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The Internet

NSI Accused of Cybersquatting 134

ckd writes "digitalMASS is reporting that NSI is being sued for cybersquatting by an Alabama resident who claims that they're holding on to expired names long past any reasonable time period (kam.com, listed as expiring in 1996, for example)."
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NSI Accused of Cybersquatting

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  • You mean like x.org ?
    --
  • by Anne Marie ( 239347 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2000 @10:59AM (#694715)
    NSI is simultaneously the company that assigns domain names and enforces their assignment, answering to no one and overseen by no one.

    But ask yourself, what would be gained by a contrary holding? Is the NSI supposed to take money out of one pocket and put it into another pocket, thereby satisfying the principle of "paying" for a domain name (as distinguished from "squatting")? Make sure you read to the bottom of the article: nothing in NSI's agreement with ICANN precludes this behavior, as long as it isn't extreme enough to qualify as "warehousing", which clearly isn't the case here.

    Squatting is bad in principle, but it's a necessary reality of any centralized system of domain-name assignment, which time and experience have shown is the only practical way of accomplishing this necessary service. The only alternative is bigger government and more Federal oversight of the process through the FTC and other administrative bodies, something I have no real fears of, but which lots of the rest of you seem to worry about.

  • They would auction them off instead of making them available for vanilla registration.

    --
  • "And 'day to day' checking has become tiresome."

    I faced this same problem, so I wrote a shell script [shoutingman.com] that checked WHOIS a few times a day, and would email me if a name became available.

    Although I never was able to get the domain I wrote it for, I did learn a few things about UNIX scripts :) It also served as an auto emailer to send daily test messages to a friend when he was just setting up his DSL account.

    -----
    D. Fischer
  • Don't know anything about OSS DNSes, but there is a public DNS Service: The Public DNS Service [granitecanyon.com]

    Here's their intro:

    The Public DNS Service is a public service provided by Granite Canyon Group, LLC. The Service offers both primary and secondary DNS free of charge to anyone who asks. The Service maintains UPS protected FreeBSD servers that satisfy DNS queries. The servers are geographically separated and all are connected to the Internet via 7x24 dedicated lines with disjoint routes to the Internet's North American backbones.

    The Public DNS is useful if you:

    • Can't get free service from an ISP and don't want to do it yourself
    • Need secondary DNS servers
    • Need MX records for a virtual domain
    • Want control over your DNS records: change DNS frequently, changing ISPs soon
    • Are inside of a firewall and need publicly-accessible name servers outside of your firewall
    • Need name servers that are closer to the North American Internet backbones

    -----
    D. Fischer
  • So then I called NSI, waited on hold for 20 min, and spoke with a service rep

    20 minutes! Your Lucky! I had to call NetSol because a hosting company lost a crypt-pass, and i had to wait 2 hours to get a rep! Then 2 months to get a reply to the FAX, and then another 2 months to get a reply to the second FAX, then 2 more months for it to be updated!

  • My suggestion would be to have a look at opensrs. They provide a great service -- It doesn't do much for registering expired domains, NSI has a huge monopoly, but .. and it's a big but, if you transfer your existing domain name to opensrs you can do the following:
    • pay only 10 bucks a year/domain
    • change contacts at will through a web interface, you just log in.
    • change dns servers at will -- no more ridiculous NSI "fax me your family's birth certificate from 12 generations back, and a detailed log of your last 14 bowel movements"
    • a whole bunch more that you'll just have to look up for yourself
    Basically, they let you do whatever you want to your domain name. In a strange twist, they give you the responsibility to look after your own domain. Gee, I don't know if I can handle that. I really feel much more comfortable letting an anonymous corporate overlord tell me what I can and can't do with what I supposedly "own"
  • God, it really pisses me off searching for hours and hours at the internic whois page trying to find a domain that isn't taken (I always thought I must be horribly unoriginal for so many of my ideas to be taken). The worst thing is that none of these domains ever seem to have a web site on them (Okay, the web isn't the 'net, but it's a fairly good indicator that a domain is actually in use. I wonder if anyone knows the ratio of registered domains to domains which are actually used)

    The only thing that keeps me going is the mantra: 'there is always a better domain'. If all my lamest ideas hadn't been rejected, I would never have had to think of something better.
  • Sort of like in Catch-22 where Milo Minderbinder (owner of M&M Enterprises) runs multiple companies which all sell products to one another, and to the army. Of course, in the M&M scenario, they all sell to each other at a loss, guaranteeing M&M has the lowest bid to get the contracts; but because M&M only sells to other M&M companies, it makes huge profits :)

    Anyhow, sorry for butchering part of Joseph Heller's classic. back to your regularly scheduled flamewar.
    -----
    D. Fischer
  • by keepper ( 24317 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2000 @11:01AM (#694723) Homepage
    The article says kam.com has expired, fair enough. And is pionting to a redirect, ok.

    But, why is kam.com still resolving to an ip that is owned by a "KAM-CIRCUITS"



    Non-authoritative answer:
    Name: www.kam.com
    Address: 194.200.169.2


    inetnum: 194.200.169.0 - 194.200.169.255
    netname: KAM-CIRCUITS
    descr: Kam Circuits Ltd
    country: GB
    admin-c: UPHM1-RIPE
    tech-c: UPHM1-RIPE
    status: ASSIGNED PA
    mnt-by: AS1849-MNT
    changed: ianm@pipex.net 19951031
    changed: stephenb@uk.uu.net 19990915
    source: RIPE


  • Well, if they are anything like me then they set their filters on high. So, your post would never be seen. My guess is that it's quite doubtful.

