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Re: Well Lookie Here, Barracuda Networks tries to get me to fall into their trap again...
From: Edward Dore <edward.dore () freethought-internet co uk>
Date: Wed, 21 Dec 2011 19:09:15 +0000

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current signatures, or B) disbelief in the decreasing value of out of date signatures.]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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