VeriSign executive VP Russell Lewis said the company "reluctantly" suspended the Site Finder service over the weekend, even though it didn't have a "contractual obligation to do so." However, ICANN sent a letter to VeriSign on Friday demanding that the service be shut down by Saturday. If VeriSign didn't comply, ICANN said it would have "no choice but to seek promptly to enforce VeriSign's contractual obligations."
The fight began Sept. 15 when VeriSign began directing all mistyped URLs--some 20 million a day, according to the company--to Site Finder instead of sending back the usual "no domain" or "page not found" error message. Web surfers who mistyped a URL were sent to a Site Finder page, where they would see a VeriSign controlled page that offered a search engine and links to what Site Finder guessed users were attempting to reach.
ICANN contends the Site Finder service had significant adverse effects on the Internet, Web browsing, E-mail, applications, and sequenced lookup services, and that it produced incompatibility problems with other services. Critics of VeriSign have alleged Site Finder produced problems with everything from spam filters to network printers.
Lewis today disputed those allegations and says the service had little impact on the Internet. He argued that the company is in strict compliance with all Internet standards and the Internet Architecture Board.