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NSI Botches Domain Transfer, Says 'Not Our Problem' 262

Rolan writes "Wired is carrying a story about a botched domain trasfer that cost a customer "a large wad of money". In the end they say it's not their problem, even though they botched it, and Lawyers say he probably can't do anything about it. " Its an interesting article actually, and it doesn't sound like an isolated incident.
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NSI Botches Domain Transfer, Says Not Our Problem

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  • They should have got it right in the first place.
  • The original owner should sue them for losing his domain. I can't see at what point they could take a domain from someone as part of a transfer and put it in the open list. If the original owner properly initiated a transfer then NSI should be responsible for not fucking up the transfer. This would be like AT&T taking IBM's 800 number and giving it to a pizza joint.
  • Have you tried calling ATT? Do you "need" a 56K
    line or do you just want one? Shit, I "need" 106
    octane gas for my streeet racer. Does that mean
    I should blow up a petroleum farm if the gas
    company won't sell it to me for $1/gallon?

    > The same thing goes with other monopolies such
    > as telephone,

    Actually, my phone service was better when ATT
    _was_ a monopoly, and I didn't have to put up
    with unsolicited phone calls "inviting" me to
    switch my long distance service.

    > electricity, gas, and others. These too need
    > to be turned over to non-profit groups.

    Yes you're correct. Government should control everything(?)

    > You'll never get good service, fair service,
    > and decent customer service when profit is
    > involved.

    I've experienced "free" health care when I was
    in the Air Force, and "for profit" health care
    since I got out. I'll pay every time. "Free"
    health care sucks. Note that doesn't mean I
    think monopolies are good, I just don't think
    that profit is evil...

    > Just recently I called the *ASSHOLES* at
    > Sprint/United Telephone about getting a
    > 56k line and I was told it would be $236/mo
    >+$600 install.

    Do you NEED it or WANT it? Have you tried
    calling ATT or another competitor to Sprint?
  • It's more than a simple affiliation. Their pages have all over it, and even their ads and images have the logo next to it. They seem to be more like partners.

    And yes, I realize that legally Network Solutions is the one to blame (as I mentioned). However, this is a campaign against as potential cybersquatters. While it is not directly related to the issue at hand (about, it stems from it.
  • And for buying a gun it takes me a maximum of 48 hours (or is it instant?)?

    What have our priorities come to !!!!
  • The NSI DNS system is, in a word, useless.

    I had to change one of the IPs of my DNS server. It took 3 weeks for the change to finally take hold. During that time, sending aproximately 3 change form mails a day, it changed between the first placeholder IP, the original IP, and other IP -- never settling on the proper one. They are totally incompitent.

    McLanahan wanted to build a Web business around the domain name, and shelled out thousands of dollars to acquire it.

    So first the poor fellow gave money to a domain squatter (really, don't do that). Then he turned around, transfered it, and noticed it was now in possesion of another squatter. How many times will this happen? How many squatters are out there? How many are in cahoots with NSI? (Speculation) Since NSI is losing its monopoly, it seems to have been more tollerant of people buying names for no reason, and keeping them with nothing on them. Can't the courts step in?
  • Will someone get their facts right?? is a domain auction site, an Ebay specifically for domains. They do NOT own, look it up in (that's a whois server, not a website). Some guy in the UK registered the name.
  • The problem is, the guy who sold him the domain fulfilled his part of the bargain. essentially 'stole' the domain out from under him for

    The original owner is the innocent party, it seems.

    - Jeff A. Campbell
    - VelociNews ( [])
  • This time NSI was able to blow it off because the unfortunate victim was a "little guy." Wait 'till something like this happens to someone with deep pockets and on-staff legal counsel.
  • I guess you have a point, again. I withdraw my point :P $70 ain't bad, but squatters still don't mind paying that, hoping to gain larger amounts in the long run.
  • The point is that name registration is not a "normal business." It is a critical e-world public utility function, and needs (apparently) to have acceptable practices and procedures defined for it, to prevent and/or punish abuses, and to ensure reliable and fair transactions.

    If things are as bad as comments here on slashdot indicate, perhaps a petition for a proper review sent to the top of the regulatory pyramid and/or congressperson(s) on relevant committes would result in a better implementation.

    OTTOMH, I offer the following ideas to protect registration clients without threatening the cashflow of legitimate businesses:

    • Separate the the first-come-first-serve part of claiming names from the necessarily centralized processing of administrative details. In take-a-number style, use certifiably trustable general purpose servers that archive and return UTC timestamped and digitally signed copies of whatever text you send them (via secure form). In this case the text would say something like, "I, Some Nameclaimer, rest of id, hereby claim the domain name" The returned and archived certificate would establish your claim priority, which you would have 3 business days to exercise.
    • Eliminate the power of an individual registering business to damage your claim. You have three days, so you attach your timestamped claim certificate with your other registration details and send it to your first choice registration business (most likely within three minutes, but allow for contingencies). The earliest time stamp would have priority in any contest. If you didn't get immediate satisfaction (i.e., digitally signed and UTC time stamped evidence of having completed your claim) from one registering business, you would have that three day window to go to another, and none could accidentally or on purpose lose your claim for you.
    • Make transfer of title/ownership atomic and at the secure option of the owner. No limbo time allowed! This really should go without saying, but apparently it didn't.
    • Process expirations with due notification, something like health or car insurance.

      I suppose if there was a worry about a time stamping server pulling something funny (like being a cybersquat front), you could send an encrypted version (openable by yourself and perhaps some impartial legal entity) for timestamping first to several time stampers, then the clear text version. Assuming that would create legal evidence. IANAL.

  • How hard would that be? To set up new nameservers that use different root domains (no .com, .org, etc... so it wouldn't conflict with NSI's system).

    Quite hard. In fact, you have to devise a system that is reasonably fair, reasonably open and reasonably well-organized to have a chance of getting a significant following.

    So far, the best attempt has been ICANN; other attempts were CORE, EDNS and others. And if ICANN is the best we've been able to do, what does that tell you....?

    NOT trivial.

  • Damn this is out of hand! If this guy paid, he should get the service! It's NSI's problem not anyone elses that they screwed up. What the hell is this world coming to..
  • What you say is certainly true. I should have said 'tied up for our field of use' instead. For this particular domain name (not mentioned here to protect the guilty), it's highly unlikely that anyone would want it except for our field of use. And even if someone wanted this domain name to sell faucets or airline tickets, I wouldn't care.

    If they want the domain name, and are going in our field of use, then they'll be in for a fight. We can afford lawyers too.

    But I'm not worried either way. The guy who has it now isn't going to use it himself, so he's got to try to find some other sucker to buy it. He'll probably just give it up after a while. And then we'll pick it up cheap. Patience is a virtue,

  • I stood up a new DNS server to serve a few older domains I own. However, when I tried to register the host with NSI as a DNS server (required for domains registered under Internic), I was told that I could not because the top level domain had not been registered with them.

