It's "Verisign vs. Users"

By Thomas Roessler
Thomas Roessler

From an anonymous comment in response to the ALAC's statement on SiteFinder:

In a recent Cnet article, Verisign is quoted as saying, "We're fully compliant with every RFC". ... If that's true, it just kills the argument against Verisign as it then becomes "geeks v. users" with Verisign on the side of the users.

That's a dangerous misconception, in several ways.

The technical part is being discussed in the IAB's commentary on the matter. The IAB explains in detail that, while wildcards have been part of the DNS specification for twenty years, their use is dangerous and can break technology. From the technology side, the problems with SiteFinder don't come from breaking some specific RFC. They come from using RFC-specified features in a way that breaks design assumptions made throughout the net.

But even if the collateral damage is left out of the picture, the very idea behind SiteFinder is user-unfriendly, and that's the second half of the ALAC's note: SiteFinder is, ultimately, about short-cutting other error handling methods, and redirecting any users that enter non-existing domain names into a web browser to Verisign's own service, for commercial purposes. SiteFinder is designed so it becomes difficult to deploy superior error handling services that would compete with it — because errors aren't flagged.

From the point of view of software developers, SiteFinder is designed to replace a market that's open for competition by a monopoly.

From the point of view of users, it is not a superior offer that empowers them, and that they can accept (or decline) as they want: Instead, it's a service that is designed to deprive them of a choice they used to have.

It's a "service" that's being forced down users' throats.

Just like spam.

By Thomas Roessler, Mathematician. Visit the blog maintained by Thomas Roessler here.

Related topics: DNS, Domain Names, Registry Services, Spam


Re: It's "Verisign vs. Users" Jim  –  Sep 23, 2003 12:15 PM PST

What IP adresses can be entered into a software firewall such as ZoneAlarm to prevent access to Verisign and it's minions? How do you id the spy cookie to delete?

Re: It's "Verisign vs. Users" BackupBob  –  Sep 30, 2003 5:51 PM PST

When you reach the SiteFinder site you will find a set of terms and conditions (T&C) and a privacy statement.

Verisign assumes that since you have reached this site that you will abide by their T&C. 

I do not wish to abide by their T&C.  I would like to make VeriSign aware of this but their Web page offers no means of contacting them to tell them so.

I wrote to several VeriSign departments using links I found on theiw Website but they have not bothered to reply.