    If /. is some vehicle for opening light to anyone then there are more serious issues.

    Also, isn't this kind of tired from a newsworthy standpoint? I would also find it interesting if the chap in bama was to disclose how many domains he has registered.

    The material girl just got her domain name secured. I think she has a right to it even if she wasn't first. It was held by an individual squatter. He had porn up on it for a while according to the articles I read.

    This whole internet i was here first attitude just makes me want to puke. Also, if you are filling out a form on any web page and their is profit involved you can be sure someone is looking at the data and collecting/sorting/priortizing it for sale somewhere else.

    I wonder if places like domainsurfer.com and such offer a service so that you can buy lists of the top 1000 searched terms. There would be someone out there that would want this just to aid in speculation I am sure.

    Also, the dot com people aren't exactly known for their attention to detail so the conspriracy theorists aren't convincing me of an evil plot just yet.

  • Yes, NSI is stupidly holding on to valuable domain names that they will sell at auction. If they were intelligent, they'd let their competition sell the old domain names.

    "Follow the money."
  • OpenSRS is meant to be be more of a wholesaler. IIRC you have to have 25 domains to go with them. You can, of course, go with one of their resellers, but I could never find a list of OpenSRS resellers, so never knew who was reputable and trustworthy, and who wasn't.
  • No, he meant like z.com [z.com].
  • Sometimes they don't even get the serving part of it right. My LUG change the IP of our nameserver, and we sent the proper email asking to change the host record. The change seemed to take affect, but every few weeks we would notice that the old IP was still there and we would send the request in again. Since they have a guarenteed income, why can't the spend some of it to update their system to be web-based? It's not that hard, everyone else seems to have it.
  • I haven't looked at all the registrars, but NSI seems to be the worst at dumbing down the process. They change the term 'domain name' to 'web address' and if you want to change your nameserver's host record, the help for that is under 'changing ISPs'. The process of registering domain names does not need to be something everyone can do. There is a slight technical side to it, that it's best if you understand that before registering. Bah.
  • Yes, they did stop doing that. They stopped because people were registering huge amounts of domain names and then putting them on auction sites, when they actually managed to sell one they would pay NSI for that one and transfer it to the new buyer.
  • by Dr. Awktagon ( 233360 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2000 @03:35PM (#694731) Homepage

    I'm surprised /. hasn't picked this up yet:

    adobe.com whois lookup [userland.com]

    Adobe.com was hijacked by somebody in China today! ftp.adobe.com doesn't work, etc.

  • "Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity."
  • Find your local RFC mirror. One that has the entire directory, not just rfc*.txt files. Look therein for the iana/assignments/one-letter-domains file; which I will enclose entire here:


    The IANA has reserved the one letter and number domains in COM, NET,
    EDU and ORG, in case they are needed to support one proposed scheme to
    distribute the load on the COM (and other top level domains). It has
    not been decided if the scheme these names were reserved for will be
    used or not, and it probably won't be decided for several months.

    A few of the one letter codes had been allocated under the normal
    procedures before the IANA had the idea to reserve all of them. These
    allocations were allowed to stand.

    There have quite a few inquiries about allocating these one letter
    domains to various companies. We haven't been keeping a list of those
    that have asked about them. At this point it would be unfair to
    notify some people and not others, if and when they are made
    available. So, if this ever happens, it will have to be done with a
    very public announcement (at least an "Informational" RFC).

    IANA



  • I wonder how many ICANN board members read /., and this may open the light to them.
  • This is one of the most puzzling and strange things that I'd ever heard when it came to domain names. I cannot remember how many brilliant domain names I came up with trying to find one for my hosting business. Most didn't exist and were expired, but I couldn't buy them. And yet we still have all of this news about lack of domain names, even though you can't buy expired ones. Utter stupidity, I hope they lose big.

  • I tried selling a domain name on eBay (smashingpumpkins.org), but I gave up trying to transfer it over to the winner of the auction for a year. They required a form to be printed on my "company letterhead" (I was a college student when I registered the domain), and I had to have it stamped and notarized by a public notary. After I filled out all the information, I faxed it to them, and didn't hear anything for months. Tried calling, but couldn't get through to anyone; tried emailing, but god only knows where those went. Eventually, they sent me a paper letter several months later explaining that I left out some information or something to that effect (I don't know how much more you could complete a form). I called and faxed a couple more times, but eventually gave up because I had to get on with Real Life. I absolutely refuse to deal with them ever again, and I know there are many, many other people out there who feel the same way, simply because they are impossible to deal with.
  • by dodecahedron ( 231077 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2000 @11:12AM (#694737)
    When NSI announced a policy of holding on to expired domain names and auctioning them a while back, I knew that they were up to something. This news makes it clear that their policy change was just codifying what they'd been doing for a while. The minute they put that policy into effect, I changed my registrar, not wanting to have to ransom my domain back if I accidentally let it expire. People accuse Microsoft of being arrogant, but they pale in comparison to these bloody jackals.
  • I keep seeing people saying it, but does anyone know for sure if all the 3 letter domains are gone? What percentage of the 4s are gone as well?

    Hopefully we will start having new TLDs at whim so that won't matter in the future.
    ---
    Solaris/FreeBSD/Openstep/NeXTSTEP/Linux/ultrix/OSF /...
  • I'm guessing a DNS server out there has expired data cached...

    drey@falconis:~ > nslookup
    Default Server: nyc.speakeasy.net
    Address: 216.254.95.2

    > kam.com
    Server: nyc.speakeasy.net
    Address: 216.254.95.2

    *** nyc.speakeasy.net can't find kam.com:
    Non-existent host/domain
    >
    --

  • ...by an Alabama resident who claims that they're holding on to expired names long past any reasonable time period...

