David Schairer, vice president of broadband provider XO Communications, is frustrated by VeriSign's decision to redirect Web surfers who mistype domain names to its own advertising-based Web site.
At an unprecedented public meeting Tuesday to discuss VeriSign's "Site Finder" redirection, Schairer described in detail how the changes had increased XO's network traffic, confused his customers' e-mail utilities, and disabled a test that previously snared about one-fifth of the spam directed at XO's network.
The Site Finder server also chokes on large e-mail messages that are addressed to nonexistent domain names and does not work with software created for people with handicaps, Schairer said. He predicted that the work required to fix similar problems in thousands of software programs is smaller in scope but "similar in kind" to the massive Year 2000 bug effort--amounting to a kind of "tax on the Internet."
Schairer's examples and those offered by other participants at the meeting--organized by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)--combined to put VeriSign on the defensive on Tuesday. The company, which enjoys a government-granted monopoly on the master .com and .net database, said last week it would "temporarily suspend" its redirection service.