Trust? - Competence?
Reliability? - Quality Customer Service?
Not Here!

VeriSign Blunder CAUSES Blackout
Of 47 Website & Email Service Domains

Called "Bungling Idiots" by Many Victims

03/01/02

by the Editorial Staff and Ralph F. Mariano of Silicon Times Report Magazine

In the beginning, there was Visoncommerce.Com, owned by Eric Leberis and hosted on STR Publishing's Servers. Mr. Leberis programmed STR's servers making Visioncommerce the host server and DNS server. This combination worked well for well over two years. Then suddenly, on Monday February 25, 2002 there seemed to be something slightly wrong.. email was sporadic and the websites for STReport Magazine and a number of others began behaving in a "hit and miss" manner. By Monday evening, all seemed well as everything was behaving. Or, so the Network Administrator, Ralph Mariano, thought.

Tuesday morning all was running well until an urgent telephone call came in at about 4:30pm in the afternoon from Ron Kovacs, owner and Administrator of Radiomaxmusic.com. He said his streaming audio radio shows were not working. Upon hearing this Mariano checked the servers, the DNS servers and the High Speed (T1) connections provided by Espire Communications. All were found to be operating perfectly.

By Tuesday evening, the problem was revealed. VeriSign had killed the STR hosting system by turning off Visioncommerce.Com. Once this was discovered, Mariano contacted VeriSign, Networksolutons-Internic to get things restored. To his surprise, "this was not a simple process" Mariano said. VeriSign Tech Support... based in the Philippines, said to make a change in the host pointers and file it with their "Hostmaster" via email.

Now the fun begins, but first a backgrounder... STReport.Com has been in operation for a little over ten years without interruption. That is, through a series of governing bodies for Internet registration. From the US Government handling registrations, through two (forced) privately operated agencies. First Internic and then Network Solutions. Approximately a year or so ago, Network Solutions was taken over by VeriSign. Throughout the years of government control, Internic control and Network Solutions control Mariano said he enjoyed an excellent working arrangement with them and never had any difficulties administering to the forty seven domains managed by STR Publishing, the parent of STReport.

Now to evil side of this story...

In the process of acquiring Network Solutions, VeriSign began putting major changes in place as far as the full Network Solutions processes and databases were concerned. VeriSign published a new website so administrators like Mariano could go there to take of any changes that needed to be done in the acquisition and administration of Domain Names. For almost six months, there were constant errors in the VeriSign website's performance. Information was not transposed properly to their database, domain registrations were assigned the wrong ownership, wrong technical administrators and wrong billing contacts.

Out with the Old... In with the New..

VeriSign began the sweeping changes in the way the database of Domain Registrations were handled. Now, there would be account numbers and passwords that Webhosters could use to "group" blocks of Domain Names they managed into one organized area.

A Good Idea Gone BAD....

Mariano said he eventually  was assigned four account numbers with Domain Names in each and at the same time, the focal points of this horror story began to surface. The oldest, longest running website domain names were left "out in the cold". Those domains would, according to VeriSign tech support be assigned to an account number "later on".  The "later on" by their explanation, would take "a long time".

So, here we sit with a large number of domains in four different accounts working and six domains without any account numbers or passwords hanging out there slowly twisting in the wind. Instead, they are to be accessed by an Administrator's or Technical Contact's "NIC Handle" (a code word for an administrator and or contact) "Ok, that'll work or, so I thought" said Mariano. His NIC Handle had the email address inadvertently removed by VeriSign and some nonsense added about "worldnet.com" by VeriSign thus rendering the NIC Handle issued to Mariano useless!!

The Real Swill Floats to the Top of the Cesspool...

Visioncommerce.com was mistakenly assigned by VeriSign to Administrator Mike Freeborn at PS-INC.com in their "sweeping changes" effort. When Freeborn was contacted by Mariano, Freeborn said he had no knowledge of Visioncommerce and had been trying to get VeriSign to correct the blunder as his firm was being billed for Visioncommerce's fees. At the same time, STR Publishing had no knowledge of the switch and Mariano was under the impression the fees were paid and all was fine until Tuesday, February 26, 2002.  Until that time, the Visioncommerce.Com domain was operating perfectly. Mariano was in telephone contact with the VeriSign support people until approximately 1:15am Wednesday morning when their supervisor, "JoJo" in the Philippines last called Mariano's Office attempting to "fix" the error. Needless to say he and nineteen other Tech support people were either clueless or helpless. Perhaps both. There is much more to this UGLY story of VeriSign's expert bungling.

