Companies with (.com) addresses risk having their domain names deleted without warning because of mistakes by the US administrator.
Six UK companies lost all email functions when their email domain names were recently deleted without warning by US (.com) registrar InterNic.
Chris Clough, director of communications at InterNic, said that administering nearly one and a half domain names meant mistakes would happen and he could not guarantee that other domain names would not get deleted even if they had been paid for.
He was unrepentant about the policy of deleting names without warning. "Domain name registration is like any periodical system. We go through the system and delete those subscriptions that have not been paid," said Clough.
The Internet Service Provider's Association (ISPA) has threatened to get the UK government involved if InterNic does not improve its service. "It's poor quality service to customers. There is a lot of focus on the Net and if you are trying to present an efficient and effective industry, things like this do not help," said an ISPA representative.
This will be of little consolation to the six companies which were unable to receive email to their (.com) address for 48 hours recently.
"I am not impressed at all. We still have to assess the damage, but our business practically runs on email. I will be apoplectic with rage and consult counsel if this continues," said a senior manager at a marketing organisation that lost its domain.
Another company spent a whole day contacting Demon Internet and InterNic to resolve the problem. A representative said she was very angry with what had happened and would be contacting InterNic to complain.
The deletions took place because an error in InterNic's administration meant it believed the host Internet service provider for the sites, Demon Internet, had not paid the registration fees for the domain names which it handles as part of its service.
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