VeriSign Now Holds A Patent On SiteFinder
from the this-is-patentable? dept
Back in 2003, VeriSign kicked off quite a bit of controversy with its “SiteFinder” plans. SiteFinder would see that you were trying to go to a non-existent domain name, and rather than send you the proper error message, would send a bunch of ads instead. VeriSign, of course, claimed that this would be useful, as some of the ads might point you to where you really wanted to go. The problem, of course, was that it broke how the internet was supposed to work — and certain applications relied on the fact that the internet would work the way it was originally designed. VeriSign eventually pulled the service, though others have reimplemented it, mostly at the ISP level rather than the DNS level. However, now, as Slashdot points out, it appears that VeriSign owns a patent on the concept. The patent was granted a few months ago, and VeriSign has control over it thanks to an acquisition. The real question, though, is why is this patentable? The reason it hadn’t been done before wasn’t because it was some great invention that needed the extra incentives of a patent — it was because most people thought it was a bad idea.