The Six "In Limbo" Domain Names Involved:

STREPORT.COM
AMBCOMP.COM
RADIOMAXMUSIC.COM
JAXLAWCENTER.COM
JAXRACEWAYS.COM
MRCOPYSERVICE.NET

"If they'd (VeriSign-Network Solutions) only put these Domain names where they belong -- in one of my active and working accounts.  Seems they're incapable of such.  "What a bag of fools."

"The executive group of VeriSign - Network Solutions are unreachable!! They've so thoroughly insulated themselves from customers - no means of contact at all.  Now, I know what its like dealing with a tyrannical dictatorship."

The above domains have been thoroughly victimized by VeriSign's irresponsible and totally incompetent actions. Further, their indifference to the problem and complete lack of trying to fix their mistakes only amplifies the need for ICANN and a voice of the people on the ICANN governing board. VeriSign has raped the above named domains and their owners.

Begging, Pleading, on bended knee... to no avail

We've (Myself and the above named domain owners) asked, begged, pleaded, cajoled and even offered to PAY  to have the nameservers for the above domains changed to:
ns1.strpub.com (216.85.162.46)
ns2.strpub.com (216.85.216.47)

so the above domains would be live once again. But no, that's too easy.  VeriSign's customer service said the problem is due to an IP address conflict with the deleted Visioncommerce.com account.  They said they cannot change the nameserver addresses because of the conflict.  When I asked them they said it had to be done manually by the "Registry Engineering Group", Needless to say now that we are going into the second week, VeriSign - Network Solutions customer service is absolutely atrocious!  This whole thing is VeriSign's fault!

Helplessness Reigns Supreme

Again, all I got from VeriSign's goofball support was "we can't do that here".  When I asked for someone or to be connected with the group or person how could do it they said "there is no-one who can."  I guess that means me too. What is wrong with these people? I feel like I'm dealing with the Chinese Government.  "Their way or no way."

The VeriSign "Clot" Thickens, while Egomania Reigns Supreme...

Mariano then followed JoJo's suggestion of obtaining a NEW Domain to replace the domain VeriSign Killed (Visioncommerce.Com domain) but only after trying to pay the fees and renew the Visioncommerce.Com domain. Smart, quick relatively easy fix? Not on your life!! When Mariano first accessed Visioncommerce.Com info on VeriSign's domain server website... he saw Mike Freeborn was the administrator. So Mariano called him and asked that he transfer Visioncommerce.Com to him. Another easy solution to the entire affair. NO CHANCE... by then, VeriSign had deleted Visioncommerce.Com from their databases and put up a notice that it was "hosted by some other registry service". "That was a lie... for just two hours earlier I found it there and got Freeborn's name and phone number". Mariano said. JoJo said the adjustment of the six domain names in limbo were sent to Engineering for processing. Later, on Wednesday morning, Lorraine confirmed that the six domains involved were sent to engineering for processing. Wednesday afternoon, Roselle accelerated the request to "critical process".  "That too, turned out to be a joke on me." Mariano said. "When I tried to backorder and reserve the Visioncommerce.Com domain name, VeriSign wanted $70.00 to do that for me.  They are indeed a greedy bunch of creeps". Mariano further said.

A New Domain and New Host server....

Problem solved? Yes, PARTIALLY!! All the domains we host that were assigned account numbers and passwords were up and running again. But the six that had NO account numbers were still out in the cold. Mariano then supplied VeriSign the necessary information via FAX to have the NIC Handle made viable and useful again. (VeriSign LOST the Email address in the NIC Handle RFM3) "Once the email address was fixed, I could then go in and fix the six domains that were still in limbo because of VeriSign's Goof-Up". Mariano said. Thursday morning, 02/28/02 I verified that the six domains in limbo were accelerated to "critical processing" by Chris. "I now think it was all lies." Mariano said.

