InterNIC charges $100 for two years' rights to a domain name. Renewing the registration costs $50 a year. Up until today, the InterNIC only accepted the more conventional forms of payment, namely checks sent by regular mail.
The InterNIC still accepts personal checks and money orders. But registrants can also choose to go to the organization's Web site and set up a First Virtual online account. In exchange for a user's credit card number, First Virtual, a financial company based in San Diego, assigns a personal identification number that can be used as a kind of currency for online transactions. Once a transaction takes place, First Virtual debits the user's credit card account.
Of course, users that don't have online bill payment systems eventually have to cut a check to the creditor, so trees die either way. At least now the InterNIC is almost as technologically sophisticated as some of its customers.