Renew! Renew!
May 9, 2002 5:06 PM   Subscribe

Renew! Renew! Just like people entering the carousel in Logan's Run, people who renew their domains with Verisign/Network Solutions aren't getting what they think they're getting. While the gentleman from scientium.com claims Verisign's domain renewal policy is out-and-out fraud, it seems to me that it's merely business-as-usual in Verisign's increasing predilection to screw their customers by preying on their ignorance. Is there no end to Verisign's deceptive practices? Is trust the foundation of every human relationship in this day and age?
posted by WolfDaddy (27 comments total)
 
it's out-and-out fraudulant business as usual and the senator or congressman who wants to make a name for him/herself could easilly look like a superstar by making this slimy practice go away.
posted by tsarfan at 5:12 PM on May 9, 2002


According to SherpaBlog Register.com is automatically renewing web domains and charging your card whether you asked them to or not. I ask you which is worse confusing language in a renewal offer or Opting somebody in to a purchase they weren't planning on making?
posted by willnot at 5:25 PM on May 9, 2002


Personally, I've only had to deal with Verisign/NetSol once, and that's only because my boss registered a domain with them. Setting up the domain was a pain in the ass. I found that the services offered were petty considering what I recieved for my money at Register.com. And as all MeFites should know by now, this isn't the first or the last time we'll see this kind of behavior from this company.

Every post like this makes me more and more in favor of Googlebombing this corporation into oblivion.
posted by daHIFI at 5:26 PM on May 9, 2002


I have one domain (my first) in the hands of NetSol; I am afraid to transfer it though for fear of NetSol completely screwing up the transfer --any pointers to make the transition as painless as possible?
posted by costas at 5:28 PM on May 9, 2002


I ask you which is worse confusing language in a renewal offer or Opting somebody in to a purchase they weren't planning on making?

That's a good question. I have two views:

As a hostmaster with a registrar other than NetSol, I *know* how difficult some domain registrants can be to contact. I *know* that if the domain expires it can be snapped up fairly quickly, either by squatters or a competing registrar. I know that there may be liability issues involved if I do not renew the domain and the customer loses business because I didn't renew. Even though we've got a clause in our terms of service that states we are not responsible for any damage that might be dealt to a business because of a renewed (or non-renewed) domain, those terms can be challenged in court and a judge may not always view the TOS as any sort of binding agreement--in my experience, it's about a 50/50 proposition as to who the judge will side with. If I renew a domain, and I'm wrong in renewing it, I'm more than happy to eat the money (it doesn't happen very often) and help the customer do with their domain whatever they want to do with it.

Speaking as a everyday consumer, I'm incensed that neither Register.com nor NetSol make any attempts to make finding THEIR policies regarding billing and registration an easy thing. They use deliberately misleading language that goes far beyond simple sales rhetoric, and then abuse you when you call them on it. And in the case of NetSol, they often do things that blatantly violate their own TOS, and then mock your attempts to rectify matters.

Most consumers would take a "once bitten, twice shy" attitude with a business that screws them over. But there is still a vast amount of ignorance extant regarding how the domain name system works ... and what's worse, as with most things computer-related, the consumer doesn't care how it works. "Just get me my damned e-mail and website running!" is the most common attitude I've encountered. If people are dead-set on continuing their ignorance, companies like Verisign will run them ragged.

But just because you can doesn't mean you should. And as I think everyone knows, our legislators don't know much more about how the Internet works than do regular citizens, and that makes it very easy for various lobbyists (most notably ones from the entertainment industry in recent years) to scare/bribe/insertfavoritecoercionmethodhere them into passing or trying to pass ridiculous and impossible to enforce laws.

It's a frustrating situation, and all part of our brave new frontier. Whee. Bleah.
posted by WolfDaddy at 6:11 PM on May 9, 2002


what's worse, costas, not transfering because they might screw it up, or leaving it with them longer where they might re-sell it to someone else? I clicked on a link at my current registrar, and they handled contacting NetSol and everything. It was very painless. Waiting the 10 days or so for the transfer to finish was the hardest part.
posted by pb at 6:15 PM on May 9, 2002


I use register.com, and quite frankly, I'd rather have them automatically bill me for my domain than have it stolen from under my nose by me forgetting to re-register it. I've not heard many complaints about them (yet), and they've always given me a good run for my money.
posted by Neale at 6:19 PM on May 9, 2002


Call your state Attorney General. Contact an attorney to commence a class action suit. Contact me, even....
posted by ParisParamus at 6:40 PM on May 9, 2002


To costas:

Transfer it now, before it gets to the end of the current registration. And do it at a time when you can be reached: when I transferred a domain, they required me to respond to email within (I think) 72 hours, or they would block the transfer.

