NTIA, ICANN Frown Over NSI’s InterNIC Takeover

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information
Wednesday joined a growing number of organizations that are criticizing domain register Network Solutions Inc.’s weekend takeover of the InterNIC site.

With no advance notice, Network Solutions “redesigned” its previous site
and incorporated the InterNIC site into its commercial site this week-end,
confusing and angering users trying to access InterNIC. In addition, the
company also changed the location of the WHOIS lookup page.

“We were not consulted about this,” said Becky Burr, NTIA’s acting administrator. “We’re very concerned and are examining whether this is in compliance with our cooperative agreement.”

Burr said the agency is currently discussing the issue with Network Solutions
and has received “lots of complaints via e-mail and telephone calls from a range of businesses and individual participants in
the Internet.”

Burr is scheduled to meet with Mike Roberts, president of the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers Friday, as part of its ongoing discussions in transferring government control of the domain naming system to the non-profit group. She said Network Solutions’ recent action will be on the agenda.

Roberts also expressed dissatisfaction with Network Solution’s handling of

“It’s a poor way to treat the community,” Roberts said. “It’s a poor
business practice.”

Still, Roberts remained hopeful.

“We’d like to see the government and Network Solutions resolve the register process,” he said.

Other Internet parties remain concerned. Network Solutions’ absorption of
InternNIC comes just before ICANN was expected to tap five competing
companies to become domain registrars. With this action, the selection process
will be delayed, causing some to worry that Network Solutions will tighten its grip on controlling what once was a public Internet community resource.

“It’s a lockout,” said Larry Erlich, partner of Domain Registry, another registrar.

“NSI will sit on this one like it’s their adopted child that they
have raised and is now 7 years old. They aren’t going to give it back and there probably won’t even be visitation rights.”

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