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<nettime> Verisign
Douwe Osinga on Fri, 19 Sep 2003 17:39:21 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Verisign


Well, last week, Verisign, the company that in the end is responsible
for translating domain names ending on .com and .net into ipnumbers,
i.e. machines on the Internet, decided to redirect all non existent
domains to their sitefinder site. The company that was given the task
of running the root of the domain name system by the Internet community,
is now making money off our misspelling by putting paid links on these

This is a bad for a number of technical reasons, it bothers spam
fighters because they can no longer distinguish between real and fake
email addresses for example. Email send to misspelled domains will
end up at Verisign, which is never good. Verisign was supposed to 
manage the domain system by giving domains out to whomever paid for
it. Now they've said: any domain that hasn't been claimed is ours.
But to manage is not supposed to mean to own.

Visiting the http://our-integrity-so-we-went-for-the-money.com
link presents you with the described page, declaring that:
We didn't find: "our-integrity-so-we-went-for-the-money.com"
i.e. making the site describing itself.

There is of course something else at stake here. Slowly we're losing
the right to name our environment. Trademarks, copyrights etc are
invading our language with legal backup. It is one thing when one
company sues another because they have similar names. It is quite
another when a company tries to block a new word in everyday language
(Google trying to stop the word to google by writing seize and desist
letters to journalists)

There are alternatives in this case: the OpenNic is an democratic
system for distributing names. Maybe this incident will make more
people go their way. In the end we should realize that on the Internet
the user decides which name service to use. Verisign is not a given,
it is a choice (and maybe not a very good one). 

Douwe Osinga

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