[council] ALAC statement on resolution of non-existing domain names
Jeff.Neuman at Neustar.us
Tue Sep 16 19:05:27 UTC 2003
Thomas, I believe you have characterizations in this note without any
back-up. To state there are "grave technical concerns" is probably one of
the greatest overstatements that I have heard in a long time. Before coming
to any conclusions in your study, I would first submit a list of questions
to VeriSign to answer and then gather input from the community (if you so
For example, it is my understanding that VeriSign has devised a method, as
we have as well (in our test several months ago), of only redirecting
websites and not MX records. Therefore, e-mail is unaffected.
Also, when stating that "users are deprived the opportunity of
choosing....". Please provide examples of this? What users do you know
that "choose" how they get an error message back. For example, do those who
use MSN browser "choose" to get an MSN search redirect rather than an error
message? And what is to stop other browsers from doing the same thing. In
addition, please provide concrete examples as to how software makers are
being deprived. Thomas, I am a little disappointed in your analysis as it
provides broad generalizations and no proof. Lets get past emotion and get
the true real concrete facts out on the table. Yes, there are applications
out there that depend on the error message. However, these applications can
easily be updated to accomplish the same functionality. In fact, I noticed
a patch on the OpenSRS list that someone devised (in less than 24 hours)
which updates many DNS programs.
Rather than giving the "technical purist" argument (i.e., the Internet is a
sacred animal and anything that alters some of the functionally of the past
is "grave"), please provide us with concrete examples, which you have
tested, in which the technical parameters of the internet are violated and
explain in detail exactly how the every day common user of the Internet is
There are two sides to every coin. Are you also examining the benefit to
the common Internet user that may be looking for a place to go on the
Internet and cannot find his or her way? What about the benefits of a
search engine to make the Web more easily navigable? Or has the ALAC
already reached the same conclusion you have (in less than 24 hours).
The VeriSign service has been alive and well for 24 hours? Did the Internet
break? One last note.....to show that the MX records are still returning
errors, I have attached an error e-mail message which took less than 4.5
seconds to get returned to my inbox (yes, I did time it). I would say the
Internet as we know it is alive and well.
Thomas, I would urge that if you truly intend to study this, that you create
a MUCH more objective Issue Statement. I am not saying you shouldn't
continue to study, but I, like the rest of this council, should start with
an open mind.
From: Thomas Roessler [mailto:roessler at does-not-exist.org]
Sent: Tuesday, September 16, 2003 2:22 PM
To: council at dnso.org
Subject: [council] ALAC statement on resolution of non-existing domain
For your information.
The At-Large Advisory Committee would like to bring to ICANN's
attention concerns about Verisign's surprising roll-out of the
"SiteFinder" service for .com and .net.
SiteFinder works by re-directing queries for non-existing domain
names to the IP address of a search service that is being run by
This practice raises grave technical concerns, as it de facto
removes error diagnostics from the DNS protocol, and replaces them
by an error handling method that is tailored for HTTP, which is just
one of the many Internet protocols that make use of the DNS. We will
leave it for others to explain the details of these concerns, but
note that returning resource records in a way which is countrary to
the very design of the DNS certainly does not promote the stability
of the Internet.
These concerns are not mitigated by Verisign's efforts to work
around the consequences of breaking the Internet's design on a
service-by-service basis: These workarounds make specific
assumptions on the conclusions that Internet software would be
drawing from nonexisting domain names; these assumptions are not
When working as intended, the service centralizes error handling
decisions at the registry that are rightly made in application
software run on users' computers. Users are deprived of the
opportunity to chose those error handling strategies best suited for
their needs, by chosing appropriate products available on a
competitive marketplace. Software makers are deprived of the
opportunity to compete by developing innovative tools that best
match the user's needs.
We urge ICANN to take whatever steps are necessary to stop this
Thomas Roessler <roessler at does-not-exist.org>
At-Large Advisory Committee: http://alac.info/
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