VeriSign Caves, For Now
Date: Friday October 03 2003, @11:23AM
Topic: Verisign/NSI

Hot press release:
VeriSign Will Temporarily Suspend Web Navigation Service in Order to Continue To Work With Internet Community Towards a Long-Term Implementation

Key quote:

"Without so much as a hearing, ICANN today formally asked us to shut down the Site Finder service. We will accede to the request while we explore all of our options," said Russell Lewis, executive vice president of VeriSign's Naming and Directory Services Group. "During the more than two weeks that Site Finder has been operational, there is no data to indicate that the core operation of the Domain Name System or stability of the Internet has been adversely affected. ICANN is using anecdotal and isolated issues to attempt to regulate non-registry services, but in the interests of further working with the technical community we will temporarily suspend Site Finder."
Full text below.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Oct. 3 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- VeriSign, Inc. (Nasdaq: VRSN - News), the leading provider of critical infrastructure services for the Internet and telecommunications networks, today announced that it will temporarily suspend its Site Finder, a new service to improve Web navigation for Internet users.

"Without so much as a hearing, ICANN today formally asked us to shut down the Site Finder service. We will accede to the request while we explore all of our options," said Russell Lewis, executive vice president of VeriSign's Naming and Directory Services Group. "During the more than two weeks that Site Finder has been operational, there is no data to indicate that the core operation of the Domain Name System or stability of the Internet has been adversely affected. ICANN is using anecdotal and isolated issues to attempt to regulate non-registry services, but in the interests of further working with the technical community we will temporarily suspend Site Finder."

Launched September 15, Site Finder provides useful tools for Internet users who mistype a domain name or attempt to connect to a web site that doesn't exist. Instead of receiving a cryptic error message, users receive a Web page that offers a search box, a "Did You Mean?" listing of similar domain names, and a listing of popular categories related to the search request. Through Thursday, Oct. 2, Site Finder has been used more than 40 million times by Internet users to get where they want to go online.

"The service has been well received by millions of Internet users who appreciate getting navigation tools as opposed to the 'dead end' of an error message," added Lewis.

VeriSign announced on September 23 that it has established a Technical Review Panel comprised of Internet community leaders to help gather and analyze feedback about Site Finder. That panel will assist VeriSign in the long-term implementation of Site Finder.

"The next several weeks will be a test as to whether innovation will occur within the Internet infrastructure. The fact is that while the Internet has been used for innovative purposes over the last decade, the core infrastructure has suffered from a lack of innovation," said Lewis. "VeriSign will argue vigorously for innovation because it not only improves the Internet user experience but has implications for the vitality of the DNS system and economic competitiveness and job growth."

About VeriSign

VeriSign, Inc. delivers critical infrastructure services that make the Internet and telecommunications networks more intelligent, reliable and secure. Every day VeriSign helps thousands of businesses and millions of consumers connect, communicate, and transact with confidence. Additional news and information about the company is available at www.verisign.com.

Statements in this announcement other than historical data and information, including but not limited to new business relationships and new service offerings, constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause VeriSign's actual results to differ materially from those stated or implied by such forward-looking statements. The potential risks and uncertainties include, among others, the uncertainty of future revenue and profitability and potential fluctuations in quarterly operating results due to such factors as increasing competition and pricing pressure from competing services offered at prices below our prices, market acceptance of our existing services, the inability of VeriSign to successfully develop and market new services or the failure of new services to gain customer acceptance, reduced demand for our services as a result of continued softness in information technology and telecommunications spending by our customers, and the risk that VeriSign's strategic relationships may not result in additional products, services, customers and revenues. More information about potential factors that could affect the company's business and financial results is included in VeriSign's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including in the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2002 and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. VeriSign undertakes no obligation to update any of the forward-looking statements after the date of this press release.

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Wow!
by cambler (chris@ambler.net) on Friday October 03 2003, @11:42AM (#12375)
User #36 Info | http://onthenet.ambler.net/
Paint me very surprised. I honestly thought they'd play hardball.

Their release, however, smacks of hypocracy. They're gung-ho about innovation, yet they've stonewalled and helped delay new TLDs, and are foreclosing on the dropping domain market (and its serious innovative offerings) with WLS. To just name two.

