VeriSign sued for unfair marketing practices

Domain name wholesaler BulkRegister.com is taking legal action against VeriSign, alleging that the company engaged in unfair...

Domain name wholesaler BulkRegister.com is taking legal action against VeriSign, alleging that the company engaged in unfair marketing practices in an attempt to trick users into switching domain name services.

The lawsuit claims that VeriSign began sending out "expiration notices" last month as part of a marketing campaign that encouraged recipients to renew their domain names before a 15 May deadline.

The marketing material was sent to a large sample of domain name holders, including BulkRegister clients, and appeared as an invoice.

BulkRegister said that not only did the reply deadline on the notices have no relation to the actual expiry date of the domain names, they solicited BulkRegister customers with a renewal fee that would approve the transfer of their domain name to VeriSign.

According to BulkRegister lawyer Patrick O'Brien, US law governing mail solicitation requires that companies inform the public that the material is a solicitation, which VeriSign failed to do in this case.

"This smacks of another Internet industry scam and VeriSign is one of the industry leaders," said O'Brien.

BulkRegister is asking for a restraining order and injunction against VeriSign. A hearing on the case is scheduled today.

No one from VeriSign was available for comment yesterday.

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