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Re: [IP] VeriSign prepares to relaunch "Site Finder" -- calls technologists "biased"

  • From: Randall Pigott
  • Date: Mon Feb 23 11:00:57 2004

I am curious what the operational impact would be to network operators if, instead of Verisign using SiteFinder over all com and net, Verisign or their technology partner for SiteFinder began coercing a large number of independent ISPs and network operators to install their form of DNS redirection at the ISP-level, until all or most of the end-users out there were getting redirected.

We have been approached by a guy named Mark Lewyn, president Paxfire, Inc., the company he claims created the SiteFinder technology and offerred it to Verisign. Based here in the Washington DC area, he now also wants individual ISPs to implement his technology of redirection to a web page for unknown domains as a means of earning click-through revenue, and will split the take 50/50 "when Paxfire gets paid"

As a network operator of a fair-sized regional ISP, as well as operators of arguably the least-expensive nationwide wholesale dial platform for other ISPs to gain nationwide access, we have been approached by Mr. Lewyn on behalf of his company Paxfire Inc. He wants our company to come have meetings at his law firm's offices, consider accepting and implementing his technology at our local DNS server level, and then supposedly share in the rich profits when customers get redirected, possibly to web pages featuring click-through banner ads. He says that this is the exact same techology (more accurately, he said that it was evolved one step further, I think) that he sold or licensed to Verisign and that Verisign refers to as SiteFinder.

Until now, the identity of the technology and marketing partner who created SiteFinder has been kept very confidential, so I was surprised to learn that Mr. Lewyn's company Paxfire Inc. was indeed that partner!

Further, he claims that Vint Cert himself thinks it is a great idea at the ISP level to do this, and is one of his advisory board supporters.

Naturally, with the fracas of last Sept 2003, we are hesitant to give up any negative caching, essential anti-spam techniques, and suffer other disruptions that such a redirection service may generate within our networks whenever a non-existent domain request results in a redirection.

Is there concern to be raised by network operators over such schemes if deployed at the individual ISP level, particularly if such technology becomes widespread?

Before considering meeting with these guys, we would like to solicit the opinions of this list to be better equipped to say "no" if indeed "no" is the right operational and technological decision for the integrity of our nationwide networks and our interconnection outwards to the rest of the world's networks.

Thanks most sincerely,

Randall Pigott

At 06:11 PM 2/9/2004, you wrote:

 From Dave Farber's IP list...


VeriSign Reconsiders Search Service

"Site Finder was not controversial with users, 84 percent of whom said
they liked it as a helpful navigation service," said Tom Galvin,
VeriSign's vice president of government relations. "We continue to look
at ways we can offer the service while addressing the concerns that
were raised by a segment of the technical community."

Galvin said that the continued opposition stems from "an ideological
belief by a narrow section of the technological community who don't
believe you should innovate the core infrastructure of the Internet."

Critics also claim that VeriSign must run the domains as a public
trust, not a profit-making opportunity. VeriSign is the sole operator
of the dot-com and dot-net registries under a contract with ICANN.

"I don't begrudge them their profit, but someone in an effectively
regulated monopoly position shouldn't use their power for their own
profit, beyond the terms under which the community gave it to them,"
said Steven Bellovin, co-director of the Internet Engineering Task
Force's Security Area.

Paul Rothstein a law professor at Georgetown University and a paid
VeriSign consultant, said that the critics have some legitimate
objections but others are motivated by the scientific and technology
communities' "bias on policy."

Still, he added, it would be tough for VeriSign to win the public
relations war because its opponents are highly regarded technologists.

ICANN will reserve judgment until VeriSign decides to relaunch Site
Finder, said General Counsel John Jeffrey. VeriSign assured ICANN that
it would give 60 to 90 days' warning to resolve any remaining
technological problems, Jeffrey said.

In the meantime, ICANN is waiting for a final report on Site Finder
from its Security and Stability Advisory Committee. Committee Chairman
Steve Crocker said he doubts that Site Finder can be changed enough
that it won't threaten the Internet's underlying infrastructure.

"I thought people were relieved that they took it down and it's hard to
believe that there would be any quietness if they brought it back,"
Crocker said.


_____Related Coverage_____
VeriSign Service Spawns More Criticism
(, Oct 7, 2003)

VeriSign Agrees To Shut Down Search Service
(The Washington Post, Oct 4, 2003)
With Site Finder, VeriSign Sparks Internet-wide Criticism
(, Sep 25, 2003)

_____ICANN Headlines_____

Congress Eyes Internet Fraud Crackdown
(, Feb 4, 2004)

XO Owner Again Bids For Telecom
(The Washington Post, Jan 17, 2004)

U.N. Sets Aside Debate Over Control of Internet
(The Washington Post,Dec 9, 2003)

Tech Policy Section


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