Ok, this is my last post about Verisign, I promise I will leave it be after this.
If you've got here by following a "Leaving Verisign" banner, read on, at the bottom of the post are links to help with your move...
Many readers not be big domain name purchasers and of those that have bought a domain name, many will have bought it through a UK dealer. The offshoot of this is that many readers may well never have heard of Verisign, so I'm just going to spell out a twenty word history. Those that don't know/don't care can skip down to the next post, or move on to a properly interesting blog;-)
Once upon a time there was a large, monolithic company called Network Solutions, or netsol as it became lovingly known. Well, for many years netsol had the .com .net and .org domains sewn up. If you wanted a dot com, you bought it from netsol (ok, this isn't exactly true but close enough for the purposes of this story).
While many people complained that this was a monopoly, that they fixed prices etc, we all benefited from the way the ownership of domains was handled. Netsol details were changed by a cryptic ascii format form that had to be emailed back and forth a few times?none of your sissy html form nonsense;-) The process was just complicated enough that users had to think clearly before making any decisions.
As well as an hermetic interface, netsol also protected our collective interests by having the right attitude about what our domains meant to us. Domains where not a commodity, not a utility that could be simply turned on again after a disconnection. No a name was unique and often intimately tied to our most important signifiers.
As a result, even after a domain had expired, it was very difficult to move it to a new person. The best analogy I can think of is the adoption of a child. Something you check and re-check making sure to get it right and something you introduce many failsafes and get-out clauses to (ok, exaggerating a bit again).
The offshoot of all this was that we all trusted Netsol to not give our names away without warning.
Then one day, Verisign, a company who's strapline reads "the value of trust", a company whose main business was the provision of secure certificates decided to buy netsol. Ok, I haven't done my homework here so I'm not actually sure what the exact deal was or what its mechanic was, but I do know what the consequences of the merger were for the customer.
The bright sparks at Verisign set about to merge the services of netsol and verisign, bringing netsol's archaic system of ascii text forms into the twentieth century and set about designing a fabulous new web interface to domain management.
This is where things started to go wrong.
I am still getting written notices about domains I don't own, and more importantly, Verisign is sending my expiry notices out to other people (I'm guessing, as I only get them infrequently). The offshoot of this is that instead of being something safe as houses that operates in the background, domain ownership with verisign has become a frighting game of Russian roulette.
So this gets us back to the "Leaving" graphic that linked you to this page.
If you want to post a copy, cut and paste the following onto your site (lookout for line-breaks in the code, the whole thing should fit on one line):
<a href="http://www.donkeyontheedge.com/dugs_random_musings/leaving_verisign.html"><img src="http://www.donkeyontheedge.com/i/imleavingverisign.gif" width="105" height="28" border="0" alt="I'm leaving verisign and you can too. Find an accredited registrar in your area and make the move today." /></a>
If it gets around, I hope it point out the alternatives. The Internic maintains a list of accredited alternatives. Here it is sorted by country please take minute to read the Internic pages before you buy or renew a domain from verisign.
Here are a few links about Verisign's business practices:
If you are an expert in the details of the above and feel I have incorrectly presented the events, please email me, and I will add your comments to this note.