Outages for Sites Hosted at The Planet

The Planet, one of America's largest web hosting providers, is experiencing outages and performance problems today. The fast-growing Dallas company hosts more than 502,000 active sites, up from 127,000 last March. The full extent of the outage is not clear, but a number of prominent sites hosted at The Planet were offline for 90 minutes or longer, and the corporate sites for ThePlanet.com and its major business units (dedicated server provider ServerMatrix.com and game hosting specialist Insomnia365) were unreachable for much of the morning. As services resume, customer sites appear to be getting priority. Among the customer sites that were offline and are now back in service are the Gawker network of weblogs:


A dynamically updating chart of The Planet.com's web site performance is available here.

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VeriSign Likely to Keep .net Registry

VeriSign received the highest marks in an evaluation of the firms competing to maintain the .net top-level domain (TLD), and appears likely to keep the lucrative registry deal for another six years. The report by Telcordia is influential in the decision on the future of .net, and ICANN indicated it would "promptly enter negotiations with the top-ranked applicant."

The report (PDF) ranked VeriSign slightly ahead of Sentan, followed by Afilias, Denic and CORE++. ICANN will now enter into negotiations with VeriSign, which currently maintains the .com and .net registries. If a deal can't be reached, ICANN would then presumably turn to Sentan, a joint venture between Japan Registry Services and NeuLevel (which maintains the .biz registry). Telcordia's analysis said Sentan is a viable alternative to VeriSign, which in theory should motivate VeriSign to quickly conclude a deal with ICANN. The new registry agreement will take effect July 1.

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Extended Outages for World of Warcraft

The World of Warcraft virtual world, which now has more than 1.5 million users, has experienced extensive downtime in the past 24 hours following a system upgrade for a content patch. The main web site is now back online, and the game's operator, Blizzard Entertainment, currently lists all server "realms" as being online But WoW forum postings indicate that many users continued to experience problems through midday Wednesday.

World of Warcraft site performance

A dynamically updating chart of World of Warcraft's web site performance is available here.

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VMyths Web Site for Sale on eBay

The VMyths web site, which tracks Internet hoaxes and is a frequent critic of "computer security hysteria," is for sale on eBay. Rob Rosenberger, the site's editor and cofounder, says he has no control over the sale by cofounder Eric Robicheaud, who has set a starting price of $200,000 for the VMyths site and all its content.

VMyths maintains an archive of Internet hoaxes and urban legends, and has helped debunk rumor-driven news stories, including recent reports that the Lexus automobiles' onboard computers had been infected by computer viruses. Rosenberger is known for persistent needling of antivirus marketing practices, and worried that his favorite targets might want to shutter the site.

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Registrar Converts Domain ‘Parking Lot’ Into Ad Revenue

Dotster is running keyword advertising on tens of thousands of .info domains it recently registered, creating an instant advertising platform that generates revenue for both Dotster and Google. The strategy marks a shift in registrars' efforts to leverage the huge numbers of customer domains "parked" on their servers, which have traditionally been used to market registrars' in-house offerings.

Dotster is converting these parked domains into revenue from text ads served by Google's AdSense for Domains program. The model doesn't always work perfectly, however, as seen at dotster.info, which displays ads for two Dotster competitors, Register.com and Go Daddy.


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Dotster Tops 1 Million Hostnames With .info Landgrab

Domain registrar Dotster surged past the 1 million hostname mark this month with a net gain of 312K sites, topping our monthly Hosting Provider Switching Analysis. The huge increase had little to do with customer demand, however, as Dotster became the second registrar to snap up a huge block of .info domains associated with its customers' brands, a practice known as "info-cloning." Dotster registered 343K .info domains for which its customers owned the .com or .net name. The .info domains are apparently still being offered free to registrars to build interest in the top-level domain extension.

Go Daddy added 145K sites, including 246K new sites, as it grabbed headlines and heavy web traffic from its edgy ads during the Super Bowl game on Feb. 6. This month's data includes activity in the first six days following the game. Discount ISP United Online gained 105K sites, including 101K switching in from About.com, which was sold to the New York Times for a reported $410 million on Feb. 17.

Top Hosting Providers By Percentage Growth, Feb 05 to Mar 05
Hosting Company Feb Mar Growth %
Dotster 714,936 1,027,175 312,239 43.7% Americas
Go Daddy 3,171,653 3,316,655 145,002 4.6% Americas
United Online 37,902 143,402 105,500 278.3% Americas
1&1 Internet 4,674,430 4,779,503 105,073 2.2% Europe

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