Well Lookie Here, Barracuda Networks tries to get me to fall into their trap again...

Edward Dore edward.dore at freethought-internet.co.uk
Wed Dec 21 19:09:15 UTC 2011

On 21 Dec 2011, at 18:46, Nathan Eisenberg wrote:

>> In fact, it's not.  If you miss your renewal payment for, frex, Safari
>> books,
>> they actually slip your cycle date to when you renew -- since you don't
>> *get*
>> the service between the expire date and the renew date, I concur with
>> his
>> appraisal that you shouldn't be paying for it, either.
>> If in fact, the service *kept working* for a short time when an
>> overlooked payment was missed, it would be a different story.
>> But, effectively, he's a new client, and should probably be treated
>> that way.
>> Assuming the paid service is actually *the update service*.
>> I also disagree with your proposition that this is off-topic for NANOG,
>> really.
> I've always strongly felt that this was a rather foul business practice, wherever I've seen it.  The justification for it is the utterly misguided belief that, if allowed to, customers will pay for a month then cancel their subscription and 'coast' on the 'current' version of the signature for a year.  This approach suffers from (at least) two fundamental flaws:
> 1) The entire customer base are treated as hostile.  It is no surprise that they resent this.  (Assumption: having resentful customers is bad)
> 2) Spam is, perhaps moreso than ever, a rapidly evolving threat.  The effectiveness of signatures declines dramatically with time, which means that August's signatures have little value by December.  [By the way, it seems to me that if they're willing to charge for valueless signatures, that represents either A) doubt as to the value of the current signatures, or B) disbelief in the decreasing value of out of date signatures.]
> While I realize that car insurance might not be the best analogy subject, imagine if you put your car on blocks, went off to college and allowed the insurance to lapse whilst you were there.  When you return, the insurance company wants you to pay the last three years of insurance in order to reactivate your policy.  That companies customers would react in the same way: they would find a new provider to do business with, rather than pay out for a valueless bit of smoke and mirrors.
> Nathan Eisenberg

Are you turning your anti-spam appliance off whilst choosing not to pay for the maintenance? If not, then I'd argue that a better analogy would be that you don't pay for your car insurance but continue to drive your car around until you have an accident, at which point you try to take out a new policy so that you are covered.

Whilst I can see the argument for the likes of signature updates, where you aren't receiving the service in the period that you haven't paid for (unless the signature update system is seriously broken), these kind of maintenance renewals for appliances normally also include software support and hardware repair/replacement.

If the companies don't backdate the maintenance renewal, then you would end up with lots of companies only purchasing the maintenance on an ad-hoc basis and that will just make the renewals more expensive for those of us that actually pay attention to when our subscriptions to due to expire and how much they will cost to renew in order accurately predict cash flow.

Edward Dore 
Freethought Internet 

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