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Inside the Rise of the Domain Name System

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the it-sucked-back-then-too dept.

The Internet 74

Greg Huang writes "Looking back, it's almost impossible to believe that for most of the 1990s, a single company, Network Solutions, had a government-issued monopoly on registering domain names on the Internet. And considering how central the company was to the growth of the Web, it's surprising how little of the company's back story — how it got into the domain name business, or who owned it — has been told. Xconomy has an in-depth interview with two former executives from SAIC, the secretive San Diego defense contractor that bought Network Solutions in 1995 for $5 million and sold off the domain registration business in 2000 for billions of dollars."

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74 comments

Single entity (5, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#28882941)

It's interesting that Network Solution was the only handler for domain registration back in 90's and while there are lots of registrars now, they still work under ICANN. Yeah the usual argument in slashdot is that you could always start your own tld, but nobody is going to support it unless you're high in chain, aka ICANN.

Interesting aspect was a few months ago when EU wanted more freedom from ICANN [slashdot.org] and its association with US. Currently the internet domain name system is pretty much controlled by one entity, which isn't really the purpose of internet, and its also why Network Solution was taken off the domain registration game as the single player. Monopoly is never good.

Fact is, currently DNS still relies entirely on *one entity*. It goes completely against the distributed structure of the internet.

Re:Single entity (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28883029)

In Soviet Russia, DNS registers YOU!

Re:Single entity (5, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#28883077)

Fact is, currently DNS still relies entirely on *one entity*. It goes completely against the distributed structure of the internet.

So do IP address assignments. So do AS number assignments. Why does nobody ever complain about them? If you want something to be uniquely assigned (domain names, IP addresses, AS numbers) then it seems to me that it's going to have to be centrally managed by someone.

Re:Single entity (2, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#28883131)

So do IP address assignments. So do AS number assignments. Why does nobody ever complain about them? If you want something to be uniquely assigned (domain names, IP addresses, AS numbers) then it seems to me that it's going to have to be centrally managed by someone.

I would.

However, IP address assigment is not handled by single entity. Theres separate organizations for north and south america, europe, africa and asia. So you're missing the point there.

Re:Single entity (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#28883145)

However, IP address assigment is not handled by single entity. Theres separate organizations for north and south america, europe, africa and asia. So you're missing the point there.

And who do you think gives those organizations the address pools that they hand out?

Re:Single entity (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28883221)

The answer to that is obvious: God.

Duh.

Re:Single entity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28884445)

He's busy saving children from painful prolonged deaths at the hands of disease and murderous relatives. Oh, wait...

Re:Single entity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28884731)

yeah, you'll get stiff opposition when trying to start a viagra website

Re:Single entity (1)

Imagix (695350) | more than 4 years ago | (#28883345)

Actually it is done by one entity. However, IANA turns around and allocated large blocks to ARIN, RIPE, etc. Same idea with the DNS. .com, .edu, .ca, .nz are pointing at other DNSes.

Re:Single entity (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#28883143)

But that someone should be distributed, i.e. a group instead of a single entity. And the systems should be distributed and mirrored too.

Re:Single entity (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#28883169)

But that someone should be distributed, i.e. a group instead of a single entity

Why?

And the systems should be distributed and mirrored too.

The systems are distributed and mirrored. There isn't a single root server for the entire internet running in ICANNs basement......

Re:Single entity (0, Offtopic)

HamburglerJones (1539661) | more than 4 years ago | (#28883805)

I heard they keep it in the basement of the Alamo.

Re:Single entity (1)

AtomicJake (795218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28884589)

But that someone should be distributed, i.e. a group instead of a single entity

Why?

And, more importantly, how?

Re:Single entity (3, Informative)

ivan_w (1115485) | more than 4 years ago | (#28883215)

I could be wrong but I was under the impression that, actually, IP address blocks and Autonomous System numbers are managed by LIRs which get their blocks from RIRs (like RIPE, APNIC, ARIN, etc..) (except Europe which has no LIR) which in turn get their blocks from ....

The IANA (Internet Assigned Number Authority)

And ICANN also gets its authority from IANA.

So it's not centralized per-se, but it's highly hierarchical

--Ivan

Re:Single entity (1)

Melkman (82959) | more than 4 years ago | (#28884427)

Where do you get the idea that Europe has no LIR's ? I think RIPE NCC [ripe.net] would disagree.