    This is complete bullshit. The new dns server name resolves and it points to a valid IP address for a machine offering DNS services. Where is the requirement for the domain to have been registered with NSI. It is my choice who I give my money to to register the domain and it shouldn't prevent me from offering a vital network service.

    Also, if you have a domain originally registered under Internic you are not allowed to use the NSI 24/7 support line. You have to call a special Internic tech support line that is only open during normal business hours. Why?!!?! I still have to pay NSI $35 a does that make me different and worth less support. I have found however, that the level of incompetence is consitent in both support centers.

    Has anyone else had problems registering a DNS host with NSI where it was denied because you didn't register the host's top level domain with them. DNS is what makes the Internet work and right now NSI is deliberately breaking it.

  • IANAL, but my understanding is that there is a very old rule in common law known as the parol evidence rule (parol being an old word for oral) which states that if there is any written evidence of the nature of a contract or agreement, that takes almost complete precedence over almost any oral evidence. If you sign a contract, it might not matter what someone said to you at the time, unless you can carfully document it with witnesses and show intent to mislead or defraud.
  • Please use the tools the Internet gives you.

    After some digging (CmdrTaco...I beg for ....)

    Registrant:, Inc.
    575 8th Avenue
    11th Floor
    New York, NY 10018


    10 Universal City Plaza, Suite 1115
    Universal City, CA 91608

  • Actually many people do type them in. People who have never used the internet are much more likely to type in a url they see on the side of a bus, than to go to yahoo to search for it.

    1 Microsoft Way, to use your analogy is much easier to remember and to type in than 3 Microsoft Way.

    Besides, everything else aside, he PAID for 1 Microsoft Way and now he's got NOTHING. Start-up companies cannot afford to purchase essential things and then not recieve them or a refund.

  • A sad story. This a yet another nugget of evidence on why the current registration system is so totally screwed.
  • WARNING: I am offering myself up for flamebait with this one but here goes---

    NSI did not lock the domain name as they should have... not once but TWICE. Big mistake on thier part but they are not to blame entirely. sold the name (apparantly) to who (again apparantly) sold the name to a gentleman in the UK. No mistake here, to the domain was available. (Their mistake is in not helping to retrieve the name after finding out it wasn't REALLY available).

    Now we have this gentleman in the UK who has the name and is willing to "give it up" for $500,000. Here is where to place your blame (IMHO). If, and I don't recall seeing it mentioned, this man was made aware of the mistake, he should have offered to rescind his deal with, who should rescind their deal with who should return the domain name to NSI who should LOCK the damn thing and complete the transfer.

    But NO this guy, who probably paid much more than $70 but much less than $500,000 for the domain is looking to make a profit at someone elses expense. He is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG! and he is who the "polite" emails should be sent to (again, JMHO).

  • There was some commentary floating around a while back that there might be criminal fraud charges laid against NSOL, because their S-1 neglected to mention that _they wouldn't have a monopoly much longer_. Does any one know what happened there?

    I'd _love_ to see them get fried to a crisp. I'm tired of engineering jobs being treated as marketing.

  • This is especially ironic to me, living in Canada: the only G7 nation with 3rd World policies on economics and future prosperity: "Here, take our lumber, we don't want all the jobs and money that come with processing it ourselves!"
  • >"This is a really unfortunate thing that happened," admits Network Solutions spokeswoman Cheryl Regan. "But [McLanahan] is not a customer of ours. He was about to become one, but he didn't."

    A real winning business attitude! Hope other potential customers take the hint, and register with someone else.
  • If all these people could be convinced to switch over to a better system (and not a trashy opportunistic one like AlterNIC but a responsible one run by the Net for the Net), things would be a lot better.


  • is to bomb NSI with emails over this politely asking not to be such a jerk and get it back to him. I only later realized that it was registered by a competing registration company. Surely you can't say that NSI isn't responsible. This is an open and shut case.
  • What I really don't understand is how NSI managed to turn something which theoretically should be fairly simple (access the domain name, change the ownership/nameserver information) into such a disaster - and the fact that they managed to make the mistake not once, but twice!

    While I think it's unfortunate that this happened, and unfortunate that there's no way NSI can be held responsible, I also don't see what would be so bad about simply taking a different domain name - sure, "" would have been nice, but there are plenty of other names out there that would work just as well.
  • But what would be considered a squatter?

    cybersquatter, n., one who registers domain names for the sole purpose of reselling, leasing, or renting them for a profit, usually pricing it out of the reach of a potential customer. As a result, these domains never sell but instead sit in a domain registry for two years while the squatter goes out of business.

  • this is only evidence of things to come.
    Im quite sure situations like this will be common,
    and people will begin taking the law into thier own
  • hmmm, So 4k isn't chump change for most people (ESPICIALLY college students). A similar instance (not the situation but paying and not receiving) I walk into Macdonalds. Pay $5 for a Big Mac meal. Oops sorry we gave it to someone else. [then with what you are suggesting...] "Oh your stupidty is A-Ok with me. Here, here is $5 more dollars for a plain cheese-burger." You want him to just ignore what happened, then willingly pay more money (without ANY re-embersment) for a name LESS suitable than the first. Whos to blame: The guy? maybe, for going to NSI The seller? Nope, he signed the dotted line. Nope ,they saw its open for all The New buyer? Nope, as we all know, you see a steal, you take it. NSI? Yep,
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Network Solutions...
    • Sucks
    • Sucks
    • Sucks
    • Sucks
    • CmdrTaco
  • I have to agree with you there - the lawsuit situ would be as follows --

    Buyer sues Seller for non-receipt of goods paid for (I believe he does have the right to do this, as the Seller "owned" the domain (which was in NSI's hands), and sold it to the Buyer, whom, due to NSI's incompetence, never received it)

    Seller in turn sues NSI for court costs and damages from the Buyer suit (as the Seller gave notice to NSI to do these things, and NSI screwed it up, thus harming the Seller's reputation, as well as opening him to the lawsuit from the Buyer)

    NSI can (and should) fight to get the domain back -- they obviously have proof that the domain was "in transit" and not "available" -- and as such, they should (conceivably) be able to sue the other domain registrar for the domain. Of course, the registrant could sue the other registrar, who could in turn sue NSI...

    In any case, it would seem to me (and I don't claim to be educated in the way these laws actually work, this is just common sense, which I realize our legal system has very little of) that NSI should take the fall for this one.

  • So how did you eventually resolve the NSI issue? I'm in a similar bind now where NSI just won't change the IP for a DNS server. What finally worked? It has been 5 days, and I can't spare anymore. It needs to be done now. thanks
  • what exactly has done wrong, besides being immoral?