    And I'm sure everybody suspects by now that they've got their domain name lookup CGI "bugged" so they can squat interesting names that aren't registered immediately after a search reports that the domain name is free. (See the recent Cringely article for an example.)

    I make a point of always using the command line nslookup and whois because it's at least a bit harder to put a bug on those lookups (which go through complicated daemons written in C and might even cause a security problem if badly patched) than it is a web CGI written in Perl or VB.

  • http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=00/10/16/123724 8&mode=thread
  • I must agree that register.com is much more useful. I've got 4 domains I manage with them, and I can have them set up within minutes and everthing's up & running by their cache update every 24 hours.

    NSI needs a smack or fifty across the face. Perhaps with a large blunt metal object, like a fire extinguisher...

    I've had one name registered with them for nearly a year now and have yet to get it up and running. I have no problems with anyone suing NSI.

    Fools must have decided to protect all their root nameservers by sequentially shoving them up their ass.

    --

  • by ZanshinWedge ( 193324 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2000 @04:37PM (#694743)
    Duh! Hello, anybody there.

    As long as they hold it, ONLY THEY CAN BE THE REGISTRAR for that domain. That means that if someone else wants to register it, they have to pay them. And if the original purchaser wants to register it they have to use them AND they have to pay all "back payments", even though they dropped registration.

    This is just one more reason why NSI is pure evil.

  • hahaha... mental anguish is right. I could sue them for all the anguish I recieve dealing with their moronic system every day... with the falling IBM stock I could the money.

    Seriously though, I am not too familiar with US law but if you are losing money because of them you may be able to go after them for damages, especially if they are not providing a service as advertised. Might wanna check that out.

  • Ignoring the whole issue about wide-spread use and consistency, this might be possible.

    That's like saying "ignoring the problem of objects gaining mass as they accelerate, there's no reason why we shouldn't be able to travel at the speed of light!"

    No one is going to use a DNS system that only a microscopic portion of the internet can access. No one is going to say "visit my website at http://indpendentdns.unconventionaltld, but make sure you have OSSDNS servers in your DNS list!" No one is going to use an e-mail account when 99.9% of their mail gets dropped because the mailservers can't resolve the domain name.

    Linux caught on eventually, why not this?

    Linux caught on eventually among relatively small groups of computer enthusiasts, and is just now peeking into the corporate world. But a decision to use Linux doesn't depend on others doing so for it to be useful.

    And "Open Source" would really have nothing to do with it. The source code to BIND is of course already available. Using the term "open source" to mean decentralized and anarchistic just dilutes the meaning of the term.

    --
  • Over at NameZero on there boards, one post was on not being able to get the name you want after it expires. We'll see what happenswith the domain names I got. Some people that have a use for it and is for hobby like mine shouldn't have a problem getting it after it expires.
  • Er, so you did ...

    drey@falconis:~ > nslookup
    Default Server: nyc.speakeasy.net
    Address: 216.254.95.2

    > www.kam.com
    Server: nyc.speakeasy.net
    Address: 216.254.95.2

    Non-authoritative answer:
    Name: www.kam.com
    Address: 194.200.169.2

    OK, new guess ... someone forgot to clear it out of a DNS server somewhere. The way DNS works, anyone could put in any bogus set of domain information down in their server and have it work for them, as long as their DNS was always handled at their server. Now, why bad DNS information like that is still out there ... *shrug*
    --

  • --The only alternative is bigger government and more Federal oversight of the process through the FTC and other administrative bodies

    While I would agree that there isn't much of an alternative in the matter, I would not like to answer to foreign government agencies when dealing with this process. Besides the usual 'paranoia' aspects of having a government agency in charge of things, I think that internet related policies should not be dictated by any one country.

  • Perhaps THIS [slashdot.org]

    Seriously, reposting stories that were posted a year ago is one thing, but COME ON! This was posted like 3 days ago!

  • I was surprised that they held on to one of mine something like 6 months after expiration. I'm glad they're being sued.
  • by BeBoxer ( 14448 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2000 @11:17AM (#694751)
    The problem with NSI is that they are serving two roles. They run the root DNS servers. This gives them a guaranteed flow of income no matter how much the customers hate them. Their second role is that of a registrar.

    Now, they seem to do a pretty good job of running the root name servers. The problem is that this position gives them an advantage over the other registrars. For one, they are guaranteed to have income. No matter how badly they screw up, or how much market share they lose, they will still have money rolling in because all of their competition has to pay them. In addition, as in this case, they can arbitrarily snap up domains without having to actually pay for them. Any other registrar that wanted to play this game would have to fork over cash to NSI to fund it.

    What I think ICANN should dictate is this. One or more companies will be given contracts to register domain names, similar to what is done now. A second group of one or more companies will be given contracts to run the root servers. People who register a domain will pay the first group. The first group will pay some fee to the second group for each domain they want served. The contracts for both groups will stipulate that they are not allowed to own, be owned by, partner with, or be the same as any company in the other group.

    The abuse that is happening with the current system is out of hand. NSI is acting like a greedy spoiled brat who is causing untold amounts of grief for thousands of hard working admins out there. Unfortunately, with the current system, they can and will keep doing it. In fact, I would expect their behavior to actually get worse as their market share declines. As they lose customers, past behavior indicates that they will abuse their power more to make up for the lost profits.
  • Oh.. thats not in the article. Do they auction off url's often?
  • The ppl replying to my orig. post are missing the point. NSI could probably claim two things that would be impossible to prove.