Re:Single entity (1)

ivan_w (1115485) | more than 4 years ago | (#28885369)

Ok.. Under RIPE terms, it seems ISPs & such (RIPE members) are LIRs in their own respect.

I was referring to LIRs as entities being solely responsible for a geographic territory and for the aggregate resources assigned to them by a RIR - as a subdivision of the RIR (the same way as country TLD organization is responsible for assigning zones within a country TLD).

But nonetheless, RIPE 'LIRs' are nothing much but 'members' or 'customers' since each and every assignment made by a 'LIR' has to be approved by the RIPE (even if the LIR is assigning a portion of an assigned aggregate space).

Not that this is *that* important. Also note that I had some dealing with the RIPE once - over an ISP that was refusing to delegate reverse resolution over a /29 PA block I had been assigned (With a block smaller than a /24, the PA super-block owner has to setup reverse resolution.. it's mechanical !). And although RIPE does state it does not deal with final end-users directly, I received a very kind answer saying they were going to shake that tree because it was not acceptable per their charter ! the situation was resolved within a day after that!

--Ivan

Re:Single entity (5, Insightful)

jjeffries (17675) | more than 4 years ago | (#28884709)

Remember when ICANN routed all unassigned IP space to a helpful web page full of advertisements, breaking many other things in the process?

Me neither.

Re:Single entity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28885859)

Fact is, currently DNS still relies entirely on *one entity*. It goes completely against the distributed structure of the internet.

So do IP address assignments. So do AS number assignments. Why does nobody ever complain about them?

Because the people who run those aren't doing it for profit or use questionable business tactics.

Re:Single entity (1)

dakra137 (1590245) | more than 4 years ago | (#28903703)

There is a concept of a Globally Unique Identifier (GUID) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Globally_Unique_Identifier [wikipedia.org] which, if it were assuredly globally unique, would eliminate the need for both a central dispenser and a registry of unique addresses. Since there is a remote possibility of collisions, where two entities generate the same GUID, a registry is a good thing in cases where it really matters. A central dispenser is not really necessary. This applies to addresses, not names. A dispenser is needed for names as long as there are a priori rights to a name, due to trademark, corporate or personal identity.

Re:Single entity (2, Interesting)

kwanbis (597419) | more than 4 years ago | (#28883139)

I still remember the first time i had to call Network Solutions, for a domain issue. I was given this name, and they picked up the phone, and it was like i had called a person's house. Very unprofessional. And i thought, this must be a mistake, this is "international network", it can not be a private company. It was.

Re:Single entity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28883975)

GoDaddy has a professional-sounding phone system, but they don't back it up with "quality" -- I'd rather call "some guy at NSOL's house" any day of the week.

Re:Single entity (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 4 years ago | (#28886337)

Like you called a person's house? In what way? In that you immediately talked to a human being rather than complex interactive voice response system. That's bad? Oh, wait...this is /.

Re:Single entity (2, Informative)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#28883651)

Fact is, currently DNS still relies entirely on *one entity*. It goes completely against the distributed structure of the internet.

Fact is, there needs to be cooperation if there is going to be ONE internet. Your argument only stands if there were two entirely distinct distribution mechanisms (physical networks) controlled by one entity. Given that there is only ONE network, it makes sense that at some point there needs to be a top level of control. Without it, you get wrestling for control, dirty tricks, etc. which is just as much a bad thing as is a (transparent) monopoly.

Re:Single entity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28883725)

SAIC is about as secretive as Sears.

Re:Single entity (1)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 4 years ago | (#28884175)

i'd get rid of TLDs altogether. There's no reason for allowing WhiteHouse.gov and WhiteHouse.com. WhiteHouse should lead to whoever registered it first unless there is a trademark involved. Only Coca Cola should be able to own CocaCola or c0cac0la.

Re:Single entity (2, Insightful)

Unordained (262962) | more than 4 years ago | (#28885087)

... if that means that megacorps also can't go around buying up dozens of extra domain names for no really good reason -- one for every special deal they ever offer, every product, every movie they put out, every ... whatever, then sure. You get what you get, and that's it. But that's not going to happen.

