Is VeriSign trying to shaft the .biz domain?

Peculiar email

It looks as though VeriSign - owner of the .com and .net top-level domain names - is attempting to ruin the new challenger to its cute monopoly, .biz through subsidiary Network Solutions.

The .biz domain, run by NeuLevel, is selling itself as an alternative to .com for serious businesses. While .com has become the ubiquitous domain name, .biz will only be open to companies.

An email from Network Solutions has been sent to hundreds of professional domain name registrars encouraging them to send as many applications for .biz domains as possible and do it now. It is even offering discounts on bulk orders.

The email is subtly critical of the .biz approach to domain resolution, stating: "NeuLevel is treating the random registrant selection process like a lottery - the more applications you submit for a domain name the better your chances will likely be of registering that name. To help better your chances, we're providing discounts on application submissions of 10 or more." It also implies that the company intends to dump all of its registrations on .biz on the same day. The last day of the deadline perchance?

VeriSign stands to make enormous gains if the .biz brand is damaged before it even takes off. Not only will it strengthen the .coms and .nets that the company runs but will also make another new TLD, .info a better prospect. VeriSign is a major partner in Afilias - the company that is running the .info TLD.

And there can be no better way of bringing .biz to its knees than by overwhelming it with applications, causing NeuLevel to go into meltdown and ruining its image as a reliable and strong company, ideal for businesses that fear instability over nothing else.

This is the email sent out in full: ®

From: Network Solutions, Inc. [mailto:dot_biz_notification.6@info.nsi-direct.com]
Sent: xx June 2001
To: xxxxxxxx
Subject: ACTION REQUIRED: News about your .biz request

******************************************
Take The Final Step In Requesting Your .biz Name.
******************************************

Dear xxxxxx,

The response for .biz domain name requests has been overwhelming, and we’re just days away from submitting these requests to NeuLevel, the .biz Registry. But before we submit your request(s), we need you to take one last step.

NeuLevel is requiring a processing fee for each .biz domain name application. So we need you to go online to our Account Manager and verify your credit card information, then select the domain name(s) for which you’d like to submit an application. We will then apply a minimal $5 per domain name application fee to your credit card. Be sure to have ready the account number and password you were provided when you first submitted your request(s), then click here.

If you do not have your password, please call customer service anytime Monday through Friday at 1-866-418-3684 (in the US and Canada), or 1-703-326-6219 (if you're outside the US and Canada) and ask for your "New gTLD account password."

NeuLevel is treating the random registrant selection process like a lottery - the more applications you submit for a domain name the better your chances will likely be of registering that name. To help better your chances, we’re providing discounts on application submissions of 10 or more*:

10-24: $4.50 per domain name application
25-49: $4.00 per domain name application
50-99: $3.50 per domain name application
100+: $3.00 per domain name application

Finalize your request(s) today and you’ll automatically get the 40% discount we promised! Each domain name that we register for you will only be $33 per year** - a savings of 40% off the regular early requestor price! We’ll be contacting you via e-mail to notify you of the domain name(s) successfully registered for you after NeuLevel completes the registrant selection process some time in September.

The coming .biz Web extension is a tremendous opportunity, and we hope you are as excited about it as we are. Finalize your request today, click here.

Sincerely,

Russell H. Bong
Product Manager, New gTLDs
Network Solutions, Inc.
A VeriSign Company

P.S. Like the extensions that came before it, .biz is going to go fast. If you’re serious about your online identity, now’s the time to request the name you want!

*Discounts only available on multiple applications for the same .biz domain name on a per order basis.
**NeuLevel is requiring a minimum registration of 2 years. Successfully registered domain names will be automatically registered for 2 years.

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Copyright 2001 Network Solutions, Inc.,
A VeriSign Company. All rights reserved.

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