    1. They indend to use the expired domains internally for future expansion of the company and for whatever reason did not register them.

    2. The software handling the expiration of domain names has a bug.

    You prove to me that they did it on purpose. I say it was either bad code, good business, or a combination of both.
  • i resolved www.kam.com
    not kam.com

    kam.com has no record
  • The worst thing is that none of these domains ever seem to have a web site on them (Okay, the web isn't the 'net, but it's a fairly good indicator that a domain is actually in use.

    No, it's not. My previous company went 4 years without a web site, using the domain for email only. It's not that unusual.


    ...phil

  • Yeah, there is an old article about NetSol not releasing expired domain names at http://slashdot.org/asksl ash dot/00/06/16/1941232.shtml [slashdot.org]. That discussion has some information on their possible motives & was pretty interesting. It also contains a list of three letter domain names held by NSI without payment. It's kind of funny about that article actually... I was slashdotted and didn't even know it until a couple weeks ago (I was out of town at the time)! It's not funny about NSI's business practices though. NetSol did the same thing with the squatting to me; they have been holding mendelson.net without paying for it, and being Jonathan Mendelson, I think I have a proper claim to it.
  • by Dr. Awktagon ( 233360 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2000 @07:09PM (#694757) Homepage

    More info if you're curious, courtesy of Scripting News [scripting.com]:

    http://www.camworld.com/misc/adobecom. txt [camworld.com]

  • Simple: I started my domain before there was a choice (if I remember correctly) and I am scared to attempt to do ANYTHING apart from send them the relevant money- and hope to God they get that right! It's a very bad scene.

    I don't believe for one second that the law, common sense, morals or _anything_ will prevent these people from savaging me if I try changing registrars- and I don't have the resources to fight them or even raise an issue.

    It sucks sucks sucks sucks SUCKS. I'm awful glad some people can afford to attack NSI. I would consider it a big victory if they were destroyed and I had to pay a new fee to freshly register airwindows.com at another registrar. I can't afford to have them hold it for ransom, or swoop in and sell it in the middle of an attempted defection to another registrar. In the world of NSI I'm one of the guys being held up at gunpoint, who hasn't been shot yet. I am not joyous about the situation.

  • we need a new quote for this day and age (although that one is true more often than not). something like... "never attribute to stupidity that which is more adequately explained by greed."

    eudas
  • I still want to know if what's going on in the book with M&M is even vaguely possible. :)

    -David T. C.
  • I heard that before, and so I ran a test. Last week, I did an enquiry on the NSI web site of some 5-letter .com names. All pronounceable, but nonsense words in english. I found one that was not taken. I haven't done anything about it except to make a note. In a week, I'll go back and see if it's taken. It's not proof, but it might well be an indication of some hanky-panky in the NSI system.


    ...phil
  • hmm. i kinda wonder do they get to keep their domain for free. mostly, i think, this is called cheating. so i think nsi will claim " we just forgot fix a bug in some old update script " or something like that

    so the network solutions whois claims that it expired 21.oct.1996 but last update was 10.nov.1999!
    whois query provided by whois.userland.com [userland.com]

  • My domain name, <a href="http://www.doofus.org">doofus.org</a> recently came up for renewal. Recently I noticed that <a href="http://www.register.com">register.com</a> allows domain names to be transferred to them. Instead of renewing I just transferred it to register.com and I just throw all of the renewal notices I keep getting from NSI into the recycler. I will never do business with NSI again, since I have found register.com to be far easier to manage my domains.
  • The thing I think is lacking is any sort of delineation of NSI's responsibilities and limitations as a registrar. When the U.S. initially gave them monopoly registrar status, they were evidently not given adequate restrictions on how they could conduct business. Seems to me that the international community (ICANN?) needs to come up with a set of rules for registrars and impose them. The current situation reminds me of the free rein and large land tracts the railroads were given in order to induce them to build the U.S. rail system. Once that had happened, laws were finally imposed to reduce their depredations (read the novel "The Octopus" for a flavor of what it meant to have your community under the thumb of a railroad). I think we've reached that stage now with the internet.
  • .
    From the article: "Stan Smith, an Alabama resident, is suing NSI, contending that it's abused its power."

    This guy wouldn't be bitter that he can't register his own name, thanks to Adidas, would he?

    3prong

  • I had this urge to mod this one down because its redundant. Everyone has had similar or worse dealings with NSI.



  • Yeah: 'cept we call it the innernit!
  • Yes, but if I have a trademarked name, they can't resell it. They can receive a registration fee, since they are the registrars, but numerous court cases have given the names to the trademark holders.
  • by daniell ( 78495 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2000 @11:34AM (#694769) Homepage
    I believe that there is a domain squatter daemon out there, possibly run by NSI. When looking for a few of the domains we did register (throwawayyourmoney.com; slithy.net, syntaxerr.org) my roomate and I were running a few permutations through NS lookup. We did this for a couple of months, often retesting names to assure persiting availablity (we weren't ready to settle on something yet). Then to our surprise a majority of our previously free names had become registered to various networking consultants, web hosters, and such.

    The results were even faster acting for a friend of mine testing our theory that people lie in waiting for any name based on popularity. He however used NSI's domain name checker directly through their web interface, to find that on the 10-12th look up (usually from varying IPs) the name would be claimed.

