VeriSign shuts down Web site finder

Web address provider VeriSign Inc. said on Friday it would suspend a controversial new service that steers mistaken Web searches to its own page after the organization that oversees Internet policies demanded it do so.

Earlier on Friday, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers issued a statement insisting that VeriSign halt its SiteFinder service and restore the ".com" and ".net" Web domains to the way they were before Sept. 15, when VeriSign began the service.

ICANN gave VeriSign until 6 p.m. PDT to comply with the request or face sanctions for violating its contract with ICANN.

"We will accede to the request while we explore all of our options," VeriSign spokesman Tom Galvin told Reuters.

VeriSign has defended its move, saying it was providing a convenience to Internet users who previously received an error message. The SiteFinder service directs searches for Web addresses that have been mistyped or not registered to a page that includes pay-for-placement topic links.

But Internet users, network administrators and rivals have cried foul, claiming VeriSign overstepped its authority.

News source: CNN

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