Comparing the deceptive advertising being practiced by Verisign to BMG or Columbia House doesn't fly, sorry. While there may be "some saps out there that don't realize all the hidden strings", I would say that "Joe Sixpack" generally understands how CD / movie / book clubs work.
Domain names are something else. Imagine this - Joe Sixpack has a small company, decided to get a domain a while ago for the company web site and e-mail address. Joe called his ISP, who are either part of something like OpenSRS, or else have an account at Bulk Register, and they registered the domain for him, with Joe as the admin contact. Today, Joe gets a notice from VeriSign, saying that renewal fees for his domain are due (or at least that's what it looks like). Joe knows about VeriSign - after all, he reads Fast Company and the Wall Street Journal - looks legit, pays it (or sends the notice to accounting to pay it).
This is not unusual - this happens every day. I know - I'm the ISP in this case. We register our customers domains at BulkRegister. We've seen pretty much all the notices, etc. that you can find at domainscams.com. We've had some of our more astute customers forward these notices to us. Unfortunately, many of them only forward it to us after they've sent in their payment.
If I haven't convinced you that this is an invalid comparison, try this simple test. Tell a friend that you got a bunch of CDs from Columbia House for almost free, but you're pissed that they're making you pay shipping and handling, and you still have to buy a bunch more from them. Tell a different friend that you paid what you thought was an invoice for a domain name, but it turned out to be a "slam" tactic. In both cases, your friend will probably react with surprise - but in the first case, it will be because your friend didn't think you were that fscking stupid.
Corporate Jenga™: You take a blockhead from the bottom and you put him on top...