    This of course lead to our script idea, that would generate random crap, distribute a largish list to various clients, and have them all periodcally pick a random on every few mintues and try http://www.--- on it. This would last a week and a new list would be made. Compiled statistics on how many attempts, when and from where had been made on each domain, and when these domains had been claimed would then be sent back to be reported in some parsed form. The new list would then be worked through. We hoped that this would eventually discourage people squatting on this basis, due to cost.

    Now I realize that cost may not be a factor for someone like NSI, and I realize that random crap may have to be generated from dictionaries and rules. We were further hoping that through a movie name generator (add the or a small set of adjectives to any noun) would cause enough companies to loose their prefered sites, that there'd be some public out cry.

    We didn't ever implement this thoguh. We get paid for other work.

  • The most irritating thing that I've encountered was while trying to snag a domain name that was definitely a regional name. It was cancelled by NSI for non payment 7 months before it left the whois database. Then once it was out of the whois database, I was still not allowed to register it for another 5 weeks. I was told that it hadn't finished processing on their end. If they're going to continue their squatting practices and continue to be as inefficient as the federal gov't - the least they can do is have the whois database be the *last* place a domain gets removed from before it is available for registration. Otherwise we're flyin' blind out here.
  • I just got a four letter domain (www.z4ce.com) though I'm not sure how difficult it is to receive such a name... mine is pretty unique:)
  • Actually, every letter except z is reserved by the IANA back in 1993, as .com .net and .org, and z.net and z.org. Why they didn't get z.com is beyond me. Very unusual...

    And they also have all the single digit numbers. If I recall, aren't they used for Zone File Servers?
  • What exactly would be the most prohibitive problems with starting an "Open Source" DNS? Seeing as how I'm shooting an unresearched, off-the-hip question I'm probably begging to be flamed, but as far as I know, my ISP is responsible for providing me with a DNS. Is there anything preventing them from starting their own dns servers with their own tables? Or for that matter, referring to a master DNS not run by NSI. Ignoring the whole issue about wide-spread use and consistency, this might be possible. It may take a while, but most worthwhile things do.
    If you don't like a piece of software, write your own. If you don't like an OS, write your own. If you don't like a service, write your own. The same holds true here. If you don't like the way NSI works, build your own. Afterall, they did it with that openCDDB thing, and secondly with the cue cat. Why not this? No need to answer to NSI or ICANN, just start up your own movement to provide DNS service. Give out domains for free. Develop as many TLD's as you want. It would just need an organized effort, as with any grass-roots endeavor. Linux caught on eventually, why not this?
  • Well, .orgs are kinda lame, in general. (Maybe I should get "orgsarelame.org" (if it's not taken) and list lame .org sites.

    I have a .to domain. It's great--easy to register and pay for, I can log in and change any info I want and whois info is kept secret. HOWEVER, I can't explain to folks that .to is a valid domain name! For example, my High School reunion committee sent a questionaire out which asked our email addresses, for a directory. I gave mine, which is (for arguments sake) xxxx@xxxx.to and those bastards listed it as xxxx@xxxx.to.com! I was so furious I wanted to go over there and STRANGLE those people who put together that directory.

    --- Speaking only for myself,

  • When I submitted an application to change my domain nameservers to NSI, it took just under three months to have that complete. It was finally changed. At the time I sent them numerous semi-abusive e-mails and filled out a survey stating VERY clearly my disgust with their customer service. About a month later the industry was 'de-regulated', and what do you know, they made up their site from the substandard peice of **** it was into something very slick and professional. On top of that, over 4 months after I submitted the change, 3 months since I expressed by utter disgust at their appaling customer service, 2 months after the survey I filled out and 1 month after the industry being 'de-regulated' I recieved a very automated e-mail "We understand you have had a bad experience with us, a free gift is on it's way". What do I get? A t-shirt with Network Solutions printed on it. I promptly threw it in the bin and resolved that no use would come out of yet another abusive e-mail. The bottom line is, this company is scum. When they had a monopoly over the market, they abused their power no end. Only a company hiding behind the guise of the net could do this. I recieved the most appaling service I have EVER received from any company, and I didn't have a say in whether I could use them or not. It is only after they have competition that their service seems more efficient. I propose everyone boycotts NSI and uses another domain name registry service. This company doesnt deserve to have any say in how such a mass media market is controlled. As a side note, I have been trying to register a domain which has expired. But to no avail.
  • bahh... don't give me duh

    How the hell can anybody know what they do with that crap. They don't hold anything valuable, they hold one guys dream. Patent it and sue them... end of discussion.

  • /*insert anecdote about poor customer relations here*/

    If there is a law against this I'd love to nail em for it -- not for any money, I just want my domain to be functional again.

    Here in Australia we have a couple of government departments/agencies that will deal with this type of complaint.

    The first is the State run (I think?) Fair Trading department where disgruntled patrons can lodge notices of unfair trading or lack thereof. The other is the federal run Australian Consumer and Compeition Commision (ACCC) that deals with companies trading illegally and so forth.

    With the number of stories that surface about the NSI on here and other places if this were a company in Austrlia there'd be hell to pay.

  • OK, new guess ... someone forgot to clear it out of a DNS server somewhere. [...] Now, why bad DNS information like that is still out there ...

