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NSI Loses Records 54

ttyler sent us a link to a little techweb bit talking about NSI Losing Records from the DNS. Supposedly as many as 18,000. Mentions a nice conspiracy theory that this is a plot to promote their new registration service before they lose their monopoly in the not so distant future.
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NSI Loses Records

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  • These guys are obviously incapable of handling there job. I know this has been suggested before, but why not let the folks who really know what they're doing handle domain names? Eventually, domain names are going to become a commodity anyway--do USPS charge extra for someone to have a house number? I realize that the domain name is an added layer of abstraction, but eventually people are going to get sick of these hassles and demand something more convenient. Open competition will allow someone to offer something easier--hopefully.
  • As others have pointed out, having a physically decentralized network infrastructure (several root name servers on different continents) may help if a bomb or missile takes out critical equipment, but as long as a single corporate entity is in charge of the master database, the rest of the net will have to trust that corporate entity not to be taken out by a legal or political grenade (or to go berserk all by itself).

    Does NSI's current contract stipulate who will be authorized to take over the root master database and start distributing root zone caches in case NSI would fail to handle its most critical tasks, either due to its own fault or because of another body (say, a terrorist group or a government) beginning to interfere with NSI operations? Are there procedures in place for this?

    I'm not an AlterNIC fan, largely because of their attempt to impersonate the InterNIC a few years ago, but also because I don't think they provide a solution to the actual problems that exist with the DNS today. Creating a new set of TLDs besides the existing ones, without telling where each kind of company belongs, will probably result in more domain squatting, not less. If companies cannot stand seeing their beloved trademarks being used in .ORG and .NET, imagine what life will be like when they have ten additional TLDs to worry about.

    The article being the focus of this thread briefly mentioned the IANA taking over domain registration after NSI's contract has expired. While I haven't educated myself about IANA's plans, it does have a promising ring to it.

    I'd be interested in working out alternative name service arrangements, perhaps with actual implementations, to see what may work in the future. That includes registration procedures and legal arrangements, as well as TLD allocation and use. Would anybody else?

    According to Eric Allman recently, all the root name servers require open source implementations, i.e. BIND. He wasn't sure though whether they required on-site source also for their operating systems. How many of them run Linux..?

  • The article makes it sound like they deliberately dropped the domains (supposedly to combat domain squatting). Is this legal?

    There was an alternate DNS scheme happening some time ago. Does anybody have info on this? It occurs to me that any centralized naming system (no matter who runs it) is a potential weakness for a supposedly decentralized, indestructable network. It also occurs to me that Mozilla is in a position to force broad acceptance of an alternate DNS just by including support by default. Something to think about.

  • Alternic is a true alternative DNS registry. Just tell your machine to use alternic as a nameserver and you're up and running. That Internic has a monopoly on domain registration is just by convention. If everyone switched to alternic in droves, NSI would quickly find itself useless.

    Netscape's "Smart Browsing" feature is a quasi-name server. If you type "foobar" in the location bar it will try It you type "Whitehouse", it now takes you to much to the chagrin of (a porno site), who used to get directed to. If netscape were to set up a true DNS registry of its own, supporting many new TLDs, and made it the default name server on its browser (falling back to conventional DNS if a lookup fails) it could effectively take over a large percentage of Internic's business.
  • From what I've been able to gather, the affected domains were all due up for renewal sometime in March. It has nothing to do with delinquent squatters.
  • "Lost" means deleted. The domains were removed from the InterNIC database and left as undelegated. "Heaps" of e-mail were lost. If 18,000 domains were deleted, what do you think happens to all of the e-mail destined to addresses at those domains? The e-mail bounces. I think "heaps" is an accurate description.

    Just because the NSI said they were "targeting" squatters doesn't mean that's what really happened. From what I've been able to gather, most (if not all) of the domains were being held by paying customers, and most (if not all) of the domains were due for (re?)payment in March. They may have been targeting squatters, but they hit quite a lot more. And you're right, the InterNIC shouldn't be able to just drop paid domains. That doesn't mean it can't happen by accident, or on purpose (but illegally).