Trademarks are essentially local. Two companies can even operate under the same name, as long as they're not getting in each others' way, creating confusion -- by being in the same market (by product or area). There's paperwork (and treaties) involved in making those trademarks global. What would make more sense is to get rid of the .com and .gov TLD's and replace those with .co.us and .gov.us . If another country wants to have whitehouse.gov.jp, then fine, let them have it. We have ours. We're not competing on the international scene for the name "whitehouse". (There are many whitehouses, by the way.) If TLDs are aligned with trademark-assignment organizations, we can avoid some (but not all) the weirdness.

Misspellings: how many products are named with cute misspellings? Who's to say that those are intended to be malicious? If you require someone to have a product first, you'll see CocaCola buying every variant of their name, and preventing anyone from ever naming their product C0k3C0l4, even if they might have initially. So you can grandfather in misspellings, but you then section off a whole range of possibilities just because?

Aligning with trademark organizations presents problems for small businesses and personal users, who have no real interest in having a globally unique name, but could use a locally unique one. Maybe no product is involved. Other than DNS, you'd have no reason to deal with trademarks. Why should you? The system we have now essentially says "fine, get your DNS name, but if a trademark holder comes along later, we'll screw you" which isn't fair, but does provide a "rule" (ICANN ruling) for determining priority.

Taking away TLDs just makes it easier for squatters to sign up for names, especially if you automate the detection of misspellings and assign them all to an existing holder. You can kiss creative DNS names goodbye.

Others can probably clean up and add to my arguments, but the point is ... please reconsider. Ridding ourselves of TLDs doesn't help things. Maybe something else would ... but not that.

Re:Single entity (1)

davecb (6526) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887933)

Everything used to be assigned or registered by IANA, which was a few chaps in their copious spare time (;-))

Mind you, if you didn't require renewal and charge money, you could do it with a very small company under contract.

--dave

Re:Single entity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28889693)

Monopoly is never good.

It is when I get to be the little car, and hold Boardwalk & Park Place, along with Reading Railroad and the Water Works.

If I win the beauty contest, then it is /really/ good.
--
DK

Typical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28882963)

story from the Military/Industrial/Congressional complex.

Just as interesting... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28883023)

I farted.

Re:Just as interesting... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28883883)

Check again. That's technically not a fart.

TFA is by Bruce Bigelow (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28883031)

I wonder what he does in his spare time?

Re:TFA is by Bruce Bigelow (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28883123)

Women pay him for...pleasure.

Not To Celebrate Network Solutions, But... (5, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#28883053)

There was a definite advantage in terms of ICANN enforcement of registrar responsibilities when there was only one registrar. Now that we have hundreds or thousands of registrars, we have all kinds of nonsense going on in blatant violation of registrar accreditation terms and ICANN can't keep up with the problems. Which apparently lead ICANN to their new strategy - nothing. Now we have unscrupulous registrars all over the world selling domains to bogus registration information, making it much more difficult to uncover who is really behind various nefarious acts on the internet (including but by no means limited to spam).

So in the end, the monopoly was indeed broken up, but the consumer lost, and lost big.

Re:Not To Celebrate Network Solutions, But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28883127)

I don't know about that. As a happy consumer of Viagra I would definitely like to make a website glorifying the product. However, I would rather do so without compromising my identity. For this reason such "unscrupulous registrars" are really a godsend.

Re:Not To Celebrate Network Solutions, But... (1)

SkipFrehly (1606577) | more than 4 years ago | (#28883797)

Unscrupulous registrars are bad for everyone. A registrar that will go to lengths to protect your identity is one thing, but fly by night, morally disinclined registrars hurt, for the most part, the people who they serve, particularly when they go out of business while your domain name is still under there control for a number of years.

Happened to me. Now my bands domain is parked for five years, and because the guy who parked it originally died, it's locked until it goes up on the market again.

...at which point we'll be huge rock stars and someone will extort lots of money from us to sell the rights of use back to us.

