I got this today. Does it mean the terrorists won if I dont get a .USA account?
December 23, 2001 7:57 PM   Subscribe

I don't know, but:

"Congratulations, taliban.usa is Available!"

What a relief.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:13 PM on December 23, 2001

.usa is not an icann-recognized top-level domain. What this means is that it is very unlikely that someone could type in your .usa address and be transported to your site. Unless I'm missing something, this is a complete scam.
posted by boaz at 8:28 PM on December 23, 2001

From the dotusa.com FAQ:

The .usa domain names are currently being registered for activation in 2002. They will initially be viewed on the Internet by making a slight alteration to your web browser.

Exactly what alterations to my browser do they plan on making? I like my system the way it is, thanks.

Also, can someone explain to me why anyone would pay $59/yr for an obscure .usa address when .com/net/orgs are available for as little as $7/yr? Granted, obvious .coms are probably taken, but a little creativity goes a long way. These new domain extensions are going to cut their prices dramatically before they will begin to interest me.
posted by tsumo at 8:38 PM on December 23, 2001

Despite this, .us is a valid yet little known T.L.D.

Use that instead.
posted by syscom at 8:38 PM on December 23, 2001

Its misleading but its not a scam per se. From the FAQ:

The .usa domain names are currently being registered for activation in 2002. They will initially be viewed on the Internet by making a slight alteration to your web browser.

So you're going to have to run a browser plug-in to get the site to resolve. I remember some other company doing the same thinga while back. At $59 dollars a year and a download for everyone who wants to go to your site. Its not only a rip-off its a pain for anyone who wants to visit your site.
posted by skallas at 8:39 PM on December 23, 2001

Yeah it's incredibly stupid and can't possibly succeed, so I predict it will be accepted by the masses and outlast the dot coms. Murphy's law.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:08 PM on December 23, 2001

No download is required, you just have to add their nameserver to your server list.
posted by benh57 at 9:17 PM on December 23, 2001

benh57, what then is the client-side ("browser alteration") change that the FAQ speaks of? I wager a plug-in is involved somehow.
posted by tsumo at 9:41 PM on December 23, 2001

tsumo, adding their nameserver to your list is the only change needed. Alternate nameservers, which allow all sorts of crazy names, already exist. There was a scuffle between one of these companies and ICANN earlier this year, I believe.
posted by skyline at 10:03 PM on December 23, 2001

their "browser alteralteration" is most likely their non-technical term for getting people to run a little EXE that adds their nameserver to your list of nameservers. it seems silly that nobody could get to your .usa address unless they added dotusa's nameserver.

i can hear the conversations now, "um dad, the reason you can't get to our website is because your nameserver isn't resolving the top level domain. it's also called a TLD but anyway, all you have to do is add an IP address to your nameserver list. oh? an IP address. ok. well an IP is like a way of identifying where you are located on a network. what's a network? how do domain names work? nevermind. let me just add a CNAME for my domain and fuck this .usa address. check back in in the next day after the DNS for my new domain has aggregated."
posted by suprfli at 12:01 AM on December 24, 2001

tsumo - I suspect you are right. They may be planning to produce a browser plug-in that will direct these non-Internet (hey, that's what they are) addresses to them.

This isn't the first time that sort of thing has been proposed. That guy associated with Idealab! was pushing some similar alternative-naming scheme. He was able to surround it with a sweet coating of marketbabble, and so it got quite a bit of play in the news.

This approach is a dead end. Would the browser plug-in support Opera? How about Eudora? How about Winamp streaming?

As far as the "adding a nameserver to the list" idea, for that to work it means all resolver queries have to backhauled to their server, not just .USA. That's just plain sucky network engineering. You want to push the nameservers as far to the edge (close to the user) as you can.
posted by chipr at 1:39 AM on December 24, 2001

Wow! This is exciting for me in a different way. This is the first US-based on-line company I've seen that accepts Switch as payment. Maybe I'll get away with never owning a credit card after all.
posted by vbfg at 2:35 AM on December 24, 2001

new.net is one of the alternative DNS companies. There was a scuffle earlier in the 90s when some of these folks thought they could actually outfox/hail-mary Network Solutions by offering better/cheaper domain name services; then when the US Commerce Department and an international working group asserted control over the official DNS hierarchy, there was an increase in anti-government types of fervor, but the alternatives instantly lost any credibility they had for legitimate, responsible businesses. To add to the marginalization, ICANN has approved at least one new TLD (.info, I think) that overlaps with one previously provided by an alternative DNS provider. This could easily happen to anybody else -- for instance, .usa.
posted by dhartung at 3:09 AM on December 24, 2001

Can we please have a moratorium on the phrase "The terrorists have won if we don't...."? Please?
posted by skwm at 6:16 AM on December 24, 2001

Heh, dotusa.com offers Switch/Solo because they're a British company.

Ouch, and there's a typo on the very first FAQ entry:

"A domain name is essentially where you website lives"

...which is a horrible explanation of what a domain name is, and does, anyway - but good enough for the AOL/WebTV crowd, I guess.

I think the FAQ does a terrible job of explaining (or an excellent job of not explaining) how this is different from a legitimate TLD. Also, the fact that they give the sale of altavista.com as an example of how domain names are some sort of "good investment" is quite deceptive given that the majority of netfolks will probably never run the little app program that adds the .USA nameservers to their browser. (I certainly wouldn't - given that a good number of .exe installs are known to add spyware and adware to your system as well as the program you actually want.)

Basically, this is a shady-looking venture - but not actually a scam - dedicated to relieving some dumb Americans of their cash. Think of it as the "ab-cruncher" of domain names.

At least NewNet made it a part of their advertising to let you know what they were offering.
posted by tpoh.org at 6:36 AM on December 24, 2001

skwm: www.theterroristshavealreadywon.usa is still available. get it while you can!
posted by adampsyche at 7:30 AM on December 24, 2001

Ah, that explains it tpoh. I checked their contacts page and unsurprisingly the mail drop was in CA.
posted by vbfg at 8:04 AM on December 24, 2001

Yes, deathto.usa is still available.

Appeals to my sense of nationalism bring out the worst in me, but I guess that's what they are all about.
posted by planetkyoto at 9:00 AM on December 24, 2001

I'm going to start my own TLD extension....


For a small fee, you can have a .KRUX domain, and it just requires that people point to my name servers or

posted by krux at 1:20 PM on December 24, 2001

don't forget that the new.net plug-in is spyware
posted by yonderboy at 9:03 PM on December 24, 2001

Yonderboy - I didn't review every site in that google dump, but I don't see any that regard new.net as Spyware. Cexx calls it "Foistware", i.e. it comes bundled with Bearshare and others to be "foisted" upon unsuspecting users. That's bad, but that's a different thing from being spyware.

Do you have anything that specifically says new.net follows user transactions?
posted by swell at 10:24 AM on December 26, 2001

Heh. The company running this apparent scam just got shut down, according to this NYTimes article.

(The byline's pretty funny: "JENNIFER 8. LEE". Is her middle initial really '8'? Wow.)
posted by mattpfeff at 9:40 AM on March 12, 2002

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