    I don't know whether to laugh or cry at that.

  • I hate, loathe and despise the scumbags at NSI and would bore you with my own horror story if it was anything new.

    However - a breath of fresh air for once. The .uk domain is run by Nominet ( and their processes have so far been excellent. You pay an up-front fee to become a member - I don't remember the amount, it's a few hundred USD, then you can do everything with PGP-signed emails and registration of a new domain currently runs at UK pounds 5 or about USD $8. They are a not-for-profit organisation and even by telephone are very helpful. Domain registration turns around in about 15 seconds in my experience.

    I suggest that the US people lobby to have NSI thrown out and control passed to Nominet. They have done an excellent job.

    I have no association with them other than using them for domain registration myself.
  • I would be very careful to read the fine print before I tried transferring a domain to a different registrar. The disclaimer on states that they are not responsible if you lose the domain in the transfer process!!

    One poster mentioned that when buying a domain, you should make sure the transfer payment is void unless you actually receive ownership. Given the current state of affairs I agree entirely. Since the registration services do not assume any sort of responsibility, I would want some assurances that I am not going to be left with an empty wallet and no name.

    Another thing that I would do if I lost a name in this fashion would be to go to ICANN, and their regulators as well. ICANN is supposed to have a dispute resolution process too. This would sure be a good test of this process.

  • Go to, and type in stuff like

    If everyone from /. does it, do you think they can humanly process them all? some will slip through and be registered.
  • You have to have the DNS servers for your domain set, then you need to set MX records up.
  • The registration situation might be worse than we thought. Scan your bookmarks and see if any have evaporated.

    I've noticed some oddities in the last few days, and just found one with inconsistent WHOIS data between NSI and InterNIC. Darned if I know what NSI would do if they registered a domain to two people...

  • 1. Chalk up the US$4K to "learning experience"... I've spent more than that failing out of classes.

    2. Register it's a little catchier, ain't it? You can register it through It seems "" is taken now. Registered on December 11... looks like he's out of luck again.

    It's easier to look for a solution when you ain't crying or screaming "foul." Although I feel bad for this guy, playing victim and doing nothing about it isn't going to get anyone ahead.

    Time to move on now... learn and grow.

  • if this is true, then NSI's statement that he was not a customer (and therefor they could do nothing for him) is untrue. Since this chum seems to be into the domain speculation game, I don't feel at all sorry for him, but I really hate that NSI can be so arrogant in these situations.
  • You make excellent points. Consider this the longform equivalent of a +1 moderation.

    I've often argued for a keyword based naming system for searching, where 'movies' 'reviews' pulls up a list of movie review sites, instead of having to use or, which are a pain, don't necessarily provide the best service, and are limited, where few sites can exist with similar names.

    Sites could be known by something like an IPv6 IP number, something that wouldn't like current IPs do. Then the IP to Names relationship would be like the yellow pages, where you use keywords to narrow down the search, and once you find a company, you 'bookmark' it by writing down (programming) the phone number.

    This way, any number of sites can share the same category. If they pick obvious keywords only, their category gets found easier, but they're in a bigger list. But, no one site stands out based on having keywords that others can't have.

    Today's situation is like being able to buy the 'Sex' or 'Entertainment' section of the yellow pages, so that you're the only company there.
  • by 1010011010 ( 53039 ) on Saturday December 11, 1999 @02:10PM (#1469307) Homepage
    I think that NSI is both sloppy and in cahoots with people, arranging special favors as they see fit. I contacted the legitimate owner of the domain and asked if I could use it, as he was not. "Sure!" was his reply, and he and I worked together to transfer the domain from him to me. NSI said we could not "transfer" the domain, and suggested sending both a delete and add for that domain in the same message, which would result in a transfer. So we did that. Somehow, in the middle, a crank named William Hicken (rhymes with the barnyard animal) acquired the domain instead. I called NSI, quite mad, and asked how their procedure, with DELETE and ADD in the same message, resulted in both the original owner of the domain and I losing it to a third party. They said "Well, it sucks to be you. Try calling Mr. Hicken," refusing to accept any responsibility for the fuckup, even after I produced the "paper trail" of email between me, the original owner, and NSI planning the transfer. Their reply was that they're officially infallible, like the pope.

    So I called Mr. Hicken, who said he aquired the domain name legitimately, using standard NSI procedures, and almost immediately treatened to sue me if I tried to get the domain name back. As the company I worked for at the time had neither the time or money to waste pursiung Hicken in court, we let it drop.

    All I can figure is that he has, or had, friends at NSI. I don't know any other way he noticed the few-minutes (seconds?) gap between the delete and add for that domain. It certainly would not have shown up in WHOIS (updated every 24 hours!), so he shouldn't have even known that the domain was on the move. It was an inside job!

    NSI is just a poorly run company which found a way to latch onto the public teat. They would have been chewed up and spit out by the market without special government protection and status; what talent do they have? All they do is mismanage a system invented and set up by the NSF and Jon Postel, et al, way back when. And, unfortunately, ICANN is a joke and hasn't humbled NSI or improved the situation in the least.
  • by 1010011010 ( 53039 ) on Saturday December 11, 1999 @02:19PM (#1469313) Homepage
    ... which isn't really that secret, I imagine:
    1. Send in email templates until you get a ticket number
    2. Print out the template and make a cover page explaining what you want. Include your ticket number, full contact information and business name. Print it on company letterhead (make up some if you have to).
    3. Fax it all to NSI.
    4. Immediately call, and stay on the line with whoever you get until they've found the fax, and/or the email, and do whatever you want. Never take no for an answer. Ask for supervisors if necessary. Get angry and yell if it helps, but be polite as long as possible.
    5. Record the call if possible. "This call is being recorded to ensure quality customer service." Heh.

  • by bravehamster ( 44836 ) on Saturday December 11, 1999 @08:01AM (#1469315) Homepage Journal

    When he originally put in the forms for the transfer of the domain, NSI told him there would be a 5 day wait. A 5 DAY WAIT? For what? In my job I've registered literally hundreds of domain names, and transferred several dozen and I've never seen any notice about a 5 day wait. As anyone else ever had this happen to them?

    And one things for sure: if this guy had been a big corporation, NSI would have found a way to get that domain back.

  • Originally 1-888 numbers confused customers too. As customers become more educated, this becomes less and less of a problem.

    It wouldn't be a problem if NSI hadn't screwed everything up in the first place by not differentiating com, net, and org properly.

  • However, some companies genuinely are international. Should they be restricted geographically in the one place where there really aren`t any geographical restrictions?
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Saturday December 11, 1999 @08:01AM (#1469318) Homepage
    There was a court case that ruled that domains are property, in, I think, Virginia. That might be used to impose more obligations on NSI under property law. This will take a good lawyer.

