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The Internet

.net Domain Up For Grabs 194

belmolis writes " The New York Times is reporting that the bidding is on for the .net domain currently administered by VeriSign. VeriSign's current contract expires June 30th; applications are due today. Three companies are known to be interested: NeuStar, which currently manages .biz, Afilias, which manages .info, and Denic eG, a non-profit that manages the German .de domain. ICANN is bending over backward to avoid any suggestion of bias due to its conflict with VeriSign over VeriSign's Site Finder "service" and has appointed an independent team to evaluate the applications. VeriSign has been lobbying hard to keep the domain and is reported to have received letters of support from Microsoft and IBM."
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.net Domain Up For Grabs

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  • by teh_mykel ( 756567 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @10:17AM (#11395295) Homepage
    lets hope microsoft doesnt aquire .net domains, only to confuse the term further.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      To access this .net site please enter your .net Passport.
    • At least if they do get it, they won't have to worry about letting their domains expire.
    • Re:lets hope not (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Wordsmith ( 183749 )
      It would be interesting if there were domains for multi-pronged corporate (or even non-corporate) initiatives.

      For instance, let's use Passport as an example (despite the fact that this particular service appears to be dying off). What if every passport-enabled site had a .pass domain. So you could go to, say, BestBuy.com if you wanted the regular site, but BestBuy.pass if you were a happy Passport user (I'm sure there's one or two out there) and didn't want to bother with a manual login.
      • Re:lets hope not (Score:3, Insightful)

        by elemental23 ( 322479 )
        That's a terrible idea: a) Top-level domains have nothing to do with content, and b) the web != the internet. A top-level domain just for some specialized web content does nothing but display a clear misunderstanding of how DNS and naming works. That's the same kind of thinking that got us .mobi.
  • Just not verisign (Score:3, Insightful)

    by digitalgimpus ( 468277 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @10:18AM (#11395318) Homepage
    When the get to much power they take advantage (sitefinder). IMHO when a company has poor ethics, they like to show it.

    They showed us their ethics... we can do better. Lets look at other companies.
    • They showed us their ethics... we can do better. Lets look at other companies.

      The .net registration right is up for bid... not vote. It's not like we have a choice over who's going to get the rights, it's who pays most.

      • It's probably not just a highest bidder thing-- they probably have to demonstrate technical capability as well.

        And in light of that, I can't help but wonder if the Panix domain-jacking wasn't someone's attempt to make Verisign look technically inept with low security, in addition to the complaints about their business practices. The timing is too close...

        It's very much in Verisigns interest to figure out how it happened, who's responsible, and make sure it's less likely to happen in the future.
    • by gowen ( 141411 ) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @10:30AM (#11395495) Homepage Journal
      Well, given the number of scammers that use .biz and .info websites to phish for bank account details (and how far from their designed roles .biz [wikipedia.org] and .info [wikipedia.org] have drifted), I don't think the alternatives are terribly ethically sound either,
    • by nharmon ( 97591 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @10:40AM (#11395610)
      [i]Help me, get a free [freeminimacs.com] mini mac.[/i]

      Call me crazy, but you don't see a problem with talking about ethics, and advertising some ipod/minimac pyramid scheme at the same time?

      I say that for now on, we pledge to never mod up people with this bullcrap in their sigs.
      • [i]Call me crazy, but you don't see a problem with talking about ethics, and advertising some ipod/minimac pyramid scheme at the same time?

        I say that for now on, we pledge to never mod up people with this bullcrap in their sigs.[/i]

        And what exactly is wrong with putting that in your sig? Unlike Sitefinder, it's not like you're forced to go to it, or even could accidentally go to it, you intentionally have to click the link.

        There's nothing unethical about putting that in your sig. Now if he had tricked
      • "Call me crazy, but you don't see a problem with talking about ethics, and advertising some ipod/minimac pyramid scheme at the same time?"