Another CAN of WORMS....

The 10 page fax was sent to VeriSign Thursday afternoon 02/28/02 at 4:36:52pm EST. Now Mariano was getting somewhere... or so he thought. At this point he called back to VeriSign's tech support, 1-888-642-9675, and reported he had sent the fax with the letter of authorization, a copy of his electric bill, a copy of his driver's license, a copy of his bill from VeriSign mailed to him for a domain renewal fee that verified his P.O. Box and a copy of the E-Spire bill further identifying him as to who he said he was. I asked if there was a way to speed things up. At that point the entire matter went ballistic. The tech support person said it would then take 5-7 days to get the matter taken care of. Unless of course Mariano wanted to pay $29.95 for Priority Fax Service. Mariano lost it at that point. Here he was being asked to PAY VeriSign to FIX their errors. What is WRONG with this picture? He said.

The AGONY Continues....

Its now Friday morning and the six domains are still in limbo because of VeriSign's goof-ups. Have they done anything to alleviate the problems NO, have they expressed a desire to help fix the problem? "Hell No!" said Mariano "They expect ME to do the fixing, proving and ultimately, I honestly expect those fools to try to lay the blame on me. I am seriously contemplating legal action. After all, I'm only one of millions involved with VeriSign, I can only imagine how many others have been caught up in their meat grinder!! A class action suit looks mighty good right about now." Mariano said. "This VeriSign outfit is so caught up in itself they haven't a clue as to the chaos they are creating in the online community of Admins and users." Mariano said.

Its now Friday 03/01/02 Still, VeriSign continues the Chaos

MRCOPYSERVICE.NET was contacted by Mariano to let them know a change of information form would be in their AOL email box. Marsha, a very nice person at Mr. Copy Service, went to the email box they have on AOL and retrieved the form from VeriSign. Mariano then guided her through the response process and the form was sent back to VeriSign for processing. We wait.

The Insults and Chaos continues...

At about 8:25am Friday morning, 03/01/02... Mariano called VeriSign's Tech Support number, 1-888-642-9675 and asked the tech support person to enter a "Priority Fax" processing request on his behalf. The person replied to do so costs $29.95.. Mariano said please. let's do it. The tech support person then transferred Mariano's call to the priority fax people. Mariano held on for thirty two minutes. It was 8:51am when an announcement came on that he had called too early, it told him to call back at 9:am. So, after enduring thirty two minutes of their awful background music Mariano was hung up on. "This is a perfect example of the "customer service" VeriSign so proudly "brags" about." Mariano said "its just another nail in their coffin".

"I've tried and done everything these fools have requested of me to no avail. "Truly I see a monster lawsuit looming in the future of VeriSign." He said.

The Pursuit for Relief from VeriSign's Chaos Continues...

Mariano says; It's now 10 minutes past nine on Friday morning 03/01/02 and once again I'm  listening to their awful background music waiting for a tech support person to come on the line so a transfer to the "Priority Fax" group can be made.... Raul came on the line at 9:17am and began the process to get me to the "Priority Fax" group. At 9:23 he began the transfer after he took my Credit Card Info... Its now 9:26am EST and I am on hold listening once again to their horrid background music. Waiting again... Mind you now, I am still connecting with the tech support group in the Philippines and then they are transferring my call to the "priority Fax" Group... They are allegedly in the States...

"Priority Fax" Activities.. more hurry up and wait....

Mariano says; "I have no idea what time zone they are in." 9:28 and still holding on.... At 9:55 Richard from the "Priority Fax" Group came on the line and gave me the instructions to fax a picture ID of myself and a letter of authorization giving VeriSign permission to make changes to my NIC Handle. We wait once again.... Its now 10:13am and still no recognition that they received the fax. Waiting... 10:16am got a call from someone else at "Priority Fax" asking about my request. He sounded like he did not know of my talking to or sending a fax to Richard's attention. In any case, I informed him I sent the fax about 15 minutes ago. He then said they have a "new computer" and it takes 20 or so minutes for the fax to arrive to them. I asked him to ask Richard to call me when he got the fax. He said ok. Waiting once again.... at 10:35am I received the following:"


---------------------------------------
Your request to modify (RFM3)
has been completed, and our database has been updated.

