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10000 Chinese Domain Names Vanish Amid Web Chaos

Internet cafe down for the count. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Jan 05, 2007
Nearly 10,000 Chinese website operators have lost the use of their .com Internet addresses due to telecom problems caused by last month's earthquake near Taiwan, state media reported Friday. The quake, which severed major international telecommunications lines, caused thousands of .com domain names held by Chinese users to vanish from world registries, the Beijing Times reported, citing domain registry sources.

Lingering disruptions to overseas Web connections also have prevented them from accessing the overseas registries to re-register the names.

"So far, a large number of domain names held by businesses have been snatched by overseas investors, causing businesses to suffer losses," the newspaper said. It provided no examples.

Domain names ending in .com or other suffixes provide easily recognizable names for website addresses, which are actually a series of underlying numbers.

Though underlying websites are unaffected, the paper said more than 9,000 domain-holders had lost use of their .com addresses, and the number was expected to grow while the Internet disruptions last.

The undersea quake damaged cables that carry most of the region's telecom traffic, sparking widespread communications disruptions affecting Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and elsewhere.

Knock-on problems occurred as far away as Australia.

Telecommunications firms have sent repair ships to the waters off southern Taiwan, where the 7.1 quake hit on December 26, to repair the damage but have said connections might not be fully restored for weeks.

Access in China to overseas websites was cut off for several days following the quake. Though largely restored, the connections remain slower than normal.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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The Internet -- A Fragile System Threatened By Natural Disaster
Paris (AFP) Jan 01, 2007
The earthquake off Taiwan last Tuesday that shattered Internet connections for millions in Asia demonstrated starkly how vulnerable the vital network is to interruptions. Only a comprehensive backup system in the infrastructure could prevent total paralysis, specialists warn.

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