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Special Coverage: Domains Gone Wild!

In light of the recent events caused by VeriSign’s release of Site Finder for .net and .com domain names, CircleID is carrying out a ‘Site Finder Special Coverage’ and asking all stakeholders (all individuals and organization that own domain names or provide services) to submit their comments ‘in favor’ or ‘against’ Site Finder. All comments gathered will be posted on CircleID and distributed to key members of industry.

What is Site Finder?
It redirects misspelled or nonexistent domain names that would normally have resulted in an error page to a special site created by VeriSign that displays advertised links and a search tool. Although Internet services such as those of AOL and Microsoft also displayed similar error pages, VeriSign’s Site Finder intercepts such services at the core directory level of .com and .net domain names.

Related Links: [internal]
- http://www.circleid.com/sitefinder/

Related Links: [external]
- http://news.google.com/news?q=site+finder
- http://sitefinder.verisign.com/help.jsp#general
- http://www.isc.org/products/BIND/
- http://www.verisign.com/nds/naming/sitefinder/

Submiting Your Comment:
Simply use the form below to make your submission. It will be automatically displayed on the Site Finder Special Coverage page.

Note: You must be a CircleID member to submit your comments. Click here for a quick sign up.

By CircleID Reporter

CircleID’s internal staff reporting on news tips and developing stories. Do you have information the professional Internet community should be aware of? Contact us.

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Michael Mann  –  Sep 17, 2003 12:26 PM

This is obviously a racket brought about by the exact same folks that have come to market with numerous anticompetitive unregulated scams over the years. They were entrusted by the government to manage the public domain pool for a nominal fee per domain. Now they have completed the cycle of stealing all the worlds’ domains to use as their own bank, either via WLS or via their new typo scam to aggregate traffic to their advertisements and services.  They are probably sick of my commentary after all these years but the record shows that it’s all been true. Who, if anyone, is listening?

Sam Norris  –  Sep 17, 2003 2:44 PM

What about BulkRegister, GoDaddy, Register.com, and other large registrars?  Don’t they get a change to get some of this traffic since they also sell in the .COM .NET range?  Wouldn’t that be considered a monopoly on the registry if only VeriSign has this power to control invalid queries?

I believe this will last 2 weeks and it will be yanked.


Roger Collins  –  Sep 17, 2003 7:37 PM

Site Finder looks like another unilateral change by the registry that benefits Verisign and not the public interest. Such dramatic changes in DNS policy should not be made by Verisign alone.

Mike O'Donnell  –  Sep 18, 2003 7:13 PM

dotDNS is a partial solution to hijacking

This is a good time to look at Bob Frankston’s dotDNS proposal for a layer of reliable but meaningless domain names: http://www.circleid.com/article/225_0_1_0_C.
dotDNS lookups can be made self-verifiable using public-key signatures, but without the costly chain of trust required by DNSSEC methods. The validity of a dotDNS binding can be verified easily by the querier, without relying at all on the server that provided the putative binding.

dotDNS does not solve the whole problem, since any layer that translates from humanly meaningful names to dotDNS names is still vulnerable to hijacking. But the reliable and verifiable name bindings in dotDNS will make it *much* easier to switch name-resolution services when we are dissatisfied with their policies.

dotDNS is a cheap and immediately deployable positive step toward fixing the DNS mess, requiring no approval by any central agency. It’s time for a visionary sponsor to step forward and just do it.

Mike O’Donnell

Britt Lysaa  –  Sep 19, 2003 12:46 PM

I own the domains lysaa.com and lysaa.net.
Early this summer I discovered that requests to lysaa.com and lysaa.net were redirected to a website owned by VeriSign.
I did lookup in Whois ? and found that NetSol/VeriSign had changed the name of technical contact ? from my name, to their name.
I complained (unneeded to say I got no helpful responses), then I tried to change it (unneeded to say it did not help).

Later on, I discovered that also my lysaa.org had the same disasterous defect of beeing redirected to VeriSign. Also lysaa.org had got my name changed to a name of NetSol (as VeriSign did transfer this automaticly to NetSol).

