company_name = VeriSign, Inc.
company_type = Public (nasdaq|VRSN)
company_slogan = So the world can.
foundation = 1995
location = 487 E Middlefield Rd
Mountain View, CA 94043, USA
key_people = CEO: D. James Bidzos, Chairman: D. James Bidzos
num_employees = 5,300
industry = Internet, Communications
revenue = $1.6 billion USD (2006)
net_income = $406 million USD (2006)
homepage = []

VeriSign, Inc. (nasdaq|VRSN) is an American company based in Mountain View, California that operates a diverse array of network infrastructure, including two of the Internet's thirteen root nameservers, the generic top-level domains for .com and .net, one of the largest SS7 signaling networks in North America, and the RFID directory for EPCGlobal. VeriSign also provides a variety of security and telecom services ranging from digital certificates, payments processing, and managed firewalls to mobile call roaming, toll-free call database queries and downloadable digital content for mobile devices. The company groups all of these functions under the banner of 'intelligent infrastructure' services.

The company's former payment processing service was sold to eBay in 2005.cite news|url=|title=EBay To Buy VeriSign Online Payment Service|last=Gonsalves|first=Antone|date=October 10, 2005|publisher=InformationWeek|accessdate=2008-04-25]


VeriSign was founded in 1995 as a spin-off of the RSA Security certification services business. The new company received licenses to key cryptographic patents held by RSA and a time limited non-compete agreement. The new company served as a certificate authority (CA) — a role it still fulfills — and its initial mission was "providing trust for the Internet and Electronic Commerce through our Digital Authentication services and products." VeriSign now has more than 3,000,000 certificates in operation for everything from military to financial services and retail applications, making it the largest CA behind the encryption and authentication on the Internet, which most people recognize as the small padlock icon in their Web browser when shopping online. VeriSign is well known for the VeriSign Secured Seal, which is an outward expression of a Web site's authentication and encryption commonly posted to VeriSign SSL Certificate customers' Web sites.

The company held an Initial Public Offering on 1998-01-30 for US$14 a share. The pre-IPO investors included RSA Data Security Inc., Bessemer Ventures, Kleiner-Perkins, VISA International, Ameritech, Mitsubishi, Security Dynamics, and Fischer International. Along the way, VeriSign broadened its portfolio of "infrastructure services" by acquiring a number of additional businesses, including SecureIT in 1998 (from which it derived its Security Services division), Network Solutions in 2000 (from which it derived the domain name business, and later spun off the customer-facing 'registrar' component), Illuminet in 2001 (which marked the company's first foray into telecommunications), Guardent in 2003 (which improved its managed security offering), and Jamba! in 2004 (which is called Jamster! in English-speaking countries and consists of downloadable digital content for mobile phones). VeriSign made its presence in India by acquiring Unimobile in 2004.

As of 2005, VeriSign takes in more than $1 billion in annual revenue ($1.66 billion for FY 2005) with more than 4000 employees worldwide. The business is divided into two large divisions: Internet Services and Communications Services.


The Internet Services division includes Naming & Directory Services, which houses the domain name registry for .com and .net, as well as other DNS-related services, and RFID services; and Security Services, which spans a diverse set of capabilities. Managed Security Services includes managed security services (firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention, vulnerability protection, etc.), global security consulting (assessments, design, compliance, certification), email security (anti-spam, anti-virus), strong authentication (tokens and remote access validation), as well as the original digital certificate/SSL business including the most recent Extended Validation (High Assurance) SSL Certificates. VeriSign claimsFact|date=July 2008 to handle 14 billion domain name system (DNS) inquiries daily, 35% of North American e-commerce, and encryption for the "majority" of secure Web sites.

The Communications Services group acts as a service provider to the global telecommunications sector, with a similarly diverse set of capabilities. The division offers a variety of services for both wireline and wireless telcos, including pre-paid and post-paid billing; network interoperability for text messaging and call roaming; and the database and mediation services that power caller ID, local number portability (LNP), wireless LNP, VoIP, call routing, toll-free call directories, and more. VeriSign also offers a white-labeled retail wireless content portal which it operates directly to consumer under the Jamba! and Jamster! brands. The stats on VeriSign's communications network are also impressive: 2.7 billion phone call connections, 10 million caller IDs, and 3 million game, ringtone and picture downloads per day.


On November 14th 2007, during VeriSign Analyst Day presentations, VeriSign announced that it would focus on its core businesses of Naming Services, Web Certificates, and Identity Protection Services by divesting (selling or shutting down) much of the rest of its portfolio. [cite press release |url= |title=VeriSign Refines Strategic Direction to Focus on Internet Infrastructure |accessdate=2007-11-14 | |date=2007-11-14] Published reports indicate that the company may end up divesting up to 12 of its 15 business units [cite web |url= |title=VeriSign looking to divest units: report |accessdate=2007-11-14 | |date=2007-11-14] , eliminating half of its 4500 employees. [cite web |url= |title=VeriSign to divest slower units, sees staff halved |accessdate=2007-11-14 | |date=2007-11-14]


In recent years, VeriSign has faced some public scrutiny regarding its relationship with ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) and DNS. In September 2003, VeriSign introduced a service called Site Finder, which redirected Web browsers to a search service when users attempted to go to nonexistent .com or .net domain names. ICANN asserted that VeriSign had overstepped the terms of its contract with the U. S. Department of Commerce, which in essence grants VeriSign the right to operate the DNS for .com and .net, and VeriSign shut down the service. Subsequently, VeriSign filed a lawsuit against ICANN in February 2004, seeking to gain clarity over what services it could offer in the context of its contract with ICANN. The claim was moved from federal to California state court in August 2004 and is still pending. [cite web |url= |title=Litigation Documents |accessdate=2007-08-21 | |date=2007-03-26] In late 2005 VeriSign and ICANN announced a proposed settlement which defines a process for the introduction of new registry services in the .com registry. The documents concerning these settlements are available [ here] . The terms of this proposed settlement are themselves contentious, and have received widespread criticism. The [ ICANN comments mailing list archive] documents some of these. Additionally VeriSign was involved in the matter decided by the Ninth circuit. [cite web |url=$file/0115899.pdf?openelement |title=Kremen v. Network Solutions, Inc. |accessdate=2007-08-21 |format=PDF |date=2003-07-25]

