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[ga] Verisign abusing its com/net monopoly again?

  • To: ga@xxxxxxxx
  • Subject: [ga] Verisign abusing its com/net monopoly again?
  • From: George Kirikos <gkirikos@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 9 Sep 2003 06:18:07 -0700 (PDT)
  • Cc: mcade@xxxxxxx, newcase.atr@xxxxxxxxx, vcerf@xxxxxxx, metalitz@xxxxxxxx
  • Sender: owner-ga@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx


We already have the example of WLS in Verisign abusing its monopoly
(and ICANN not stopping this abuse -- see www.stopwls.com).

Planning to monetize all typos by rewriting DNS error codes to instead
point to itself (i.e. instead of returning error codes, it will no
longer return errors, but instead bring the surfer to Verisign
money-making pages) is yet another example of an abusive monopolist.


"Some organizations have shown a propensity to make technical changes
happen and then ask for permission later," Afilias's Mohan said. "Given
the economics of it, I think that's what will happen here."

Given the huge technical standards that Verisign would be violating, as
well as the Intellectual Property and economic issues (e.g. a typo of
one letter of your domain name could send a client to a search engine
listing your competitor as #1, or worse; John Zuccarini is in JAIL for
his typo-squatting!), can someone in the Names Council, or the ICANN
Board that has a spinal column please pre-empt this Verisign move by
forbidding unilateral action of such a nature by means of a vote of
some kind, through the introduction of a motion?

>From the comments at:


when this abuse last came up, perhaps the way to frame the motion is
"gTLD Registry operators WILL return NXDOMAIN for ALL DNS queries for
which where there is not a REGISTERED domain name." Period.

Once you start tampering with things at the DNS level, as Verisign is
intending to do, you threaten the security and stability of the
internet, as I think Vint Cerf properly recognizes (being right at
least half of the time; bad call on WLS, but the courts and the US
governmet will take care of that one eventually). For a company whose
slogan is "The Value of Trust", Verisign makes a mockery of the
caretaker role it has been given as guardian of the com/net registries.
I trust them as much as I trust John Zuccarini.

If the US government had a problem with Microsoft embedding the
Internet Explorer browser into its operating system, what will they
think given Verisign has an even *greater* monopoly when it comes to
DNS resolution? The power should belong to the *users*, who should have
the choice (through their own software) how to resolve errors. That's
why we have technical standards. Making that decision for them, by
BREAKING technical standards and the applications that *rely* on those
standards, as Verisign plans to do, and making loads of $$$$ while
doing it, smacks of an abusive father-knows-best monopolist. Verisign
is the father you wish you never had! Calling it a "service" adds
insult to injury, as they did with WLS, especially when it's a MONOPOLY
service, for which one has no choice. When you make a typo for a
telephone call, does the 1-800 operator (AT&T, MCI, Neustar?) start
playing paid jingles for your competitors, instead of telling you that
you misdialled via a message?

Ultimately, folks know Verisign wants to milk every last penny out of
its monopolies, and doesn't care who they have to step on to do so.
Take a look at http://www.games.tv/ which shows:

"games.tv is available and can be registered immediately for

to understand what Verisign's goals are (Verisign runs .tv). Do you
*think* you *really* own your .com domains? What price would Verisign
*like* to charge you for *your* domains?? Once they wipe out some
registrars through WLS, and other monopoly abuses, who will be left to
stop them?

If Verisign is permitted to go through with yet another abuse, it's
really a sign that ICANN's contract should be revoked and given instead
to the ITU or someone else, for failing in enforcing basic technical
standards. Congress should be made aware of this, as ICANN's contract
comes up for renewal, that it's failing in its most fundamental
functions, and even when it knows that abuses are coming, it sits back
and waits for abuses to happen, or even encourages them. As George Bush
eloquently said, we should make no distinction between terrorists and
those who harbor them. ICANN continues to harbor the abusive monopolist
Verisign, and should be held accountable. George Bush went to war to
pre-empt further abuses. Hopefully the ICANN Accountability Act at: 


goes one step towards reshaping ICANN from a rogue organization into a
responsible one that listens to community consensus and observes basic
technical responsibilities, instead of being in the back pocket of
abusive monopolists.


George Kirikos

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