    Your "conclusion" is based upon the tiniest bit of information given to you in the article. I assure you there's quite a lot more to it than that.
  • It seems that, while InterNIC claims this was an attempt to prune the delinquant squatters, most of the domains dropped were those that were due up for payment (or repayment) during the month of March. Rumor has it that an additional 7k domains were lost the following monday night bringing the total to 25k.

    To make matters worse, InterNIC seems to be telling people that they need to re-register their lost domains with WorldNIC [] instead of InterNIC (at $119 instead of $70). Can we say "motive"? I know of several people that have had their lost domains re-registered by someone *else*. Talk about a bad day...

    Another interesting article [].
  • The answer is pretty simple - pay for the name when you register it. But as a defendant in the Porsche lawsuit who did nothing more than secure a reasonable name for a client I can tell you it doesn't take much for them to label you as a "cyber-squatter". Porsche didn't even bother to ask if I'd give up the name, just publicly labeled me a pirate. Defend your name? Sure, just take your lawyer to Virginia for a few weeks.
  • According to the version 4.0 registration template, section B:

    4) Payment: Payment is due to Network Solutions within thirty (30) days from the date of the invoice.

    So, it seems entirely possible to 'squat' on a pile of names for 30 days, then pay for the ones you've re-sold and let the rest expire.

    The article is very unclear about which domains were deleted, but if it was just ones that were more than 30 days overdue on payment, that's fine with me. I also wouldn't mind Internic moving to a prepayment-required system, or like most businesses where a corporate customer (like an ISP) could get a credit account if they submitted appropriate financial records and signed a "no squatting" agreement.

    Unlike some people, I've never had a real problem with Internic (I've registered 4 domains in the last few years).

  • Microsoft could get some bright idea for IE, and "integrate" the DNS into IE...
  • The site was working fine, someone has changed something recently. I'm glad to see the world is still full of perfectionists that never make mistakes, but are more than glad to point out the mistakes made by others.

    Please grow up.
  • According to the report, the names were dumped as a move against cyber-squatters. As much as I agree that something needs to be done about cyber-squatters - I don't think it's NSI's responsibility to dump a paid domain name without any compensation or consideration to the owners.

    I would like to see more gTLDs added, AlterNIC was headed in the right direction. I can also see where too many would make things difficult.

  • My reply was to the Anonymous Coward that posted - "Would YOU trust a *distribution* from a company that can't even follow a few simple directions on how to add PHP support to Apache 1.3.3? Ha."

    I'm sorry if you misunderstood who I was calling immature.

  • I find it very hard to downgrade an entire project based on one (probably small) mistake created by one or two individuals. There is no way of knowing what caused the problem - granted that human error is more than likely.

    The project is in it's development stages and anyone who expects perfection is insane.

  • I don't know when the problem started, but it's been fixed.
  • Having recently registered a domain, your first bill doesn't show up for a few weeks, and it's due in a month. So roughly 1.5 months of free registration.

    I'm told that in the past, they didn't send out bills for months, but I'm less certain of this.

    So it is possible to register a bunch of domain names for "free" for a while. My understanding is that this is how squatters work.

  • That explains some of the crap I've had to deal with... their complaints department must be so overrun that the people in charge of reviewing .edu submissions must be busy... Pain in the neck, it is.
  • Alternic [] is the one I think you mean.

    My current home-lan's DNS points to alternic servers.
  • Does this explain why NWS.ORG is on hold? I've been wondering what made that happen.

    I thought that NSI was having database problems again, as that's happened in the past.

  • To register a name with the InterNIC, you have to cough up the registration fee for two years up front. These "squatters" must have paid for their domains, so there's no way that this was right for NSI to do. I'm afraid I must agree with the conspiracy theory.
  • That's because they have their web server misconfigured... the page is a php3 script that the server isn't parsing.

    telnet 80

    Connected to
    Escape character is '^]'.
    GET /

    Stampede Linux is an innovative, new approach to Linux [] distributions. We wanted a distribution
    that was fast, easy for the new user, and awesome for the power user. So, we decided to create
    Stampede [].

  • grrrr.... I put Plain Old Text expecting it to take care of the html and turn it into Text... guess it isn't that sophisticated... anyways, the previous replay _should_ have shown the php3 markup that was in the page. but you get the basic idea
  • re: " alternate DNS scheme happening some time ago. Does anybody have info on this? "

    There have been attempts to institute alternate systems in the past, and still are. One of which I am aware is alternic. They can be found at: []

    Good Point about the inherent weakness of centralisation in the naming system.

