I got a piece of junk mail that was more slippery than most. Keep an eye out for it.

In a plain white envelope was a plain white piece of paper that was formatted to resemble an invoice, titled “Domain Name Expiration Notice.” It was from Verisign, and it invited me to renew one of my domain registrations so it wouldn’t expire. Here’s an online copy of the notice..

It’s junk mail preying on the fact that most people don’t understand domain registration. I don’t have any relationship with Verisign. The “invoice” would have resulted in my domain being switched from its current registrar to Verisign – the exact equivalent of a long distance carrier “slamming” you by switching your account without giving you a clear understanding of the consequences. Here’s one domain registrar complaining about the deceptive notices.

Verisign is the new name of Network Solutions – maybe there’s some more complicated relationship, but that’s close enough. Network Solutions had an effective monopoly on domain registrations for a long time, and has long delivered the most annoying customer service in the world, by a significant margin. Now they’re using sleazy sales tactics to get people back by confusing them. Nice company, huh?

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