    There's also the possibility of using the new Domain Name Dispute Procedure, which works through the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva. That costs only $1000 to use, and might be worth a try.

  • by grahamkg ( 5290 ) on Saturday December 11, 1999 @08:02AM (#1469320)

    Sure that's too bad and all, losing money through a botched process. NSI screwed up, BUT McLanahan knew the consequences. He's an MBA major. If he wants to succeed in business, he'd better toughen up. If the loss of a domain name is enough to crush a business plan, it couldn't have been much of a plan, imho.


  • You-Lah? Eh-u-Lah? Ei-You-Ell-Ay?

    Hmm. Nope. I don't think I can say EULA.

  • Looks like the student involved learned the most importent lesson at the end. "If I have to register another domain, I'll be sure to use a competing registrar."

    Lesson learned. Never use NSI, that company has to be one of the biggest cluster fscks on the Net. With as much money as they pull in per domain, you would think they could afford to mount an operation a little more efficient than your average fly by night company.

    Nearly everyone who has dealt with them probably has some horror stories about lost submissions, unreturned phone calls, unanswered e-mail, and a "sucks to be you" customer service policy.

    If you are using them and you are banking on fast turnaround, or even competent service, well, sucks to be you :)

    I hope some of the other new registrars can pick up the slack on this and provide some good service.

  • Anyone remember the original domain registration policies?

    Let me recap, and paraphrase.

    1 - domains were free. There was no registration fee. NSI was appointed to perform the administrative tasks of running the registry. Note this didn't mean 'owning' the DNS or anything, just someone to do the work.

    2 - to get a .com you had to be a commercial entity.
    - to get a .net, you had to be a network provider, part of the overall Internet infrastructure.
    - to get a .org, you had to be a non-profit organization (not in the strictest sense, but generally true)

    - The application states that you may not give fraudulent information on your registration (false company names are SO common nowadays)

    - TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP (phrased as 'change of registrant' was *expressly* NOT POSSIBLE, except for one condition, being when one company purchases all the assetts of another (so mergers, things like that).
    This was in here SPECIFICALLY to prevent the type of behavior we see today.

    Then.. Internic (NSI) started charging a fee for registration, claiming the US Govt did not wish to fund it anymore, as it was no longer a US-only issue (which is true)
    They came up with the $100/first 2 years followed by $50/year registration fee. This made sense. Domains took forever to register. It *DOES* cost money to do this.

    Somewhere along the line, and I'm not clear why or what happened, or who to blame, but these rules stopped being enforced. NSI encouraged people to register .com, .net, and .org to protect their name. They encouraged people to register domains all the time, as many as possible.
    In short, the breakdown of the original rules caused the system to go to hell.
  • You know, when an article like this comes out, and the gets posted on Slashdot, I have to wonder if the folks mentioned therein suddenly have there foreheads break out in a cold sweat.

    I'm normally not one to advocate guerrilla tactics for anything short of the repression of human rights, but at this point, I think, and to a lesser extent the NSI, are fair game for email avalanches and, what the heck, a few crudely-spelled ungrammatical aspersions cast on the genetic integrity of their ancestors.
  • first off, i'd guess and NSI are both probably _already_ getting scads of flame mail for other things. i doubt they'll notice a slight /.-related surge.

    if flmes _are_ a problem, well, they deserve it anyway. NSI has cost this person, and many people like him, a lot of money and inconvenience; they can deal with the slight karmic retribution of having their mail server crash.

    The fact that companies like exist is in my mind one of the biggest problems if not the biggest problem with the internet. The reason i am even slightly troubled by the fact that a thousand /. lamers are going to be doing nasty things to this company is that the other companies like it won't get any. It would be much more fair if slashdot would post a list of _all_ professional domain squatters and have them _all_ get badly flamed.

    OK, maybe i'm a little bitter. whatever.
    I like the people; they're cheap, and they have strict anti-domain-squatting-for-profit regulations that actually work.

  • Wouldn't it be better to pay $10,000 now, rather than wait until you are successful? If you are working for a well-funded startup, it shouldn't be a big deal. People are very used to typing The net ending could confuse your customers.

    Remeber that Altavista failed to secure its domain name,, when they were first Digital was first starting the search engine because the guy who owned it wanted something like $10,000 for it and Digital never thought it would become a commercial venture. When Compaq bought them, they realized that they needed the Altavista domain name, and ended up paying $3,000,000 for it in the end. Anyway, I don't know what your business and maybe the net domain is okay. I'm just giving you a little food for thought.
  • Did Wired really mean to say

    "[Network Solutions] offers no guarantees and won't be liable for registration gaffs"?

    Unlike a "gaffe", French for "social blunder", a "gaff" is (apart from the original meaning of a large fishing hook on a stick):

    "A trick or gimmick, especially one used in a swindle or to rig a game",
    ... or ...
    "Harshness of treatment; abuse"....
  • That's how I would describe Network Solutions. They're a bunch of slimeballs who were just getting used to their monopoly on domain names, and now they're doing everything they can to squeeze the last bit of milk out of their cash cow.

    They don't care about domain registrants at all, and obviously in this case, even less because the guy didn't register his domain through a method that provided NSOL with the most profits. This fits nicely with their domain dispute policy which basically favours the bigger lawyer, on the theory that NSOL will get sued less often if they side with the money.

    DNS is a disaster now. For the last few months any request that isn't accompanied by a check writtn out to NSOL appears to go to /dev/null. I've been trying to change the 2ndaries for a couple of my domains for weeks.. but no luck. People tell me the only way to get stuff done these days is to get a ticket number, then phone network solutions and complain--don't bother waiting for nothing to happen.

    It'd be great if we could arrest these guys and charge them with incompetence. Lock them up for 20 years.
  • by razvedchik ( 107358 ) on Saturday December 11, 1999 @08:09AM (#1469347)
    One rule for making alot of money in the business world: "Location, Location, Location"

    Of course, us webheads know that's why you want to own or

    However, if something didn't go right with the domain registration, it's *not* the end of the world.

    I understand why somebody should be upset, since he had a "verbal contract" with NSI, but something happened.

    I don't see anybody getting upset because they can't use the username They apply creativity and imagination to come up with something original.

    so, maybe is taken, take Contrary to what you might believe, there is more to web success than an URL. Look at slashdot, freshmeat, and 32bitsonline. They don't really have beautiful URLs. You have to market the site once it's set up

    That's just my 3 pfennigen.

  • I work for a company that has a .net domain name, because the .com domain was already taken.

    We were recently contacted by the guy who owns the .com domain name, who now wants us to pay him something like USD $10,000 for the .com name.