Which sounds reasonable, except that these are the same people who transferred a domain to a new owner based on fraud, because they didn't check that.

It looks as though they only check if they think they can hang onto your money as a result.

The registrar I was transferring to kept me informed, and restarted the transfer free after it failed once (because I didn't know I had to be checking email while on vacation). And they charge me a whole 12 euros a year. Gandi.net.
posted by rosvicl at 7:24 PM on May 9, 2002


I too have had a recent, poor experience with Verisign, their customer service is so absymal it defies belief. They've structured their site and their automated e-mail system to give the appearance that they really care about helping you solve your problems. However, nothing could be further from the truth, what they care about is your money. They've developed an arrogance that comes hand in hand with a monopoly.

Oh and you've read the news today, right? About Verisign and Ebay? they're not going away any day soon.
posted by jeremias at 7:24 PM on May 9, 2002


Costas, also initiate the transfer at least 30 days ahead of the domain's expiration date, as NetSol will hold you to the one-line portion of your agreement with them that states that any change to the domain must be initiated in writing at least 30 days ahead of schedule.

I'm telling my customers it's better to start it 60 to 90 days ahead of time.
posted by WolfDaddy at 7:27 PM on May 9, 2002


I'm still getting renewal notices from Verisign even though I transferred my domain several months ago.
posted by onegoodmove at 7:34 PM on May 9, 2002


Sure, Verisign is a scum-sucking evil from the deepest pits of hell.

But I bailed about 800 words into this screed. Was there any point in bothering with the remaining 1200? Maybe somebody who suffered through its entirety can tell me if there was any point to this tedious page. Or shall we just roll with some good old cathartic Verisign bashing?
posted by chipr at 8:31 PM on May 9, 2002


I use register.com, and quite frankly, I'd rather have them automatically bill me for my domain than have it stolen from under my nose by me forgetting to re-register it.

I couldn't agree more. I've lost a couple domains this way. :(
posted by rushmc at 8:49 PM on May 9, 2002


chipr, if you bailed at 800 words without realizing that the guy was making a fairly reasonable, if perhaps overly-thorough, examination of Verisign's offerings, then perhaps you should read it again and not rely on other people to do it for you. That's sort of what Verisign wants their customers to do, innit?
posted by WolfDaddy at 8:58 PM on May 9, 2002


Okay, I hate verisign/NetSol. I believe they're deceptive, criminal, and cruel.

That said, I dont think the story under the "Renew, Renew!" link has any merit. I read the article, and despite all the rationale it gives, the nuts and bolts are as follows:

1. Verisign advertises that if you renew for three years, then one year is free.

2. This is not applicable with any other discounts.

Now, the price of one year is indisputably $35. The price (as demonstrated on the 'fraud' site) for 3 years is $69.99

Okay, do the math. Renew for three years, if one of those years is free, it should cost how much? $35 * 2, or $70. See? You even save a penny.

I don't give a damn how much it coests to renew for 2, 5, or 9 years. Those are all packages with their own discounts (which, by verisigns own disclaimer, don't apply to this offer).

1 year: $35

3 years (with one free year): $70

Where's the fraud? Complaining that you interpret it as meaning paying for 3 and getting one free is stupid, because 3 years for $70 is a better deal than 4 for $105 ($35 * 3).
posted by kfury at 9:05 PM on May 9, 2002


kfury, I think you've hit the rub that's annoying this guy so much. As I said when I posted it, I don't necessarily agree with his claims of fraud, but it *is* deceptive.

Those are all packages with their own discounts (which, by verisigns own disclaimer, don't apply to this offer).

And which disclaimer is that? No matter how I wrangle it, I can't make the sentences "Multi-year discount does not apply to .tv or .name domain names or domains registered in combination with other services for a single price. ICANN restrictions limit the maximum term for a domain name registration to 10 years. The free year of registration can not be applied past the 10 year limit." mean that the other renewal packages are being offered as 'discounts' from any sort of 'normal' pricing. If there's some other disclaimer you've gleaned from his page, please point me there, I must have missed it.
posted by WolfDaddy at 9:33 PM on May 9, 2002


I don't give a damn how much it costs to renew for 2, 5, or 9 years

My thoughts exactly. Multiple sales offers, some unadvertised, are very common. This guy sounds like he's never been out shopping before.
posted by HTuttle at 9:44 PM on May 9, 2002


Wolf: I'd counter with a question: If each package of years comes out to a different 'per year' price, then which price is it reasonable to assume is being used as a base?

