Some of the best things in life are free-but one of them has finally gone the way of the dinosaur. For years, companies have been able to register their own Internet "domain name" (the part of an e-mail address that follows the @ symbol) free of charge. For example, if you own a business called XYZ and want that name in your e-mail address, you could register as "email@example.com." But recently, Network Solutions Inc., the company that registers domain names for the Internet, began imposing a $50 annual fee on commercial registrations.
The fee is a result of rising costs for handling the skyrocketing number of registrations that, until now, were subsidized by the National Science Foundation. It applies only to domain holders-not end-users who access the Internet through commercial online services such as CompuServe and America Online.
New commercial registrations will be charged $100 to register a name for two years; thereafter, a $50 annual fee will be imposed. Existing registrants owe a fee on the anniversary date of the original registration and will be notified electronically when their renewal is due.