    I told our president that he should defintely not pay. The domain name speculators are just trying to leech money off others, without providing any useful service themselves.

    It's kind of funny... the guy (who has the .com name) says he's looking to sell it, and has got other bidders. Hah! We've got the trademark tied up in the USA, so no one else is going to touch it. We'll just wait for it to become available for the regular price.

    If people didn't have such a hang-up about .com domain names, there wouldn't be this kind of problem. Granted, we're not looking to start a portal site that people will hopefully stumble across by accident. But I sure as heck didn't find Slashdot by guessing at a domain name. Actually, except for major companies (like IBM) I don't usually try to guess a domain name, but use a directory instead.

    Even if I'm trying to start a portal, I'm not going to pay big bucks for a good name. I'll just come up with another.

  • 1)The ownership of a domain should _never_ change, especially when there's a DNS transfer involved. The only part that changes is the DNS info at the bottom (and possibly the tech contact). But under no cirumstances should this guy's name have been removed from administrative/billing roles.

    2)He was using NSI's new "Worldnic" service, which gives you the same thing as the old registration, but costs $40 more. I'm the hostmaster at my place of employment, and the new system sucks. Whereas before one email + one reply was sufficent to make a change, now there are 3 different login/passwd combinations that need to be used to get anything useful done. I always thought the mail-back verification was more than safe enough; but it seems to me someone could try and brute force a password in order to steal a domain if they _really_ wanted to.
  • I've also had my share of bad experiences with Network solutions.

    I have a private domain name registered, so my name is in their system. Several months ago their billing database was corrupted (at least in my case) and I became the billing contact for a random domain.

    The first I heard of this is when I received a bill for that domain. I checked their whois database and found that I had become the billing contact. I sent them a polite email notifying them of the mistake, but they have so far refused to correct the error.

    I instead was forced to contact the true owners of the domain and ask them to complain to Network Solutions.

    It really scares me that a company whose entire business is in keeping a database of information can't even keep their billing database accurate.

  • by wesmills ( 18791 ) on Saturday December 11, 1999 @08:11AM (#1469353) Homepage
    So why is it that NSI is allowed to put into their registration agreement that "OK, it's your ass if you've done anything wrong, and we'll stick it to you, but if we screw up, well, that's just too bad." This doesn't make any sense to me. Yes, it's a binding contract, and you really should read the terms of a contract you're "signing," but this seems extremely one-sided to me. Even my credit card company is nicer than this...

  • In web businesses your domain name can be one of your most valuable assets.

    Imagine deciding to start a car dealership, purchasing a large lot of land, only to have it mysteriously sold to someone else.

    You've lost the money invested in the land, as well as the land itself, your proposed place of business. If that isn't enough to kill any business plan I don't know what is!

  • His *REAL* plan was probably to get a spiffy web address make a non-profitable company and then become a multi-millionare based on the hype surronding his cool word. Unfortunatly this would work currently.

    On a slightly less cynical note a domain name is a companies best asset. On the internet geographical proximity isn't an issue and very few sites actually offer a service another site can't offer at a similar price. This means that the ONLY distinguishing mark of your company is your advertising and domain name. If your competitor's domain name is easier to remember he might end up with the entire buisness and you with nothing.
  • I mentioned this elsewhere on /., but I'll bring it up again - we need another registry. First we could blame it on network solutions - they have a monopoly. But then when the government botched the "multiple registry" idea (doomed to failure anyway, IMO) it should have sounded an alarm. The government is too stupid to be entrusted with DNS services, and Network Solutions is obviously an un-ideal choice. Soooooo.... my solution?

    Form another registry. We can create a new TLD and nest things underneath there, but with one important difference over other projects like AlterNIC - the option to override the root nameservers. How come? Well, I for one am sick of hearing about Multi-Mega Conglomarate of Super Corporation Enterprises Inc, Ltd. using trademark law to snap up domains even remotely similar to their own, and often unfairly. My solution: first come, first serve, end of story. There will be no trademarks in the DNS system. There will be no money to be had in the system. There's a few other ideas I want to throw in, but that's the big one - root namespace overriding.

    I also think registration should be very easy - if the domain isn't used, click [register] and you're live after filling in the fields. The technologies there.

    e-mail me off slashdot, I'd like to hear what you think..

  • Here, Here!

    For a list of alternative domain registars other the NSI, check this out. []

  • Your points are all valid until you consider he paid $4,000 for this domain. A stupid move on his part, but still something to be pissed about. NSI IS at fault and they should be held liable for their gross incompetence.

  • I am willing to bet small amounts of money that there will be more stories of troubles between registers. Wait until you get registration company foo and registration company bar having an arguement with NSI in the middle. Those will be fun days.

    Let's just rid of all DNS and memorise IP addresses like phone numbers. :)
    Mike DeMaria
    Want an alternate to the GPL? Find out about it here. []
  • Isn't this the tradition for software/tech companies? Don't most EULA's say "We don't guarantee anything, period. If you open this box, you agree that you won't even think anything bad about us. This product is no warranted as useful for anything except removing fifty bucks from your pocket. If it fails, and your business goes under, tough."?


  • Enclose a check with all letters you send to NSI. If you want to make a complaint write out a nice big one for $50 If you need to get tech supports give 'em $10 If you want to change any aspect of anything about $100 should do.

    Remember, bribes work!

  • Nice idea but several problems

    1) who pays for root nameservers? Is this service free? If so how do you convince people to switch.

    2) Trademarks are dangerous because they are *legally* protected. Very possibly you are going to end up in court alot over this even if you shouldn't. Big dollars for lawyers.

    3)Everyone wants the websites they visit now to stay that way.

    Possible solution:

    Don't start over create a black list (like for email spam) over really aggregious trademark abusers (for instance companies which steal private citizen's laast names etc..). This blacklist would contain the domain name in question and possibly a new forwarding address.

    Individual ISP's would (hopefully) choose to add this list (distributed in proper format) to their name servers (force them to answer authoratively for these domains). Therefore punishing any company engaging in this practive.

    This has little to no funding requirements and since their is no single organization to sue legal challenges become very difficult. In addition it is implemented transparantely to most users (those who use their ISP's name servers)
  • Because its become obvious that the domain name system is fatally broken, is there any alternatives currently in development? If not, what would comprise such a system? It would be great to have a system which allowed everyone to have a sensible name, not just the fortune 500 companies and domain brokers. For example, look at [], the people who now own They are sitting on 173,000 domains with an estimated value (according to their web page) of $2,519,578,000! I for one am tired of having to register names like so these guys can make it rich.
  • NSI is one of the worst companies that i have ever seen. They are handed a commodity, and they abuse it, and their customers. The gentlemen who wanted was a guaranteed customer. They botched it.