The zone files, which make the Internet work, are updated twice daily,
7 days a week, beginning at 12:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
Requests received and completed by these times will be included in the
next zone file update. However, your modified record may not be visible
in Network Solutions' WHOIS database for 24-48 hours from the time of
the zone file update.

Best regards,
Jenn Z (jenniferz@verisign.com)
Customer Service Representative
Network Solutions, Inc.
www.networksolutions.com
-------------------------------------------

As you can see, another NEW name to deal with.. When will the VeriSign agony cease?

In any case, once the NIC Handle is fixed by VeriSign, I can easily fix the six domains in limbo caused by VeriSign's irresponsible blunders . Why can't VeriSign's customer service work any faster? This is the age of computers and the Internet... they use computers and really, ARE the Internet. Yet, VeriSign operates within a veil of 24-48-72 hours and a myriad of lame excuses as to why we, as their customers, are forced to jump through flaming hoops.

Can you imagine?? I had to PAY extra to fix their errors. I am totally outraged to say the least.

As customers we are trapped! How do we DUMP VeriSign? We cannot. They hold us in an ironclad grasp that forces us to behave like Pavlov's Dogs. VeriSign, in the above matter, acted irresponsibly, arrogantly and totally aloof even though its clear THEY (VeriSign) caused the entire episode through their total and complete incompetence.  Still haven't heard back from Richard its now 12:37pm on Friday afternoon, 03/01/02. 

The VeriSign Litany Continues

Here it is 2:pm Friday afternoon and I just got off the phone with Chris who spotted a "password" in my NIC Handle.. he was sharp enough to see this.  I _never_ put a password in my NIC Handle.  That's been fixed too. Thankfully.. 

As a side note... Richard and Chris in the "Priority Fax" Group seemed to know what they were doing.  They finally got the RFM3 NIC Handle fixed and I have been able to correct the VeriSign introduced errors for those Domains we have in the passworded accounts (the NEW database). The OLD database is still puking.

In Anxious Anticipation....

Its now Saturday morning, 03/02/02 - - VeriSign's goof-up has kept the six remaining Domains inactive for 7 DAYS - All the changes have been submitted but I must say, knowing their antiquated security system, there are going to be glitches.  They seem to take for granted that email addresses will remain the same and active forever.  Just looked at all our DEAD email addresses..... VeriSign KILLED well over sixty different Email addresses with their outrageous goof-up. 

The Prayers Begin

I can only hope and pray the changes I submitted to VeriSign make it through their archaic, hobbled, dumbed-down system.  I fear that their BS authentication system may trip us up.  You see, most all the contacts, except for the site contacts that are assigned account numbers and passwords in their new database, have BROKEN Email because of VeriSign's goof-up.  They cannot do the mail-from authentication and that is the default all of them are set for.  If this happens, all I can say is there is going to be serious fireworks.

The Snake in the Grass is Spotted....

VeriSign is the cause of this debacle, VeriSign has made no "in earnest" effort to expedite or simplify the complicated and completely frustrating procedure one must follow to fix their goof-up.  Yes, it is VeriSign's fault this occurred, we have the proof in black and white.

VeriSign's GREED Overshadows Good Customer Service...

The most offensive part for me IS.... I had to PAY VeriSign to get the ball rolling to fix the VeriSign Goof-Up.  Admittedly, I am so angry I could spit. Almost a full week of angst and really no full satisfaction yet.  Now the weekend is upon us which make me look to Monday...  This is really a sad story of a vicious progression of catch-22's put together by VeriSign and Network Solutions.  They really do need a wake-up call.  Right now, I would love to be the alarm clock. I'll keep you posted.....

A Piece of Information showing the helplessness of it all...

As an aside, we asked the people at VeriSign repeatedly to assign the six domains listed above to an Account# we have already and all we ever got was either we can't do that or, we are in the process of consolidating accounts but it will take a very long time.  All sounds like more lame excuses to me.

