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VeriSign Sued Over SiteFinder Service

by Glen Shapiro, LawAndTax-News.com, New York

23 September 2003


The parent of internet search site, Netster.com has launched a $100 million lawsuit against domain name registrar, VeriSign over the latter's new SiteFinder service.

Last week, VeriSign, which controls the main database of .com and .net domain names, introduced a new service which redirects internet users who mistype a domain name, or enter a non-existent address to a VeriSign search page offering alternatives, including paid-placement links.

Popular Enterprises, which operates a similar service via Netster.com, has accused the registrar of 'hijacking' its traffic, and has accused VeriSign of antitrust violations, unfair competition, and violations of the Unfair Trade Practices Act. In a suit filed on Thursday in the Federal Court of Orlando, Florida, Popular Enterprises demanded an injunction barring VeriSign from providing the service, and damages of up to $100 million.

"Rather than compete fairly in the search business, Verisign has used its monopoly to hijack internet traffic," the firm's president, William Marquez explained.

As a result of the furore caused by the introduction of the SiteFinder service, which has reportedly caused some anti-spam filters to malfunction, the Internet Software Consortium (ISC) has issued a patch for its domain name system software which ensures that the search service can be blocked.

VeriSign, meanwhile, is seemingly unrepentant, announcing that it does not intend to pull the service, and arguing that it is providing a useful tool for internet users.


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