Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates topped Forbes Magazine list with a net worth of $18 billion. But Microsoft found out late last week that their credit was no good with the Internic. The MSNBC site, Internet home of the soon-to-launch joint venture with NBC was temporarily off the Internet last Thursday because they failed to pay a $100 domain name fee.
The company's domain name, msnbc.com, was removed from Internet name servers by Network Solutions, the company charged with controlling the .com address space. It was one of over 9,000 domains that were purged Monday night for non-payment of fees.
When an Internet service wants an address, it must apply to the relevant authority which, in the case of MSNBC, was Network Solutions. The company registers the name and then charges $100 for the work, which keeps the domain name for two years. Further charges of $50 per year are levied for additional years.
Once a name is gone, the computer software in users' machines cannot translate the domain name into the numerical address it needs to contact the computer. World Wide Web users may be familiar with the error message, "The server name does not have a DNS entry. Check the server name in the location and try again," when an incorrect address has been entered.
As reported in MacinStuff Times last week, Internic deleted over 9,000 domain names from master servers because of non-payment of the $100 registration fee. It had originally threatened 25,000 name owners with disconnection although around 15,000 came through with the money before deadline.
After the event, which meant thousands couldn't access the MSNBC site, operators said they had in fact sent in payment and Network Solutions had made an error. This was seemingly confirmed when the domain name was back in the name servers later the same day after some, presumably, frantic telephone calls from MSNBC staff.