All Promises... NO ACTION

Now, its Sunday, 03/03/02 at 6:am EST... After speaking with Ashraf yesterday (Saturday) morning, who said, after he checked the six domain names and the forms we submitted, "all the forms were correctly done and that we should see the domains become active".  This morning... I checked and they are still NOT DONE and remain INACTIVE.  All VeriSign needs to do is change the name server information for these domain names.

I spoke to Jocelyn this morning (Sunday) she gave me another number for reference (I have well over 30 of these) 1-174PGB.  She told me she was in Herndon VA. and that she would forward this request to "The Registry Group" with the "highest of priority"... now, get this - this "highest of priority" would take at least 5-7 business days. Incredible!! Simply incredible.

Sunday 11:50am EST, Anne (1-74Z7Q) has informed me.. there are TWO databases the NEW VeriSign account number and password database and the OLD Network Solutions Database.  Here's the story; She said the old database holds the six Domains in question... it has a nameserver IP address conflict between the VeriSign revoked Visioncommerce.Com  and the IP address of the new STRPUB.COM nameserver. In five days, no-one caught or, if they did, they never told me.

In the new database, the one with the passworded account numbers and passwords, I changed the info and all the websites assigned to our account are working fine.  But with the old database, although the nameserver IP conflict was there all along, (I wonder why their database people didn't pick up on it?), no attempt was made by the goofs at VeriSign to notify me of said conflict nor was any attempt made on their part to rectify the conflict. That's great customer service for you. 

Another Week (2) at Hand...

It is Monday Morning 6:0am EST, 03/04/02; I'll keep you posted.  I called the "Priority Fax" group and spoke to Albert Harris who politely informed me that "to fix the nameservers on the six sites in question, I would have to send additional Faxes for each site with letterheads from each site signed by the owners, giving VeriSign permission to make the changes... one last thing folks, Albert said VeriSign wants $29.95 per site from me.

Will "Wonders" Ever Cease?

Update! 03/04/02 9:38am - Albert saw what was actually happening and put his supervisor, Jason Winters, on the line.  Jason reviewed the entire matter and manually fixed everything.  Jason assured me all six above mentioned Domains would be up and running a few hours after the noon update cycle.  I am ever so grateful for Albert's quick thinking to get his supervisor Jason involved.  Usually this sort of update takes 24-48 hours to fully trickle through the international servers.  Hopefully, luck will be on our side and we'll see some positive action earlier.  Thankfully, this mess is over... I hope.

Winters a Professional, VeriSign - Network Solutions a disaster

5:am EST Tuesday Morning: STRPub.com is live. Jason Winters did the job!  Now the question is why were we subjected to this at all?  While Mr. Winters came through the professional, VeriSign - Network Solutions certainly did not. 

-------------------------------------------------------

From: CustServ [mailto:CustServ@netsol.com]
Sent: Monday, March 04, 2002 9:36 AM
To: 'ralph_streport@msn.com'
Subject: Service Request Number: 1-1775HT

Dear Ralph Mariano

STREPORT.COM, AMBCOMP.COM, JAXLAWCENTER.COM, JAXRACEWAYS.COM, MRCOPYSERVICE.NET and RADIOMAXMUSIC.COM have all been changed over to

NS1.STRPUB.COM and NS2.STRPUB.COM.

If you need to contact us in the future about this inquiry, please provide number 1-1775HT to our customer service representative.

Thank you for choosing Network Solutions.

Sincerely,

Jason Winters
Priority Service Supervisor
Network Solutions, Inc.

www.networksolutions.com

Please do not reply directly to this email address. Replies sent to this email address will not be responded to. To reach Network Solutions, please visit our web site at www.networksolutions.com or send an email to help@networksolutions.com. Thank you.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Contact Info Overload?

VeriSign has my email address: ralph_streport@msn.com, my telephone numbers: 1-904-292-9222 and my office street address yet no mention or notification was ever forthcoming. NOTHING... Not a PEEP!  Now, I'm told their people will have to make the changes tomorrow. (Monday 03/04/02) Anne assured me the repair of the nameserver IP conflict was made a "High Priority".  Why don't I believe her?

