RealTime IT News

Verio, Registrar Battling

Intrusive Internet marketing practices came under new scrutiny this week when Register.com Inc. formally charged Verio with privacy invasion.

In a complaint filed in New York City federal court, Register.com , an Internet domain name registrar, accused the Web hosting company with accessing its database and sending unsolicited commercial email and direct mail to register.com's customers.

Further, the complaint alleges that Verio fooled register.com's customers into believing that register.com is affiliated with Verio or it's services.

According to Register.com, in early January customers began complaining that Verio was soliciting register.com's customers at both their homes and places of business.

The complainants expressed anger at being solicited by Verio -- particularly those who had not "opted-in" to receiving commercial communications.

The use of the data defies register.com's standard policy, said Richard Forman, president and chief executive officer of register.com.

"Register.com has historically taken great care to respect our customers' privacy, and to that end we have established an 'opt-in' for those who wish to receive unsolicited commercial email and telemarketing offers," he said.

"Verio's actions are eroding a very valuable trust that we've established," he said. "We have made repeated overtures to Verio to resolve this matter amicably. Since Verio has chosen to ignore our requests, we have no alternative than to take legal action in order to protect our customers from these invasive practices."

According to Forman, register.com made a number of unsuccessful efforts to end Verio's actions informal contacts to Verio were unsuccessful in bringing an end to Verio's conduct, register.com's counsel sent a cease and desist letter to Verio in May.

"For a short period of time, Verio halted its solicitations, but soon thereafter began aggressively telemarketing register.com customers within 12 to 24 hours after they used register.com's domain name registration services," he said.

When subsequent communications between register.com's counsel and Verio did not rectify the matter, register.com filed its complaint.

Verio declined to comment on the accusations.