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U.S. OKs VeriSign Domain Deal 32

mduell writes: "The U.S. government approved a deal allowing top Internet domain registrar VeriSign to retain control of the lucrative ".com" Web addresses, the Commerce Department said Friday." ICANNwatch has a couple of stories about the deal finally reached, and the steps taken by the Commerce Department to promote competition in the DNS.
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U.S. OKs VeriSign Domain Deal

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  • It should mean business as usual. VeriSign already has control of the .com namespace, so this isn't a change in any way. It just means they get to keep it.


  • You Americans keep amazing me...
    First a giant trial about Microsoft's monopoly and then they simply grant a company a monopoly for several years??

    What amazes me is that there are idiots out there who find it somehow surprising that NOT EVERY AMERICAN AGREES ON ANYTHING, and that therefore "our" actions are not always consistent. (Well, DUH!)

    Not everyone thinks a Microsoft monopoly is bad. And not everyone thinks a VeriSign monopoly is good.

    Endrin, if this sort of pluralism and disagreement amazes you and seem out of place, then I'm certainly glad I don't live in whatever country you do. I'd hate to live in a place where this sort of thing is unusual...


  • And who would get the money paid by the highest bidder?
    Department of Commerce, I believe (since they're the ones who regulate the .com namespace).

    But I also believe that Europeans and Japanese (and just about everybody else in the world) would not like that much.

    Sure, it could go in funding for standards-promoting agencies such as IETF and W3C, but I fear that it would just be wistful thinking...
  • Okay, what's wrong with Verisign having a monopoly of the .com registry? I don't remember the last time DNS went down. The only complaint you can have is that $6 a year is too much.

    Well, real soon now we'll have seperate registries for .biz, .org, .net, and others. If they charge far less than $6, then there will be tremendous pressure on Verisign to drop their price, or they won't get the contract renewed in 2007. And they'd drop their price soon, not in December 2006.

    But i think the new regirstries will charge close to $6 as well. It's not easy to run a database of that size with zero tolerance for downtime or latency. Plus, you know, also running root DNS.


  • by Mike Schiraldi ( 18296 ) on Saturday May 19, 2001 @03:36PM (#211140) Homepage Journal
    Under the old plan, Verisign had a monopoly on being the registry for .com, .net, and .org until 2007. Now, they only have a monopoly on .com until 2007. What are you people complaining about?

    The part of Verisign that people seem to have a problem with is the Registrar. This is -not- a monopoly. If you don't like the customer service, don't use it.

    The part of Verisign that is a monopoly is the Registry. This is not a part that any of you interact with, unless you work for a registrar.

    Again, how is any of this bad? If you don't like the Verisign registrar, don't use it. If you don't like the registry, be happy with this deal, because it gives Verisign's registry -less- power.


  • No, absolutely not. The parent post is anything but "Insightful".

    There are two parts - one is the Verisign registrar, which is all 99% of the world ever interacts with. This registrar has dozens of competitors, including OpenSRS.

    There's also the Verisign registry, which is what all the registrars talk to, in order to keep things in sync.

    Under the old plan, Verisign could either keep control of the .com, .org, and .net registry until 2004 and keep its registrar business, or it could sell the registrar and keep the registry of .com, .net, and .org until 2007.

    Under the new plan, Verisign phases out control of the .org and .net registry, and in return gets to keep the .com registry until 2007 as well as continue running the registrar business.

    And yes, there are strict regulations in place to keep the Verisign registry from giving special treatment to the Verisign registrar.

    If you don't like the Verisign registrar, don't use it. It's not a monopoly. Only the Verisign registry is, and nobody ever complains about that.


  • A 'hack' being what DNS was in the first place.

    Remember your roots. Don't be so quick to shrug off what the net was built upon for a quick buck.
  • I posted it before, and I will prolly post it again (only cos it was rejected as a story ...) []

  • CRAP!!

    That, and the lameness filter is pretty lame.

    - - - - -
  • The story is about them being able to retain control over the .com domain registry. So they maintain the root dns servers for it, and they are paid a fee by registrars who register domains. The concern is based on Network Solutions being a Verisign company, which could be used to their Verisigns advantage in undercutting other registrars. The article did mention that they would be audited on that though. It has nothing to do with them keeping
  • by _Mustang ( 96904 ) on Saturday May 19, 2001 @04:11PM (#211146)
    Not to deny the roots of the internet, but is it still appropriate that a US government body (Commerce Department) still makes these decisions? I question the right of a US body to continue to make decisions concerning what is a global resource. At the least this type of thing should go to a panel with reps from all the major countries. As we all realize by now, Corporatism appears to not only have it's roots in American society but it most strongly propelled forward by those self-same American companies.

    A real shame, the vision of "the net" as held by those who created is less and less a reality every day something like this occurs..
  • "The first review will come in December 2002. At that time, dot-biz, dot-info, dot-name and dot-pro must have 10 percent share of the Web address market, or the retail unit of VeriSign must sell 25 percent or fewer of new Web addresses.
    "The second review will take place in March 2004."