    Well that someone would be Network Solutions, Inc., and bad DNS information is out there because NSI has kept the record in the root servers:

    yerfable ~> nslookup
    Default Server: sloth.metonymy.com
    Address: 10.1.1.67

    > server a.root-servers.net
    Default Server: a.root-servers.net
    Address: 198.41.0.4

    > set qtype=any
    > kam.com.
    Server: a.root-servers.net
    Address: 198.41.0.4

    Non-authoritative answer:
    kam.com nameserver = NS0-K.DNS.PIPEX.NET
    kam.com nameserver = NS1-K.DNS.PIPEX.NET

    Authoritative answers can be found from:
    kam.com nameserver = NS0-K.DNS.PIPEX.NET
    kam.com nameserver = NS1-K.DNS.PIPEX.NET
    NS0-K.DNS.PIPEX.NET internet address = 158.43.129.75
    NS1-K.DNS.PIPEX.NET internet address = 158.43.193.75

    I doubt that they just forgot to clear it out...

  • Actually, I'm pretty sure he meant like q.com [q.com]
  • by at0m ( 56249 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2000 @11:36AM (#694780) Homepage
    I've been waiting since July to purchase an expired domain name. A few months back, I sent Network Solutions an E-Mail asking about timeframe for purchasing expired domain names. After responding to their rediculous autoresponder that said they needed the name of the domain that I was referring to, they sent me this:

    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.

    Best Regards,

    Larry W.
    Network Solutions Registration Services

    I don't think that billing cycle could possibly be as long as the four months it's been since the domain expired. And "day to day" checking has become tiresome. This Alabama resident is right on - I hadn't thought of it in terms of cybersquatting, but now that he mentions it, that's the obvious conclusion. It's not fair to the other registrars or to the people who want to buy some of the dead domain names of Network Solutions is allowed to keep the domains for an extended period of time. I hope the suit will open the eyes of more people so they can see NSI's evil business practices.
  • This has certainly happened to me. I don't know if I can attribute it to NSI stealing it, but what are the chances of it? So my online name is stype. stype.com is taken legitimately, so I figure stype.net is the next best thing. I check with NSI, stype.net is open. I buy it...a few days later I get an email saying that its no longer for sale and its been bought by some random person. I ended up getting stype.org but I was pissed for a while.

    For this reason I've also registered nsi.cansuckmyballs.com just because I'm pissed at NSI.
    -Stype
  • "Well, if they are anything like me then they set their filters on high. So, your post would never be seen. My guess is that it's quite doubtful"

    Just curious but if your filter is set so high how did you see his post? And here I was thinking there was no bugs in slashcode :)

  • Trolls have feelings, too.

    They do? I thought one of the prerequsites for troll status was to have their feelings surgically removed, along with their brains and their nervous systems.... Oh, well. NSI still makes them look like wannabe amateurs.


    -RickHunter
  • by electricmonk ( 169355 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2000 @11:43AM (#694784) Homepage

    ugggh... my post kinda got garbled there. Let me repost that, for your viewing pleasure:

    Perhaps THIS [slashdot.org]

    Seriously, reposting stories that were posted a year ago is one thing, but COME ON! This was posted like 3 days ago!

  • by dodecahedron ( 231077 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2000 @11:44AM (#694785)
    NSI is simultaneously a registrar and the maintainer of the database of registrations from itself and other registrars. It's a fundamentally-flawed arrangement. The company ought to be broken into two (a registrar business and a database-maintainer business) to get away from this conflict. As it is, there's an inherent incentive for the company to self-deal.

    For the non-lawyers (include me in that category), self-dealing is an interesting concept in the law. Here's the definition from Black's Law Dictionary: Relates to transactions wherein a trustee, acting for himself and also as "trustee," a relation which demands strict fidelity to others, seeks to consummate a deal wherein self-interest is opposed to duty.

  • dork. When I say that I had the urge to mark it redundant I mean that in a humorous way.

    While your post was not a duplicate of someone elses, the very mention of difficulties in domain name transfer is redundant after having mentioned that you are dealing with NSI.

    If I were serious about moderating it redundant, I would have done so.

  • Redundant means it's the same post, over and over again right?

    What he meant, I believe, is that your response is entirely too common among domain administrators. Further, I believe his comment was primarily meant in jest, rather than a serious impulse to reduce the rating of your message...

    I will *not* use smileys in this message. I think if you don't get the joke without them, you won't get it with them, either. :)

    Dammit!!

    -c.
    --

  • by Vassily Overveight ( 211619 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2000 @11:52AM (#694788)
    This of course lead to our script idea, that would generate random crap, distribute a largish list to various clients, and have them all periodcally pick a random on every few mintues and try http://www.--- on it.

    If someone would code this into a SETI-like distributed system, I'd run it in the background on every computer that I own.

  • I believe what happened was someone else squatted it. Dan Parisi bought it from the squatter, refused to sell it to Madonna (she approached him), he trademarked the name Madonna somewhere else, put up a religously theme pron site, then agreed to donate the domain to the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital [madonna.org], she sued, she won. In that order. Until I heard that he bought it from a squatter I was on his side, but I'm undecided now. He never tried to sell it to her and created a site that wasn't totally unrealated to the domain name. *shrug*

    --
  • x.com is one also. My thinking is give them enough money and maybe they won't be so reserved with it.
  • If you don't pay they auction off your domain to 'recover their losses', can't find anything about it on their site now though ("Netscape can't find search.networksolutions.com" - and people trust these people with their root records????). I guess the longer they keep the name the more they feel justified in auctioning it for to cover their cost :)

    On a related topic I actually renewed a domain with them (dumb I know, but it's the one most of my email goes to and one I tried to transfer they managed to lose for about 3 months and then dropped, luckily a friend noticed it was available and reregistered it for us) and in the renewal email they say "Your FREE personalized T-shirt will be shipped to your Billing Contact in 4 to 6 weeks." even though I only renewed for 1 year and they say a 2 year minimum for da T-Shirt on their site.

