A friend tipped me off to a Domain State thread that warns you not to look up a domain name at Network Solutions. If you go to the Networks Solutions site and look up a domain name to see if it’s registered then Network Solutions, within seconds, will buy the domain name, causing you to have to go buy it from them.
Let me explain, using a specific example, exactly what Network Solutions is doing and what is wrong with what they’re doing.
First, I went to the NetworkSolutions.com home page and filled out their form to see if BillHartzerIsAwesome.com was available.
According to Network Solutions, BillHartzerIsAwesome.com was available. See the screen capture below:
(It is my contention that within seconds of my inquiring about the BillHartzerIsAwesome.com domain name Network Solutions automatically registered that domain name.)
But, my wife called me on my cell phone and I had to step away from my computer for a few minutes. A few minutes later, I realized that I could buy that same domain name for $6.99 over at another registrar and decided to go with them, rather than paying Network Solutions the $34.99 for the domain name. After all, I could think of a lot of things that I could spend the savings of $28 dollars on, mainly 3 other domain names.
Come to find out, Network Solutions had already purchased the domain name and I am forced to buy it from them. Not only did Network Solutions buy the domain name after I looked it up, they automatically put up a “domain parking page” on the site, telling me that I must buy it from them.
A domain lookup is absolutely not an agreement to buy.
Network Solutions may call this a service of theirs. Frankly, I would not call this a “service” or even a bad business practice–I would call it extortion. There are thousands of registrars out there, and we all have the right to register a domain name at any registrar. It’s called “fair competition”. If I check to see if a domain name is available at Network Solutions, I should not be required to purchase that domain name from them for $34.99. I should be able to go to another registrar and register it for $6.99 or even $14.99. A domain lookup is absolutely not an agreement to buy.
For the purpose of this blog post, I went ahead and bought the domain name anyway from Network Solutions. But, you might want to try it for yourself. Make up a domain name, see if it’s available at Network Solutions, and you’ll see that they register it immediately, locking you into buying it from them.
This practice of “domain tasting” or registering a domain name after someone looks it up to see if it’s available is completely unacceptable.
It’s called ethics. What do you think?
You can also find more about this here, lots of other sites are talking about it:
Search For Domains At Network solutions, Face Extortion
Network Solutions + Unethical go hand and hand
NSI Registers Every Domain Checked
Network Solutions’ Defensive Measure for Whois Searches
Network Solutions Front Running
Network Solutions Faces PR Nightmare Over Domain FrontRunning
NetworkSolutions Scandal: Hijacking User Domain Searches
As an alternative, you might try registering your domains at Godaddy or another registrar like Dotster: www.GoDaddy.com Dotster.com
Update: Network Solutions has responded to the front-running (front running) claim. Read their response in the comments below. There’s also a statement here at Circle ID.
Jay is also talking about it. He confirms that Network Solutions started doing this on December 16th. Why in the heck did it take people this long to realize what Network Solutions was doing? Network Solutions steals domain ideas; Confirmed!
Here are a few more people talking about Network Solutions:
Network Solutions steals domain ideas; Confirmed!
Network Solutions joins the namespace piracy business
Network Solutions steals creative domain name ideas
Network Solutions Stealing Domain Ideas!
Network Solutions Destroys Its Brand In One Fell Swoop