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VeriSign has responded to a deadline from Internet quango ICANN and today suspended its SiteFinder service. SiteFinder redirected DNS wildcards, such as misspelled URLs, to Verisign's own website, a practice which breaches time-honored Internet behavior. The move broke many spam filters and in its brief life - it was launched on September 15 - had generated three lawsuits.

Verisign was able to do this because it has a monopoly on the .com and .net domains, one granted to it by ICANN. ICANN said Verisign was in breach of this contract.

The Internet Architecture Board decided that this violated precedent, concluding "that DNS wildcards should not be used in a zone unless the zone operator has a clear understanding of the risks, and that they should not be used without the informed consent of those entities which have been delegated below the zone."

"Sorry for nothing," a VeriSign spokesperson replied today.

He didn't actually use those words, but instead accused ICANN of finding "anecdotal and isolated issues to attempt to regulate non-registry services," before conceding, "but in the interests of further working with the technical community, we will temporarily suspend SiteFinder."

Which is much the same thing. ®

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