        Not a pyramid scheme, yadda yadda yadda.
      • I say that for now on, we pledge to never mod up people with this bullcrap in their sigs.

        I go one step further. See .sig.
    • Re:Just not verisign (Score:3, Informative)

      by cortana ( 588495 )
      The thing is, the other two companies are the ones that run .biz and .info.

      Hardly a reputation that imbues honesty and integrity.

      The German company might do ok, but I doubt manyAmericans would feel comfortable with that.
  • They can bid like everyone else.

    With the twin bastions of evil that are of MS and IBM behind them, I'm sure they can't lose.
    • by StevenHenderson ( 806391 ) <stevehenderson&gmail,com> on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @10:22AM (#11395383)
      With the twin bastions of evil that are of MS and IBM behind them, I'm sure they can't lose.

      Wait, IBM is evil now? What about the patents that they are opening up to spur innovation? What about the vast funds that they pour into OSS? Just because a company is big, it does not necessarily make them evil.

      I like to think of IBM as a very "Apple-esque" company - putting out good products and encouraging innovation at all opportunities...

      • And IBM is still one of the companies out there that still fund a nice R&D department.
      • IBM would have to behave itself for many more years before they make up for a long history of cutthroat behavior.

        Even today they don't really embrace openness as much as you think. For example, they bought Rational and killed Rational Visual Test, a popular software testing product because it competed with the much more expensive Rational Robot. Not only have they discountinued development and support, they won't even allow you to buy additional licences for it. If they really were OSS true believers would
      • You weren't there when the world of IT was ruled by the fear of Big Blue and the Death Star obviously.

        You bought IBM hardware and used AT&T for infrastructure. If you were one of those sneering techie types with an Amdahl mug on your desk, or even mentioned United Telecomm in a meeting, it was tape monkey for you until you learned better.

      • Wait, IBM is evil now?

        Let me check - let's see, Tuesday, 31 days in this month... okay, yes, they're evil today. And evil tomorrow, too, but they're off schedule for Thursday and Friday if you'd like to have a chat then.
      • "Wait, IBM is evil now?"

        In the domain name arena, yes, very much so.
        They are the Emperor behind Darth ICANN.

        I'm surprised Vixie/Malamud anc Co. didn't apply.
    • Sitefinder was definitely a bad idea. Here is hoping that a better company wins out.

      However...

      I can understand that the slashdot community doesn't like Microsoft. They think that company is "teh sux0rz!111". What is your beef with IBM though?
  • by Message Board ( 695681 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @10:19AM (#11395324) Journal
    Just put the authority to the .net tld on ebay. This would raise millions, possibly billions for ICANN - as the new owner could take ownership of every single .net domain... or raise the price to very high levels. If panix.net thinks its situation is bad, what will they think when the new owner of the .net domain asks for $10000/year for a registration... Or makes google.net install spyware...
  • by derfy ( 172944 )
    Good riddance...after that Site Finder crap, I don't trust Veri as far as I can walk without getting winded.
    • Yabbut, you've never seen inside there have you? Only a massive amount of funding to Vixie can beat their infrastructure and these days they're one of the better domain name companies if you look into it. You have to dostinguish between NSI's marketing wonks (eejits) and their technical people (the top of their game, frankly). If I had a vote where I want my .net names kept I'd say NSI.

      I mean... Affilias? The people that ICANN's lawyers vetted an application TLD for then a court said it was an illegal lott
  • I HATE VERISIGN (Score:2, Insightful)

    I hate their tactics, prices, schemes, and business practices. I am personally responsible for registering THOUSANDS of domains with them over the years, and I am treated like dirt by their service teams when I have trouble. Bastards rot in hell.
    • Transfer your domain names to a different registrar then?

      There's hundreds to choose from.
      • Re:I HATE VERISIGN (Score:3, Interesting)

        by e40 ( 448424 )
        What's one that better? I'm serious. All the ones I've dealt with are worse. Recently dealt with droc.com. What slime balls.

