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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:

  • Eliminate the various options consumers now have in the pursuit of expiring domain names by changing an open platform with equal access to all registrars to a closed system controlled exclusively by Verisign (i.e., a monopoly)

  • Endanger the existence of many smaller competitors of Verisign by eliminating a key source of revenue and profit

  • Raise the price of domain registration substantially without any clear rising of costs, in conflict with the agreement signed with the DOC and all for the benefit of one enormous company.

  • Re-affirm the actions of a weakened, lame-duck ICANN board which in the past has been shown to be beholden to Verisign and unresponsive to the needs of domain name holders

  • Set the precedent that Verisign can appropriate any technology or dominate any market within the domain business at any time regardless of the desires of others

See Verisign's Anticompetitive Waiting List Service for more information.

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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:

Office of Policy Analysis and Development
U.S. Department of Commerce, Room 4725
Washington, D.C. 20230
Phone: (202) 482-1880
Fax: (202) 482-6173
email: [email protected]

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
Mr. James Tierney, Division Head
[email protected]
600 E Street NW
Washington, DC 20530

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:

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.

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
Stuart Lynn, CEO, email [email protected]
4676 Admiralty Way, Suite 330
Marina del Rey, CA 90292-6601
Phone: 310-823-9358
Fax: 310-823-8649
General Email: [email protected]

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.

5. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce
Chairman Billy Tauzin, 202-225-4031
2183 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

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
Office of the Secretary
Room 5516
U.S. Department of Commerce
14th & Constitution Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20230
Phone: 202-482-2000
Email: [email protected]

Deputy Secretary - Samuel W. Bodman
Office of the Deputy Secretary
Room 5838
U.S. Department of Commerce
14th & Constitution Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20230
Phone: 202-482-2000

7. Federal Trade Commission
Office of Policy and Evaluation, Bureau of Competition,
Washington, D.C. 20580
(202) 382-4357
[email protected]

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:
[email protected]

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Dotster's response to WLS

WLS comments from

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.
(Posted September 28, 1999)

FTC Antitrust Guide

FTC Illegal Business Practices

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