Re:Not To Celebrate Network Solutions, But... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28884661)

and because the guy who parked it originally died

C'mon...Considering the number of people who have died in the last 5000 years I doubt his death was very "original."

agreed (2, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#28883455)

for most industries (consumer electronics), it should be an unregulated or lightly regulated free-for-all. this maximizes consumer value

but there are certain industries where a regulated monopoly makes sense (electricity grids) and competition actually decreases consumer value

and then there is a third category: certain industries where a regulated OLIGOPOLY makes sense (cable) and competition beyond a select few actually decreases consumer value, and at the same time dominance by one player decreases consumer value as well

and i would say that domain names falls into the oligopoly category: there should only be a few domain registrars. choice should be maintained, with all the free market benefits that come with that, but not at the cost of a deluge of seedy anonymous players

Re:agreed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28884061)

So, is your movie Tucker Max fail or Michael Crawford fail?

Re:agreed (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#28884699)

and then there is a third category: certain industries where a regulated OLIGOPOLY makes sense (cable) and competition beyond a select few actually decreases consumer value, and at the same time dominance by one player decreases consumer value as well

Are you really arguing that the current market for cable in the US is in a good position?

Far as I can tell from watching Slashdot (I don't live in the US) it's an oligopoly, it's regulated (FCC) and it's about as good as voting is in Belarus [wikipedia.org] ...

And how about the oligopoly of cellphone providers? When is that oligopoly going to stop gouging your wallets for sending text messages, stop binding you to two year contracts and join the civilized world where we, the consumers, have it so much better?

And I'm pretty sure that the current music industry world wide represents an oligopoly regulated by copyright (though one could argue that the media companies regulate copyright). That sure as hell worked out perfectly for us consumers, right?

I'm not saying you're right or wrong with regards to domain registrars, just that oligopolies can be just as bad as monopoly if you let them get their hands in the cookie jar, i.e. make the rules that screw over the "consumer". We're not consumers, we're not customers. We're fucking citizens and we should have more rights than the companies ...

Re:Not To Celebrate Network Solutions, But... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28883525)

There was a definite advantage in terms of ICANN enforcement of registrar responsibilities when there was only one registrar.

Take off your rose tinted glasses, please. Have you forgotten the exorbitant charges for domains when NetSol were the only player in town? May not seem like a big deal to a business, but it certainly prevented the internet from expanding as quickly as it could have, but sooner, due to the lack of affordable options to people who were online at the time. I sure as hell would have had my own domain a lot sooner if it wasn't for the fees that NetSol was charging... and everyone knew it monopolic overcharging then.

Despite the insane amount of money they were charging for domain registration and renewal, their security was worse even then. They didn't even bother to contact people by phone or mailing address before accepting a SPOOFED EMAIL as a valid request for changing domain ownership.

Re:Not To Celebrate Network Solutions, But... (1)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#28883825)

you must be new here

10 years ago the big discussion here was how unfair it was thet NSI was the only domain name registrar, how it was so corrupt, and how it would be all better once the monopoly was broken

Re:Not To Celebrate Network Solutions, But... (1)

theskipper (461997) | more than 4 years ago | (#28883853)

Quick note regarding "hundreds or thousands" of registrars:

For those that don't know, quite a few of those "registrars" listed at http://www.internic.net/alpha.html [internic.net] are used for drop catching (referring to pending deletes, not partner auctions). They're created by the parent companies of Snapnames, Pool and Namejet (obvious ones look like enomxxx). An accurate count of "valid" registrars would include those with standard registar pages and public facing whois. These are arguably on the up-and-up; others are used for seedy purposes as you point out. In fairness, cleaning up the whois mess is tricky and fraught with slippery-slope issues.

I'd agree that ICANN is like a deer stuck in the headlights but would disagree that the consumer lost big. Godaddy's rise to dominance has been through marketing and sub-$10 regs. Without the competition we'd probably still be paying $35-$70 to Netsol. Note how Netsol's recent rebranding effort isn't about lowering price, just adding value add stuff like sites, etc. A majority of folks are still clueless about this interweb stuff and don't realize that domain registration is a commodity business.

Having said that, Godaddy sucks and their market share of 30%+ of total regs (33m+ domains) is worrisome in a gut-feeling sort of way. IMHO.

Peer to peer db's? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28883469)

You know, I'm not sure some of you people know how the Naming system works. The difference between the Root Zone and some registrars like Network Solutions(at present)are night and day. If you think a single source of accurate data can be distributed between different companies in different nations, you are high. Really, there are so many things you aren't considering that you short start by considering swallowing your tongue. In the end, there can be only one. It's not that they're just so unhip- it's physical reality.