In other negotiations with ICANN, VeriSign gave up operation of the .org top-level domain in 2003 in return for continued rights over .com, the largest domain with more than 34 million registered domain names. In mid-2005, the existing contract for the operation of .net expired and five companies, including VeriSign, bid for management of it. VeriSign's bid was backed by numerous IT and telecom heavyweights including Microsoft, IBM, Sun Microsystems, MCI and others, which all asserted that VeriSign had a perfect record operating .net. They proposed VeriSign continue to manage the .net DNS due to its critical importance as the domain underlying numerous "backbone" network services. On the 8th of June 2005 ICANN announced that VeriSign had been approved to operate .net until 2011. More information on the .net bidding process is available [ here] .


* Netscape Server IDs ship June 1995
* Secure Email launched January 1996
* VeriSign Japan launched with NTT February 1996
* Code Signing launch with Microsoft March 1996
* US DOC approves Global ID to enable strong cryptographic software export June 1997
* SecureIT acquisition announced July 1998
* Managed PKI service version 4.0 October 1998
* Offers free Y2k testing certs November 1998
* Wireless PKI offering launched December 1999
* Thawte acquisition announced December 1999
* Signio acquisition announced February 2000
* Network Solutions acquired June 2000
* [] acquired October 2000
* Acquired eNIC Corporation and the .CC registry for the Cocos (Keeling) Islands from Brian Cartmell on August 31, 2001
* Illuminet acquired December 2001
* HO Systems acquisition February 2002
* Network Solutions registrar sold November 2003
* Guardent acquisition announced December 2003
* Acquired Unimobile in March 2004
* Jamba! acquired June 2004
* LightSurf acquisition announced January 2005
* R4 Global Solutions acquisition announced May 2005
* Lightbridge PrePay acquisition completed June 2005
* iDefense acquisition announced July 2005
* Moreover Technologies acquisition announced October 2005
* acquisition announced October 2005
* Acquisition of VeriSign's Payment Gateway assets by eBay(Paypal) announced October 2005
* Kontiki acquisition announced March 2006
* VeriSign To Acquire GeoTrust Announcement May 2006 [cite web |url= |title=VeriSign To Buy GeoTrust, Combining Top SSL Providers |accessdate=2007-08-21 |last=Miller |first=Rich |date=2006-05-17 |]
* inCode acquisition announced November 2006
* VeriSign Introduces Extended Validation SSL Certificates in December 2006
* Stratton Sclavos steps down as CEO and board member; replaced by William (Bill) Roper May 29, 2007 [ [ VeriSign Board of Directors Elects William A. Roper, Jr. as Chief Executive Officer and Edward A. Mueller as Chairman from VeriSign, Inc ] ]
* VeriSign announces divestment of much of the Communications Services group among other business units November 2007
* VeriSign sells Digital Band Management Services to Melbourne IT for US$50m [cite web |url= |title=Melbourne IT buys VeriSign's DBMS|accessdate=2008-04-30 |date=2008-04-30 |]
* William (Bill) Roper steps down as CEO; replaced by Jim Bidzos July 3, 2008, [ [ VeriSign Names Founder Jim Bidzos to Executive Chairman, President and CEO from VeriSign, Inc ] ]

DNS control

VeriSign has a very important place in the Internet's DNS infrastructure. VeriSign is the authoritative registry operator for two of the most important top-level domains, .com and .net. It is also the authoritative registry operator for the country code top-level domains .cc (Cocos Islands) and .tv (Tuvalu). In addition, VeriSign runs the DNS servers for .edu, .name, and .jobs for their respective registry operators which are non-profit organizations, however they do not have any say in the operation of these domains. Registry operators are often a "wholesale" role; there are many "retail" domain name registrars which actually sell .com and other domain names to consumers.

VeriSign also runs two of the Internet's root nameservers, A and J. It is the only root server operator that runs more than one server. The J root is anycasted. The A root is located in their global network operation center in Loudoun County, Virginia.

ee also

External links

* [ Oral history interview with James Bidzos] Bidzos discusses his leadership of software security firm RSA Data Security as it sought to commercialize encryption technology as well as his role in creating the RSA Conference and founding Verisign. Oral history interview by Jeffrey R. Yost, 11 December 2004, Mill Valley, California. Charles Babbage Institute University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

Official websites

* [ VeriSign web site]
* [] - a VeriSign subsidiary
* [ VeriSign UK web site]
* [ SSL Information Center]
* [ Extended Validation SSL Certificates FAQ]
* [ ADACOM SA] VeriSign Affiliate partner, South-eastern and Central Europe

News and financial reports

* [ Yahoo! - VeriSign, Inc. Company Profile]
* [ Most recent VeriSign quarterly conference call transcript]
* [ VeriSign Domain Report] - Quarterly analysis of global domain name market
* [ Commentary on VeriSign's .com/.net Registry]
* [ Washington Post (27.02.2004): Suit Challenges Powers of Key Internet Authority]
* [ Washington Post (19.01.2005): Firms Bid to Control .net Addresses]
* [ Washington Post (28.03.2005): VeriSign Maintains Hold on .net Domain]


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