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The Internet

Domain Monopoly's Days Are Numbered 43

ToasT writes "ICANN is set to name five new domain registrars -- Sprint and AOL are rumored to be in the running. Experts agree that domain names will be less than $15, but more than $2 according to this article on ZDNet. "
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Domain Monopoly's Days Are Numbered

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  • Even the little people can have their own domain names now. How much are they at the moment?


  • Yes, free competition is what this market needs. I pay $70 every two years to what used to be the InterNIC, and get possibly the worst customer service on the planet - as do many others.
  • Actually if you read the article closely you'll notice the less than $15 more than $2 price refers to the price the new registration companies pay to network solutions. Netowrk Solutions will continue to hold the main database of domain names and the new companies will pay them a fee for this job. The cost to the end user will definitely be higher than the price these companies pay to network solutions.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    With the new IP addresses available under IPV6 (if ever it gets to be implemented world-wide before IPV4 really does run out) it'll be another help for the domain name business as there'll be more people with a static IP and not dynamic ones.

    It's great to see that even the average joe can now have ... well... I guess :) .. about time too !

  • the artical actually says that the charge that one of the new companies will have to pay for 'administration' will be in the range 2-15.

    I guess that this puts the price a consumer will pay as something like 10-30, a lot cheaper but not less than a pizza :)
  • Yeah, Network "Solutions" is the lamest company as far as customer service is concerned. I own about 6 domains and it is always a nightmare hopeing they get it right, update on time, etc. As long as they have the monopoly on this it is a
    BAD THING (tm). Its like some new phone company offering me "improved" service over the US Worst lines I have. Duh. Haven't seen your trucks putting new cables in so how is it "better"??

    They are just reselling what already exists. I see no true advantage to the consumer here.

    'Nuff Sed
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Why not make corporations pay more for their domains than individuals? Say, if you want a .com address you need to pay $5000 which would subsidize letting people register .org addresses for $5 for 10 years or so. ;-)
  • by Visigothe ( 3176 ) on Tuesday April 13, 1999 @07:39AM (#1937079) Homepage
    Sure I am all for cheap domains for things like .org/.edu, but is cheaper reg fees really a good thing. There are already too many domain squatters at the price point now. What happens when registration is like $25 USD for a domain. Then every company will be more likely to buy every iterance of their supposed Int. Prop. I think Domain squatting will just get that much worse.

    What do you think?

  • I don't know where ZD is getting this stuff. If you visit ICANN's web site [] you'll see that the proposed cost structure to Registrars is set at $16 per domain per year *plus* $1.00 to ICANN, plus a $10,000 entry fee, plus a $100,000 bond, plus a $2500 SRS application fee.

    At 500 domains per month (which is low), a new registrar is paying $35.75 per domain - which is more than they pay now per domain.

    This doesn't take into account the added cost of the hardware and business spec for participating...

  • I agree completely. You can go to some domains now and are presented with a message of "we have 15,000 domains for sale! Send us $10k and you can have your pick!" IMO places like this need to be shut down, way too much of the internet name space is consumed by crap like this already. The NIC obviously doesn't care since they're getting their money (then again noone has ever accused them of being anything but mercenaries), so it would be nice to see one of the external agencies step in and take care of it, but I don't see that happening any time soon unfortunately...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Lowering the price of getting a TL domain name might seem to make it more accessable for everyone, but I get a feeling it will only make it easier for "cybersquatters" to hoard even more domain names. This makes the people who want to use them legitimately have to pay them a speculators premium. For an idea of how far these scalpers will go, read this: examiner/archive/1999/04/11/BUSINESS662.dt l

    Should reselling domain names be regulated like ticket scalping? A precedent already exists there, and unlike tickets, domain name transactions are publicly recorded, so enforcement is reasonably possible.

    Speculation and hoarding is becoming a problem. Here's possible solution based on ticket scalping: What if domain names could not be resold privately for more than a regulated price? And to avoid workaround scams, "bundled services" with that transaction could not exceed a fixed price either?

    This is not like selling keywords on a private network like AOL or MSN. The internet is a public network built with public funds.
  • by drwiii ( 434 )
    Somehow, I think netsol would do a better job than Sprint and AOL.
  • I would have to agree - the likelyhood that this sort of despicable behaviour (although I'd have loved to own ;] ) is going to continue or even get worse is entirely too high. The problem really comes in with checking and making sure that a "real" site is running on the domain name - how are you ever going to keep up with that kind of volume?

