

    Three e-mails to two addresses AFTER you've forgotten to pay the bill sounds like a reasonable attempt to contact the domain holder.


  • I'm no judge, but in my own experiences, "you snooze you lose" holds true. If someone with a copyright or trademark on a domain registers the domain and doesn't pay for it, and you get it from an auction, I don't see where they have ANY right to try and reclaim the domain. They had it in the first place, and they decided to default on the payment. I don't think that's actively pursuing damages from trademark infringement, and it sounds logical that the winner of the auction would have full rights to keep the domain name (so long as he or she is actually paying for it).
  • ...and has the same solution.

    Refuse to use their products & services. I recently registered a second domain with a different registrar. They're cheaper, have a much easier to use administration setup, and you can actually talk to them on phone if you have a question. They even made transferrring my current domain from NSI easy & painless.

    NSI has never had to think about customer service before, and they are apparently completely incapable of even understanding the concept - as a result, the new registrars that do understand it are going to (hopefully) bury them.
  • That may be true of houses, but not cars, at least not where I live. There aren't property taxes, per-se on cars here, sales tax, yes. Registration fees, yes. However, failure to pay your registration just means that they will not send you your stickers for your license plates, and if you are caught driving the car with expired registration on the road, you will be ticketed and fined. However, the offense isn't even considered a moving violation, it is like a parking ticket. You'd have to get an awful lot of those before your car would get impounded, let alone auctioned. When you go back to register your car again, you will have to pay a late fee.

    If you have a car that you don't drive on the public roads, you don't have to pay registration at all, you can just go to the DMV and have them suspend your registration (putting it in 'storage'). Of course you can't drive it when it is suspended, but all you have to do to unsuspend it is go in and pay the new registration fee -- you don't have to pay for the unused portion of time.

    The deal is, the car is still yours, even if it has expired registration. They can take away the registration, but not the car. Property taxes are a little bit different than registration fees. Property taxes are due no matter what, and they can place a lien against the property and eventually foreclose against it based on that.

    Perhaps my state is more reasonable than average on this as far as cars are concerned... But I don't understand why NSI thinks that they can get away with considering domain name registrations to be more like a property tax than a registration fee like a car...

  • They are not kidding. is the registrar for the .tv top level domain. They have a *very* strange TOS agreement. Try registering a domain, instead of just getting it "first come first serve", when you try to register, they immediately put the domain out for more bidders, and you'll have to compete for it.

    If ABC decided they wanted to get for their great new internet TV station, they would put in their notice, and would put it up for auction, so, say CBS could bid on it too. ABC would have to be the highest bidder in order to get the domain which they deserve. With all that, ethics go right out the window. Greed is the winner on this playing field.

    All this crap really makes me appreciate Linux, Apache, MySQL, and people who really understand good business.

  • Just so you know, not paying (i.e. defaulting on a NSol payment) does NOT remove or reduce the power of your trademark. You NEVER loose your ability to protect a trademark unless you just stop trying.

    If the trademark is owned by a person or company their ability to pay for services related to using that mark (i.e. a domain name, a sign for their building or packaging for their widgets) is not tied to their ability to pay for those goods and services.

    Intellectual property auctions are very popular (patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets) and I've been to many. The owner of the mark realizes he cannot be in business for whatever reason. He doesn't loose the power of his mark and may choose to auction it to another company who then gains the right to protect the mark.

    Even if I don't care about a trademark I own - I have the right to protect it and tell anyone who is being confusingly similar to "knock it right off".
  • "The life of a Repo Man is always intense!"


    Freedom is Slavery! Ignorance is Strength! Monopolies offer Choice!
  • by BoLean ( 41374 ) on Thursday June 22, 2000 @11:17AM (#982355) Homepage
    This is the reason Internic changed its registration agreements to say that it owns all domains. That way it can auction the domains in the event that you don't pay registrar fees instead of returning it to the public domain. I call it theft pure and simple. How can companies like PETA claim to own the rights to and have a it upheld in court and then Internic can auction off someone else's Domain/Trademark to the highest bidder?
  • Any and all proceeds that we receive from the transfer of your domain name registration (up to the full registration fee) will be retained by Network Solutions and your domain name will be transferred to the successful bidder.

    Can someone tell me exactly what's being implied by "up to the full registration fee" here? Does that mean they won't auction them for more than $35? Or does it mean if they auction it for $10,000, NSI keeps $35 and then NSI keeps $9,965?


  • In your case, you're using for a true legitimate purpose, so assuming that you got the domain name due to apple's deficiency, they would have a hard time of getting it back from you. In the PETA case, the person was using the domain name to harm the trademark for an argueably non-legitimate purpose, and the cybersquatting law is quite clean on that.

    Two different cases, as already pointed out.

  • NSI changed their polices so they own your domain name no matter what. Now if they get your contact info wrong for some reason or you change email addresses, its next to impossible to change said information.

    That is an entirely seperate issue.

    So, yes, everyone using NSI is at risk of being affected by this, not just deadbeats.

    How? If the bill is paid on time the domain does not go up for auction. Period. I fail to see how the issue of screwed up contact info relates to this. They don't have to have your contact info right for your to pay your bill on time.

  • The interesting thing is not that they plan to take away a person's rights to a domain name, but that they chose to auction the name rather than just revoke it. This basically allows them to collect more than $35/year for a domain name. Furthermore, they already know a market exists for the nam, because at least one person wanted.

    Basically, it transforms the importance of being first to the importance of having money (and the will to use it.) This is what I don't appreciate.
  • Read the Peta decision from a day or two back. The Anti-Cybersquatting" act gives a judge the power to take your domain away and give it to someone who has a copyright on it.

    As I understand it, the scenario that you described is exactly the wya it happened with Peta and, but the judge still took the domain.


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