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.
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
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
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
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
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.