    As was already mentioned, probably the only thing you could do is set up an independant quality control organization, with outside requests from Internet users for specific checks to be done on certain sites to be made possible. That way when you want to use a domain that a squatter is occupying, you could sent the org. an email, they'd check and throw the squatter out.

    Again though, the problem you run into is sometimes deciding when someone is a squatter or not. They might legitimately be working on their site, in which case you have to give them some kind of ultimatum until they need to have something finished up. Probably generally a good thing, but the possibility for mischief is great here, too. Ultimately I don't think we have a real good solution just yet.

    Herbert von Kammerstein

  • On a somewhat related note, does it bother anyone else that ZDNet loads individual links for every comment along with the story? Couldn't they use a Slashdot-esque "read more..." link instead? I mean, if it's the kind of news (i.e. anything about MP3s, net censorship or Microsoft) that prompts a slew of knee-jerk reactions, then the page loads on geological time. And if you try to second guess it and stop the page from loading, hoping you've only cut off the comments, half of the time you end up without anything except the latest banner from Intel, claiming that the PIII makes the Internet faster.

  • Once the InterNIC became a business instead of a service, that's when the network (and the dispute policies) went to crap, as far as I'm concerned. I won't miss the monopoly. Now they just need to handle the zone files, so that each registry can operate root servers correctly. I'm not sure if that's been covered yet.
  • I remember that when the web just started to
    be in the public eye (93, 94) reading that the
    intent of domain names was to continue on like
    they had been for years earlier (that is,
    a second, human-readable version of the IP #),
    and that when the net would be used by Joe
    Public, these domain names would be essentially
    hidden to the user; instead, the user would access
    other computers via bookmarks and search engines without the knowledge of the end hostname.

    Unfortunately, I think the web got pushed into
    the mainstream too fast that the above ideas
    had to be abandoned when ecommerce actively
    started up...
  • Yeah it'll be great even if domain names are only little cheaper. More importantly, you don't have to pay Network Solutions!

    I've been holding off from registering a domain just so I can deny NS their 70 bucks.
  • I just had a horrible thought... Imagine Windows 9x having an enhanced Internet Connection Wizard which will help you register a domain!

    I really wouldn't put it past them to do that.

    Oooo.. how about: "Corporate Deathmatch: The Battle of the Monopolies! Network Solutions -v- Microsoft Corp." I'd pay money to see that fight. =)
  • Ummm.. IPv6 has nothing to do with DNS, just like IPv4 has nothing to do with DNS. The domain name system is just a nice way of assigning names to hard to remember IP addresses, whether or not they are 32 bits long or 128 bits long.
  • One form of regulation that I'd agree with, and that would cut down on a great deal of the hoarding, would be to make it impossible to sell/lease a domain until it has been paid for. It should be impossible to sell a domain within the 90 day grace period.

    Most of the domains being sold out there are just that, squatted, without any paid registration. Anytime someone sells a domain, the new owner has to basically re-register it anyway, with his/her $75, thus, it's basically no loss to the scalper.

    However, making sure a domain is truly registered -- as opposed to squatted -- before 'trade' can take place would be a viable solution.

  • ZDnet are pro-spam. That pretty much says all I need to know about them.

  • This is bad. Network Solutions will still have total control of the TLD's, which is an intolerable situation, in my opinion.

    Alternic is looking like a better and better idea the whole time, and I'm happy to say that the Brits have got it right - check out what sort of company the .uk domain registrar, Nominet, is at

    Control of the Internet should be vested in an international ITU-style organisation. This US-centric attitude is annoying.

    I'll tell you something - if all five new domain registrars are American, they and NetSol had better consider every single move they make in the future, because it'll turn into open season and the fact is, boys and girls, they ain't secure.

    The Dodger
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I agree. Fees should be somewhat based on use as that is what the real cost behind running the database is. The more DNS "hits" a domain gets, the more it's owner has to pay. Since name data usually comes from a cache, I don't see this working under the current system.

    Also, I think names are to CHEAP now. Look at all of these companies that horde tons and tons of names in hopes to sell them to some who actually needs them for a 100 times more. If names become cheaper it will be impossible to find a name you can use short of making up strange words or adding several digits to a word.

    Domain names are becoming like trademarks now. You shouldn't be able to get a trademark for $2. Likewise I don't want to see a rise in DNS "campers".


