double billing for domain names

Carl Malamud carl at
Tue Jul 20 01:07:55 UTC 1999

It is with some caution that I post this query to nanog, but
I consulted with a colleague who runs a root server and he
indicated that this note might be of interest to the readership
as it is an operations issue that may affect your users.

This note concerns what appears to be systematic double-billing
for domain names by NSI.  Here's how it works:

	1) You work for corporation A and have registered a
	domain name for several years which has an anniversary
	date of April 1.  Each April 1, you receive a bill for $35.

	2) On December 31, you transfer that domain name to
	corporation B, which pays $70, good for two years.

	3) On April 1, corporation B will receive a bill for $35
	from NSI, despite the fact that the domain name is 
	paid for a two year period.

On December 31, I executed such a transfer for a couple dozen
domain names.  In early February, I received my first duplicate
bill from NSI.  I raised a considerable stink and eventually
got them to cancel the invoice.

Since then, I receive a consistent string of bills, each on the
previous anniversary date of the domain names.  Each time I've
raised a considerable stink, but it is very hard to get the
double bills cancelled.  The manager of the billing department
finally reported it to the NSI engineering team in June, and
NSI confirmed that this is a systematic problem in their
billing machinery.

So, here is my query: Do other people also have these double
bills or do your customers have this issue?  I suspect that
NSI does this on a regular basis and there are a lot of
NSI customers that are paying money for domain names they
already paid for.  If each domain name transfer yields
$70 in revenue for NSI (paying for two years) and then 
yields another $35-$70 in double revenue, this seems like
it might be a lot of money.

I'd appreciate notes from anybody else who has a similar
issue or is aware of people with a similar issue so that
I can document it as a systematic practice.


Carl Malamud
Invisible Worlds

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