educational

VeriSign Faces the Heat

Joanna Posner

Optima Technology, a software and services provider, has petitioned the SEC to investigate VeriSign-Network Solutions, and to begin governmental oversight of the now troubled domain name registrar. What impact this move will have on Webmasters remains unclear, but VeriSign-Network Solutions are increasingly ‘under the gun.’

Optima Technology Corporation, a worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing, recently filed a complaint with the Department of Justice and SEC with regards to Network Solutions, now owned by VeriSign, alleging that Network Solutions gave away its domain name without its permission.

“Something needs to be done, it’s quite clear that VeriSign is not going to take action to regulate their business model. Regardless of the fact that I am not fond of government oversight, there comes a time when it is necessary to call for government oversight. My company has formally requested that the Department of Justice and SEC launch a full investigation into this company’s business practices. I am willing to bet they are no better than those of the late ENRON”

“With regards to this problem, our attorneys where recently contacted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; we are cooperating fully in this matter with the FBI.” said Barry Eisler, Optima’s president.

Mr. Eisler goes on to add: "How long are companies going to put up with their domains being stolen, right now it’s so easy to steal a domain name from VeriSign. If the proper safeguards were in place, this could not have happened. But because VeriSign had a choice and chose to keep higher profits verses having the proper safeguards in place; my company and others like the recent case of www.sex.com who like us lost millions in dollars in revenue, all caused by a descion the board of directors made at VeriSign. I call for all stock holders to question the actions of the board at VeriSign. If I was a stock-holder in VeriSign, I would call for the board to step down and have the SEC come in to help clean up this mess caused by the possible illegal actions of the company and its board.”

The Heat Is On
Pressure is building against VeriSign with further lawsuits filed by Go Daddy and Netster.com recently. Domain registrar GoDaddy.com (www.godaddy.com) and Popular Enterprises, the parent company of search provider Netster.com, (www.netster.com) have also filed lawsuits against VeriSign in recent weeks over their “SiteFinder” service, which points unresolved domain traffic to its own Web site. Netster.com has filed a $100 million lawsuit charging that SiteFinder enables VeriSign to monopolize unregistered domains. And Go Daddy similarly accuses VeriSign of gaining unfair competitive advantage by intercepting, and profiting from, Internet traffic.

“These days, it seems that every time I review news headlines, Network Solutions is getting sued for some type of oppressive behavior. Behavior that is fraudulent, deceitful, committed with a willful act and for reckless disregard of their customer’s rights,” says Gary Kremen, CEO of Sex.Com. “And I am not surprised. I have witnessed first hand their malice, recklessness and morally culpable conduct starting eight years ago, and I knew it wasn’t going to stop with me. They have damaged, with clear intentions but without desire to mitigate such damages, customers like Optima Technology Corporation and Sex.Com. At this point, a large punitive damage award by a court is the only surefire method of ridding the near monopolistic VeriSign of their business tactics.”

Editor’s Note: Coming on the heels of this latest challenge is the announcement by VeriSign that a deal has been made to sell off Network Solutions. According to VerisSign “VeriSign has entered into a definitive agreement to sell Network Solutions to a new entity formed by Pivotal Private Equity.” One can imagine that the registrar’s recent and ongoing legal difficulties played a key role in the sale decision. ~ Stephen

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