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VeriSign/NSI Proposes Domain Name Wait Listing Service 164

David Harris writes: "Newsbytes and the folks over at have good stories about VeriSign's proposal to start a "Wait Listing Service" (WLS) that would allow consumers to buy domain names before they expire. As with anything that has to do with VeriSign/Network Solutions the "WLS" ain't all it cracked up to be and there is opposition from the ICANN community. I'm not sure I like the idea of auctioning off domains before they expire either." CD: To quote Don Marti: "DNS is a consensus reality."
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VeriSign/NSI Proposes Domain Name Wait Listing Service

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  • by mAsterdam ( 103457 ) on Monday January 14, 2002 @05:10AM (#2835355) Homepage
    ..."Wait Listing Service" (WLS) that would allow consumers to buy domain names before they expire. As with anything that has to do with VeriSign/Network Solutions the "WLS" ain't all it cracked up to be and there is opposition from the ICANN community. I'm not sure I like the idea of auctioning off domains before they expire either.
    A good friend of mine is interested in using a name which has expired for allmost a year now. The previous owner has no interest anymore.
    Verisign tells my friend he should ask the previous owner to use the transfer documents to transfer the domain to my friend. However, the previous owner does noet want to put any effort at all into it. "I am just not interested as to what happens to the name. That is why I let it expire. If you get it -ok with me. If not - ok with me." Now my friend is stuck. One wonders how they will handle names that did not even expire yet.
  • by lamj ( 153635 ) <jasonlam.flashmail@com> on Monday January 14, 2002 @05:11AM (#2835359)
    Right now, a lot of people are already complaining about the expired domains with NSI being released at an un-timely fashion. Domains are released anywhere from 9 to 15 weeks and without consistency. Think about the frustration for domain to be released while knowing that it has already expired....

    Would this be a way for them to "selectively" release expired domain earlier?
  • Auctioning? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by astrosmurf ( 546405 ) on Monday January 14, 2002 @05:14AM (#2835368)
    If you are auctioning off the names, what is stopping the looser of such an auction from contacting the holder of an address, buy it directly and renew it, paying a nominal fee?

    The article itself does not mention auctions, maybe the poster is jumping to conclutions. This scheme seems to involve not notifying the holders of a domain that they controll something valuable.
  • by nsample ( 261457 ) <> on Monday January 14, 2002 @05:15AM (#2835371) Homepage
    Verisign is making money off an option that it may not even be possible to exercise! In their proposal, they plan to take the $40 to waitlist a .com regardless of whether or not the name becomes free. So, for instance, they'll happily sell you on to the waitlist for "", even though you have no expectation of the name ever lapsing.

    It's something that would make stock brokers proud. It's an option that can never be exercised in many cases, yet Verisign would collect full face value. And that face value of $40 is way more than the $6 they get for actually registering a new name.

    I guess the theory is that "someone else bought it before, so you should pay us a lot for it this time around." Are there no limits to the intenet-ridiculous?
  • What we really need (Score:3, Interesting)

    by johnburton ( 21870 ) <> on Monday January 14, 2002 @05:16AM (#2835373) Homepage
    What we really need is an alternative DNS for those of us that know what we are doing.

    Sure, most people would never be able to get at our web sites or send us email, only those who knew enough to use an alternative DNS but that's almost certainly not a bad thing. Keep out most of the idiots and most of the spam.

    I'm amazed nobody has done this already. Or did I just miss it?
  • by Yakman ( 22964 ) on Monday January 14, 2002 @05:22AM (#2835385) Homepage Journal
    I never understood this either. I was looking for a potential name for an idea I had (This must be a sign of the "New Economy": Working out the name of your business based on whether the domain name for it is available :) ). Anyway, one of the names I checked had expired 2-Feb-2000 (this was only a week ago I was checking), and yet all the details were still there in WHOIS and the name still resolves to an IP using DNS. In fact, the last updated date was 13-Nov-2001, about a year and half after expiry!

    So it's expired but the owner can still use it because it still resolves? What's up with that? And especially if you're saying the owner needs to transfer it to you even if it's expired, seems to imply that they can keep the expired domain as long as they want.

    This is a computerised system, it should be that as soon as it hits the expiry date (maybe +1 week at the most incase there is a delay in payment) the domain is deregistered and removed from whois, and available free for all again.

