RealTime IT News

NSI Confirms Domains Mistakenly Shut Down

Network Solutions officials Wednesday confirmed the firm erroneously pulled the plug on 10 domains earlier this week as part of a broad effort to thwart domain speculators.

"There have been a few mistakes where we deleted a legitimate domain holder," said NSI spokesperson Cheryl Regan. "We're working quickly case by case to fix that, and some have already been fixed."

As previously reported, a handful of domain holders, including two Internet service providers serving thousands of customers, told InternetNews.com their sites mysteriously disappeared from Network Solution's root servers Monday night, making it impossible for Internet users to navigate to their sites or send them e-mail.

NSI's Regan said the accidental deletions occurred during the company's regular monthly review of delinquent domain registrants, which the company defines as customers who register a large number of domains and fail to make timely payments on them.

"When you're registering tens of thousands of dollars worth of names and you're not paying for them, you're going to get our attention," Regan said.

In such cases, NSI notifies customers that they must pay for all their active domains immediately or risk losing them, according to Regan. She said the company also instructs delinquent customers that henceforth they must pre-pay when registering new domains.

The term "domain speculator" refers to individuals who register web addresses with no intent to develop sites or arrange name service for them. Many hope to re-sell the domains to high bidders at a profit. Because NSI's Internic registration service does not require payment on a domain until a 30-day grace period expires, speculators sometimes register and hold domains for weeks before NSI deactivates and deletes them for non-payment.

NSI registered nearly 2 million domains in 1998, double the previous year's results. The spike has led to recent delays in processing new applications and payments. Besides implementing policies to thwart speculators, the company says it has hired new registration staff and beefed up its equipment.