    Now that there are alternative registrars, people should start boycotting them.....wait a minute. They don't care about their customers. This probably wouldn't bother them.

    I wouldn't be surprised if they purposely left holes like this into the sytem to show that there should only be one company incharge of the system....but i think they are effectively proving that such a company should not be them.


  • 5 Days? If NSI managed to do a transfer in 5 days, I'd send them a prize. I've transferred many domains and it's taken up to 4 months to get some of them done. Probably 1 time in 5 they've screwed something up. Their phone room is staffed by minimum wagers - they do their best to be helpful, but just don't know how - and there's an hour queue most days to speak to them. Unbeleivable.
  • I have yet another 'horror story' to relate, though it ended happily. There was a domain two of my friends and I greatly desired. It was unregistered. We submitted our registration for it, and was told during the time our registration request was being processed, that the domain had just been purchased! It was by a domain prospector who was selling it for $15000. I found it very suspicious that a domain that had been unregistered would -suddenly- just be registered right when we requested it. It could have been coincidence. It could have been either an individual or NSI itself getting kickbacks from the domain prospectors (Aka, leaching vermin) for tipping them off on domain requests prior to their being processed.

    Anyway, on the bright side of this, after several emails expressing our irritation to both the domain prospecting company and NSI, the domain prospectors agreed to give us back the name. (Something which surprised the heck out of me.) It really wasn't that great a name, I guess they figured it wasn't worth the hassle.

  • by Hobbex ( 41473 ) on Saturday December 11, 1999 @08:36AM (#1469382)

    While I feel pretty sorry for the guy who got ripped off, and am not the slightest bit surprised to see N$I acting this way, I think that if he was basing the entire bussiness on the url then he had the wrong attitude to begin with.

    I mean, in what other field would people base their entire bussiness plan on the NAME of the fucking company? Yes, as long as the Internet is still new to most of its users, and people still feel lost and unsure of where to go, owning a domain like or is a goldmine. But in the long run, you are on pretty thin ice if that is that is the base of your bussiness (yes, I know Wall-street doesn't agree with me).

    The web is not, and will never be, a keyword based system. In fact, if you read TLBs original paper on WWW for Cern, he specifically mentions having developed the Web because keyword based systems are BAD. Hypetext provides the ultimate decentralized namespace, and no one can argue that people don't become less and less dependant on obvious domain names as they become more at home with the Web and the way it works.

    Did Ebay, Yahoo, or Slashdot need obvious domains to succeed? Does the domain not being detract from Slashdot's popularity and success?

    I have no clue what sort of a market there actually if for the website he wanted to start, but if his bussiness-plan WAS sound, I would recommend he thinks of another name and goes on. I'm no good at this, but why not for example or For someone more creative with words there must be hundreds of race related terms not urled yet.

    I really hope that someday people will realize that the domain name is not the website. If a site is good enough it can be just as successfull with some clever, easy to remember, but not generic domain, as it can if you spend millions on buying the most obvious related word you can afford...

    We cannot reason ourselves out of our basic irrationality. All we can do is learn the art of being irrational in a reasonable way.
  • I have also had a horrible experience with Network Soltuions. My old web host was not meeting my expectations, so I decided to use another web host. I submitted the paperwork to Network Soltuions at the beginning of a month. Since I was busy with school, etc I didn't have time to contact them for a while. At the end of that month I still had not heard anything back. I wrote to their "customer support" staff and had did not heard anything back for 2 weeks. Then I submitted the transfer paperwork again and it got done in 2 weeks. The transfer was done in accordance with my second request (I know because of the "issue tracking number" they give you when you submit a request.) To this day I have not heard back from either customer support or my first request to have the domain transferred. You would think that a company that provides service like this would have had action taken against it a long long time ago.

    Hmmm... Just got this thought: Could enough reports to the Better Business Bureau Online [] possibly do anything?
  • by jd ( 1658 )
    It would seem to follow that if I set up an intranet domain, say with the same names as the NSI domain (purely by coincidence, of course), and "accidently" inject that into the DNS network, this would not be my problem, and I would not be accountable, under NSI policy.

    After all, policy must apply fairly to all.

    (I'm not going to do this, but I have to say that the NSI are leaving themselves -wide- open on this one, and I doubt any judge would be sympathetic to them, if they did complain.)

  • by um... Lucas ( 13147 ) on Saturday December 11, 1999 @09:51AM (#1469397) Homepage Journal
    Who says a domain name needs to be at all descriptive of the site it represents?


    Those are all very non-descript names.... And that's why they catch, IMO... I agree with the original guy. If his business plan can't be adapted to a new domain name, then that in itself seems to be a problem.
  • How hard would that be? To set up new nameservers that use different root domains (no .com, .org, etc... so it wouldn't conflict with NSI's system). Probably run DNS on a different port, and then with browsers like Mozilla, it'd be guarenteedt to have a chance at catching on... Is the problem just coordinating a large enough chunk of people?
  • by Anonymous Commando ( 6326 ) on Saturday December 11, 1999 @10:06AM (#1469409)

    When I spotted this story on Wired this morning, I decided to look this guy up (John McLanahan) - I've had my own experiences with NSI (not quite to the same extreme as he has), and wanted to find out some more details about his situation and see if I could help somehow.

    Tried searching the web for him - found a 29-year-old John McLanahan from Boston who came in 134th in a half-marathon [], another who is a corporate lawyer in Georgia [], and one who lived sometime in the late 1700s (from a few geneology sites). From the Wired article, it sounded like the Boston McLanahan might be the one (right age range, into racing) but there was no e-mail address listed on the marathon results.

    So, I went to the NSI WHOIS server, searched for "McLanahan, John" [], and found a John McLanahan with a Boston address [] (actually, three or four handles with the same name and mailing address) who currently owns a number of domains related to racing (,,,,, - sounds like the right guy...

    ...and then I notice the other domains this guy has registered. It looks like he owns a number of domains that are stock-ticker symbols for .com and hi-tech companies (TalkCity, Voyager.Net, ChemDex), some life-insurance related domains (,, and some more generic business-related domains (, Unless his business plan covers more than just racing, I'd say he's been in the domain-speculation game for a while himself... especially when just about every domain I tried going to said "domain for sale".

    Not to excuse NSI's more-than-usual imcompetence, but suddenly I don't feel quite so sorry for this guy...

  • by phil reed ( 626 ) on Saturday December 11, 1999 @09:09AM (#1469410) Homepage
    It's kind of funny... the guy (who has the .com name) says he's looking to sell it, and has got other bidders. Hah! We've got the trademark tied up in the USA, so no one else is going to touch it. We'll just wait for it to become available for the regular price.