It's common to get bulk discounts, but very rare to be given a 'paucity penalty' for buying too few of something. I don't see any other reasonable way to calculate 'renew for 3 and one is free' as meaning anything other than 3 years for 2*cost-per-year, or 4 years for 3*cost-per-year.

Rather than write a rand accusing Verisign of fraud, the person in question from the page he's ranting about should have clicked on the "Customer Service" button, then clicked on "Renewals" and followed the link for "Discounts for renewing for multiple years."

There he wound find copy that reads:

---

Discounts for renewing for multiple years

You will receive a discount when you renew for multiple years. Your discount is 25% for 2 years, 33% for 3 years, 40% for 5 years, and 44% for 9 years. Discounts are based on original $35 per domain name.

---

There's even two nice links after that to let you ask a question, or email them your question directly.

It's a whole lot easier than making straw men that weaken all of our legitimate complaints against Verisign.
posted by kfury at 10:31 PM on May 9, 2002


Does anyone else find it suspicious that at the very bottom of this rant article is an ad for a competing domain registrar? I mean really...
posted by kfury at 10:33 PM on May 9, 2002


The ad link, for a competing registrar, even has scientium baked into the URL so he gets a referal bonus. I'm sorry guys, this guy is just using FUD to make a buck.

Worse than Verisign, if you ask me.
posted by kfury at 10:38 PM on May 9, 2002


My first domain was also done via NetSol. It's one that's not really run by me anymore, but I'm still the holder of it. Sometime last year I was checking the site and noticed that it wasn't loading. Then I checked whois and discovered that the domain had expired a week or so earlier. In a late-night panic, I renewed it via NetSol, too lazy to figure out how to get it transfered elsewhere and then get it renewed at the new place.

After that, a *lot* of junk mail started coming into the contact email address (whereas previously the address never get junk mail). I went back to NetSol and found the opt out place but junk mail is still flooding in. Can it be cut down via NetSol settings at all or is the damage already done?
posted by gluechunk at 11:22 PM on May 9, 2002


The damage is already done. They sold your address to another junk mail firm. That junk mail firm is reselling your address to various interested parties. The address is compromised.
posted by jeremias at 4:51 AM on May 10, 2002


This guy is a total idiot!

I am completely with kfury on this one... It said 3 years, and he thought he was getting 4!! I read and re-read his account and looked at all the supporting documentation, and I have no idea where he thought he was getting 4!!

The original ad was clear: Renew for 3 years and it includes 1 free year. Geez, how much more clear do you need to get? Did this guy actually think everybody had to go through the stupid calculations he did to arrive at the idea that it was actually 4 years he was registering for!??? ("4 years" wasn't even an option in the drop-down box!).

For all that NetSol is evil, this is a perfect example of user error.
posted by yarf at 5:03 AM on May 10, 2002


Darn, I was hoping for a Renew! Renew! Flash game: you have a crowd of people and some of their crystals are blinking, so you have to use your mouse to move them into the renewal chamber before the Sandmen get them.

Well, it *is* a Friday...
posted by kablam at 8:01 AM on May 10, 2002


I've transfered my domain names to RegisterFly.com and have been very happy with them. They have a good control panel, I can see what it expiring and when at a glance, and they are only 10 bux a year per domain.
posted by benjh at 9:59 AM on May 10, 2002


kfury,
AH! Thanks for the clarification; I think I had done the same thing as Mr. Scientium ... say I go to the market and see 3 tubes of toothpaste. "BUY 2 GET 1 FREE", it says. This is what I consider "usual" for this type of sales gimmick, so I also, initially, interpreted "Renew for 3 years and get 1 year free" to mean 4 years for the price of 3.

I still think it's a rather deceptive tactic ... after all Verisign just wants to rope you in to their terms of service, and you're far less likely to move elsewhere if you prepay 3 years ahead instead of just one, but it's not as bad as some other tactics they've used.

Thanks again for the clarification. I'm a better consumer for it ;-)
posted by WolfDaddy at 10:54 AM on May 10, 2002


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