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Re: InterNIC Weekend Outage?

  • From: Mike Sandburg
  • Date: Thu Mar 04 16:19:51 1999

At 08:46 AM 3/4/1999 -0800, "Gregory A. Carter" <[email protected]> wrote:
>Have a guy that had this emailed from his ISP.  If this is in fact true we
>all could have some very unhappy customers in the comming days.  I haven't
>personally experienced any troubles yet form any customers but I plan to
>keep an eye out.  I'd also be interested to see if anyone else can confirm
>this report or has further details.
> Over the weekend the Internic, the registry
> that handles all .com, .org, and .net domain names, had a
> power outage. Allegedly, their backup generators actually
> made the situation worse, computers crashed, and data was
> lost. They won't officially admit to it, but word from
> some of the bigger ISPs is that approximately 18,000
> domains were inadvertantly deleted. It seems to have
> mostly effected domains that were coming due for renewal
> in March. IF you have a domain name hosted with us, please
> check to make sure it
> is still registered. If you have any questions, just reply
> to this email.

This is partly true, but I am sure it had nothing to do with a power
outage. InterNIC did, indeed, drop over 18,000 domain names on the night of
Sunday February 28.  This affected at least 3 names controlled by my
organization, all of which were due for renewal during the month of March.
I am aware of one other ISP who lost 220 names at the same time.  I believe
most, if not all, of those names were likewise due for renewal during March.

NSI is not admitting much, as is to be expected.  But I can tell you that
they did an emergency root server update at my insistance late Monday
night, just as they had done a while back after they messed up AOL.COM.
But they even screwed that up by putting in erroneous information for the
domain servers associated with at least one of my domain names.

Note that these involve domains that were paid in full to some date in
March and would be coming due for renewal during the month, but were
instead dropped even before their renewal date.  Contractually we have 30
days from the due date to make payment.  Only after that date should
InterNIC have the right to terminate a domain, and that should only take
place after a reasonable grace period of being "on-hold."

Again.  This involves domains that were paid in full, and inspite of that
fact InterNIC removed the domains in clear violation of their "contract."
Their attitude toward most of those involved is one of, "Tough sh*t!"
without even caring that they are in the wrong or that they are destroying
people's lives and businesses.

That isn't earth-shattering news, as they have maintained such an attitude
for years.  What is news is the fact that they seem to be deliberately
embarking on a new campaign of extortion to the benefit of their new domain registration "service."  As you may know they will soon
lose their monopoly as other companies are going to be involved in
maintaining the domain name registry.  Gearing up for that eventuallity,
NSI has started registering names under their new domain at
Apparently they are trying to move some of the larger consumers of domain
names to their new service, and at the same time they are raising the

If you've been in this business very long you will recall that when we
first started having to pay for domain names it was $100 for the first 2
years.  Then it dropped to $70.  Do you know why?  It is my understanding
that the extra $15 was supposed to be saved in an 'Intellectual
Infrastructure' account, pursuant to NSI's agreement with the National
Science Foundation when it took over from NSF the domain name registry.
That never happened, and at one point there was talk of NSI having to issue
refunds of all the overpayments.  That never happened either.  The point
is, we now pay $70 for the first 2 years and $35 annually thereafter.

Now check out and notice that Network Solutions is
raising the price to $119 per domain name.    Now we have a choice.  We can
register a name through Network Solutions at for $70, or we
can register a name through Network Solutions at for $119.00.
Now there's one very creative way to break up a monopoly. Can you spell R I
P - O F F ?

One victim of this scam was told yesterday, by someone at,
that she would have to go to <> to
re-register the 220 domains that had been improperly terminated.  The
domains in question had already been paid for, with renewals coming due
sometime in March.  Examine the economics there.  220 domain renewals at
$35 is $7700.  Compare that with having to start over with new 2 year
registrations at $119 each.  That's $26,180, a rip-off of $18,480.   The
Internet has long been called the Information Super-Highway, and now NSI
has learned the art of HIGHWAY ROBBERY.

Hard to believe?  Well, it should be hard to believe that they could even
conceive this scam, much less get away with it.  But this is what really
happened this week since last Sunday.

I've also been told that another 7,000 domain names were dropped Monday
night, bringing the total to 25,000 domains.  Multiply that by $119 and you
can clearly understand NSI's motivation.  That amounts to close to
$3,000,000.  Three million reasons for InterNIC to screw with your domains.
 And this is just the tip of the iceberg.  If they are not stopped, this
could start to run into some "real money."

You could be their next victim if something is not done immediately to stop
this practice.

In the meantime NSI denies any financial responsibility for their errors.
Contractually their liability is supposedly limited to $500 per domain
name, but try to get it from them.  I called to demand compensation and got
the expected run around, only to be told flatly that there was nothing I
could do about it.  We'll see about that.  

At the very least their scam has been exposed for what it is.  Perhaps that
will end the practice.  Yet, somehow I am not so gullible as to believe
that they won't continue the scam in some form.  

More information on the matter can be found at,1087,3_75171,00.html and you
might want to contact Gilinda Rogers <[email protected]>, the victim with the
220 names.  The last I had heard from her, two of the names that were
stolen from her have already been registered by others.  Try to imagine
yourself in such a situation!