    If they don't cough up u reckon I can sue them to get it? + of course the mental anguish from having to go barechested (no joke in Scotland at this time of year) for month as I was relying on it arriving (about £1000 000 000 I reckon - I get VERY anguished).

  • Xerithane,

    I'm going through exectly what your going through, after moving from Arizona to IL, I dont even have access to my old school account and after months of getting annoyed i tried the same stuff you said and faxed several times, and today they send me this e-mail saying my licence was not legible on the fax! WTF! I am like this close to blowing these MF's out of earth. I called their tech support and the answering system hangs up on yoru saying it's busy serving other customers (it doesnt even put you on the freaking hold).

    And their domain update crap is so outdated. It's hard to update anything there.


    --
  • Today is not your day, apparently :)

  • The only issues I can see with this would be the reliability and viability of independant organizations. How can you ensure they would be around to keep it going. I think that it would be a good thing only if it could be made so we were sure they would be up for a very long time. How many times have you gone to a software mirror only to find the old 404 or invalid dir DNS would be much more suceptable to that then you have the trust issue how to make sure everyone in the open source is not doing anything like NSI is doing for their own personal gain.

    For me the best solution would be for the goverment to take control of domain registration like you would have to get a permit for your domain.

    (remind: this isn't an all inclusive solution just something I could see being viable and long lasting.)
  • Ok, I'm humor impaired sometimes.
    The massive amount of frustration with NSI made me this way.
    I used to be funny, hell I used to even laugh. NSI has made me into a cold hard shell of my former self.
    I apologize :)
  • Is there any evidence that they're not releasing them to the public, or did they make a legitimate purchase. All the three-letter .com domains are gone. It makes good business sense to hold on to them.
  • There's a company that makes DJ mixers and turntables called KAM.

    thenerd.
  • I had a similar experience trying to change my *contact* information. The e-mail address in one of my contact entries had become invalid, and I could not get anything done for a solid 9 months, after phone calls, 3 faxes (at the request of the person I spoke to on the phone, two of which were sent *directly to the tech*), and repeated e-mails.

    After 9 months of this crap, I transferred my domain to register.com. All it took was a notarized copy of the form and a photocopy of my driver's license. My bank across the street did this for free. Once I got that to them, the only delay was waiting for Network Solutions to "authorize" the domain transfer (apparently they still have a form of veto power in case you don't pay your bills, whatever). It took like 2 days to get a response (a new record for NSI!), as I recall, and the following day to get the WHOIS servers updated.

    I have been INFINITELY impressed with the speed and flexibility of register.com, when compared to NSI. All changes to most any bit of information about your domain are all AUTOMATED and require only that you confirm the change via e-mail. It takes 2 minutes, tops, and the servers are updated by the next day.

    I imagine most ANY other registrar will give you comparable service. Fuck NSI.
  • The trend in legislation is plain to see: whoever has greater potential financial gains at stake will win any dispute. If no clear financial gain can be argued, then whoever already has more money will win. Look at the example of Corinthians.com [corinthians.com]. An American citizen with an interest Paul's Letter to the Corinthians registered this domain years ago, and has been serving up content related to this book of the New Testament on the site. A Brazilian soccer team, the Corinthians (go figure) decided they wanted to have Corinthians.com in addition to Corinthians.com.br. So they petitioned to have the domain name ripped from the current owner. They won. I think all of the sh*t about "good faith" only applies until a corporation with lots of money shows up asking for the domain name. At that point, the bidding opens up, whether or not someone already owns the domain name.

    I think the time has come for an alternative to the DNS system, so that those of us who don't want to participate in the corporatization of the web can just "move away". Then we can all just laugh at NSI and their customers as they traffic in domain names that noone will ever use.
  • by Trak ( 670 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2000 @12:06PM (#694811) Homepage Journal
    I tried to register a domain one night early last year. Near the end of the process, my browser crashed. It was late, so I decided to go home and finish the job in the morning. Guess what! By the time I got back, the domain had been registered by somebody else, and a few minutes of research turned up that they were an NSI employee! Argh.
  • transfer it to another registrar, then transfer ownership to your buyer.

    test the system (and new registrar) with another domain first if that one was valuable.

  • If someone would code this into a SETI-like distributed system, I'd run it in the background on every computer that I own.

    Yes. A distributed.net style client was certainly part of the idea.

    -Daniel


  • Xerithane,
    on your page you indicate that you have no public email address. if it would be any help at all, i will be glad to set you up an email account on my server with absolutely no strings attached. i can do this in five minutes, you can choose from several domains i control, and as far as i'm concerned you can have it for as long as you need it, no charge. drop me email if this will help.

    "I will gladly pay you today, sir, and eat up

  • by Fat Rat Bastard ( 170520 ) on Wednesday October 18, 2000 @10:49AM (#694825) Homepage
    Good old Robert X. in an Infoworld Article a couple of weeks ago wrote about how URL were mysteriously being snatched up just after being looked up for availability on NSI's site. I've often wondered if NSI, when they switched their policy to not putting expired domain names back into the general pool but instead auction them off, would abuse such a position. ("What, you wanted MyNewCompany.com??? Yes, it was available half an hour ago, but it has been 'reserved.' Should you really really really want this domain name, and the other registrar 'ahem' doesn't pay, we'll be happy to let you participate in an auction for it... bidding starts at $10,000")

    Anyone else heard of such nonsense from or favorite registrar?

