Verisign built a distinguished name for itself as “Network Solutions,” with sole responsibility for handling domain names for many years. It was, hands down, the least friendly, most obnoxious company to deal with in United States history, with online tools to manage domains that were at best a joke and at worst a nightmare of dizzyingly incomprehensible forms and impossibly complex instructions to make any change.

It lost its monopoly, mercifully, and competitors like immediately began servicing accounts with grace and dignity. But many names remain with Verisign, which seems to have learned nothing.

Verisign is “upgrading” its system to introduce new online tools to manage domain names, and if my experience is any indication, it’s making a complete hash of it. I’m listed as the contact for a handful of domains. I’ve gotten a blizzard of letters and e-mails from Verisign, and after taking notes for the last twenty minutes, I’ve learned that I have correct and complete information for exactly none of them. I’ve been randomly assigned more than half a dozen different logon names – several of which haven’t been disclosed to me – and as many passwords, several of which also haven’t been disclosed to me.

I called Verisign near the beginning of the flood. The customer service rep left me on hold for ten minutes, came back to the phone, and told me that the best thing would be to give them several weeks, because there was no chance of getting any good answers that day.

It’s several weeks later. It won’t be better.

If you have a domain name registered with Verisign, consider moving it next time it comes up for renewal. Any other registrar’s web site will do that quickly and easily. I like

If you get e-mail or postal mail from Verisign, study it carefully. They send out deceptive advertisements purporting to be “invoices;” if you respond, you are switched from your current registrar to Verisign – the precise equivalent of long distance carrier “slamming.”

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