        I have yet to see a registrar that has a nice a web management interface for a bunch (30+) domains, but I'd be happy to switch to someone better than verisign.
        • I have yet to see a registrar that has a nice a web management interface for a bunch (30+) domains

          We use Bulk Register [bulkregister.com] to manage 400+ domains currently for us and our customers. We've been using them 1999. Love 'em. Prices are good, interface is decent.

          And yes, DROC are absolute bottom-feeders.

        • VeriSign is not a registrar. VeriSign is a registry. You don't deal with VeriSign. You deal with someone (a registrar) who deals with VeriSign.

          -Todd
        • Amen to this. I tried a bunch of others too. They seem to be staffed by people who were selling shoes in K-Mart last month. It's nice to talk to people that know what an NS record is.

          Some highlights from other registrars I found this week: 1) Domain expired? No problem, pay us $150 or we'll let it go into the deleted pool. They had to have paid $6 to keep it from expiring so this really amounts to extortion. 2) Pay us $4/yr and we'll notify you by email before your domain expires. Oh, niiiiiice.
    • Re:I HATE VERISIGN (Score:3, Insightful)

      by miu ( 626917 )
      Been quite some time since I had to deal with verisign, but they were an aggravating company in many ways. I'm not sure that the .biz or .info people are any better though, about the only time I see those tlds it is at a scam redirect site.

      For some reason the entire registrar business has taken on a seedy air, the reek of small time evil :). Verisign did much to contribute to that, but they at least know what they are doing from a technical point of view - some new company will likely be just as bad as Ve

      • For some reason the entire registrar business has taken on a seedy air, the reek of small time evil :).

        It's the smell of a natural monopoly (you know, those things that used to be operated as public utilities and nonprofits) being swarmed over by people with MBAs, suits and shareholders.

  • Letters of Support (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SomeoneGotMyNick ( 200685 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @10:23AM (#11395387) Journal
    Big Deal.... Take those letters and shove them. Using those letters, regardless of where they came from, would cause and/or swing the bias. If an independent group is making the decision, let them do independent research to decide.

    People need to get off this "because Microsoft, IBM, AOL, etc. said it, so now I'll believe it" mentality and start thinking for themselves. For example, I like Linux. Not because Linus said so, but because I did my own research and found it to be what I feel I need.

    • Yes, but "who should run the TLD?" isn't a pure math/science question like "what is 17 squared?" which can be "impartially" investigated. If the largest providers of IT in the world support [company X], that actually makes [company X] a better contender. In the real world with real markets, corporate relationships aren't "biases", they're important factors to consider.
  • by Kierthos ( 225954 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @10:23AM (#11395391) Homepage
    When exactly did ICANN care about appearing impartial?

    Why can't they just tell VeriSign something along the lines of "You fucked up. You thought you were all bad and shit. We're taking it away from you." and just let the other three companies mentioned bid for it and shut VeriSign out of the .net domain?

    Kierthos
    • It's called "cover your ass". You pretend to be impartial so that when the company you've given the bid to meltsdown and implodes, you'll be able to distance yourself from it.
    • by rs79 ( 71822 )
      Yeah I uess we could do that. I don't mind using IP addresses instead of domain names.

      My confidence in Affilias and those other wonks to handle .net is near zero. DeNIC is a good choice though, the DNS could use a dose of Germanic rigour, and those guys do good work.
  • To me, this is the most important part of the article:

    VeriSign is lobbying actively to hold onto its .net stewardship, however, lining up written support from major players including Microsoft and I.B.M.

    At $5 a year for each domain name, VeriSign earns an estimated $30 million annually from administering .net - far less than its revenues for .com, which has 200 million names at $6 each.

    I've been thinking about registering a .net domain, but now I'm not so sure anymore. VeriSign is very likely to lose

  • Whatever (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Staplerh ( 806722 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @10:23AM (#11395398) Homepage
    This made me roll my eyes, and I hope I wasn't alone. This quote:

    VeriSign has been lobbying hard to keep the domain and is reported to have received letters of support from Microsoft and IBM.