  • by Xerithane ( 13482 ) <(xerithane) (at) (nerdfarm.org)> on Wednesday October 18, 2000 @10:52AM (#694829) Homepage Journal
    I am so happy to see this
    I hope to see a lot more -- I'm generally against a lot of lawsuits but I really have no choice but to feel utter dispise towards that company.
    My recent dealings with them have been absolutely horrendous, here is a page about it [phpwebhosting.com].
    Not only have I had horrible experience with their customer service department, but also they're utilities for updating and registering are so far behind the rest of the competitors I can't imagine why anyone still does business with them.
    The biggest thing I dont understand about them, is that since they lost their monopoly they now only account for 40% instead of 100%? A 60% loss in market share and they still seemingly refuse to restructure their obviously defunct customer service department and registration tools?
    This, above all, deserves to be a Fucked Company life member.
    My worst experience with them, was getting my contact record changed when the email address expired very suddenly. After explaining to them the situation and getting a canned response back then responding to that, then getting another canned response back I finally figured out what to do. You have to FAX them something. Wow, I thought we were living in a digital age, hell no. So I faxed it, nope - they lost it twice! Finally, I get my contact record changed (after 2.5 months of arguing with them) and when I tried to update my domain (nerdfar.org) they are refusing on the grounds that I have not properly proved my identity - yet my contact record is updated.
    If there is a law against this I'd love to nail em for it -- not for any money, I just want my domain to be functional again.
    Well, this is one hell of a rant.
    Morale of the story, screw NSI and use register.com or another one of the registrars because NSI's head is so far up it's ass it's making the slashdot trolls envious.
  • For anybody that is interested
    I won. As of 8:56:14 Eastern Standard Time, the nerdfarm.org domain name was modified and pointing to a functional server.
    For those of you who dont know, nerdfarm.org is a community discussion forum that is still under development but is mostly functional. If you are interested check back to nerdfarm.org [nerdfarm.org] in a couple of days, and I'll get the about document posted up there.
  • In my own quest for a domain name, my first choice was listed as expired in WHOIS, but was not available. I emailed NSI asking about its status, and they responded with a standard answer that had no relevance to my question. I then contacted another registrar, and asked them about it. But they told me that can't do anything until NSI relinquishes the name.

    So then I called NSI, waited on hold for 20 min, and spoke with a service rep. At this point, the expiration date was > 3 months old. But he told me, well, not much. The WHOIS database can't be considered accurate. There was no standard procedure for relinquishing names (in contradiction with the stated 100 days from the article). They could not give any information about the status of the name, whether it had been renewed or declined. He recommended I contact the registrant. I told him I'd tried that via email, but the listed email was dead. He said he would try a conference call, but the registrant didn't answer the phone.

    The final response was basically, 'oh well. try back later. first come, first serve.'

    What I don't understand is why the WHOIS database is so out of date (in my case, the domain name was listed as re-registered six months after the original expiration date. On my calendar 180 days > 100 days, but perhaps that's not so in Internet time).

    I guess silly me for assuming their internal computer records would automatically update the WHOIS records. But I now realize NSI uses the more secure paper invoice & file-cabinet methods; it's Y2K compliant after all.

    So, yes, I'd believe that NSI is effectively 'cyber-squatting' on domains. Will anything come of this? doubtful.
    -----
    D. Fischer
  • I just spent 40 minutes on their customer support hotline, waiting to be connected, to solve a problem that took 2 minutes to solve but wasn't documented on their web site (yes, I did a search). I called from Germany, international calls aren't cheap.

    Guess what I heard a few dozen times? "Your call is important to us." Yeah right.

    ------------------
  • Just for reference, this isn't always the way things work. I lost my job, and I had my domain registered under my e-mail address at work, so I, in effect, lost control over my domain at the same time as I lost access to my work e-mail. I put together the necessary documentation, as clearly explained on NSI's pages, and faxed it over to them. Two days later (probably one working day, since I'm in the UK) the changes showed up on my account.

    Certainly a painful process, but when they use the from: line on an e-mail as an authenication token I'm glad to see they use an off-line method to verify un-authenticatible changes. It's not such an issue for me - this is a personal domain, so all I'd lose is some personal e-mail and some hits on my site - but for companies who trade on-line, if they lose control of their domains they effectively lose control of their company.

  • "Injunction", I think is what you meant, not "injection".

    At first I thought you had delved deep into conspiracy-theory where the ex-spooks were trying to drug each other in their attempts to control kam.com

    Or maybe that is what you meant...
    kam == "Kill And Murder" perhaps? (shudder)
    -----
    D. Fischer
  • I think they may have stopped doing this, but as recently as 1 year ago, you could register a name and NEVER PAY FOR IT!

    It would be months, sometimes years, before the name became available again, and you could use it until then.

    We used to always register strange names--without paying for them--for parties. For example if someone left the company, we'd get "GOOD-LUCK-ON-YOUR-NEW-JOB-FRED.COM" or whatever, post our party pictures there, and NEVER pay for it. And it would last for quite some time before NSI took it away.

    The downside of this is that people who register and sit on reams of names never had to pay for them. I mean, it's one thing if they had to shell out $70 a pop to register yes-on-xxx.com, no-on-xxx.com, and hope there's a buyer, but when they're not paid up, it's a little annoying.

    I don't think it's malice, the software at NSI just must be poor at tracking these things. I hope this lawsuit sheds some light on the matter.

    --- Speaking only for myself,

  • Other nonsense? Sure! I want to know how x.com is in use and no other single-letter domain names have been handed out...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 18, 2000 @10:55AM (#694846)
    NSI's head is so far up it's ass it's making the slashdot trolls envious.

    Trolls have feelings, too.

Between infinite and short there is a big difference. -- G.H. Gonnet

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