    Obviously they don't understand how much the Internet changes in 18 months.

  • to ensure separation between its two functions. This smells kinda like Verisign becoming a for-profit government agency. Much like any other government agency these days.
    ------------------------------------------- -------
  • Does this mean that all of the "other" places to register your domain names (like OpenSRS []) won't be able to do it anymore? I've found everyone BUT Network Solutions to be incredibly helpful and much better priced for domain name registration. Any insight into what this means for the open competitors, anyone?
  • Verisign got where it is by hard work alone? Ridiculous. They got there by having a long-term US government-granted monopoly as the only registrar for years. As Network Solutions, before Verisign bought them, and before the domain registrar function was forcibly opened up to competition.

    Remember how got redirected to Network Solutions Commercial registrar service even after competition began? How about the ongoing tales of horrible service, e-mail-loop-hell, and deliberate scarfing up of expired names. It took me months to get Network Solutions to "allow" me to transfer one of my domains to another registrar. They kept finding reasons why they couldn't process my transfer even though I'd filled out all the templates properly.

    Verisign as a Registrar is about where AT&T as a phone company was in 1967 - "we're the registrar, we don't have to care". They are doing everything they can to hold on to what's left of their monopoly.
  • an AC popped up from the swamp to say:

    "if you can get them to cooperate" regarding freedom not to use Verisign as a Registrar.

    Oh, so a company whose service is so bad that you have to hope "you can get them to cooperate" in order NOT to use them, is worthy of having its monopoly continued in another area?

    I'm well aware of the difference between a Registry and Registrar. Bad Acts as a Registrar should absolutely have been considered in any decision to extend its monopoly as a Registry.

    That standard is applied in most realms of business and consumer activism - why do you think people boycotted Nestle chocolate when they were protesting unethical distribution of infant formula in 3rd-world countries that couldn't afford to use it safely?

    I don't care if Netsol/Verisign is an absolute saint as a Registry. They are absolute slime as a Registrar, and that should disqualify them from a continued monopoly as registry and especially from still being able to be both.
  • I don't know about that. I have a hard time believing the government can do anything more efficiently than the private sector. The registrars compete now, customer service should improve for all of them. As was mentioned in another post, the regestry is the only thing Verisign has a monopoly on, and from what I know the regestry has been working ok. Government is not always the best answer to everything.
  • by ( 184378 ) on Saturday May 19, 2001 @03:06PM (#211153) Journal
    These kinds of things (eg, .com control) should be auctioned off to the highest bidder... you don't just "let" someone retain monopoly power. Making them compete (bid) for the rights to that power benefits everyone.
  • What are some better alternatives for handling domain registration, other than having a corporation in charge?

    Originally, universities were the keepers of such things. A not-for-profit such as IEEE, ACM, or even The Verisign Foundation would be able to handle the job. (The last is a made-up name, although I would not at all be surprised to hear that Verisign has such a philanthropic arm.)

    The military-industry complex is more used to for-profit companies taking on these function -- it makes it easier to sue for damages if the contracted company doesn't do the job. Unfortunately, the Dept. of Commerce doesn't have an effective and measurable performance clause in the contracts...

  • I question the right of a US body to continue to make decisions concerning what is a global resource.

    As I recall, each country with a two-letter TLD has the right to do whatever it wants with the second-level domain names -- and that includes .com.. Does Verisign control I didn't think so.

    Of course, the right answer is to eliminate the TLD .com, .net, .org, .edu, and so forth and move all existing United States sites to,,,, and That would necessitate creating a TLD called .multi, so that multi-national organizations and corporations could have a home.

    It would take the pressure off the .com database, wouldn't it?

  • OTOH, they are regulating in the pockets of big companies, which is of course very Republican.
  • There is already a plethora of sites available in the .free TLD provided by freeweb! Granted, it's as slow as serving complex ASP pages on a 386, but it gets me all the free porn I want! ;)
  • by hillct ( 230132 ) on Saturday May 19, 2001 @02:55PM (#211158) Homepage Journal
    People complain about the monsterously huge companies that manage the DNS infastructure. Well, let's face it, what small company could manage this? There is a minimum efficient scale associated with management of a system like DNS TLDs. The propogation delays introduced by distribution of registrars was bad enough. I'm not a proponant of allowing a single company to manage the system, nor am I a proponant of big government in general, but there are certain things that lend themselves to centralized management. TLDs are examples of such things. Greater overall value to the public is derived from efficient centralized management.

    There certainly does need to be oversight and this solution seems to adress that issue.


