VeriSign taking heat over problems with Site Finder

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA: VeriSign has raised the ire of the internet community with its Site Finder service. The service redirects web users if they type in an incorrect web address - ending in .com or .biz - to a VeriSign site that helps them find the site they are looking for.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA: VeriSign has raised the ire of the internet community with its Site Finder service. The service redirects web users if they type in an incorrect web address - ending in .com or .biz - to a VeriSign site that helps them find the site they are looking for.

But the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which oversees internet domain names, has asked VeriSign to suspend the service in response to complaints that VeriSign is hijacking internet users. Site Finder has apparently caused problems with anti-spam utilities, and has angered network administrators. VeriSign runs the registry for .com and .net domains.

The uproar has received heavy coverage and scrutiny in the tech and business media, with Business 2.0 going as far as saying that "the company's push for profits is threatening the web's stability and VeriSign's reputation."

But Tom Galvin, VeriSign's VP of public affairs, said this is just one big misunderstanding.

"The coverage has been largely technical, expressing the fears of the technical community," said Galvin. "It hasn't focused on internet users, who we created the service for. The media is not focusing on the end user. We think they're the most important audience.

VeriSign is working with its US agency, Bite Communications, to reach out to the media.

"We're doing a lot of outreach, and explaining Site Finder as a way we are innovating and improving the user experience on the internet," said Jim Hock, Bite's director of technology policy communications. "There's a fundamental misunderstanding of what Site Finder is all about. We're educating the media that this is a debate that needs to happen."

"I think the reason the media is writing about this is that it has to do with innovation," said Galvin. "The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal were the first to write about it. We're putting it in the context of the benefits to the end user."

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