Stop Verisign from encroaching on the rights of its smaller competitors, eliminating consumer choice and reducing competition in the domain name business!
Verisign, formerly Network Solutions, once held a monopoly in the domain name registration business. In 1999, competition was introduced by the creation of ICANN, a non-profit corporation set up by the Department of Commerce, to regulate this critical piece of the Internet infrastructure. Since this important legislation passed and over 100 new registrars have joined the domain name market, Verisign has fought tooth and nail to prevent these companies from competing fairly and equally in the marketplace. Because Verisign continues to operate one of competing registrar businesses AND the single-source registry business, which all of the registrars are forced to deal with for registration, they remain positioned to exert this undue influence over their competitors in many respects.
The latest example of Verisign's abusive market tactics is in the area of distribution of expiring domain names, which refers to domain names which have reached the end of their registration terms and therefore are no longer legally registered domains (They legally shouldn't exist at all at this stage). An equitable system currently exists in which each competing registrar, including Verisign, controls a number of connections to the registry with which to compete to register names that once existed but are now deleted.
Many of Verisign's competitors have utilized this capability to develop innovative product offerings, generate revenue, new customers, and profits and to offer consumers a number of options for pursuing the expired domain names that they desire. Verisign, after struggling for several quarters and going through some staff downsizing, looks unfavorably upon the success of its competitors and is exerting its influence to capture this revenue for itself. They proposed a Waiting List Service (WLS) to be provided by the registry, under which interested parties would pay an additional $30 or so for the future right to register a domain if and when that domain expires. This proposal would limit consumer options to one since a WLS purchase would trump all other avenues and competing methods for acquiring the name, put all the secondary domain registration revenue into the hands of one company as opposed to leaving it spread throughout the industry, and further inflate the coffers of the industry giant at the expense of its smaller competitors.
Despite the opposition of key constituencies in the Internet community and within ICANN itself, and without any clear explanation of its reasoning or decision-making process, ICANN's board approved this proposal and the WLS is set to take effect around June of 2003 for the distribution of all expiring domain names in the .com, .net and .org TLDs.
Verisign's co-optation of the secondary domain name market through the implementation of WLS must be prevented to avoid long-term damage to the integrity of the industry and to consumers. If WLS is implemented, it will:
See Verisign's Anticompetitive Waiting List Service for more information.
Now is the time to voice your opinion to the folly of the WLS system and how it directly undermines the idea of competition in the domain name industry and an equal playing field for all. You may oppose WLS by contacting the following organizations:
These guys are the department within the Department of Commerce that is supposed to handle the day to day dealings regarding ICANN and domain names. Are they protecting you or letting Verisign do as it pleases?
2. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division
This division is in charged of preventing monopolistic activity, such as the WLS. Also, the DOJ needs to enforce existing contracts with the Department of Commerce. Their position on the WLS has not been made public, but we believe its overdue.
3. Write to Your Congressional Representatives: http://www.house.gov/writerep/
They should be protecting you from huge corporations like Worldcom, Enron, and Verisign taking away your money, and your rights to competitive services and prices.
They were first against the WLS and later caved. Ask why? It may be because because ICANN threw in the towel on their mission and happens to take most of their funding from Verisign. Obviously they should have killed this thing long before the government needed to step in.
Mr. Tauzin has been involved in Internet policy and needs to understand and act on this issue.
6. US Department of Commerce
It is Verisign/ICANN contracts with the Commerce Department that are being directly violated in attempting to enact the WLS. Is anyone there taking appropriate action before consumers are harmed more?
Secretary Donald L. Evans
Deputy Secretary - Samuel W. Bodman
7. Federal Trade Commission
These guys are slated with protecting consumers, including preventing monopolistic practices. They seek public input so please email them at [email protected] if you think you are being harmed by the WLS.
To receive more infomation, to provide information, or if you believe your company is being harmed and you want to join a class action suit on the matter contact:
Dotster's response to WLS
WLS comments from Identities.com
NSI/Verisign's WLS proposal
Link to DOC Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses
Management of Internet Names and Addresses statement of policy, 6/5/98
Cooperative Agreement Between the Department of Commerce and VeriSign (Network Solutions)
Approved Agreements among ICANN, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and Network Solutions, Inc.
Fact Sheet on Tentative Agreements among ICANN, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and Network Solutions, Inc.
FTC Antitrust Guide
FTC Illegal Business Practices