    Sorry to puncture your balloon, but you appear to need a little education in trademark law. Unless you are a hugely major brand, like Coke or Disney or McDonalds, you don't have the trademark 'tied up'. You might have the trademark 'tied up' for a particular class of trade, but that doesn't mean that it couldn't be used somewhere else. Take a look at the word "Delta". I'm personally aware of three companies that call themselves "Delta" (Airlines, Faucets and Dental Insurance), and their trademarks don't conflict with each other (as long as the airline people don't try to sell faucets).

    So, it's entirely likely that your address is going away and there's nothing you're going to be able to do about it. It's unlikely that you're bigger than Delta Airlines. And what if he sells it to somebody outside the U.S.?


  • Doesn't anybody find it odd that and appear to be the same company or at least affiliated? When I went to the site, they had a banner-ad running that said 'The First Step on the Web' with both the and logo's on the one banner-ad.

    Is it any wonder won't give the name back? Their own sister company is the one who stole it. I can see it now, everytime a domain expires or is released to the pool in any way, decide if they want it and within minutes have it stolen. They probably have people who sit there monitoring newly available names 24/7.

    It seems to me that the relationship between and is totally inappropriate. It's like letting the fox guard the chickens.

    Quite frankly, I think selling domain names should fall under the same laws as scalping tickets. You sell them for face-value (cost of registration) or you don't sell them at all. I just did a little experiment and just starting making up names of domains that might be nice to have and checking them. At least 1/3 of the names I tried took me to web-sites offering said name for sale.

    If I remember right, trademark law requires that you have a product or service associated with a trademark, can't we have a similar law for domains?
  • Why not exploit new business opportunities instead of fixing the problem? ;-/

    One wonders if the status of a given name is even maintained in a single transactional database. Or maybe they have defined name claim and release transactions, but not transfer? Can there be race conditions between competing registering businesses?

    Also, how can one be sure the very act of checking a name doesn't pass it to a speculator? It's apparently not encrypted, so who is in a position to snoop all those form submissions? Maybe one should be careful not to "check" unless ready to commit immediately. Hm. Are registering companies allowed to sell their server logs? What if they just extract the names being checked?

  • by RoninM ( 105723 ) on Saturday December 11, 1999 @09:29AM (#1469420) Journal
    Then at the very least they can reimburse the guy the money he paid for the domain name transfer, if not purchase the domain for him. As it is, they deny any liability, but fail to lock the records during the transfer. I'm not even certain of why they left a five day lag. And then to say, "Well, really, we'd like to help and it really sucks, but we can't, 'cuz this guy isn't one of our customers -- he was going to be, but he isn't," is just downright onerous and contemptuous. It's indicative a flaw in how NSI conducts its business that the domain was ever open for outside registration. NSI failed to have proper supports in to protect those transferring domain names and it'd set a really poor precedent to say, "Oh well, oh hell."

    Think about it: if NSI has no blame, then there's no good solution to this. can't boot its customer - the domain was open for registration, that NSI had plans for it is irrelevant, since NSI didn't make that situation apparent until after was already in contract; the guy who originally held and transferred it shouldn't have to pay back anything - he's out a domain name, already; and McLanahan shouldn't have to spend $500,000 to buy a domain that should be his or have to pay money for a different domain that he didn't want to begin with. NSI bungled the transfer process by failing to lock the domain name when it'd be highly trivial to do so. That constitutes liability in my mind.

  • Domain names should have been treated as public property and auctioned to raise revenue -- the revenue used for further research of technology. Pity. Instead they are auctioned by cybersquatters who only take and give nothing back to the Internet. Kinda like giving away natural resources to companies without expecting market rates. Oh humm.
  • 1) Dude PAYS someone thousands of dollars for the domain
    2) NSI bungles the transfer (sucks, but they did)
    3) under the new system, has already sold the domain to someone.
    4) NSI asks (who they have NO authority over) if they can have it back, and explains what happened.
    5) says 'no, our cusomter has it under contract already. we can't back out'
    6) NSI says 'I'm sorry, there is nothing we can do'

    Now. I see 3 main points to consider.
    1) If you are going to buy a domain from someone (a horrible practice), you should make it THEIR responsibility to ensure that the domain is transfered correctly, and they should receive payment once the domain is in your posession. NOT before.

    2) If Internic even mentioned to him on the phone 'okay, we messed it up once, sorry, we'll put it through again correctly' or anything to that effect, then he has a case against them. A written promise is not needed. They claimed they would do something for him, then didn't follow through, and it will cost him money.

    2) The whole concept of treating domain names like property is bunk. They are *NOT* property. If they *were*, it would be easy to buy and sell them, and it isn't.
  • Well, there is the small matter of the 4 grand or so he shelled out to buy

    And the fact that the name described the site very well. NSI's suggestion,, isn't very good. I don't understand why the site would be named "Race Snow" :)
  • I've yet to see NSI follow any sort of pattern with our requests. Some changes are accepted the first time and go through quickly. Other times I've had to resend the [binary-identical] request 20 or 30 times before NSI's robot decides that it is really a valid request and then waited for an insanely long period of time for a trivial database update[1]. The bottom line is that we try never to do domain updates of any sort without planning for a month's delay. [1] Forget the usual /. "My Linux PC could do better" mantra. In NSI's case, I'm starting to wonder if my Visor [] would be faster...
  • First off -- I'm not surprised about the whole situation, especially's refusal to give it back. "contract with the man" my ass - I invite you to check out Yes, the two companies are affiliates - which explains the advertisement on every page that is returned when a user searches for a domain name already in use. Now, I'll admit that this is absolutely pathetic of Network Solutions, and for one of the oldest domain name registrars in the business, they're certainly acting quite spineless and cowardly in this situation. Still, though, I cannot help but be FURIOUS at, and now as I found out that the two are affiliates. How low can they be, to register that domain name the EXACT instant it becomes available -- apparently, they have an automated system that searches for such domains, or something of the like. And doesn't even bother -- ANYWHERE ON ITS SITE - to describe its motive, and how domain names - usually costing $70 - are upwards of $500,000 on their site. This is where my disappointment comes in...

    Nope, it's not disappointment for either Network Solutions nor It's disappointment for the hundreds of thousands of SlashDot members out there who, though continuously complaining that they're 'sick of cybersquatters like,' do absolutely nothing about it. Guys, we can comment about it til the sun goes down and that's not making a damn difference. But rather than moving on and forget about it, why don't we do something about it? Though small in comparison to the likes of c|net or ZDNET, the userbase of Slashdot is certainly large enough to put a dent in's and's wallet. Or at least make them sit up and take notice.