    End Rant. :)
  • Waste of time? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Sobrique ( 543255 ) on Monday January 14, 2002 @05:31AM (#2835401) Homepage
    A waiting list for
    So if I add my name to the waiting list for do I get it after the current expiry? Now there's a pr0n URL :)
    Last I saw networksolutions were offering a 'automatic grabbing' service which you paid your money for, and if they didn't reregister in time it did it for you automatically.
    Just so you can try and steal someones domain [] (this is linked off network solutions). I don't really see how a waiting list is any different, and I also reckon it's a really daft idea.
    Then again, NSI (sorry, verisign) do have some decidedly dodgy practices regarding domain names. Like auctioning (not going back into the $35 pool or whatever the cost is) old domain names on "Great Domains" []
    Or charging a 'preference' rate to get a domain transfer request actioned in 2 days rather than 6 weeks.
    Looks like yet another extortion tactic by the domain monopoly.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 14, 2002 @05:34AM (#2835408)
    Why don't we come up with a nice peer to peer system that does everything that DNS does and more?

    It could even run in parallel with the existing domain name servers. If it turned out to be better then it will eventually superceed the existing system.

    We need to get out from under this obsenity that is the monopoly on domain names. Doesn't it worry anyone else that what is essentially an extension of the US government runs the DNS system? I bet the NSA maintains the root DNS servers as part of the Echelon program and monitors exactly who is asking for what domain names.

    It may even be possible to use this new system to make new kinds of peer to peer file systems scale to any size.
  • NSI's bus. practices (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MathJMendl ( 144298 ) on Monday January 14, 2002 @05:36AM (#2835411) Homepage
    Hmm. Does anyone remember this [] story, about how NSI holds expired domain names? I guess we are seeing the resolution of that. They really have no right to auction off domain names before they expire. This is just another example of them abusing their control of the DNS registries (in addition to things such as taking a large commission out of every domain name sale, so that even if you register with their competitors they gain money).

    Someone really should do something. Too bad ICANN can't do anything. Maybe they could, but I don't see the old members giving up their spots to the elected anytime soon. Plus, NSI could "accidentally" cause down time if they tried to move the DNS registries. Unfortunately though, there are no feasable alternates.
  • Downward Spiral (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jesus IS the Devil ( 317662 ) on Monday January 14, 2002 @05:45AM (#2835425)
    We are ALL collectively being screwed by NSI and we need to recognize and put a stop to this. Slowly they've been implementing changes that do nothing but erode our rights in order to increase their corporate profits and protect what little monopoly they have left.

    First they started holding onto domain names that have expired. Then they implemented a system that makes it really tough for someone to transfer their domain name to another registrar. Now this.

    Let me tell you what NSI is REALLY up to.

    They've had the lionshare of domain name registrations since the beginning of the internet. So it's of no surprise that they have the largest pool of expired names. NSI holds on to every single one of them. Thousands, perhaps millions. They pay $0 to hold on to those names.

    Now they start auctioning off these names. They've turned into nothing more than the world's largest CYBER-SQUATTER!

    Let me make another prediction. If this change is allowed to go through, next they'll be saying, "if you win a name by auction for say $10,000, then from that point on every year you will have to pay $10,000 to renew that domain name, and you won't be allowed to change registrars either!"

    It's time for the government to castrated NSI/Verisign.
  • by ukryule ( 186826 ) <slashdot&yule,org> on Monday January 14, 2002 @05:47AM (#2835429) Homepage
    It seems there is a problem to be solved here: at the moment there is no process for registering for soon-to-expire domains.

    Verisign have been granted a monopoly from ICANN to handle the registration process. However, this proposed system is clearly extending this monopoly from the registration of new domains (via registrars) to a pre-registration phase.

    This must be a matter that ICANN should take responsibility for. The way to allow pre-registration should be defined, and explicitly included in any registry agreement - if the only sensible way to approach it is to allow Verisign a monopoly then it should be regulated accordingly (i.e. $46 is way too much to be allowed). Apart from anything else, it would be nice to have a standard process for all TLDs (.com/.uk/.whatever).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 14, 2002 @06:22AM (#2835477)
    I hope this isn't redundant, but wouldn't this mean that domain owners would have to re-register their domains several times a day to make sure it doesn't fall into the wrong hands when it expires? (ie, the domain expires every minute of every day since anyone can come along and buy it just like that)

    Or people would be forced to register domains for 50 years and on? In that case it would cause an even bigger lack of available domain names than there already is.

  • by Norny ( 9940 ) on Monday January 14, 2002 @08:24AM (#2835621) Homepage
    You think 3 months is bad... I'm looking at two domain names. One expired Aug 30, 2001. The other expired Jan 10, 2001, over a year now. I tried talking to a rep in their little live java chat and to someone on the phone. All they tell me is the domains are on registrar hold, but I know that already. When I ask when they'll be released or why it's taking so long, they tell me they both can't and won't tell me why, not even when I'm holding credit card in hand.

