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DPChallenge Forums >> General Discussion >> Warning: Don't search domains at Network Solutions
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02/18/2008 07:43:14 AM · #1
For anybody looking at registering a new domain name, please don't use the 'Find A Domain' box over at //www.networksolutions.com

In January, Network Solutions began to operate a questionable business practise similar to 'front running' where they automatically pre-register and lock any domain names you search for even if you don't buy them. So, for example, if you search for the availability of //www.mygreatphotography.com at NetSol, and then 5 minutes later go over to GoDaddy to purchase it, you'll find the domain has been grabbed by Network Solutions.

Reports and blogs follow;
//arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080110-network-solutions-defends-frontrunningto-stop-frontrunners.html
//www.domainnamenews.com/featured/domain-registrar-network-solutions-front-running-on-whois-searches/1359
//www.circleid.com/posts/81082_network_solutions_front_running/

02/18/2008 07:54:23 AM · #2
Thanks for posting this! I had a similar but different problem there a few years back. I was searching a site name to register for my Mom at Network Solutions, and when I went back the next day to buy the domain, it was gone. I found out who it was registered to, and contacted him. He wanted to sell it to me for a huge amount of money. Somehow he had stalked the site and recorded what people were doing there, and he pretty much admitted it. I explained to him that the domain was for my Mom, and the name didn't have high value. He basically said "tough." So, I ended up going back to NS and buying her a domain with .net rather than .com. Anyway -- lesson learned even before they started doing what they are now doing -- not safe to do domain searches on Network Solutions.
02/18/2008 08:48:24 AM · #3
Good Lord, that certainly sounds like it has class action lawsuit written all over it. What a terrible practice, if that's true.
02/18/2008 09:02:54 AM · #4
ok, now I'm off to Network Solutions to go search for hundreds of gross, obscene, useless domain names!
02/18/2008 09:08:50 AM · #5
ha, great ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' posthumous...I searched for losercompany, and I guess now they own that...:)
02/18/2008 09:12:45 AM · #6
Network solutions is the old monopoly (prior to the ICAN settlement) and they still act like it.

One of our business domains was registered with them (from the "old" days) and came due. They wanted $40 per year to renew - which is sort of like "rack rate" in a hotel, with market rates being about $10-15 per year now. I decided to move the registration to our hosting company. Of course they offered to match the other price - but in my mind day late dollar short. I didnt want to play that game every year or so.

The roadblocks they put up in front of me to just allow the registration transfer were enormous. Try calling them some time. If you want sales, a person is on in seconds. If you want customer support, you hang on hold for up to a half hour - and you have no choice.

I will never do business with Network Solutions again - either personally or any of my businesses.
02/18/2008 09:30:01 AM · #7
I use Network Solutions for all my domains, I have about 12. I never had any problems with them, I search and purchase there, if I want to purchase some other name servers, I go search there instead of using NetSol.

Here is why they lock your domains (for a while I think). It has happened to me in the pasty, but they did release it after a while. They are protecting your search just incase if you change your mind and come back. While you are doing your search, say you find something available, what if some other person makes the same search and finds it available 5 seconds after you did? I think that's point when they lock the domain, but I believe it's only for a while.

Please double check on that before attacking me because I like Netsol, which I do. I also use Register.com and have no problems... never used others :/
02/18/2008 09:30:45 AM · #8
How do you successfully move your domain? I'm afraid that if I let the domain expire long enough for it to become available to purchase through another service, that it will be snatched up by one of the squatters (if not NetSol themselves). And in the mean time, what does it do to your web site after the domain expires?

Any advice?

02/18/2008 09:33:29 AM · #9
I just got off the phone to Network Solutions, and this is indeed the way the Customer Protection Measures operate. Last night I was using the NetSol search to find some nice business name .com combinations. I must have searched about 100 variations. When I saw the NetSol pricing ($34.99/year) I headed over to GoDaddy ($9.99/year), but the domain was locked by Network Solutions and I couldn't purchase it! (i.e. I'd have to go back to NetSol and buy it for $34.99)

NetSol customer support told me they did this to protect me from front runners. I asked how anybody would know what names I'd been searching for? She replied (in a very vague manner) that I might have spyware on my PC which would transmit this information to potential cybersquatters. I asked if I could disable this feature, she said no. I told her I didn't like this feature, and that I could see some backlash happening. She went back to step 1 and started telling me they were doing it to protect me from cybersquatters. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I phoned GoDaddy support, he chuckled down the phone and told me GoDaddy don't do anything like that, and don't have any plans to do so. He then explained how easy it would be to transfer my existing list of domains from Network Solutions to GoDaddy. I've just completed that process, it cost $7.19 per domain transfer with GoDaddy. But it was worth it.

