Verisign/NSI VeriSign's SiteFinder & ICANN Contracts--A Second Opinion
posted by michael on Thursday September 25 2003, @01:59PM

Jon Zittrain writes "I've been thinking over Jonathan Weinberg's post about whether SiteFinder violates its contract(s) with ICANN.

Maybe I'm missing something, but isn't SiteFinder a functional assignment by VeriSign of all previously-nonregistered domain names to itself? On terms by which it will resell those names to anyone who wants to pay for them? That would seem to violate the shared registry system provisions. (The only way someone other than VeriSign could implement SiteFinder would be to actually obtain the names.)"

"VeriSign may not have changed WHOIS data to reflect that it has assigned itself the names -- which is possibly itself a failure to properly escrow under the agreements -- but since the names now resolve to VS, at VS's direction, and display Web pages provided by VS if visited at post 80, unless and until someone makes an offer to VS to buy them, it would seem to me that they in essence now possess the names as customer, not just as seller.

Maybe someone should lodge a UDRP or ACPA complaint over an unregistered domain name (now dynamically typosquatted by VS) close to a registered trademark? ...JZ"

Why Verisign Isn't Worried | The "Name Spinner" Patents  >

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VeriSign's SiteFinder & ICANN Contracts--A Second Opinion | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 23 comments | Search Discussion
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I like your suggestion
by KarlAuerbach on Thursday September 25 2003, @07:05PM (#12301)
User #3243 Info |
Your suggestion makes a lot of sense.

If one looks at the totality of what a domain name registrant typically wants when he/she/it buys a domain name, it is the fact that a person out here on the world-wide-web will find a web server via a DNS A record under the registered name. And that is precisely what Verisign has granted to itself with SiteFinder.

Yes, there are other aspects of domain name ownership - such as the ability to establish TXT records or NAPTR records - but those are small-potatoes kinds of aspects as compared to the huge aspect of the A record.

Thus I would agree that for all intents and purposes, at least as measured by the dominant portion of internet users and domain name customers, Verisign has become the effective owner of the domain name.

By-the-way, a good example of a typo would be to use " - with the second letter "o" changed to the digit zero. What makes this example interesting is that Verisign is presenting a search page, not unlike that offered by Google itself, to customers who mistype Google's name. In that case it would seem that Verisign could be said to be pawing itself as if it is Google.
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Looks good to me
by jon on Sunday September 28 2003, @05:27AM (#12315)
User #20 Info
It's a good idea. I hadn't thought of it, but it sounds right. -- jon

[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Missing somthing
by on Sunday September 28 2003, @04:05PM (#12316)
User #2063 Info
Maybe I'm missing something, but isn't SiteFinder a functional assignment by VeriSign of all previously-nonregistered domain names to itself?

Yup, you are missing something. In order for a name to be assigned, it needs name servers. If you ask for the name servers of any of the nonregistered domain names that VeriSign now "serves" with SiteFinder, they have no NS records.

If you squint hard, yes, this is "owning" the domain names, but only if you ignore the definitions set down in the standards. VeriSign carefully followed the standards (to the point of even putting an actual wildcard record in the zone files).

All VeriSign is doing is (a) breaking the assumptions that the world makes about TLDs, and (b) proving that ICANN is unable to act effectively (or at all!) when it obviously should be.

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