    Hah! Woopty-doo, hopefully this doesn't matter and there is some legitimacy in the bidding process. I'm not an anti-Microsoft crusader (although I did ditch Windows), but come now . . . unless they're willing to throw their money behind VeriSign (as opposed to a letter), they should simply STFU. From the NYT article:

    But later this month, the system's underpinnings will become a topic of debate when rival companies publicly bid to run .net, one of the Internet's most popular domains.

    It is rather disturbing at a base level that a company controls the domain. I know VeriSign runs .com but still... I will admit ignorance in these matters, but it's weird to think that a coroporation would run the .net domain - which, as the article points out, is responsible for a vast array of sites - including "About 40 percent of government domains allow access through .net, including the White House, the United States Senate, Homeland Security agencies and the Social Security Administration, making it a vital Internet transportation layer, said Tom Galvin, a spokesman for VeriSign."

    So weird.. WHY does VeriSign want .net - what advantages does this convey on them?
    • Re:Whatever (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ppanon ( 16583 )
      So weird.. WHY does VeriSign want .net - what advantages does this convey on them?

      Uhm, because Verisign's excessively high market valuation is due to the fact that they run .com. Just like they've always run .org. Oh wait, they lost control of that one, but it was for non-profits; it's OK if it was taken over by a non-profit corp., there was no profit in it. I really meant that Verisign run .com, just like Verisign have always run .net. What? They lost .net? Sell! Sell!

      Any questions?

      Personally, as long
      • .org was moved. Yes indeed. Have you seen how much money is made by administering it? Any idea where it all goes?

        While bashing NSI is fashionable, mark my words, the way this is going to pan out you'll wish for the good old days of NSI's stewardship of .com/net/org.
    • Re:Whatever (Score:2, Informative)

      by Desert Raven ( 52125 )
      So weird.. WHY does VeriSign want .net - what advantages does this convey on them?

      Because it's worth millions of dollars/year?

      Current estimate is over 5 million .net domains registered. If I remember right, the registry's cut is $5/year. That's $25 million a year. If you also act as registrar, it's even higher.

      Seriously, losing .net would be a huge hit to Verisign's income, simple as that.
  • Open it! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Nastard ( 124180 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @10:24AM (#11395403)
    Why not turn it over to the open-source community and let the experts take care of it? I'm sure they could provide a much better system than Verisign, more accountability, and much lower cost.

    Calm down, I'm kidding.
    • BTDT. Big business recoiled in horror at the idea and will not allow it. Since they're the ones ACTUALLY making these decisions it's a non-starter as a strategy, despite whether or not it's the right answer.

      They havn't come to grips yet with the fact the root servers are run by volunteers with no contract but they havn't figured out what to do with that yet.

      Keep in mind while it's theoretically possible, it's not actually practically pssible to change the IP addresses of the root serevrs; they're embedded
      • Keep in mind while it's theoretically possible, it's not actually practically pssible to change the IP addresses of the root serevrs; they're embedded in too many places. They shouldn't be, but they are.

        Why should this be a problem? There are two solution here:

        • 1. the primary root server admins decide to change NS records for .net, .com etc... so that they point to servers run by volunteers.
        • 2. the network admins (also volunteers in most cases) change the BGP advertisements and reroute traffic from an
  • I RTFA, but I was wondering what sort of price you'd have to pay for this? and also how much control you would actually have over .net with ICANN watching your every move?
  • If I'd had more notice... well, then I wouldn't have to be doing my application today. Since I'm at work, it'll be eating into my Slashdot time!
  • by Se7enLC ( 714730 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @10:35AM (#11395548) Homepage Journal
    > applications are due today.