--
Ambler On The Net [ambler.net]

[ Reply to This | Parent ]
  • Re:Wow! by dmehus Friday October 03 2003, @12:01PM
Non-Registry Service? FAR WORSE ABUSE
by GeorgeK on Friday October 03 2003, @12:17PM (#12381)
User #3191 Info | http://www.kirikos.com/

I think this is a brand new tactic on the part of VeriSign, to categorize it as a "non-registry service".

That seems to escalate things to a new level, in that it seems to be an admission of abusing their monopoly in the Registry for the provision of a NON-REGISTRY SERVICE.

It had been my understanding that previously their position would have been that it would have been categorized as a Registry service, but one that didn't need approval due to it being "free" (i.e. needs no contract amendment). However, giving advantage for the provision of a non-registry service seems to be MUCH WORSE. Suppose that NON-REGISTRY SERVICE was a REGISTRAR SERVICE, for example, and VeriSign abused its monopoly to advantage one of their partners in that space? Can someone say "WLS"?

Clearly, VeriSign's abusive and monopolistic business practises need to be examined at the highest levels of government and by regulators.

[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Dodge political battles with technical fixes
by odonnell (michael_odonnell@acm.org) on Friday October 03 2003, @12:20PM (#12382)
User #3447 Info | http://people.cs.uchicago.edu/~odonnell/
while the Internet has been used for innovative purposes over the last decade, the core infrastructure has suffered from a lack of innovation

On the contrary, the core infrastructure has prospered from the lack of innovation---at least the lack of semantic/commercial/political innovation in the infrastructure. The basic Internet infrastructure has remained mostly neutral by being primitive, and indifferent to the meanings of the messages. Verisign's introduction of real-world semantics at the infrastructural level of DNS degrades the value of the semantically neutral infrastructure, whether their semantic ideas are good or not. Real world semantics simply doesn't belong at the DNS level.

So, we need to take a step backwards with DNS infrastructure, and provide a system of meaningless handles that are entirely free of meaning. DNS is a portable address service, not a semantically driven "navigation tool." A semantics-free DNS using meaningless handles would provide a neutral infrastructure on top of which Verisign and others could compete to provide meaningful navigational tools and other services.

Bob Frankston has already explained [circleid.com] how an institution running a large name server could put a neutral DNS could online tomorrow, within a 3d-level domain of the current DNS. It's time to just do it.

Mike O'Donnell
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
  • True by GeorgeK Friday October 03 2003, @01:27PM
    • Re:True by cambler Friday October 03 2003, @01:31PM
      • Re:True by dmehus Friday October 03 2003, @03:03PM
        • Re:True by cambler Friday October 03 2003, @06:13PM
          • Re:True by cambler Saturday October 04 2003, @10:43AM
          • 1 reply beneath your current threshold.
        • Re:True by fnord Saturday October 04 2003, @03:39PM
          • Re:True by dmehus Saturday October 04 2003, @10:22PM
      • Re:True by dmehus Sunday October 05 2003, @01:06PM
        • 1 reply beneath your current threshold.
      • 1 reply beneath your current threshold.
It's still on
by phoffman@proper.com on Friday October 03 2003, @03:04PM (#12388)
User #2063 Info
As of 4PM PST, they are still resolving bogus names. So, maybe they're waiting until the last possible moment to turn it off. Sheesh.
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Ya, Right
by dtobias (dan@tobias.name) on Friday October 03 2003, @12:06PM (#12378)
User #2967 Info | http://domains.dan.info/
I've run into the occasional pro-Verisign message in the heated newsgroup, web forum, and mailing list discussions that erupted regarding this "service", but they're definitely a small minority there.
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Ya, Right
by michael (froomkin@lawUNSPAM.tm) on Friday October 03 2003, @12:16PM (#12380)
User #4 Info | http://www.discourse.net/
Presumably the folks paying them were happy? However many or few they were?
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  • This article comes from ICANNWatch
    http://www.icannwatch.org/

    The URL for this story is:
    http://www.icannwatch.org/article.pl?sid=03/10/03/1926221