And I would comment further, but I shouldn't because I actually know what I'm talking about.

impossible to believe? (1)

deserted (1422401) | more than 4 years ago | (#28883801)

>>"Looking back, it's almost impossible to believe that for most of the 1990s, a single company, Network Solutions, had a government-issued monopoly on registering domain names on the Internet." ---Yes, it's amazing that when a brand-new industry formed, there was initially a single dominant company performing a service. We all know that never happens. Usually, an entire slew of stable companies pops up out of thin air and immediately begin filling those service needs.

Jon Postel (1)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 4 years ago | (#28884009)

Perhaps a more personal story is the life of Jon Postel, one of the creators of the DNS and the first top level domain administrator. There is a good story about how he held this position almost until his untimely death and the infamous DNS root incident that occurred shortly after he died. I had also heard that Jon held the domains a.com thru z.com. If he had lived into this century, he could have retired on the money that he could have sold them.

BTW, I believe that most OSes still can have a hosts.txt file. I wonder if it is still possible to spoof a client by creating a bogus file.

Nevermind ICANN. VeriSign is the real winner now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28884011)

I think the real point here is not how ICANN should be shared, but that Network Solutions / VeriSign has had a monopoly on [.com] domain names since day 1, still has it ($5/name), and despite having a "governance body" (ICANN) to oversee their monopoly, will probably have it nearly forever.

It's a beautiful, sharing relationship: ICANN continues to give VeriSign the exclusive right to charge registrars whatever they feel like, and in turn, VeriSign gives ICANN bucketloads (i.e., $25MM/year, with $1MM of that going to the new president) of cash. What money they don't make from VeriSign they make by coming up with scams for creating new TLD's like .aero and .pro, for which they pocket tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars in initial and per-name fees (until the world realizes, yet again, that the game is over, and .com won).

What kind of unit is $MM/yr ? (1)

justthinkit (954982) | more than 4 years ago | (#28886977)

What kind of unit is $MM/yr?

This page [yahoo.com] says it is a million. But wouldn't you just say $M/yr? No one would specify that a million is a mille times a mille in the unit notation, would they?

Wait, it could also be a Milliard [yahoo.com] times a Milliard. Yeah, that must be it. Hokay, so that would be ten to the 18 dollars a year. Glad I could clear that up.

Re:What kind of unit is $MM/yr ? (1)

totally bogus dude (1040246) | more than 4 years ago | (#28893623)

Seems to be an ancient tradition of the finance industry, amongst others.

Typically "M" indicates 1,000, so "MM" indicates 1,000 x 1,000. I guess this comes from "mega"? I'm not entirely sure, but I've seen it around enough times to know what is intended, even if I would never use it myself.

Oblig. (2, Funny)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 4 years ago | (#28884121)

DNS became self aware at 2:14 am EDT August 29, 1997.

Be afraid, very afraid.

That said, it's time for distributed secure name resolution. Those name servers are just too easily messed with. There are many approaches, mostly used in P2P, from Kad to Freenet.

Re:Oblig. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28897413)

Freenet avoids the problem by not really having an address space to begin with.

BIND security hole - are you patched? (2, Informative)

Phroggy (441) | more than 4 years ago | (#28884211)

Slightly off-topic, but just a reminder: have you patched the BIND security hole [slashdot.org] yet? If you're running BIND 9 and your server is the master for any domains (including localhost), and you haven't patched this week, one malicious packet can crash your server.

If you have a master nameserver on a private network or behind a firewall, and your public-facing nameservers are all slaves with no master zones at all, you're safe. If your infrastructure is set up like that, except you use rsync over ssh to send updated zone files to your "slaves" but they're actually configured as masters, you're vulnerable. Contrary to what you may have heard, it does not matter whether you use dynamic updates (e.g. from dhcpd) or not.

This firewall rule blocks all dynamic update requests, including the exploit, on recent versions of Linux (but didn't work on any of my DNS servers, because they're all running older distros):
iptables -A INPUT -p udp --dport 53 -j DROP -m u32 --u32 '30>>27&0xF=5'

Of course if you're running djbdns or something else, you can continue to be gleefully smug.

