Yesterday, without warning, VeriSign shut down the Domain Policy mailing list and took the list archive offline. VeriSign's subsidiary Network Solutions had hosted the list since 1996. Many critics of NSI (and VeriSign and ICANN) posted to the forum, and it was often contentious. But even critics gave NSI points for hosting it. Mainstream press coverage of the shutdown was minimal; none of the majors so much as linked the story.
Nearly identical versions of Associated Press copy ran in the San Jose Mercury News, Wired and CNET. The AP reporter interviewed a VeriSign spokesman but quoted no list members directly, saying only that "critics were disappointed and noted that terminating the list would kill the discussion archives as well."
InternetNews's Thor Olavsrud quoted Ellen Rony, whom he characterized as "a well-respected name in industry circles," urging VeriSign to restore the archive. Rony said, "To remove the archive from public accessibility strikes me as a petulant act of a corporation saying ... that those of us who contribute many hours weekly to monitor the evolving industry no longer matter."
Two independent domain-name watchers, ICANNWatch and ICANN.Blog, offered slightly more pointed commentary. Both chided VeriSign for acting in a heavy-handed manner so soon after the Department of Commerce reaffirmed the company's role as custodian of the .com database. Brad Faucet, curator of the ICANN.Blog, pointed out that VeriSign had squandered a valuable resource by cutting off a communication channel between its employees and a clued-in group of outsiders. Faucet praised NSI for jumping aboard the Cluetrain in 1996 and rapped VeriSign for its abrupt disembarkation.
VeriSign closes forum where its critics rant
VeriSign Pulls the Plug on Domain-Policy Mailing List
VeriSign Pulls Plug on Domain-Policy List
Verisign to Domain Name Community: "GO AWAY" (ICANN.Blog)