RealTime IT News

VeriSign Pulls the Plug on Domain-Policy Mailing List

Trust services firm VeriSign Inc., owner of Network Solutions Inc., the largest registry/registrar in the world, Thursday threw the switch on its long-running Domain-Policy mailing list.

The company announced to the list that it would be closed, and promptly put the decision into effect. The list's archives were also removed.

"We are no different than others in the Internet community in that we hate to see redundancy out there," said VeriSign spokesman Brian O'Shaughnessy.

NSI created the list in 1996, before its acquisition by VeriSign. At that time, it was the only forum on the Internet for discussing domain policy and intellectual property issues. But since that time, such lists have appeared all over the Net, and O'Shaughnessy said there was no reason for VeriSign to duplicate the efforts that can be found at the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers' (ICANN) public comment forum, or places like ICANNWatch.

But some members of the Domain-Policy community were angered by VeriSign's decision, especially the purging of the archives.

"While VeriSign may claim the domain policy list has lost its relevance in recent months, it provided a valuable touchstone for mostly informed discussion on the constellation of issues that surround the domain name industry," said Ellen Rony, a member of the list since 1996 and a well-respected name in industry circles. "As such, the archives offer a rich resource for those who choose to chronicle these historic times.

"I urge VeriSign to restore the archive, even if the domain policy discussion finds a new home. To remove the archive from public accessiblity strikes me as a petulant act of a corporation saying, on the heels of securing its place as the industry legacy leader, that those of us who contribute many hours weekly to monitor the evolving industry no longer matter."

Members of the Domain-Policy list quickly reinstituted their community, through the creation of the DomainPolicy group at Yahoo! e-Groups.

Some members speculated that VeriSign's decision to shut down the list may have been connected to a series of postings concerning a $165 million lawsuit filed by a former VeriSign employee that alleged racial bias -- among other charges -- at the firm.

But O'Shaughnessy said such speculation was without merit.

"It's a totally separate event," he said. "If one was to assume that VeriSign shut this down because of criticism, then VeriSign would have shut it down a long time ago."

He noted that the company had discussed taking down the list internally over the course of the past two or three years. A final decision was made last Thursday.

"VeriSign made the decision that it was no longer necessary to have redundant environments," he said.