Incompetance abounds at the InterNIC

Pete Kruckenberg pete at
Wed Jan 20 20:55:33 UTC 1999

On Wed, 20 Jan 1999, Dean Anderson wrote:

> While speculation may produce some additional load on NSI, there was
> also a time when people only bought and sold stock with the intention
> of buying or selling a company, rather than speculating about its
> future stock value. So speculators produce tremendous load on stock
> exchanges.  However, in doing so, they now provide much of the capital
> to finance business.

There is a key difference, and that is that stock speculators pay for the
right to speculate, so the system can afford to scale to meet the
increased volume. There is no such mechanism for the domain registration
system as it stands, so the costs of scaling are currently being born (or
suffered) by the rest of the customers.

This normally wouldn't be such a big issue. For example, we all pay a
little extra for costs a retail store incurs for shoplifting and returned
items. But those amount to a relatively insignificant increase in the
costs of goods. If 95% of a stores items were shoplifted or returned, you
can bet that the people buying at that store would either be very irate or
would go to another store, especially if they had to wait in line for 2
days instead of 20 minutes because there were 200 people in front of them
returning things. If the store wanted to be in the business of selling
things and not processing returns, they would figure out a way to either
prevent returns (better product, better help selecting a product, etc) or
make it less convenient to return a product (ie only in-store credit,
restocking fee, etc).

In the case of InterNIC, there is no other store, so we just get to be
irate. The fact is, as long as there is no penalty for just registering a
domain and then not paying for it, it is very likely that speculators will
abuse the system. It doesn't hurt them to do so. And the costs of domain
speculation will be born by the other users of InterNIC.

If InterNIC were to put any kind of deterrent into the system, that would
not punish normal users, but would prevent abuse, or at least allow the
abuse to pay for the costs of scaling the system, both normal users and
speculators would be happy.

This could be as simple as restricting how many domains (by company, or
contact ID, or whatever) could be registered for free before you have to
get special approval or pay a fee to register more, or it could be a
non-refundable fee that's paid for every registration request, whether you
keep the domain or not, or it could be a pay-in-advance arrangement, or
maybe you can only be extended $700 in InterNIC credit before you have to
bring your account current before registering any more domains.

One way that would be really simple is to put some restrictions on the
process for creating contacts, which would include at least some minimal
verification. That way, InterNIC could tie the domain registration to a
known contact, for purposes of tracking the account balance, number of
outstanding registrations, etc.

The bottom line is that InterNIC has to track requests, and place some
kinds of limitations on them, so the costs of increased use of their
system are born by those who are using it. This really isn't that
difficult. Probably 3 or 4 lines of Perl.

It would probably also help if there were some competition to InterNIC,
which would drive these "innovations" more quickly. What's the deal with
deregulating InterNIC, anyways? I thought that was supposed to happen last
March or so.


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