Re:BIND security hole - are you patched? (1)

Techman83 (949264) | more than 4 years ago | (#28891327)

Slightly off-topic, but just a reminder: have you patched the BIND security hole [slashdot.org] yet? If you're running BIND 9 and your server is the master for any domains (including localhost), and you haven't patched this week, one malicious packet can crash your server.

Crashing your server, now that's a bit extreme. It actually causes Bind9 to exit [isc.org] on the master server. Which whilst inconvenient, isn't worth being to histerical about. Any DNS admin worth his salt has geographically and network disperse slave servers to handle queries when the primary cannot be contacted.

I did an
apt-get update && apt-get install bind9
yesterday, so my master dns server is safe now [net-security.org]

TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28884545)

Part 2 of the story, published today, has the actual interview [xconomy.com] .

Get rid of TLDs! (5, Interesting)

qazwart (261667) | more than 4 years ago | (#28884865)

Get rid of all the top level domains except for the country ones. No more .com, .net, .edu, .org, and all the stupid new ones recently concocted.

Instead, you just have the country level domains, and allow each country to control their domains the way they see fit. In most countries a domain name would be handled like any other trademark issue.

In the U.S., you'd eliminate domain name squatting since you must show some sort of actual activity to retain a trademark. Buying "Sporf.com" and sitting on it in hopes that a company called "Sporf" will have to buy the domain from you will no longer be a good business model.

Will greedy capitalist evil corporations steal your domain? All you have to do is show that you've actively used the domain (and not just merely have a parking page), and that you've registered your trademark with the correct authorities (something that could be done by the domain registrar where you bought your domain).

In the U.S., domains can be done on a local basis (memphis.tn.us), on a state basis (state.tn.us), or on a national basis (com.us). This way, two local shops called "The Flowerpot" -- one in chicago and one in memphis -- could have the same domain: flowerpot.memphis.tn.us and flowerpot.chicago.il.us. National companies like Apple and Microsoft could get their domains registered as apple.com.us and microsoft.com.us.

The .com domain could become a virtual domain. You type in a company name with a .com suffix, and your browser will search your local area, then the state, and then nationally for a company with that domain prefix. Thus if I live in Memphis and type in "Flowerpot.com", I get flowerpot.memphis.tn.us. If I lived in Chicago, I get flowerpot.chicago.il.us.

This would allow us to get rid of TDL sprawl (.name, .info, .biz, .mobi, etc.) that isn't benefiting anyone but GoDaddym It would eliminate all the sniping the the U.S. controls domains because they'll only control the .us domain. And, it would greatly simplify the whole domain registration process.

Re:Get rid of TLDs! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28886061)

What about international corporations? Maybe we could create a new top level domain for them :)

Re:Get rid of TLDs! (1)

sakshale (598643) | more than 4 years ago | (#28886513)

That sounds like a nice, clean, scalable solution to me.

No, get rid of TLDs, period. (1)

hwyhobo (1420503) | more than 4 years ago | (#28886637)

The biggest mistake was a naive belief that TLDs would be respected, with their silly .com, .org, etc. It created a royal mess of duplicate domain names with irrelevant TLDs as the only difference. Now companies have to buy up .com, .org, .net, etc to protect their domain name, otherwise someone will use other TLDs to sucker in unsuspecting victims into scams.

Getting rid of TLDs would be painful, but it needs to be done to restore a semblance of sanity. We can then have truly unique domain names and avoid not only confusion but scams and speculation (how many .tv domains do you think are legitimately Tuvalu domains?).

Re:No, get rid of TLDs, period. (1)

dwye (1127395) | more than 4 years ago | (#28890387)

> The biggest mistake was a naive belief that TLDs would be respected, with their silly .com, .org, etc.

No, the biggest mistake was opening the domain registration process so that every Tom, Dick, and Harry thought that they should have their own. Things were much better controlled when the domain fees were too high to make fake domains worth it except for those with a real interest and those with an obsession.

> Now companies have to buy up .com, .org, .net, etc to protect their
> domain name, otherwise someone will use other TLDs to sucker in
> unsuspecting victims into scams.

Tough luck for them. This problem would exist for any method, including eliminating getipaddrbyname().

> how many .tv domains do you think are legitimately Tuvalu domains?

