March 7, 2001

BulkRegister's Bulk Restructuring: CEO, Others Fired
By Brian McWilliams and Thor Olavsrud

In a surprise move Tuesday,, the fourth largest domain registrar with 6.7 percent of the market as of Dec. 31, 2000, fired Chief Executive Officer Tony Keyes and 23 of its 33 employees.

According to one of the laid off employees, the fired workers were given no notice and no severance pay or medical insurance. They are in the process of seeking legal redress, the employee said.

A source close to the company told InternetNews Radio Wednesday that Corey Blanton, an executive with BulkRegister's sister company, domain hosting firm Alabanza Inc., has been named acting CEO of the company. Blanton was not available for comment.

Keyes told, which first reported the story, "No severance. Immediate. I have not been asked to help in any transition and they seem to have no idea how this will impact the marketplace."

The company cited a dramatic downturn in the domain registration business as the reason for the downsizing. The sector is also in the throes of uncertainty following ICANN's decision last week to allow industry-leading registrar VeriSign to remain whole and hang on to the lucrative .com registry.

The deal appears to have overturned an October 1999 deal with the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the U.S. Department of Commerce which required VeriSign to divest ownership of its registry or registrar businesses. A number of detractors of last week's deal between VeriSign and ICANN said allowing VeriSign to continue to operate the sought-after .com registry and serve as a registrar gives it an unfair advantage.

But aside from industry-wide uncertainty, BulkRegister is suffering from a self-inflicted black eye it received last month after an error during a routine upgrade exposed the information of about 200 of its clients. Credit card information and account passwords were not leaked, but a bug in the system's query function caused customers doing look-ups on their accounts to see other customers' domain records, including account names, e-mail addresses and DNS information.