January 8, 2008

Nice Guys - Network Solutions

One of the original network registrars was Network Solutions. They ran a very backward operation (trying to change any information on your domain registration was byzantine and in one case, where I was selling an old domain name of mine, they mis-typed the information so that it took two weeks to make the transfer). They have since yielded to the competitive pressure from the other registrars out there and now run a fairly easy-t-use website for registering your domain name and to search for possible new domain names. One big hitch though, if you use their search engine to see if a domain name is available, and if it is, NS will automatically grab ownership of that domain forcing you to register through them and them only. This had been suspected for a month or so but today's Slashdot links to proof. From Domain Name News:
Domain Registrar Network Solutions Front Running On Whois Searches
A story is developing regarding domain name registrar Network Solutions front running domains. According to multiple sources on DomainState.com, it appears that domains searched via NSI are being purchased by the registrar thereby preventing a registrant from purchasing it at any other registrar other than NSI. As an example, a random domain which DNN searches such as HowDoesThisDomainTasteTaste.com can be seen in this whois search to now be unavailable to register at other registrars but at NSI it can be purchased

The whois contact now says:

Registrant: Make this info private
This Domain is available at NetworkSolutions.com
13681 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 300

The domains are likely being purchased and held in NSI ownership until the potential registrant comes back to purchase the name through NSI. If the purchase is not made at NSI within 5 days, NSI uses the same 5 day grace period that domain tasting operations use and they delete the domain. Once a search for a domain is conducted at NSI the domain name is registered and only available to be purchased by a registrant at NSI. It is not clear if NSI has increased prices on domains that have received multiple whois searches and that they are front running.
Some great comments at both Slashdot and Domain Name News. Posted by DaveH at January 8, 2008 3:44 PM | TrackBack