Of course, Network Solutions are trying every trick in the book to stop the transfers from happening smoothly. Email from NetSol: "If we do not hear from you by February 22, 2008 9:14:13 AM EST, this transfer will proceed." - So they're gonna hang on to me for another 4 days. Just as well I didn't attempt to change the administrative email address before transferring the domains, that would've delayed the transfer for another 60 days "for security reasons"

Terrible business practises.
02/18/2008 10:38:04 AM · #10
Originally posted by dwterry:

How do you successfully move your domain? I'm afraid that if I let the domain expire long enough for it to become available to purchase through another service, that it will be snatched up by one of the squatters (if not NetSol themselves). And in the mean time, what does it do to your web site after the domain expires?

Any advice?


You never need to let your domain expire! If you do you could easily lose it permanently. If this happens, your web site will still be there but no one will be able to get to it. When they type in your ex-domain name it will send them somewhere else.

If you mean changing the registrar, contact the company you want to use and let them lead the way. If you mean changing to another ISP or another server, that's easier. Whoever is hosting it should know how to do it.
02/18/2008 10:45:59 AM · #11
Thanks. I thought you had to let it expire in order to move it. Letting the new registrar handle it makes a lot more sense.

02/18/2008 10:46:59 AM · #12
Thanks, John, for your original post, and thanks all for your follow-ups. It occurred to me years ago that such a practice would be possible, but I didn't really think it was happening.

02/18/2008 10:52:23 AM · #13
Baahahhaa, Network Solutions does indeed suck ass. Here's a link to a thread I started after their shared web-hosting servers were hacked. Network Solutions was irresponsive and quiet about the whole thing. I had to laugh when I got an email from them a month later explaining how they were upgrading their security and EVERYONE was required to change their passwords. LOL. Asshats.

Message edited by author 2008-02-18 10:52:57.
02/18/2008 11:15:19 AM · #14
Originally posted by dwterry:

Thanks. I thought you had to let it expire in order to move it. Letting the new registrar handle it makes a lot more sense.


Generally (all registrars are slightly different)...
- Start the xfer at the new registrar (name must be > 60 days old and not close to the expire date... new registrar will add to the existing expire date in 99% of cases, so you don't lose the time on the old one).
- Login to the old registrar and get an EPP code (just a transfer code if you like). Some have this as an option to send this info to the admin contact email others you have to call.... Some registrars hide this well :-(.
- The new one will likely send you some stuff on the transfer and you likely need to login to the new registrar and start some stuff usually with some codes they send you via email and also the EPP code from the old one.
- Some registrars will send an email to confirm they are allowed to move to your new one... just follow any instructions usually as simple as clicking on yes.
- Should be done in a couple of days.

I just moved a dozen domains recently so the stupid stuff is fresh in my memory. I moved cause olf registrar went out of business (I think), so a normal xfer is easy :-/

Crappy business model but I suspected something a while back when I lost a domain that was free when I searched... or maybe the slime squatter that now wants 1K for the domain happened to register a few hours after my search by chance.... wish I would have just hit register but I was looking at variations.

Message edited by author 2008-02-18 11:18:25.
02/18/2008 02:15:42 PM · #15
Originally posted by dwterry:

Thanks. I thought you had to let it expire in order to move it. Letting the new registrar handle it makes a lot more sense.

Transferring the domain name registrar was easier than I'd expected. Make sure the 'Administrative Contact' email on your domain is set to your email address, since that's where they email the authorization codes to. (You'll find that info in the 'whois' section)

GoDaddy.com even have a Transfer Concierge available on the phone if you need help. This is obviously big business for them!
02/18/2008 02:24:08 PM · #16
that happened to me when i registered 'beasltlieboys.com'

i had serached for 5 or 6 related names and went to the kitchen to think about which ones i wanted for 5 minutes - came back and there was only available to grab.

at the time i thought maybe ' the beastie boys ' had something set up their sleeve...


02/18/2008 02:26:49 PM · #17
Originally posted by alanfreed:

Good Lord, that certainly sounds like it has class action lawsuit written all over it. What a terrible practice, if that's true.

Funny you mention that: Registrar's Lock-In of Searched Names Could Spur Class-Action Litigation
02/27/2008 06:30:49 PM · #18
Sorry for the bump, but I thought this article was timely given this recent discussion:

Network Solutions Sued for Holding Names

[Pre-post edit: I see that [user]jhonan[/user] posted a link foreboding this back when the thread was current.]
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