    A workable naming system is needed, but the prime directive behind the internet was supposed to be rerouting around damaged (incinerated) nodes. It is a convenience to have a domain naming system that is consistent across all parts of the net, but only a convenience.

    But, if that is the way it is, then the "master" host file for registration definitely should be stored in more than one place.

    My point is that a single domain naming system is not inherently evil, just a matter of programming convenience. And if we use it the host list must be in more than one place, and arranged so that an orderly failover can occur should the primary location go down.

    Netscape might not jump on the idea of supporting an alternate dns scheme enthusiastically, given their current situation, but might be interested.

    But is the demand there? Is it politically feasable without effort-damaging fallout? Those are the larger questions.

  • Too complicated, though neat idea.
    The problem is DNS itself. Just like the IP structure.. the IANA says who gets what, but the don't enforce it.. that's up to the networks themselves. The IANA is just making it work.. and this doesn't represent a real problem, because numbers are numbers.. there is little prestige in numbers... especially because nobody sees them. The IANA handles logistics. How many are left. Where did they go. How do we effectively manage them?
    The DNS system, on the other hand, has too much commercial weight attached to it.
    To me, as an administrator, when the net was young, DNS meant a way to not have to type in bloody addresses all the time. It WASN'T the prime way to locate things. That was through other databases.....
    We refer to things by name, by URL... companies percieve that URL's = money. You can't OWN a domain! You can't OWN an IP address! The solution is one of databases. one to locate companies. One to locate services. One to relate them together. Another, to locate the physical servers or logical services that run them.
    Get hte picture? The guts get dirty, and the outsides are clean.
  • The problem, also, is that you can't OWN a domain.
    The registration fee wasn't for purchase, it was to pay the cost of running the registration service, which used to be funded by the US Govt.

    I liked the proposal in the past for people who wanted to run registrations for different TLD's. There were technical requirements.... like you had to have the $$$ to support the registry... the infrastructure....
    basically you had to be serious.
  • I wouldn't want their job.
    Everyone is bitching about how they are running the InterNIC....
    Someone please tell me what they SHOULD be doing.
    Class action law suits? Jeesus christ.. nobody has these fights about IP addresses.... and they are run the same way.


    The root nameservers do NOT have to run the way they do now.. and if the ocmpany trusted with managing the registrations can't do it, the net will pick another. I think people underestimate the scale of this project...
  • How about we come up with a solution *BEFORE* we blast them off the net?
    Argument against monopoly?
    Geesus FRIG!
    InterNIC is not a monoploy.. no more than IANA is a monopoly, no more than the Internet itself is a monopoly. We choose to use them by convention. It's unfortunate the way things are turning out... but the only thing that gives them *ANY* power is the fact that every nameserver out there has *by admin-configured choice* a list of root nameservers that get their info from InterNIC.
    Just as the IP structure of the internet only works because everyone cooperates... so works DNS.

    The 'Internet' is really a bucketload of different, private and public networks that just happen to be using the same protocols and just happen to have all agreed on an addressing scheme that lets them co-exist when they all hook up to each other.

    You know.. the .ca domain doesn't have this problem... you want a domain? It has to directly relate to your company/organization/person and there are rules about that. Why? To keep it fair.. not to squash copyright. Joe's fruit stand can't register, because it doesn't reflect joe. works, because it reflects certain information. People might say it's a little restrictive.. but there is NO SCRAPPING YET! You can't lie about who you are and what domain you want without committing some act of fraud.. and so it should be! You can use the net.. big brother doesn't have to see you.. but if you want to be a permanent fixture... don't the networks involved desrve to know who you are?

    We have allowed the domain name to become the single identifier of a net presence.. that is not how it should be at all.

    Is there a better solution? I think this is the best approach we have *SO FAR*.
    Is there another way? Probably.. but this is all we have. We used to use shared /etc/hosts files... people should try to comprehend the vast size and nature of the DNS system. Everyone takes it for granted.. Go *learn* something about the protocols involved and the history of the net before judging so harshly.

"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will." -- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"