Some customers of domain name registrar Network Solutions were sent an email this week about a new security program called “WebLock” costing $1,850 for the first year. Based on the text of the email, however, it appeared to many that the service was added to their account and they would be charged for it unless they phoned to opt-out.
Network Solutions parent company Web.com, however, made it clear that the 49 customers it sent the email will have to opt-in to receive the service and will not be charged the $1,850 fee if they do not opt-out. Basically, it’s an add-on service that a customer has the choice to add, rather than something they’re given and have to remove.
Web.com COO Jason Teichman told Domain Name Wire, “Candidly, we did not do a good job in wording that [email].”
A confusing paragraph from the original email sent to customers reads:
To help recapture the costs of maintaining this extra level of security for your account, your credit card will be billed $1,850 for the first year of service on the date your program goes live. After that you will be billed $1,350 on every subsequent year from that date. If you wish to opt out of this program you may do so by calling us at 1-888-642-0265.
According to the Domain Name Wire report, Web.com plans to offer WebLock to the top one-percent of its clients – roughly 30,000 in total, who are chosen based on factors such as domain traffic and the value of their brands.
WebLock ensures that the domains’ name server information is stored in a specialized, highly secure, separate system; that the domains will use registry lock services; and that there are special authentication procedures for making account changes.
It’s all in an effort to mitigate domain name hijacking, which is a legitimate concern for many valuable online properties.
As many have noted, top brands would happily pay $1,850 for added security around their domains given the costly consequences of losing one or more, but it’s better to present it as an opt-in option, rather than something that’s been automatically added to their account for which they will be billed.