    I've noticed that some domains I had with that I let expire were gone in a couple days from WHOIS, yet ones registered by netsol continue to linger. I'm not the least bit curious why netsol is the largest holder of domains... they don't ever remove them!
  • by drsoran ( 979 ) on Monday January 14, 2002 @09:16AM (#2835729)
    The difference being, unlike the ordinary average netizen and small company operating on the web, any of those people could easily sick their lawyers on Verisign and their domain name would be renewed in less than an hour even though someone else bought it. It's really funny (in a sad sort of way) how the Internet has been changed and shaped to reflect the real life world. 7 or 8 years ago you could escape the "real" world into cyberspace where everyone was equal and everyone had an equal chance of putting up a killer site that would attract interested users. These days the only sites that seem to get many hits are the mega-conglomerates and the multi-billion dollar corporations that already have brick and mortar existences. These days we have bouncing flash ads that take up the entire screen in order to turn the Net into a god damned TV replacement complete with advertising and commercial breaks. Bah humbug.
  • by Fantastic Lad ( 198284 ) on Monday January 14, 2002 @10:49AM (#2836049)
    So there I was, bee-bopping through my work day, and the phone rings.

    "Is this Mr. Fantastic Lad?"
    "Why, yes it is! What can I-"
    "Please hold."
    "What?" I'm on hold. So I hang up.

    Ring ring ring:
    "Um, Mr. Fantastic Lad?"
    "That's me. Who is this?"
    "I'm calling from Network Solutions. Are you the owner of *********.com?"
    "I don't think you understood my question. I don't care who you work for. Who are YOU? What's your name?"
    "Um. . , (gives name)" Let's call him, 'Bob'.
    "Okay, Bob. Did you just call ten seconds ago, ask for me, and then put me on hold?"
    "Well, yes, but I have an important-"
    "Stop talking Bob. You blew your chance at 'nice' by being incredibly rude. Nobody likes to be put on hold for no good reason. Do you understand just how rude it is to call somebody and then immediately put them on hold? It's a psychological trick used to establish dominance in a conversation. Do you think I want to be in a submissive position when I'm talking to a total stranger? Bob?"
    Pause. "It's not a psychological trick. I'm just calling-"
    "Look, Bob. You might be a somewhat nice guy on your own time, but for the purposes of here and now, I've decided that I really don't like you. I don't want to have an actual conversation with you. So I'm only looking for one word answers here. Look up from your little script, and answer either 'Yes' or 'No', or I'm ending this call. Got it?"
    "But I've got important information about your account. I've-"
    "Bob. . !"
    "Sorry. Sorry."
    "Alright then. Okay. Now first things first: Please answer this question: --Do you think I like being called up and put on hold by a total stranger?"
    (Annoyed sound) ". . . No."
    "That's right, I don't. And most people don't. In the future, you should consider that before being acting like a dick on the phone. I don't care if this is how you were instructed to treat people. If you find yourself faced with having to choose between being socially decent and following instructions by your boss to mistreat people, you should take it up with your employer and if you can't get beyond the impasse, you should quit. You've got a crappy job anyway. There are a lot of other things you could be doing in the world. Being rude to people over the phone is a choice you're making. And it's a dumb one. Now then. . , you tell me you work for Network Solutions?"
    "Alright. Now then, does Network Solutions really have something to call me about that I actually need to hear, or is it just an attempt to sell me something I don't want?"
    "You might want it."
    "Ahh. I see. So this is a sales call, then. So what, exactly, are you selling?"
    "Well, I don't know, actually. . . My job is just to call people up, and verify that they own the web address on my list, and then connect them to the sales people."
    "Sigh. Oh, Bob. I see you've been compartmentalized. I sympathize with you, Bob. -I'd quit your shit job in five seconds flat if I were you, but I do sympathize with you. And you don't actually have any idea what your sales people want to push on me?"
    "I'm just told to tell people that it's important."
    "Gotcha. Well, I'm sure if it's that important, they'll be in touch. I'm going to hang up now, Bob. Good luck with your life, and honestly. You should really consider quitting. Don't let the world bully you into thinking that you need to take their bullshit treatment of you. You won't die if you take the jump, Bob. Goodbye."

    I got this call about five months ago. I'm told by others who received similar calls, that Network Solutions was trying to get people to buy similar sounding website names before competitors bought them up. A lame sales fear-tactic.

    Verisign can go to hell.

    -Fantastic Lad

  • by ethereal ( 13958 ) on Monday January 14, 2002 @11:05AM (#2836129) Journal

    Unity is good. But a unified, centralized root server system run by unscrupulous frauds got us into this mess in the first place. Are you willing to bet that the mistake-that-is-NSI will never happen again?

    My prediction: in 10 years DNS is obsolete. It will be replaced by the search-engine-name-system, where you ask your PDA's search engine where to find such-and-such a company, and it sends you to their site. Domain names are just a crutch to find the site; by then we'll have much better crutches.

    Of course, at that point there will be lots of squabbles over who gets listed first by which search engine, etc. It's always some damn thing :)

Today is the first day of the rest of your lossage.