  • I'm curious...
    What are some better alternatives for handling domain registration, other than having a corporation in charge? What else would be feasible -- a government body? I think I'd prefer government in control of it, rather than a profit-motivated corporation...
  • Only the Verisign registry is, and nobody ever complains about that

    On the contrary, that's exactly what people have been complaining about. Most everyone on this thread knows that there are a lot of competing registrars-- you didn't point this out for the first time. The monopoly is with the registry, and that's what this whole discussion has been about (what did you think people were complaining about??)

    Verisign makes a lot of money off of the registry, and every registrar has to pay for it. The problem most people have with the decision is the back-room nature of the deal. This is a public resource, yet it has been granted to a single for-profit company for a large number of years (by Internet standards), with very little room for public comment.

    In any case, to say "there are lots of competing registrars, so customers are never going to suffer as a result of the Verisign monopoly" does not an argument make. You could as easily say "there are lots of competing DSL providers, so customers aren't going to suffer because Verizon owns all the lines."

  • Property that is Public-Paid ought to be Public-Profit. To to otherwise would be poor politics. I don't want the President to allow some pompous patriarchal person to purloin this petroleum from the people's pockets.


    I really despise these situations that cultivate political favoritism. For a historical perspective, consider the Teapot Dome Scandal [] For a contemporary example, refer to George W. Bush's Plans to drill Alaska []: The government bought the lands from Russia. The land and the oil in it belongs to the American people. We ought to work out some way to use it's revenues for the public good, but in the past (read:teapot) land like this has been given to political friends. Geoge W. Bush has no shortage of friends in the oil business.

    This sort of thing also occurs whenever a local government subsidizes sports arenas.

    Now the same corrupt process is taking place with the internet. More public money thrown into private corporate pockets.

    I wonder if this corporation was created for this purpose, and if so who created it? I wonder if it existed previously, and if so under what name and what sort of bidding process did it have to go through.
  • Microsoft makes a great browser.

    But we have a right to choose.

    Monopoly is bad.
  • Endrin (still glad to live in Europe, but who knows for how long...)

    Europe will be assimilated into the Microsoft Ameri-Gatesonian Capitalist State.

    What is your favorite color, future citizen?


  • You Americans keep amazing me...
    First a giant trial about Microsoft's monopoly and then they simply grant a company a monopoly for several years?? Free market anyone? What about anti-trust laws?
    BTW, I don't think auctioning it off to the highest bidder would solve anything; it seems to me that VeriSign has lots of cash and other smaller companies simply can't compete with that.

    Endrin (still glad to live in Europe, but who knows for how long...)
  • by President of The US ( 443103 ) on Saturday May 19, 2001 @03:01PM (#211165) Homepage
    Just reading the abuses, back-room deals, suppression of speech, greed, and the way money controls the laws in this world on this forum alone is too much. It's overload. Every ten minutes there's another one. It makes me all to aware that the only rights I have are ones that co-incide with corporate america's interests.

    It reminds me how Presidnet Lincoln responded when he told about confederate spies in his government. He said:

    "It was a majestic-looking tree, and apperently perfect in every part -- tall, straight, and of immense size -- the grand old sentinel of his forest hime. One morning, while at work in his garden, he saw a squirrel run up the tree into a hole and thought the tree might be hollow, He proceeded to examine it carefully and, much to his surprise, he found that the stately tree that he had valued for its beauty and grandeur to be the pride and protection of his little farm was hollow from top to bottom. Only a rim of solid wood remained, barely sufficient to support its weight. What was he to do? If he cut it down, it would do great damage with its great length and spreading branches. If he let it remain, his family was in constant danger. In a storm it might fall, or the wind might blow it down, and his house and children be crushed by it. What should he do? As he turned away, he said sadly, 'I wish I had never seen that squirrel.'"
    Sometimes I wish I could just have my illusions back that at least some things are done fairly and justly, that someone with power cares about the rights of people who cannot reward him, that the tree isn't completely hollow.
  • Ya know i don't really see what the big problem is with verisign and the .com address. I do see why they shouldn't have the .org etc. but they are a .com company, why can't they keep the .com address? With the recent aimster everyones complaining about copyright stuff, but verisigns .com is thier name, right? so if they pay, like everyone else, then what's the big problem? Am i missing a big chunkc of the story?
  • Having a government in charge probably isn't the best idea. It would require a U.N. style governing body, and that has its problems. Powerful nations would dominate (ex: for all intents and purposes, the U.S. runs the U.N.). Rules become bendable (its much harder to crack down on a misbehaving government). Having a company like VeriSign in control isn't perfect, but it's better than the alternatives. At least with a company, there's a hint of competition (if VeriSign is a bad boy, it loses control). This forces (I hope) the company to stay in line and provide better services.

    Yes, VeriSign is profit-driven, but this (in theory) applies only to the registrar not the registry. That's what the audits are for. To make sure VeriSign isn't abusing its privileges. It would be harder to crack down if a government body was abusing privileges.

    This ain't good, this ain't bad. It's just the way it is.

    The one and only entity in control of my bodily functions,

No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.