Long time I haven’t heard about the Network Solutions crap, and just now I noticed someone posted similar news again. It seems like a newcomer didn’t notice the case of Network Solutions (which had ever been talked widely last January 2008) and fell into the same bad experience. I wonder if someone had better put the alert everywhere on the web for the sake of newcomers?
Oh well …
This is the article I mentioned just now. All the credit of the article goes to the original site below …
This case is actually well known since January 2008, when everyone just started talking about it everywhere. In the beginning I just let this topic away from my site, for I thought that everybody surely had known about it, but it seems that newcomers would still come and stumble upon similar experience *again*, so I decided to bring this topic up here too.
For the newcomers of domain name registration, maybe some of you have known … but maybe some others of you haven’t known yet. So let’s make sure that all of us know the same information now.
There is a warning for all of you and I to note and to remember: Before you start searching availability of your chosen domain name to be, beware …
Network Solutions has implemented a program that locks users from registering domains with other registrars, they call it: “Customer Protection Measure”.
What the heck is that? How does it work?
The simple logic flow for easy understanding is:
You were searching the availability a domain name from Network Solutions domain searching interface.
- You found they said that the domain you searched was available to purchase.
But, you didn’t purchase it right away (because their price was $34.99 and you knew that your registrar-to-be would offer you cheaper price, and even only around $9), and you decided to go to your registrar instead of purchasing it through Network Solution.
- So you quickly visited your registrar page to register the domain name …
But you suddenly found out that the domain name was TAKEN and when you entered the domain name into whois query, you found something similar like this:
Domain Name: *******
Registrar: NETWORK SOLUTIONS, LLC.
Whois Server: whois.networksolutions.com
Referral URL: http://www.networksolutions.com
Name Server: NS1.RESERVEDDOMAINNAME.COM
Name Server: NS2.RESERVEDDOMAINNAME.COM
Updated Date: 02-mar-2008
Creation Date: 02-mar-2008
Expiration Date: 02-mar-2009
(Note: ******* is censored, for the sake of the person -since this is a true story- who naively had searched this domain and now the domain was under ‘hostage’ for $34.99 ransom)
You quickly got back at Network Solutions page, checking the domain name again (either by the same searching interface or by using their whois tool), and you found that the domain was still available there! But it was only available to be purchased right there, from the Network Solutions only.
And later you finally realized, there was a small image (almost unnoticed) on the same searching page, when you clicked it, it would bring you to a page explaining about the so-called Customer Protection Measure of Network Solutions, saying something like this:
“Network Solutions may reserve domain names that are searched on our Web site for up to 4 days. During this period, these domain names will only be available to register at networksolutions.com.”
– What is the Customer Protection Measure? (Network Solutions) –
Got the idea yet?
For more clear insight and information about what has been going on with this Non-Sense Protection Measure of Network Solutions, there are some sites that have mentioned all things we should know about this case:
Network Solutions Faces PR Nightmare Over Domain FrontRunning (Domain Name Wire)
Slashdot | NSI Registers Every Domain Checked
Network Solutions steals domain ideas; Confirmed! (by Jay Westerdal)
front-running, kabateck-brown-kellner, netsol, network-solutions » Domain Name News
No matter what some defenders said about the so called Customer Protection Measure, including their response about this case (read Network Solutions responds to Front Running Accusations at domainnews.com), whatever they said, it is clear that what they implement is no difference with their own definition of Front Running:
Front Running is when an individual registers domains within minutes or hours after someone else has conducted a domain name search on a registrar’s site, performed a WHOIS query or typed a domain in the browser to see if there is an active Web site. Front Runners may get access to these searches through Internet Service Providers, Spyware, or registries. Front Running allows these individuals to attempt to make money from the domain through pay-per-click ads or by re-selling the domain in the aftermarket at a marked up price.
– What is Front Running? (Network Solutions) –
Well, Network Solutions, just stop this Non-Sense. What you have been doing and are still doing has no difference at all. You lock the domain name right away after someone searched for it from your searching tool. You may say you are not making money from the domain through pay-per-click ads; okay, but you are displaying your own ads saying that this domain is available to purchase from your site, and by the way, are you saying that you are not displaying your own ads to be clicked? And you say that you are not monetizing the domain, but the person himself / herself is no longer able to purchase the domain from anywhere else except your site (note: before you start saying that it is only for up to 4 days, read on till the end of this article!). In fact, before the person made the searching in your searching interface, the domain was available to purchase from ANY registrar (and for the person’s registrar, it would only be around $9), but then you grabbed it, and froze it so the person would only be able to register it from your site at $34.99.
So, do you still remember your definition about Front Running? I will suggest you to re-read your own site then, Network Solutions.
And for the newcomers of domain registration world, welcome to the Non-Sense of Network Solutions awareness. I would like to advise you to be careful on using domain availability searching tool anywhere, do your prior research towards the whole site to make sure they don’t freeze your chosen domain after you have used their searching / whois tool to check the availability. Especially this tool of Network Solutions. If you don’t plan to purchase a domain name from any registrar (but from another one), don’t toy with the first one’s searching / whois tool. But if you insist on trying it, then try it at your own risk.
They may say: “A customer may phone Network Solutions customer support and request the domain name be released before the end of the reserve period.” But for International registrant candidates, that was just a non-sense to make an international call for just requesting the release of the ‘hostage’ since they were sure that they would never purchase the domain from this site, concerning the high paying difference of the price between $34.99 (Network Solutions) and $9 (their own registrar). Not to mention that the prices of ‘do-it-yourself’ and ‘do-it-for-me’ on the same searching page were misleading the people about the real price for purchasing the domain, and then they would end their search to sudden awareness that the real price for the domain name was $34.99. Now, tell me, how many people would still be ‘faithful’ to purchase when they found out the price?
And not to mention that third parties can now monitor lookups on NSI via the daily additions and deletions from the NSI nameserver by more malicious 3rd parties. So, if you don’t get it in 4 days, a squatter will notice the shown interest and know to register it themselves.
So, take heed to the warning again:
If you are not planning to register any domain name through Network Solutions (or any other registrar), never use their domain searching tools, do not ever toy with their domain searching tools, and I would not recommend you to use even their whois tool either.
However, if you have decided to purchase any domain name, make sure first about which registrar service you would use for the registration, and search the availability of your chosen domain name only from the chosen registrar, and don’t toy with other registrar’s tools (like this Network Solutions has).
Personally I don’t think that Network Solutions is the only one that implements this so called ‘Customer Protection Measure’. However, since the world wide web knows Network Solutions cases and the lawsuits against them, and how that they are still doing the same Non-Sense towards a naive newcomer (just re-read the point #5 above, it still happened again dated March 2, 2008), I decided to put this post up, so the others will also take note and then be careful next time.
Enough said for today.
Filed under: breaking news, domain, front running, network solutions