"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 14 September 1995. Updated every WEEKDAY.


You wanna make a cool $5.5

million off this whole Internet

frenzy? How about $5.5 mil

guaranteed annually, with

another $24 mil as a safe yearly

income estimate?


[Internic logo]

Well, if you happen to own a part

of Network Solutions Inc., you may

have just gotten a piece of the


DRAFT NEWS RELEASE                     

SEPTEMBER 18, 1995                     

Contact: Dave Graves, Business Manager 
         Network Solutions             


(HERNDON, VA) September 18, 1995       
-- Internet domain name registrants    
will begin paying registration fees    
immediately in order to improve        
registration processing and fund       
Internet infrastructure improvements.  
Beginning at 4 p.m. today, a $50       
annual fee will be imposed on all      
five top-level domains: commercial,    
educational, government, network and   
non-profit organization (.com, .edu,   
.gov, .net, .org) domain name          
registrations. Until now, the          
National Science Foundation (NSIF) has 
subsidized these registrations, which  
currently total more than 100,000      
domain names. A five-week backlog has  
developed in processing domain name    

As if it weren't already bad

enough that all the good domains

were taken, now you'll have to

shell out bank for the staid

sobriquets that remain. (And

don't go thinking they're gonna

start giving away winners like

criminal.edu and colostomy.org

just because they've started

charging for 'em...)


We all knew some sort of user fee

was coming, but, frankly, we

never anticipated $100 per new

domain and a $50 annual renewal.

Call us stupid, but we expected

the fees to have some relation

to the actual cost of

registering domains and running

a dozen or so root servers.


[Internic logo]

We've got to admit, though, the

detailed Q&A of the press

release shows a fair amount of

net.savvy not displayed by

the likes of, say, the

CompuServe-Unisys announcement

of recent memory. Now, we don't

want to perform a detailed

point-by-point analysis of the

press release along the lines of

a Hoffman/Novak piece - we

understand our audience a little

better than that - but allow us

to sniggle on a few points:

"...The third group are small         
businesses and individuals who have   
their own domain name. The fee amounts
to less than $5 per month which is    
less than the cost of a single movie  

$5 a month may be fair enough,

until we remember the $100 fee

for new registrations. That's

still less than $9 a month,

which is about the cost of a

single movie ticket in this

town, but NSI's unique sleight

involves substituting the

concession stand (where the easy

profits are to be had) for the


"...While Network Solutions will need 
additional staff to complete          
registrations, we are also investing  
in automating the process...."        

Um, this is nice, but, according

to our estimates, it doesn't

take anywhere near $5.5 million

to throw up a Web server with a

fill-in form and a Perl script

behind it to parse for the likes

of mcdonalds.com or fuck.com and

dump the registration into the

whois database. (And, as we

learned yesterday, if they used

a Netscape Commerce Server,

they'd probably even get a spot

on the Netscape "What's Cool"

page - gratis!) Popcorn and

Swizzlers, anyone?


Now, on top of the annual $50

renewal fees NSI will be

collecting on the 100,000+

domains already in existence, add

another $24 mil per year based

on the current rate of 20,000

new domains registered each

month - it's hard not to be left

with the impression that these

jokers are the real



Even if NSI doesn't automate and

instead goes hog-wild and

doubles its whopping ten-person

domain registration staff, adds

a bunch of new machines, and

pays for some snazzy new

stationery, we're still talking

about a serious chunk of

"walking-around-money" (and

nobody needs that much



And these are the folks that came

out on top of a competitive

bidding process? Man, this

subversive propaganda gig blows!

We'd wait until the contract

expires in 1998 to get in on this

govt. contract action, but it

appears as if it doesn't expire.



[Internic logo]

JUST IN: It seems NSI caught wind

of this rather pesky emerging

controversy, and decided to

preemptively rush its statement,

moving the release date from 8

A.M. September 18 to 6 A.M.

September 13 - posted complete

with unanswered FAQ questions,

non-ISO Latin 1 characters in its

HTML, and impossible "last updated"

dates. So much for that "Oklahoma

land rush of registrations" we were

hoping to spearhead. [And our handy

fill-in form for automatic domain

registration was half complete -


- Suckster Solutions Incognito