Tuvalu domains are sold to non-residents on a regular basis, with the excess fees going towards projects to help Tuvaluan local residents. This is a long-standing practice, and reasonably well publicized. Unless you are a citizen of that country, you have no standing for complaining about it. Furthermore, any other country's registrar could do it as well; at one time, there was a serious proposal to have Moldava sell domains to physicians' practices and which ever country is .me to sell domains to individuals who wanted their own domain, again to help fund development of those countries.

Re:Get rid of TLDs! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28887065)

You've fallen victim to the classic "project my priorities onto the rest of the population" problem. It's a common problem. You just don't realize that no one else cares. Here's an illustrative example: do you care whether Brad Pitt is still married to Jenifer Aniston? I have absolutely no idea, but there are a lot of people out there who would be shocked by my lack of understanding, and would want me to spend hours watching ridiculous coverage of their philanderings.

Re:Get rid of TLDs! (2, Insightful)

evilviper (135110) | more than 4 years ago | (#28892321)

Instead, you just have the country level domains

Oh good. Then anyone with international interests has to maintain several hundred domains, to make sure they are easily found by people around the world looking for them...

Buying "Sporf.com" and sitting on it in hopes that a company called "Sporf" will have to buy the domain from you will no longer be a good business model.

Oh good. Then it'll just be Sporf farm equipment fighting with Sporf housewares, and Sporf online store, fighting it out for control of their mutual namesake...

And the US government is going to drop everything to make sure our domain names stay clean, right? And Colombia certainly wouldn't sell off identically named domains to companies looking to catch the typos of Canadians...

Re:Get rid of TLDs! (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 4 years ago | (#28892391)

they do most of the time these days anyways, having the national ones point back to a global one under .com with a sub-page for that nations language.

Re:Get rid of TLDs! (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 4 years ago | (#28892367)

allow me to join that banner, as i have been advocating the same opinion for quite a while now.

Re:Get rid of TLDs! (1)

thomasdn (800430) | more than 4 years ago | (#28899571)

Will greedy capitalist evil corporations steal your domain? All you have to do is show that you've actively used the domain (and not just merely have a parking page),

What if I have never used the domain for web pages, but have used it for e-mail? How do you prove/disprove that?

and that you've registered your trademark with the correct authorities (something that could be done by the domain registrar where you bought your domain).

I have the domain thomasdamgaard.dk [thomasdamgaard.dk] , which is not a registered trademark but a personal name. Shouldn't I be allowed to own this domain?

What if I think a domain, say, foo.tld is a cool name for a website, I plan to make. Shouldn't I be allowed to use that? Say I register the domain in 1999, but then in 2009 some company called Foo Inc. wants the domain. Maybe the company even has a trademark on Foo. Does that mean that I should hand over the domain?

before there were domain names (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 4 years ago | (#28886095)

Before there were domain names you had to upload a new /etc/hosts periodically. These became unwieldly were the internet increase to more than ten thousand sites.

SAIC Secretive? (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887077)

SAIC is "secretive"? Uh, ok, sure they do some military work, and a couple floors of their office building have security checkpoints you have to pass through since they work on various classified stuff, but they're hardly secretive. They do a lot of different stuff, and a number of my friends worked their over the years. Hell, when I was working on VR arcade games back in the day, they invited my dad and I over to their complex in La Jolla to try out a new VR racing game they'd developed.

Looking back on that, it's really hard for my brain to associate the word secretive to them. But who knows - maybe Umbrella Corp would develop video games, too.

Re:SAIC Secretive? (1)

aquarajustin (1070708) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889945)

Agreed. I'm a Sysadmin of the "secretive" SAIC. It's funny to hear us described like that.

I do especially like the "dirtbags" tag for NS, though. I can't stand them, even though we do get bottom-barrel pricing through them here at SAIC (via secretive back-room dealings).

I use Gandi.net for my personal domains. They seem to be the antithesis of poor registrars such as GoDaddy and NS.

Re:SAIC Secretive? (1)

dwye (1127395) | more than 4 years ago | (#28890505)

> even though we do get bottom-barrel pricing through them here at SAIC (via secretive back-room dealings).

You at SAIC once owned part of Networks Solutions (you may still, for all that I know); I expect this is why, and I expect that the dealings were not very secretive, either. I know as SAIC also once owned part of the company that I worked for, as well, back in the late 1990s.