    I think Adam Sandler says it best: "This information could have been brought To My Attention YESTERDAY!"
  • by ari_j ( 90255 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @10:37AM (#11395578)
    I'm starting a pool. Paypal me your support so we can put a solid bid in on this. It's for the consortium, and you all have a share. ;)
  • Tucows / OpenSRS (Score:2, Interesting)

    Wonder if Tucows [tucows.com] / OpenSRS [opensrs.net] will make a bid -- though I haven't seen anything on their reseller resource center. I'd trust them over MS or Verisign - they listen to their customers and actively support the Linux platform (heck, even their site is PERL and PHP). /me wanders off to call his Tucows rep...
  • Sorry... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sepluv ( 641107 ) <blakesley@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @10:41AM (#11395624)
    Why exactly can't ICANN take into account the fact that Verisign broke their last contract (in a way that screwed around with the whole Internet and made Verisign lots of $$$) when deciding whether to give them the next contract? What do they decide the contract on then?
    • Re:Sorry... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by quarkscat ( 697644 )
      Verisign exercises a lot of power - between
      managing .com and their CA business. They
      have already aptly demonstrated that they
      cannot be trusted to comply with ICANN, so
      ICANN should let them have it. Right between
      the eyes.

      Verisgn should be barred from bidding on
      management of the .net TLD, in spite of
      support from MSFT and IBM. In fact, ICANN
      should be looking for a new manager for
      the .com TLD as well. When does their
      contract for the .com TLD expire, anyway?

      Just my rapidly depreciating $00.02 worth.
      • .com registry expires in 2007 (according to the court judgement in Verisign v. ICANN).

        My point is that ICANN seem to think they have to be overly nice to Verisign in the .net bidding because of the .com argument. But, surely, if Verisign have violated their .com contract, that is a valid reason not to give them the .net contract?

    • Somebody broke their contractual obligations - it was ICANN, not NSI.

      There's a clause in the ICANN/NSI agreement that NSI can't be treated unfaitly, that is, they can't be singled out with TLD policy not other TLD has to endure. At the time of sitefinder there were TWENTY SIX tlds doing wildcarding. So NSI did it too.

      ICANN's proper response should have been "oh well, ok all you guys knock off the wildcarding" OR "ok, go boys go". Fair is fair.

      But they didn't. They frapped NSI for it and let everybody els
  • by bmomjian ( 195858 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @10:48AM (#11395724) Homepage
    Afilias uses PostgreSQL, so now we know who the Slashdot croud should be rooting for. See the last paragraph:

    http://www.active-domain.com/news/2002sep-5.htm

    In fact there is a seminar at Afilias starting tomorrow to plan a new multi-master replication solution for PostgreSQL, so they are very involved with open source.
    • Afilias uses PostgreSQL, so now we know who the Slashdot croud should be rooting for
      We should support a company just because they're using some software that the "Slashdot crowd" would find politically correct? Rather, we should root for whichever company would do the best job of administering the domain.
      • I think it's more of a good bonus to going with Afilias. If you have any evidence that they will do a sub-par job, let us know, but until then, I am happy that the company can make a profit and give back to the open source community. And I like what they've been doing for PostgreSQL so far, and the same for their employees, who frequent the lists as well as do dev work.

        Afilias, if I'm not mistaken, was the primary developer of Slony-I [slony.org], a very powerful single-master replication daemon for PostgreSQL that is
  • by dpilot ( 134227 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @11:18AM (#11396235) Homepage Journal
    Years back, between migrating from AOL and my dialup ISP getting sold, resold, and resold, I decided to go to a third party for a popbox, so I could get a stable email address, and that worked for a few years.

    Then the popbox provider changed their policies. It wasn't just that they weren't free - I could have handled that. They really didn't want to fuss with individuals, they wanted to provide for businesses.

    So I bought a third-level domain, forwarding email to my ISP's popbox. That worked for a few years, and during that time their billing department was a bit odd, at best. Then last year their billing department got to be too much to deal with. (They wouldn't accept a cashier's check issued to the name of their company - they wanted it to a person . Sounds too shady, to me.)

