Domainz's recent decision to drop its new name holder fee has annoyed Auckland-based web hosting company 2Day and its director Peter Mott because the new rate only applies to companies that have signed an accredited provider contract with Domainz.
Domainz used to charge a set-up fee for users who registered with the company for the first time. Domainz CEO Derek Locke says traditionally this was done because there was quite a bit of office work to be done in setting up a new account, or in re-activating one that had been archived.
"That's all changed now so it seemed prudent to pass on that saving to the accredited providers," says Locke. But only those providers that have signed a contract with Domainz are being given the reduced rate. Chief among those that haven't signed are Xtra, Clear and 2Day.
"I think it's just a way of bullying us into signing myself," says Mott.
Locke says the contract is really designed to give Domainz some leverage if there is any dispute over a company's actions, and the discounted fee regime is a way of encouraging companies to sign on with Domainz.
"We find that having the contract signed means we can engage in dialogue with the company far more effectively."
Locke points to the example of Australia-based Internet Name Group (ING) which was accused of spamming customers using information retrieved from the Domainz register (ING suspended from providing .nz domain names).
"We were able to suspend ING and that forced them to enter into dialogue with us over the issue. Without the contract we couldn't have done that."
Free Parking, a division of web hosting company Web Farm - which has signed the contract with Domainz - says it has passed on the new, lower rate to customers and it believes it is the only provider to do so, according to director Richard Shearer.
"It really is a point of difference for us," says Shearer who now charges $39.95 instead of $60.95 excluding GST, to register a domain name. He says the Domainz contract has raised some eyebrows in ISP circles.
"[However] while other ISP's had philosophical problems with the Domainz DRS, we opted to put these philosophical differences aside and focus on ... our customers."
Xtra's Matt Bostwick says the ISP has entered into negotiations with Domainz, but has some concerns over the detail of the contract. These are being worked through.