RealTime IT News

Bulkregister.com Sued Over Telemarketing

Some Internet domain registrants are hot and bothered over a new marketing campaign from Bulkregister.com.

Over the past two weeks, the Maryland company has used automated telemarketing services firm Voice Cast International to contact 125,000 domain holders, and to play a recorded message promoting Bulkregisters' low-price domain registration service.

According to Bulkregister.com chief executive officer Tony Keyes, the automated calls were made to contact phone numbers listed in the Whois database maintained by Network Solutions (NSOL), and were timed to go out after business hours so that they would reach answering machines and not live recipients. But Keyes admits that Bulkregister erroneously reached some prospects at home or even on cell phones. As a result, the company has received about 75 complaints, but Keyes still considers the campaign a success.

"From a business standpoint, it's really working in terms of new clients and domain registrations going up. And from a cost standpoint, it's a 40-to-one return on cost," said Keyes.

Robert Braver, president of a computer software firm in Oklahoma and a staunch opponent of junk telephone calls and faxes, was among the recipients of the automated call. Braver filed a lawsuit Monday against Bulkregister.com, claiming the company has violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, a federal law that prohibits unsolicited, prerecorded telemarketing calls to residences. The lawsuit seeks monetary damages in excess of $10,000, as well as an injunction to stop Bulkregister.com from committing further violations.

"The problem with automated telemarking is that you can't convey your sense of outrage to the telemarketer because it's a machine, so there's an inherent sense of unfairness," said Braver.

Keyes said he hadn't yet seen the lawsuit, but he believes the company is on firm legal ground and intends to continue using the automated service -- with some changes.

"We haven't intentionally called any residences or consumers. That would have no payback for us. But we're going to do a better job of scrubbing this list to be certain to call business customers."