    So why not, to start at least, an organized campaign boycotting and I've found (listed administrative contact) to be the most likely address to be checked - better than filling out the support & bug report. I propose that each and every slashdot member out there who is sick of these types of stories, or having to pay $500,000 to a sleezy company who bought a domain for $70, write a letter - perhaps we could post a template of one here or, if Rob approves of this idea, on the main page - to and, telling them that (though it'd be inaccurate) every single one of the hundreds of thousands of slashdot members will now be using Network Solutions (in an attempt to get them to return the domain), and will definitely NOT be registering domains from - and spreading the word as well. This is only the start. Letters could be sent to CNET, ZDNET, and just about any other electronics information site out there, publicizing this story and shining the light on what does, including registering domains for cheap prices just for the purpose of reselling them for tons of cash. And of course, don't forget to mention their partnership with The goal of this would be not so much to get McLanahan's domain back (though surely this is one goal), but in general to expose such companies as and their motives.

    I am not kidding around here, I'm talking about an organized effort of every slashdot member who's sick of this sort of thing, with letters to any person or company who might seem relevant in this matter, and perhaps a website set up for our campaign. I know some (most) of you are looking right now to get back at Network Solutions for being so weakminded and "hey, it wasn't us" about this. But right now I'm having trouble placing full blame (though they probably deserve it) on Network Solutions, having just seen (for the first time) Granted, I've seen cybersquatters in the past, but never have I seen such a slick business as, who try to act as just another large, respectable organization, overshadowing their unjust motives - which I feel could change if such motives are exposed to enough people publicly, and especially if such companies are boycotted by slashdot's users (their target audience, mainly), among other people.

    Guys, we've got an entire slashdot community and a voice. Let's use it.

    Skeptics of the campaign need not apply.

  • I've been wanting to transfer my domains OUT of NSI's purview. I don't find any such functionality on thier site. Last time I looked at, there was a blurb about this to the effect that this capability had not yet been implemented.

    Is this currently possible? And if so, is it currently too damn dangerous to attempt?

    "Rex unto my cleeb, and thou shalt have everlasting blort." - Zorp 3:16

  • It looks to me like Mr McLanahan took the correct third step:
    1. Complain to NSI
    2. Talk to a lawyer
    3. Take it to the media

    Guess what 4 is?

    (did anyone else get that insanely irritating flashing ad tile on wired? And they say video games make you want to kill!)
  • by tweek ( 18111 ) on Saturday December 11, 1999 @09:44AM (#1469435) Homepage Journal
    If you order tons of domains, you can get a special account that verifies based on your pgp key (not sure if gpg keys work, they should though). Also they will bill you for your domains as opposed to normal registration which you pay up front. I just ordered two domains the other day from them for US ~70 and it was great. The records were done within 24 hours and I am a happy camper.

    I found joker through a suggestion of a slashdot user. They're fast. They have an SSL encrypted process. (heLLO? network solutions?) Ignore the fact that they use poor english on the site (it IS their second language) and you'll be happy. The only issue pain was having to re-register my name servers and contact info with corenic since network solutions info isn't corenic registered but that was cool with me. When my other 5 domains expire next year, I'm rolling them over to They're fast, simple and in short, they kick ass.
    Check em out.
  • Not defending NSI here, but it really seems that when they devised their system originally, they gave no thought to the idea that one day they'ed need to open it up and let other people in. And now that they need to, they've been so unhelpful in opening their systems... But really, it just sounds like they never anticipated this happening, plus they've got the most arrogant staff to go along with it...

    Perhaps the gov't should just yank away their contract and run the root nameservers themselves until a suitable replacement is devised?
  • This story, if true, is VERY SCARY!! Most people including myself were under the assumption that a domain couldn't be lost during a transfer assuming it was fully paid for and not involved in any disputes. According to NSI, this is not the case. This comes down to the credibility of the domain name system. People will not trust domain registrations if they can lose them for no just cause.


    NSI is claiming that while they made a mistake, there's nothing they can do since the domain was registered by someone at Nice try, but here's the problem:

    Keep in mind that NSI also controls the *central registry* for .COM, .ORG, .NET, and .EDU and John McLanahan in my layman's opinion has a case against NSI since they control the central registry and are negligent for the mistake - KEEP IN MIND THAT NSI HAD PRIOR KNOWLEDGE OF THE PROBLEM AND YET IT HAPPENED AGAIN AND NOW NSI REFUSES TO CORRECT THE REGISTRATION - in my laymans opinion, this is the legal strategy that John McLanahan should persue in regards to getting relief. If anything NSI may at some point just settle out of court and at least John would get something for all his trouble and teach NSI to take their business more seriously since domain names are critical infrastructure.
  • What about icann? i was just perusing(woa big word for me) their site and came accross the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy

    i think section 3 b. that he could sue icann or have a court petion force the trasfer of the domain to him. as long as he has proof, reciept from the seller, that the seller did infact trasfer the domain to him and therefore should not have been left for public sale.

    Just my thoughts

  • I'm pretty sure that it's been done. Most of the words in the Roget's Thesaurus that's available from Gutenberg are taken, it seems like. I haven't actually run my ~500K word list against whois, I don't want to get filtered. NSI only gives the full zones out to spammers who can pay for them, apparently, a desire to do legitimate statistical research isn't sufficient.

    Anybody want to slip me a copy of the zones?
  • ACtually, it is NSI's fault. The way transfering a domain works (or at least is supposed to) is the domain immediately goes to the new person. To take your car analogy, it would be as if you bought a car from someone, they gave you the keys, then someone else came along, stole your car, convinced the government that it was theirs, and offered to sell you back your car for 10x what you bought it for.
  • As the Circuit Court said, "The fact that this form of intellectual property results from a service that NSI provides does not preclude the property from garnishment any more than the service provided by the Patent Office immunizes patents from garnishment."
    In other words, it's property. Not just a name, but something that someone can own.
    Cnet article on the ruling []

    After reading this article, I think that McLanahan has every bit of legal ground that he needs to file criminal charges against NSI for the theft of his property. Please remember that NSI is based in Herdon, Va, right near the very Circuit Court that issued the ruling. Mr McLanahan, if you're reading this, please go for it. As for NSI, we need something better, without a doubt.

  • They are not the same company. runs an affiliate program (add a banner on your site and receive a cut of registration fees) and Greatdomains is an affiliate. Furthermore, Greatdomains is only an Ebay specifically for domains, someone else is using them to auction the name, Greatdomains doesn't actually own it. Lastly I think there's nothing wrong with grabbing good GENERIC names and selling them later. Checking whether anyone has a "right" to a certain name is subjective and totally impractical, especially considering that tens of thousands of domains are registered every day. Don't get me wrong, I think it's immoral to grab names of exisiting companies and then extorting those companies. Although in this particular case, if I were the second illegitimate owner of I would give the name back as I wasn't really supposed to have it in the first place.

Whoever dies with the most toys wins.