VeriSign Sued Over Controversial Web Service

An Internet search company on Thursday filed a $100 million antitrust lawsuit against VeriSign Inc., accusing the Web address provider of hijacking misspelled and unassigned Web addresses with a service it launched this week. VeriSign's new SiteFinder service takes searches for ".com" and ".net" Web addresses that are not spelled correctly or have not yet been registered and redirects them to a VeriSign Web page that includes options and pay-for-placement topic links. Since it was launched on Monday, the SiteFinder service has drawn widespread criticism from Internet users who complain that VeriSign has overstepped its authority. However, VeriSign says it is merely offering a convenient service.

The lawsuit filed in federal court in Orlando, Florida, alleges antitrust violations, unfair competition and violations of the Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act and asks the court to order VeriSign to put a halt to the service, said Robert Hart, a spokesman for Popular Enterprises LLC, the Orlando-based parent company of search provider According to the lawsuit, Mountain View, California-based VeriSign has been using its position as the keeper of the master list of all Web addresses ending in ".com" and ".net," also called domain names, to unfair advantage.

News source: Reuters

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