'Cybersquatters' face domain eviction

The company that assigns Internet addresses is cracking down on "cybersquatters" -- people who register catchy domain names they hope to resell at a profit.

Network Solutions Inc. which has an exclusive government contract to register Internet addresses, recently purged 18,000 registrations that it suspected were held by speculators, who typically register thousands of names at once.

The company said it had the legal right to reclaim most names because the registrants had not paid on time. Network Solutions charges $70 for a two-year registration of a domain name. "These were well-known speculators that had registered thousands of domain names," said Christopher Clough, a spokesman for Network Solutions in Herndon, Virginia. He said the company regularly purged delinquent registrations and specifically aimed at domain-name speculators.

In a separate attempt to curb domain-name speculation last month, the company enacted a policy of restricting access to "root zone'' files, which can alert speculators about when a domain name will become available. Network Solutions said it would no longer make the files freely available, but instead would license them for specific purposes. As a result, many businesses that help secure domain-name addresses found themselves unable to do business. Eric Woodward, president of Myinternet.com, a registration services company, was one of them. Last month he discovered that his company suddenly was unable to get access to the root zone files. After he threatened to file a lawsuit, his access was restored.


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