Re:SAIC Secretive? (1)

aquarajustin (1070708) | more than 4 years ago | (#28890739)

Indeed. That's why I was saying that we get bottom-barrel pricing. I'm sure we cut some kind of deal with NS when they departed.

Good old Bob (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28887281)

http://www.nodaddy.com/ Good old Bob uses deceptive practices.

I found a great history on this. (1)

GPLDAN (732269) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887323)

Karl Denninger (who now makes his living from his Florida retirement home, trying to break the story on how Goldmann-Sachs used network taps to frontrun all trades on Wall Street, and runs his Market Ticker blog) and Kashpureff tried to break these guys and establish alt roots in 97. Anyone remember that eDNS fiasco? It didn't last long, nobody followed their pied-piper song.

These guys made a fortune, grabbing Net Solutions when it was obviously mismanaged, and used their background as junior grade Ross Perots to establish the world DNS order.

I found a pretty good PPT on the history of all this, including how Jon Postel worked for ICANN as one of his last works before he passed, RIP.

Here you go:
www.byte.org/ispbe2002/building-a-better-dns-r2.ppt

That gives the back story on what a soap opera DNS has been as well as this article. No small wonder that Verisign is the company that bought them. Verisign saw Tron in the early 1980s, looked at ENCOM, and said "yeah, we want to be JUST LIKE THAT."

Impossible? (1)

retech (1228598) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887381)

Really, it's impossible to believe? Fed. Reserve is owned by a single family. ISBN system is owned by a single family. There are many "regulatory" institutions that are completely owned by a family or organization. Net Sol is just following suit.

Network Solutions == policy corruption (4, Informative)

erlkonig (15872) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887845)

I've been on the Internet a long time, so I remember sri-nic.arpa, nic.ddn.mil, rs.internic.net, and even downloading the Internet host address file, with about 8000+ IPs in it. The early organization was very clear about preserving the namespace of domain names for future generations, with base policies (I believe these are all correct, but it might just be 3 out of 4) of:

* The domain name must relate to the purpose of your organization.

* .net is reserved for network infrastructure, .org for only non-profits, .com for commercial (.mil and .edu are still fairly pristine), etc.

* You must establish two nameservers, that must not be on the same subnet, and must already be providing DNS for the requested domain.

* Each requester gets a single domain, the idea being that the requester's entire organization would then be fully served.

Although they weren't really thinking about the upcoming explosion in web use, their thinking certainly allowed for an explosion in *sub* domain names. So instead of lots of ridiculous domains like www.iatemygrandmamovie.com, we might have later seen something like iatemygrandma.movie.com, with some group running a movie.com site, and an easy way to find a bunch of them, instead of the crapshoot we have now.

So where did the corruption set in? Once the idea of charging for a domain name popped up, some bright boy got a gleam in his eye when a company - I think it might have been Proctor and Gamble - violated registration policy by requesting scores of domain names based on ailments (and possibly some body parts). There was a similar polydomain request by some other group around the same time. Both generated a flurry of controversy. And our illustrious registrar suddenly demonstrated its modern, capitalist colors, dumping the past, conservative policies and making its new mission one of simply selling off every possible domain name, in every possible TLD, as fast as possible.

Effectively, they sold out on future generations' needs in an exercise of total, corrupt greed. The registrar flipped on every policy, encouraging multiple registration of domains, flagrantly pushing registration in every possible TLD, dropping the domain server requirement, dropping the relevancy concept, and now even pushing for more TLDs, in order to sell even more completely unnecessary extra domains.

The idea of allowing some company to register thousands of obviously unrelated domains for cybersquatting would have been anathema in the pre-profit days, but Network Solutions just doesn't care. And that ridiculous article completely misses *all* of this.

(p7usa one Informative) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28887967)

gloves, condoms by the politickers found out about the thing for the but it's not a Of the warring we need to address blue, rubber users of NetBSD Are there? Oh, over a quality gawker At most and the bottom Users of NetBSD the project faces, things I still But now t2hey're Kreskin BOTH BELIEVED THAT partner. And if core team. They are almost in eternity...Romeo going to continue, For trolls' hot on the heels of In eternity...Romeo get tough. I hope
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