    So I went to DynDNS.org and bought my own domain last year, along with mail forwarding, etc.

    My domain is a ".net".
    • Country-specific domains might be the answer here - you don't need an international (com, net etc) domain suffix for a stable email address. In the UK we have .uk run by Nominet who seem far more clued up than Verisign.

      I'm sure there is a .us domain somewhere even if no-one uses it ;)

      Q.
  • Fuck Verisign.

    Ahh...I can feel the karma leaving my body...

  • by fm6 ( 162816 )
    A lot of posts on this story. A lot of them are actually written by intelligent people. To whom I address this question: Why do you care? The only real purpose of the net TLD is to provide a separate address space for network services provides. That purpose has been pretty much ignored for years now. I think 80% of the domains are in .net just because the name was already taken in .com and .org, or because somebody wanted to lock up all variations of a name. Is anybody going to go through all those millions
  • apparently microsoft wasn't too upset when verisign accidentally issued a certificate with microsoft's name on it to some scammers.
  • by iabervon ( 1971 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @12:33PM (#11397167) Homepage Journal
    The article mentions SiteFinder, but before that VeriSign was sent fraudulent email to owners of domains registered through other registrars, and just this weekend they transferred panix.com (registered through a different registrar) to a hijacker. Considering the way the seem to have blown off both the rightful owner of the domain and law enforcement, I think it would be appropriate to take into account the possibility that VeriSign will be convicted of computer crimes and banned from computers by court order within the period of this contract when deciding whether to give it to them.
    • and just this weekend they transferred panix.com (registered through a different registrar) to a hijacke

      No they didn't. A Melbourne IT sub-registrar did[1]. NSI did exactly what is was told by the registrar. If they did anything else than do what their registar told them too they're in breach and risk losing everything.

      It may not make sense, but that's the way the ICANN contracts are worded. NSI is simply not allowed to fix shit that's broken, even obvioulsy so.

      [1]Apparanly this sub-registrar was conso
  • It's sad to say, but VariSign might just be a cut above the two other fly-by-night operations...
  • DeNIC eG? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cpghost ( 719344 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2005 @02:41PM (#11398976) Homepage

    Aren't those guys extremely burocratic w.r.t. domain transfers etc? Didn't they require real paperwork to transfer domains in their .de ccTLD (at least in the past)? Anyone with DeNIC experience cares to comment or explain?

    There's also another point here: transferring .net to a ccTLD operator would also mean that all .net domains would be subject to the national laws of that operator's country. Do we really want the whole .net domain managed by an entity outside the US, governed by totally different rules and regulations?

    This is by no means a rebuttal of or prejudice against DeNIC eG or other ccTLD operators. I'm just a bit worried that such a transfer would affect existing domains in negative ways (like less legal protection, higher legal costs, UDRP overrides, etc...).

    • This is nonsense. DeNIC does not require paperwork, and did not require paperwork, at least not since i'm in the business (since 1995).

      However as a german i hope that DeNIC does not make it, because after all its still a shitty NIC with much proven incompetence.

      But your "outside the US" argument is inacceptable. I for one am not too happy to have my .net registrations under US jurisdiction, so the problem is the same, be it US or be it germany.
      • This is nonsense. DeNIC does not require paperwork, and did not require paperwork, at least not since i'm in the business (since 1995).

        Ah, okay. Thank you for the clarification. There's a lot of FUD going on w.r.t. DeNIC.

        But your "outside the US" argument is inacceptable. I for one am not too happy to have my .net registrations under US jurisdiction, so the problem is the same, be it US or be it germany.

        Yes, you have a point here. However, the .net gTLD has always been under US jurisdiction (not t

    • Aren't those guys extremely burocratic w.r.t. domain transfers etc? Didn't they require real paperwork to transfer domains in their .de ccTLD (at least in the past)?

      God I hope so. Your domain has never been as fungible as it is right now.
  • ... Anybody but Verisign!

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