Incompetance abounds at the InterNIC

Phil Howard phil at
Fri Jan 22 20:37:12 UTC 1999

Dean Anderson wrote:

> You also assume that domain speculators are the only ones who register more
> domains than they pay for.  They aren't.  I'll bet many here have
> registered domains that they later didn't want and didn't pay for.

I'll go along with you on that because I've seen some people do that.
But I don't.  The only time I didn't pay for a domain was one that came
up for it's renewal 2 years later because I decided I no longer wanted
to do what I had planned for it.

> Further, speculators ultimately pay for the domains they sell.   What you
> are really complaining about is that they register some domains they don't
> pay for.  The only reason you are complaining about that is because someone
> pinned the blame for Internic problems on speculators.

I believe that "domains they don't pay for" greatly exceeds "domains they sell".

> The claim that "speculators don't pay" doesn't stand up.
> Neither does the claim that speculators cause Internic problems.  They don't.

Since many speculators actually do not pay, the claim can stand up very well.
As to whether this causes problems for InterNIC, I do not know.  But I have
seen tons of names offered that are not paid for.  This was taking place even
as early as the last time I was able to download the whole zone data.

> I think Internic can afford to scale with the volume regardless of
> speculation. Internic is a nearly fully automated process which charges
> 35.00 for a completed registration.  I am going to go out on a limb that a
> single database transaction costs very nearly nothing.  So without doing
> the math for a single registration, I think Internic *afford* a large
> number of non-completed transactions for each completed transaction.

I really won't argue with this in terms of what "should be" with respect
to the ideal way to do it.  What InterNIC has in place today is still
based on the setup originally established for a few thousand domains.
A better system _can_ be done, most certainly.  And maybe that is on its
way now.  But if the crunch of templates is blocking _my_ couple of
templates from getting processed in under a week, then I really do want
them to apply some temporary fix now to _this_ system so that do have the
breathing room to put a better system into place.

> Speculators that actively try to sell their domains quite likely cause more
> domains to be registered, and so they increase the Internic sales revenue.

The sold domains are usually ones that would have been registered anyway,
or at least this is a very large portion of it.  So that argument fails.
For those sold, this only means the registration is done a littler earlier
than otherwise.

Now, what about the ones that are not sold, which come up past due, on hold,
and eventually deleted.  Some of them _may_ sell within a year or so, so the
speculator _will_ want to hold on to them somehow.  So they re-register them
again.  There probably is a re-register war now going on.  Many companies
who have been approached to buy back their own trademark have been told by
InterNIC or their ISPs to just wait for the domain to be deleted and just
register it.  The speculators, catching on to that, try to beat them to the

This war has probably resulted in "registration spam" where the speculator
submits repeated templates, perhaps once per day, to re-register that domain
hoping to narrow the window in which it is available to others.

> I haven't seen any evidence that the costs of their non-completed
> transactions are more than cost of their completed transactions.   It costs

My registrations are taking many days because the system is flooded.

> them much more to fill out the registration template and scan the news than
> it does for Internic to (automatically) process the registration. If they
> don't sell more than their time is worth, they won't be able to afford to
> keep doing it.  So it doesn't make any sense that they register to many
> hundreds of thousands of domains per successful registration.

I could throw together a script in a few minutes that could submit to InterNIC
more templates in a few hours than they get in a week.  I could totally flood
InterNIC.  But it would also be a denial of service, to InterNIC, and to all
of us, too.

The costs to speculators is on par with the costs to spammers.  Computers make
it easy to do.

> And if they generate a net-gain for Internic, thats a good thing.

Up front payment probably will do that.  Speculators won't go away.  But at
least they get to help pay for the systems we have to use.

> The only speculators that might be able to register thousands of domains
> with little effort are the ones who register on-hold domains.  But they are
> doing a favor for Internic, because they are collecting fees.  More
> importantly, they will ultimately encourage people to make their payments
> on time. Thats a good thing for Internic.

There aren't any fees involved if the domains are simply being dropped.
Those that do go on hold for oversights and late payments would get paid
soon anyway.  The speculator probably ends up delaying it even further due
to the injected negotiations that the previous owner now has to do to get
their domain back.

> Quite possibly, Internic can improve its efficiency with regard to domain
> expirations and re-registrations.  But that doesn't mean that one should go
> though contortions to stop speculators.

Paying up front is not a contortion.  It is annoying to lose some WHOIS
data (I've already had one customer who hadn't paid their bill and got put
on hold, but said that whois doesn't say it's on hold).  Maybe if up front
payments go into place, the whois data can be restored for the most part.

> I certainly don't want to give up the current system that allows one to
> register domains with delayed or canceled payment and immediate duplicate
> notification.

It's certainly convenient to pay later.  But it's not that great of a
difference to me.

It will affect the way we operate, because we currently register domains
for customers and have the invoices sent to them.  We register the
customer as ADMIN and BILLING contact and let them be TECHNICAL if they
want to be.  Up front payment would mean we have to have them go to the
web page to enter their CC number.

 --    *-----------------------------*      Phil Howard KA9WGN       *    --
  --   | Inturnet, Inc.              | Director of Internet Services |   --
   --  | Business Internet Solutions |       eng at        |  --
    -- *-----------------------------*      phil at        * --

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