Same Old, Same Old

Where have I heard that "High Priority" garbage before? Kind of strange though that where I could fix the nameserver matter in seconds in the new database, they are taking a full week to do so in the old database.  Again I ask.... what's wrong with this picture?

VeriSign and its customer service reminds me of a horse with a broken leg that needs to be SHOT to be put out of its misery!

Incompetence Reigns Supreme

A most grievous injustice has been perpetrated against these six domains by VeriSign and at this point, the ball is in VeriSign's court.  Of course, as you have read, this nonsense with these fools has been going on now for seven and half days.  All I can say at this point is "VeriSign had best govern itself with great care." As of today, 03/05/02, STR Publishing is moving forward to recover our losses.

Anyone Interested in Participating in a Class-Action Suit?
 

Another Victim

Commentary

By Ron Kovacs

MaxMusic Web Services

This is a little story about VeriSign. A Company, which bought out Network Solutions and caused me one of the most frustrating times ever, excluding the hacking last year of our MaxMusic.Net web site.

On Tuesday evening 2/25/02 after the update to the site with our latest Internet Radio Programs which originate from California, Kansas, New Jersey, New York and the UK weekly. Our main hub, Windows Media Radio, which is a big supporter of our programs, left users there wondering what happen to their weekly programs.

Email started to die and then the site slowly disappeared from the Internet and me wondering what the hell was going on. A call to Ralph Mariano, the server administrator of RadioMaxMusic began his investigation into the matter of which you can read in the above article.

Now, the frustration I have as the domain owner and administrator is to approve the necessary changes to get the site pointed in the right direction. WHAT A JOKE THIS IS! You have to laugh or you might punch a hole in your monitor!

As instructed by Ralph Mariano, I was to get on Network Solutions and make the necessary domain name server adjustment so that as soon as they changes are made to the main server our site would go to live mode.

Ha! When I registered RadioMaxMusic I used an old maxmusic.net email address and never changed it. Also, with our email located and attached to RadioMaxMusic, our email service was interrupted causing it to reject all email.

Now with RadioMax OUT (my active email address) and maxmusic.net being forward to my REAL email address for another year the acknowledgement sent out by the automated responder will NOT approve my request for changes because it is NOT from the address I registered the domain from. (See below)

We have received your Notify Template, but we are unable to verify
its authenticity. Therefore, we cannot comply with your instructions.

In order to correct this situation, please:

1. Make sure that you have chosen your current Guardian method
from the headings below and entered that method into line 0a of
the Notify Template.

2. Make the appropriate corrections for your Guardian method.
See details below.

3. Send your corrected Notify Template to
notify@networksolutions.com.
 

This is one of 17 rejection notices I have received to date and have also tried the FAX Avenue with NO avail as they say it would take another 5-7 days to make those changes!

We are out of the water until this is resolved and losing any momentum we have made during the last 14 months of service. I am very interested in seeing a good resolution to this matter and will join any action required to see that this horror comes to an end.

I cannot express the amount of anger and frustration I have gone through during the last week and I am thankfully seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.

Regards,
Ron Kovacs
Program Director
RadioMaxMusic
http://www.radiomaxmusic.com
 

From: DavidGHemsley@aol.com [mailto:DavidGHemsley@aol.com]
Sent: Monday, March 04, 2002 7:24 AM
To: maxmusic@rcn.com
Subject: web shows

 
Hello,

This decision has not been taken lightly and has saddened us both.

We are also asking people to take all references to us off their sites. However you may continue to use jingles and idents we have sent.

I'll keep the channel between you and Garrison open. Though if you want to drop them let me know and I'll tell him (Mark)  but give a months notice if you can?

I'm sure all will go well with the RMax site when it comes back - but I'm sure you'll realise that a LOT of damage will have been done - and it's going to take some time to build up again. I hope you are considering legal action against VeriSign, or whoever. All the sites that were skanked should get together and sue. If you go on DelphiForums and use webtag perlaw you'll find free advice from Lawyers.


Good Luck.


David & Marie
 

 

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about their experiences dealing
with VeriSign - Network Solutions?

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