  • Actually controlling scalping/squatting should be relatively easy. Most of the people who do it do so to re-sell the name. So, make a simple rule: nobody can re-sell a domain name. You can drop your registration and let someone else pick it up, but you can't get money for doing so. Anyone caught reselling domain names immediately loses all of their registered domain names.

    This is nicely self-enforcing, too. If the buyer wants the name, as soon as the seller makes an offer all the buyer has to do is forward a copy of the offer to InterNIC and bam, the name is free. The proof of re-selling comes from the seller's own hand, so there's no credibility question. InterNIC doesn't even have to go looking, the buyers will do that for them.

    The only thing that needs care is distinguishing a scalper from a company that's handling the registration and administrivia on behalf of others, and that's easy: a scalper owns the name beforehand, the companies ( ISPs mainly ) handling DNS administrivia for their clients don't.

  • They need to require all registrars to maintain fully redundant TLD database servers, load-sharing and synching laterally, rather than relying only on the ones at NSI.
    The original IP-based Internet design stressed fault-tolerance by decentralization. DNS continues to be the exception to that. Unless I'm missing something here, anybody who takes out the NSI database servers has taken out DNS (even if the degradation and collapse is not immediate). That's gotta be fixed, it's a too-inviting target.
  • Totally agree but with only 3 names (.com, .org, .net) it doesn't give too many choices. If ICANN and everyone else gets off their butts and implement the .nom, .store, .web, and the other 4 then this will be perfect.

    Since nom is for people it should be cheap

    web and store would be just like com
  • I think he meant that there will be increased demand for domain names due to more people having static IPs, although I'd think that new TLDs would help a lot more when that happens.
  • Registrant:
    the St. Joe company (JOE18-DOM)
    1650 Prudential Drive #400
    Jacksonville, FL 32207

    Domain Name: JOE.COM

    Administrative Contact, Technical Contact, Zone
    Bayer, Michael (MB8364) mbayer@ST-JOE.COM
    Billing Contact:
    Bayer, Michael (MB8364) mbayer@ST-JOE.COM

    Record last updated on 11-Jan-99.
    Record created on 11-Jan-99.
    Database last updated on 12-Apr-99 19:00:42 EDT.

    Domain servers in listed order:

    NS2.SE.MEDIAONE.NET is already taken, as is nearly any other interesting .com address. I think it's about time for some proper TLDs, as well as some authority to say "no, your name isn't Mr. Microsoft, you cannot register microsoft.nom".

  • (note: .edu cost changes would only benefit 4-year colleges and universities)

    .net,.com, and .org domain "speculators" are real problem. My understanding is that they do not pay for the vast majority of their thousands and thousands of domain names.

    So, if fighting against squatting is going to be moved to the next level, something has to be done. Most companies that squat on domain names never bother paying the dues because NSI doesn't require immideate billing for companies that already have a great number of outstanding unpaid domain names. If that were fixed then the profitability in domain squatting would be blown away.

    In addition, NSI completely overcharges for the maintanence of their database and nameservers. By now it's widely known that they are completely mis-managed, and many people would like to demonstrate how easy it would be to design a better system from the ground up, at a low cost.

  • Look at all of these companies that horde tons and tons of names in hopes to sell them to some who actually needs them for a 100 times more.

    They don't pay for any of them. They simply register them, and hold on to them for the grace period (90 days IIRC), and then a freind (or themselves under a new name) Grab them up as the grace period expires.

    The real solution to that is to reduce the grace period to 5 or 10 business days. That way, the squatters face 9 to 18 times the work and cost for the same expected gains.

  • not only that, but go do whois - i sent in a request to change my nameservers. i'm supposed to have 5. request went through. two nameservers. dammit. so i send in another one, using the form from their ugly inet site. i list 6 nameservers, i send it in. updates. 2! agh! so i do a form manually, from the one in their ftp thing. submit, updates again. TWO. is there like some new policy where we aren't allowed to have anymore? :P
  • Here's an idea... How about not using domain names at all? I'm getting about sick of all the damn commercials on TV... "We're the dot in" so forth and so on.

    How long is it going to be before they start offering DNS for telephone service? Those numbers can be hard to remember you know. Heh, I can just see it now. Our telephone will be running Netscape, and instead of http, it'll be:


  • Also, there should be a limit to mow many Domain names you can own.
  • Now there's an interesting suggestion! But then again there will be "telesquatters" who will buy up "insert name".com for everyone's name, and they will charge exhorbitant prices for them.

The following statement is not true. The previous statement is true.