McLaughlin's editorial had one underlying theme: VeriSign feels that the Internet community is stifling innovation by defending the status quo. They feel that arguments against the service are driven by a vocal minority in the Internet community that disagrees with the use of the DNS system for commercial gain. He points out that innovations in the Internet have shaped it into what it is today and must not be hampered. These innovations have sent the Internet in new directions its founding architects never dreamed. VeriSign feels that a small community of die-hard conservatives have prevented a positive evolution in the structure of the Internet.
I disagree with the opinion that criticism has risen from a minority that does not have the good interests of the Internet in mind. As a technology-savvy member of the Internet community, I am well aware of who disagrees with the modifications to the DNS hierarchy. In my research, every opinion on the matter expressed by a person knowledgeable about the underlying structure of the Internet has been in opposition, without a single exception. We are a minority of Internet users, but it is this same minority which constructed the Internet and continues to reshape it in positive ways.
The SiteFinder service itself is useful and is a good idea, but the manner in which it was implemented goes against the ideals and customs observed when making such a sweeping change. It is my contention that the modifications that VeriSign made to the DNS hierarchy were not made in cooperation with the Internet community.
McLaughlin points out that the many changes that shaped the Internet in the past three decades were all met with debate and controversy. This is because sweeping changes to the infrastructure of the Internet have always been agreed upon unanimously. Peer review is critical in the development of the Internet for several reasons. It allows the Internet community to discuss the possible effects of the change, both positive and negative. It prevents one party from acting in their own interests, as opposed to the interests of the Internet community as a whole. It allows other parties to make suggestions and offer advice, strengthening benefits and alleviating drawbacks.
VeriSign did not provide the Internet community with any prior notice before enacting the DNS wildcard policy. They made no press release, and the general public only became aware of the modifications after they were discovered by observant people. Paradoxically, VeriSign asked for an extension of ICANN's deadline for removal of DNS wildcards, in order to give notice to the Internet community.
Had the Internet community been given a chance to evaluate VeriSign's plans, they would likely have urged VeriSign not to continue. Arguments in opposition have been made in numerous online forums, news websites, editorials, and personal conversations. The impression is that VeriSign anticipated this opposition and so made the changes without consent, abusing their position of trust.
This is not a case of preventing change for the sake of maintaining the status quo. Instead, the Internet community reacted to the change due to the manner in which it was enacted. VeriSign enacted a change that had the potential to damage the Internet, and they did it without first seeking peer review. Furthermore, VeriSign was in the position to greatly benefit from the SiteFinder service through advertisements. The Internet community opposes VeriSign's actions because they have abused their place of trust, ignored standard procedures and customs, and acted against the best interests of the Internet as a whole in order to increase revenue.