Information Today
Volume 18, Issue 2 February 2001
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SnapNames Launches New Online Service for Securing Domain Names

SnapNames, Inc. has announced that its Web site, http://www.snapnames.com, is active and available for users to secure, monitor, and protect domain names. The site has been in development for a year with leading domain name registrars, and has been beta tested by intellectual property attorneys at major law firms across the nation.

The site's cornerstone feature is Snap-Back, a service that protects domain name registrants from all known perils--including domain name hijacking, employee sabotage, accidental deletion, and accidental cancellation due to failure to renew. Snap-Back's subscribers will receive instant notification whenever their domain name records are modified in any way, providing an early warning in the event of a malicious or accidental alteration. If a domain name is somehow deleted from the registry, it will be immediately "snapped back" with a 1-year registration on behalf of the subscriber.

Snap-Back can also be used by prospective domain name buyers to get a second chance at securing a domain they've always wanted. With 90 percent of the domain names currently inactive, many will quietly expire and return to the pool. Since an average of 10,000 domain names expire every day, premier real estate in cyberspace becomes continually available. With Snap-Back, the subscriber is alerted to any changes in the domain record, and if the name returns to the pool, it will be immediately registered on behalf of the subscriber. The Snap-Back service is priced at $35 for 3 years of continuous monitoring.

"We priced Snap-Back at under $1 per month, per name, to encourage corporations to protect all of their domain names, not just the ones presently in use," said Ron Wiener, SnapNames' co-founder and CEO. "Like house burglars, domain name hijackers will strike at inactive domain names because it's easier to go undetected. So many valuable domain names are lost this way, and many more expire needlessly every day because corporations have a difficult time tracking intangible assets such as domain registrations."

J. Scott Evans, of Adams, Schwartz & Evans, executive vice president of ICANN's Intellectual Property Constituency, and one of the initial drafters of the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), said: "The SnapNames service provides a check in an imperfect environment that surrounds domain names. By using their Snap-Back protective service, an attorney can take a proactive step to safeguard a client's valuable domain name assets against these imperfections and perils."

SnapNames also offers a free monitoring service called Snap-Shot, which gives subscribers a weekly report on the status of up to 20 domain names. Additional names can be added for $20 per block of 100 names. There is no reacquisition feature as in the Snap-Back service, and the notification isn't in real time. According to the announcement, Snap-Shot is an ideal tool for monitoring domain names that might expire and be returned to the available name pool in the near future.

SnapNames has partnered with the leading domain name registrars and registries, wiring together a tightly knit infrastructure that monitors changes in the domain name system at multiple points of transmission and reception. Residing in the "blood-brain barrier" of the domain name system, SnapNames is able to act as a "broken-glass detector," notifying subscribers as soon as any change is made to their domain records, and reacquiring names if, and when, necessary. Subscribers are able to list a secondary and tertiary e-mail notification agent, most commonly an attorney and an e-mail-capable pager device. Unauthorized modifications that are detected and reversed within 12 hours may never be propagated to the name servers around the world.

According to the company, substantial legal and technical costs as well as public embarrassment and lost customer confidence can be avoided by use of the Snap-Back service. A recent survey by Gigalaw-.com found that 85 percent of corporations have already experienced a domain name dispute of some sort, many stemming from the inherent security gaps in the domain name system.

Source: SnapNames, Inc., Portland, OR, 800/385-4075; http://www.snapnames.com.

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