Hostname Scam

Mark M. Borchers markb at
Tue Jul 2 12:29:18 UTC 1996

Here's an interesting twist.  This company wants to operate
a series of web sites named visit.<state>.com.  They want
everyone who holds a domain named after a state in the 
COM TLD to support the effort in DNS.  There is repeated
reference to potential advertising revenue, so this is
a commercial venture.

The postscript states an intention on the part of USA Internet
Gateway to register and enforce the hostname "visit" for any
<state>.com domain.  Sounds absurd, but you never know what
will happen in the US legal system.

Mark Borchers
InfiNet Network Engineering

> USA Internet Gateway, Inc
> 13825 US Hwy 19
> Suite 404 F
> Hudson, Florida 34667-1191
> July 1, 1996
> Dear Domain Administrator:
> I am writing *YOU* personally, to formally announce the Visit.Earth(sm)
> Project - A Global Internet Guide.  I share this information because I would
> like to involve your domain in the project.
> As a state named domain, you are uniquely positioned to join in this private
> intitiative.  Specifically, USA Internet Gateway, Inc., in association with
> Universal Video, has developed a website plan that will bring a great deal
> of attention to participating websites.  
> Basically, and without a lot of hype, we propose that you provide us with a
> perpetual license for the machine name "visit" on your domain
> (  In exchange, we will provide you with
> perpetual exposure by way of a link on the opening screen of the homepage
> for your respective "visit" website.
> More details ...
> (a)  There is no cash required for this transaction.
> (b)  USA Internet Gateway, Inc. will assume full responsibility for all
> "visit" websites;
> (c)  the machine names WILL NOT be sub-licensed - period;
> (d)  An IP number will be supplied for you to add to your DNS records for
> the "visit" machine;
> (e)  If you provide DNS for your network - submit the confirmation
> (attached) and we'll send information so you can update your BIND database
> file (by adding an "A" record  and an "MX" record).  That's all* you have to do;
> -  DNS services have been contracted and will be provided for those domains
> that do not actually have a network currently on-line. 
> -  If, for some reason, you prefer not to have a link to your WWW site, one
> WILL NOT be posted.
> Over the next nine months we will be bringing countries around the globe and
> states across the country on-line under the Visit.Earth Project (see
>  In fact, holders of most country-named domains are
> being contacted in a separate mailing right now.
> As we continue to develop, so, we believe, will Internet traffic.  And, if
> you will provide a license, you will be linked to the front page for your
> respective state.  Thus, while there is currently no model available, we
> believe the advertising you receive as compensation for the machine name
> will generate a continuing source of opportunity.  
> And (while NOT part of this offer), there are several exciting possibilities
> for the future.  Some steps you may want to take now!  For example: Is there
> a state chamber of commerce in your state?  If not, you may want to follow
> the lead (see and
> register it as your trademark.  You may also notice that is
> offering it's other county and city machine names to local area chambers and
> others.  
> This extension of our concept is of mutual benefit to,
> Universal Video, USA Internet Gateway, Inc., and every domain that becomes
> involved.  The beauty of the project is the independence of it.  You don't
> have to sell machine names or email forwarding services.  You don't have to
> supply bandwidth for the "visit" site.  You are not required to modify your
> domain content in any way.  It's not a franchise.  There are no current or
> future charges associated with the perpetual license.  It's all your
> irrevocable independent decision.  And, even if you decide not to do
> anything now, you can change your mind after you see the benefit of
> extending the concept into your own state.  Further, it is reasonable to
> assume that future advertising campaigns may produce residual benefits for
> your domain.  
> Again, the perpetual license has nothing to do with whether or not you
> extend the "visit" concept into your own state, beyond the fact that it
> assures that your domain will be announced in the opening screen of the
> respective "visit" homepage.  A national advertising fund HAS NOT yet been
> established.  The plan is not at that phase and we have not set a date for
> such a campaign. I mention the above now, only to direct your thoughts into
> the realm of future possibilities for an alliance of independents and, so
> that you may take steps now to further that opportunity. 
> This is USA Internet Gateway, Inc.'s first offer to any corporation or
> individual.  Since we felt certain that you would be interested in this
> opportunity, we have only approached those .com domains with full state
> names (i.e., - not "", "", "",
> "", etc.).  We feel strongly you will never find a better opportunity
> in exchange for your currently-unused domain machine name.
> I look forward to receiving your confirmation.
> Sincerely,
> A.S. Noe
> *  A copy of this email was sent to your Internic-listed technical contact.
> She may well inform you that there are other things that have to be done,
> such as resetting serial numbers, restarting daemons, etc..  This is, of
> course, true.  The point is, it's a pretty simple process. 
> If, for any reason you are not interested in this offer, surely you
> understand our request that you not resolve a machine to serve pages on the
> "visit" machine name.  None of you now has a machine named "visit" and any
> future use of that machine name IN A SIMILAR MANNER as USA Internet Gateway,
> Inc.'s would be deemed an intentional violation of our registered
> trademarks, servicemarks, and patent(s) which may be currently pending.
> _____________________________________________________________
> Perpetual Name License Agreement
> As Owner of the _________________________________________________ domain,
>  I _________________________________________________________hereby issue a
> perpetual name license to USA Internet Gateway, Inc. for the machine name
> "VISIT" on the above referenced domain.  To that end, I agree to modify the
> DNS records for the above referenced domain to reflect the "VISIT" machine
> name, including an "MX" record for mail.  I agree to make one change per
> year for each of these records at no cost to USA Internet Gateway, Inc., and
> if additional changes are requested, records updates will be made at a rate
> of $100 per hour.
> I understand that my full payment for this perpetual name license is to be
> received in the form of advertising on the opening screen of the homepage
> for the "VISIT" machine on my domain.  The banner on that page will be
> linked to the Unique Resource Locator I specify and may be changed once per
> year at no cost to me.  I understand that I may change the link and/or the
> banner more than once a year, but those additional changes will be done at a
> rate of $100 per hour.  It is agreed that I may resell this advertising
> space if I so desire.
> Finally, I understand that USA Internet Gateway, Inc. is assuming full
> responsibility for the operation, content and maintenance of the "VISIT"
> machine and shall hold me harmless in the event of any litigation that may
> arise pertaining to that "VISIT" site.
> Signed:
> 	_____________________________
> for	_____________________________

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