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Verisign accused of DNS slamming

'Predatory,' indignant competitor says

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There's a cheesy scam in the phone industry called 'slamming', wherein customers are tricked into switching their service provider. Double-talk and deceptive marketing materials figure large in this enterprise. Now Verisign (formerly Network Solutions) is taking heat for a practice which borders on registrar slamming.

According to competitor Go Daddy Software, a renewal reminder being mailed to its customers is a gimmick designed to switch them to Verisign. The mailing from "Expiration Department" gives little indication of its true origin.

The hope, apparently, is that Go Daddy customers will automatically fill in the form and return it on the assumption that they're simply renewing their current registration.

The mailing is pictured here, and we have to admit that the Verisign logo is easy to overlook.

"For a .com, .net or .org domain name renewal, the victimized customer would pay $29.00 to VeriSign, Inc. instead of the $8.95 charged by Go Daddy Software," a Go Daddy warning letter indignantly says.

There's been a good deal of discussion on the Politech mailing list about this, with a general consensus that Verisign is a naughty operation much in need of a spanking from the FTC.

Only Russ Smith from TheNIC.com mentioned that Go Daddy "charges a $49.95 fee to change the ownership records of a domain (a service that if free for many registrars). See how long it takes you to find the notice of this charge when you review their Web site!" [the fee was cut to $19.99 about a year ago - ed]

Well with an annual fee of only $8.95, one has to make the rent somehow. Still, the point here, and one well taken, is that Go Daddy is hardly in the immaculate position usually assumed to be a prerequisite for casting the first stone.

But then, come on. Who among us is? ®

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