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Domain Extortion

This website and my email have been down for the last week as my domain name came up for renewal and I didn't receive an email from DirectNic, the registrars I use, that it was about to expire. Legally they're supposed to send two. Overnight the site went down and my domain name was placed on hold. I contacted DirectNic, and eventually received the following reply...

In order to process the Redemption Period claim, please send a check or money order for $185 (credit card payment is not accepted for Redemption Period domains) made payable to Intercosmos Media Group, Inc.

Please note that all checks have a 10 day hold. If you want to have the claim processed ASAP, you should use money order.

It looked more like something from a Nigerian spammer than a reputable company, requesting that a cheque or money order be sent to an unknown address. Apart from the fact that they were charging over $100 more than competing registrars, they were refusing to accept payment by Visa, so my site and email looked as if they would be down for weeks whilst the cheque made it through the post to the USA.

It felt as though my identity had been stolen and they were holding my domain hostage, knowing they could charge whatever they liked. Apart from losing my blogging rights, I was unable to get any email, and people were beginning to wonder what had happened to me.

I continued to argue with DirectNic for three days until finally they agreed to give me a 10% discount and allow me to pay by Visa, and other than changing to another domain name, I had no choice but to pay them. A Google search pulls up numerous other unhappy DirectNic clients which the same thing has happened to, such as Goodbye Directnic, many of whom seem to have never received notifications from DirectNic either.

Worse still is just how temporary things are on the internet, especially when you're trying to build something permanent and you watch it disappear overnight. Although it's possible to file a complaint to ICANN, the governing body for domain names, their website points out that they do not deal with complaints regarding registrars, but only 'monitor such complaints to discern trends'. As this article explains, the domain industry is suffering from a plague of unsupervised ICANN accredited registrars. Surely if we're to accept the internet as part of the future of media and communication, it's time for it to be internationally controlled, and for a better policy of policing to be introduced for companies involved in it's infrastructure.


I'll second your closing statement! (nice to have you back matey)

On a completely different note....Congratulations Carita on your new iBook, welcome to the family

Oh Bron, we started to get worried over you. Good that is all claeared up!

Wow, they seem to want a heck of a lot of money - glad your site is back though

Thanks for all the nice comments - it's good to be back!

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