October 3rd, 2003


The digital commons survives another day.

Some of you may remember my earlier post on Verisign's attempt to redirect all non-resolving domains to their own Site Finder service.

Good news on that front: Verisign is backing down (Register). Gotta love this quote from that source:
"Without so much as a hearing, ICANN today formally asked us to shut down the SiteFinder service," said Russell Lewis in a statement. "We will accede to the request while we explore all of our options." Somewhat rich considering VeriSign introduced SiteFinder without consulting a soul.

You can also see other stories on this subject from Google News.

Thanks to everybody who wrote to say "I'm pissed too". It looks like ICANN has taken up the fight. Good for them.

[Update: ICANN's statement on the third enumerates in pretty strong language why the Verisign maneuver was bad:
The Internet Architecture Board concluded that the changes made by VeriSign had a variety of impacts on third parties and applications, including
(1) eliminating the display of "page not found" in the local language and character set of the users when given incorrect URLs rooted under these top-level domains, and instead causing those browsers to display an English language search page from a web server run by VeriSign;
(2) causing all mail to non-existent hostnames in the .com and .net TLDs to flow to VeriSign's server (in addition to other effects on certain email programs and servers);
(3) eliminating the ability of some applications to inform their users as to whether a domain name is valid before actually sending a communication;
(4) rendering certain spam filters inoperable or ineffective;
(5) affecting interaction with other protocols in a number of ways;
(6) adversely affecting the performance of certain automated tools;
(7) in some cases (where volume-based charging is applicable) increasing the user cost simply by increasing the size of the response to an incorrectly entered domain name;
(8) creating a single point of failure that is likely to be attractive to deliberate attacks;
(9) raising serious privacy issues;
(10) interfering with standard approaches to reserved names; and
(11) generating undesirable workarounds by affected third parties.

(end update)]
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