This is the largest abuse I ever have seen on public internet. All of a sudden, spam seams to be a small problem compared to the VeriSign abuse?. My only surprise is that VeriSign did not understand the technical impact?

It is not only typographical errors which are redirected to VeriSign. Also any other domains in .net and .com, which is purchased but has no IP associated with it. As well as domains which are outside .net and .com, but which is registered with VeriSign/NetSol.

As VeriSign is converting to a proprietary intRAnet : I need a software version for the VeriSign-domains (as .com and .net becomes VeriSign?s intRAnet), and another version for the open internet

Where can I claim my money back?
Any upcoming (class) actions on this?

Britt Lysaa
(lysaa at_the-domain acm.org)

Joey  –  Sep 23, 2003 3:53 AM

Totally against.  All ready I’m finding many progs I am testing are totally befuddled by the sydicated error messages provided by VeriSign.

Jim  –  Sep 24, 2003 4:31 PM

Unsolicited Search Engines are like Unsolicited Email, both are SPAM.
Verisign in its arrogance and greed has:
  1. abused a public trust
  2. shown technical incompetence
  3. made the spam problem worse

I blocked Sitefinder through ZoneAlarm.

BackupBob  –  Sep 26, 2003 5:40 AM

Verisign’s research has determined that many people would like the service that Site Finder offers.  If you use it, and you really don’t have a choice not to, you will be bound by their terms and conditions and their privacy statement. 
I never chose to use this service, there is no way I can tell Verisign I don’t care to use it, and there is no way to avoid using it.  They have altered the core operation of the Internet to favor their marketing efforts.  That they consider me bound by their legal language simply because I mis-type a URL is absurd.
I’m a bit old fashioned.  I don’t want an “enhanced Internet experience” (whatever the heck THAT is supposed to mean).  I don’t want “active content” served up to my desktop.  I don’t want wiggly jumping flashy advertising a la MSN. 

All I really want is an IP socket, access to my POP server, and SMTP.  And, if I make a goof, give me a plain old Error 404 page that isn’t trying to sell me something.

This monopoly has to be stopped in its tracks.  If they succeed with this the marketing types of dozens of other companies will conduct their own research and then try to make our lives miserable. 

Jeff Chausse  –  Sep 30, 2003 8:18 PM

Here’s how I propose humanity deals with the VeriSign typo-jacking shenanigans. The way I see it, they are open to the world’s largest class action lawsuit. Practically every American has a case against them.

Excerpts from: US Code: TITLE 15 > CHAPTER 22 > SUBCHAPTER III > Sec. 1125

“A person shall be liable in a civil action by the owner of a mark, including a personal name which is protected as a mark under this section, if, without regard to the goods or services of the parties, that person [...] (i) has a bad faith intent to profit from that mark, including a personal name which is protected as a mark under this section (ii) registers, traffics in, or uses a domain name that [...] in the case of a mark that is distinctive at the time of registration of the domain name, is identical or confusingly similar to that mark.”

I am not a lawyer, but I believe I legitimately excerpted that legalese, which translates in English to: Nobody can use my personal name as a domain name for the purpose of profit.

My full legal name is Jeffrey Michael Chausse. Verisign is using www.JeffreyMichaelChausse.com for the purpose of profit. Practically everyone in America (Sorry, John Smith) could find some variant of their name which VeriSign is abusing in a similar manner.

Any lawyers want to back me up on this? I’ll be the first to join up in a class action lawsuit.

Veri-Sign.com  –  Oct 4, 2003 9:51 PM

Well, by now VeriSign should have put everything back to normal, but now they have made many enemies in the process of their little ‘experiment’!

I decided to help VeriSign in their quest to help lost and clumsy typists, by registering a common misspelling of VeriSigns own domain name…

I am of course offering this as a public service - So I expect VeriSign to understand fully, and allow me to keep my recently registered domain http://sitefinder.veri-sign.com ...

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