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Domain Systems CEO Explains BulkRegister.com E-Mail

An e-mail stating that registrar BulkRegistar.com has completely shut down sent by the CEO of firm DomainSystems Inc. was cleared up late Monday.

Domain Systems Inc. skipper Monte Cahn sent the e-mail Thursday evening to couple of hundred customers, causing a minor furor.

Cahn could not be reached for comment Friday, but he explained the e-mail the following Monday. Cahn also cleared the issue up with BulkRegister.com.

"I sent out an e-mail to people out of a valid concern. I felt that based on the information we were provided, we better nip this potential disaster in the bud," Cahn explained via e-mail Monday. Many novice domain name owners may feel undue anxiety if their registrar all of a sudden ceased to exist and because of this, and ONLY because of this, we took a proactive approach to let people know that we will be here for them. After my partners spoke directly with [New BulkRegister.com CEO] Tom Cunningham Friday morning and other members of the BulkRegister team that are still there, we were told that our independent sources were not totally correct. While they did let go of a majority of their staff, including president and CEO Tony Keyes among others, they are not closing the doors. As soon as we found this out, we reported it back to the clients that received the initial e-mail. It is our responsibility to report important events to our clients. Had Bulk shut its doors and we not reported it to our clients, we would have been doing our clients a disservice."

Cahn added that DomainSystems prides itself on credibility and customer service, and that the e-mail was meant to serve as a comfort buffer for any alarmed clients.

BulkRegister.com could not be reached for comment Monday.

When reached at the BulkRegister.com office Friday morning, the registrar's Director of Marketing Rebecca Whalen confirmed to InternetNews.com that CEO Tony Keyes was let go Tuesday, along with 19 of 34 total employees, but vehemently denied that company was completely dead.

In an attempt to help BulkRegister.com customers Cahn, who got his information from the controversial doomsayer site F**kedcompany.com and several executive level contacts within the registration community., asked those who have names at BulkRegister.com to "please contact me ASAP so we can get started transferring your names through our new engine."

Keyes, the CEO who was ousted from his seat Tuesday, told InternetNews.com that he had sent an e-mail to BulkRegister.com customers to allay their fears:

"For current BulkRegister.com clients, there is no need to panic or overact," Keyes said. "Transferring domain names held at BulkRegister.com could potentially cause a self-inflicted wound by suffering unnecessary costs and inviting confusion and complications through the transfer process to another registrar. There is no reason to believe that members will not continue to receive reliable service from BulkRegister. Even if the company were ultimately to close its doors, one of the functions of ICANN is to ensure the protection and orderly transfer of names to other registrars."

BulkRegister.com, the fourth largest domain registrar with 6.7 percent of the market behind Network Solutions, register.com and Tucows did cut down to what amounts to a skeleton crew this week.

Robert Judge, a co-founder and member of the board of BulkRegister, said most of the positions were in executive management as well as sales and marketing.

Judge said Wednesday that a limited package was offered, but that it isn't enough to appease the fired employees, some of whom said they will take legal action.

A former BulkRegister.com employee, who refused to be identified, said what the company called a severance package was actually not.

"They gave us pay for vacation earned," the former employee told InternetNews.com Friday. "When they say they have given us medical benefits though the end of the month they have already been paid for in the previous pay check. That's not severance pay."

Furthermore, the former employee said the company would not bar the newly-terminated from going to unemployment -- something that is usually not par for the course if employees have been granted severance packages.

The current registrar turmoil harkens back to last week when the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers agreed to allow giant VeriSign to remain whole and hang on to the vital .com registry.

That announcement shook the industry, causing competitors such as register.com to express their dismay. Simply, rivals fear a monopoly by VeriSign, which sells between 40 and 50 percent of the world's 28 million domain name addresses.

Elana Broitman, director of policy and public affairs for register.com, said her firm is very concerned about the proposition.

"We viewed the break between the registry and registrar that VeriSign had as fundamental to the new TLD process," Broitman said. "I don't know how it's going to move forward, but I thought, at the least, the new TLDs needed to be rethought. It looks like they're going to be controlled by a behemoth. What [VeriSign] gets is to keep the registrar and registry and it's patently unfair."

Some have speculated that VeriSign would begin snapping up the much smaller registrars.