Why You Should Never Use Network Solutions

I wrote this a long time ago, & while Network Solutions is still a company to be avoided at all costs, I now recommend DynDNS or NameCheap for regsitering your domain names.

Folks, this is long, so let me summarize: if you register a domain name using Network Solutions (now owned by VeriSign, so you might see them doing business under the VeriSign name, or you might see them referred to as NSI), they sell your personal information to marketers who will bother you constantly.

This is yet another reason they are not a company I will never, ever do business with again. The other reason is that they have no idea of customer service. None. They make things as hard as possible on their Web site. And if you ever have to call them … oh my (at least you CAN call them now. They just added a telephone number recently). I spent 45 minutes with them on the phone several weeks ago, talking to two different customer rep's, and neither would give me a straight answer to a simple question: "Did you charge our credit card a week and a half ago, and if you did, why haven't you renewed the domain name in question? What's holding things back?" I got the run around over and over and over again. This is a pattern with Network Solutions. They just don't care about their customers. And this is not unique with me. Far from it. Talk to anyone who's had to deal with them. It's a horror show.

It's not just me. ISPs have told me that it is incredibly difficult to make DNS updates or changes through Network Solutions.

I'm sick of Network Solutions. If you want to register a domain name, use Register.com—they're at www.register.com, oddly enough. They make things easy on the customer, and I've never had a problem with them. Try 'em out. You can also switch your registration from Network Solutions to Register.com if you'd like—just go to www.register.com and look for the link for Transfer. It's a very simple process. You can be sure I did it. None of the several domain names I've got are now registered through Network Solutions, and it will be a cold day you know where before I ever register any domain through them again.

There are other registrars you can use as well, and some are cheaper than Register.com. The list can be found on a page I've made about Domain Names.

If you'd like to read a great article about how Network Solutions is selling YOUR data, please check out the article "Network Solutions Sells Out—Domain Info For Sale to Marketers", which can be found at http://www.vortex.com/privacy/priv.10.03. I hope it makes you angry and spurs you to act.

Network Solutions/Verisign in the News

Here's a collection of articles about Network Solutions, which sometimes does business under the name of its parent company, Verisign.

16 September 2003: "Network administrators are fuming about changes made by domain registrar Verisign to the DNS system yesterday amid concern that the alterations could make it difficult for mail servers to reject mail from invalid domains. Verisign yesterday added wildcard DNS records to all .com and .net domains—redirecting surfers who get lost on the Net to a search page, called Site Finder, run by the company. Those who type in non-existent addresses will also be served up Site Finder, instead of an error message. … So, Verisign has turned domain name typos into an advertising opportunity. This is an abuse of Verisign's role, via acquired company Network Solutions, in running the root DNS servers. … It makes it very difficult for mail servers to reject mail from invalid domains … Even worse, if an MX record points to an invalid host name, that host will now resolve, the SMTP connection accepted and the mail then rejected. Because the rejection is a 550 error, that mail will not get retried *ever* again. If that MX was the highest priority mail server than all mail to that domain name will bounce." [The Register]

25 July 2003: "In a ruling that could pave the way for a large payment of damages, a federal appeals court in San Francisco held that Network Solutions, which operates the central database of dot-com domains, may be held liable for wrongfully transferring the Sex.com domain to a con man based on a forged letter. Although Network Solutions, a unit of VeriSign (VRSN), did not steal the domain, the court held that the company should be held responsible for giving it to someone else without properly informing its rightful owner." [Wired News]

15 May 2003: "Verisign has been granted a patent protecting the lookup of domain names. The patent protects the act of performing several look-ups at once, or 'performing a multitude of searches simultaneously, transparent to the user. … It would appear that a simple shell script that searches for theregister.com, .org or .net would fall foul of the "invention", which Verisign filed in 1998. The illustration implementation listed in the patent describes a Perl script that forks. In this discussion of the patent at ICANNwatch, Karl Auerbach points out that UNIX resolvers have been doing this since the mid 1980s." [The Register]

3 February 2003: Network Solutions "… warns that if a forthcoming decision by the court goes the wrong way it 'would cripple the Internet and jeopardize the national economic benefit for e-commerce'. It would also 'threaten all Internet registrars' survival'. … What is this decision that threatens to wipe out the Internet in one fell swoop? It is whether Network Solutions (NSI) can be held accountable for wrongly handing over ownership of the extremely lucrative Sex.com domain to a Michael Cohen after he sent a faked fax to the company's headquarters—in 1995." [The Register]

28 January 2003: "The Internet Architecture Board, which oversees the internet's standard-setting bodies, this weekend criticized as "a violation of the DNS protocol" a service VeriSign Inc recently introduced to help web users use non-English letters in domain names …" [The Register]

25 January 2003: "'A few thousand' Network Solutions customers received e-mail messages that contained more than 85,000 e-mail addresses of other Network Solutions customers … The list was sent to Network Solutions customers who purchased ".org" addresses through the company; it included customers whose addresses begin with the letters R through Z." [The Washington Post] "A 1.7 MB text file forwarded to us by a number of moderately displeased NSI customers lists every contact e-mail connected to .org sites from R through Z. These are believed to be public contact addresses for the Web site operators, not confidential contact addresses. … Unfortunately, the addresses are now neatly consolidated so that any spammer on the list will have received a collection of addys suitable for easy insertion into his spam-o-matic." [The Register]

3 September 2002: "The Internet's governing body has threatened to pull VeriSign's contract to sell Web addresses unless the domain name company maintains more accurate records of its customers. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) on Tuesday accused VeriSign of breaching its contract because it failed to correct inaccurate customer information in a timely fashion." [CNET News.com]

8 July 2002: "I thought you might be interested in seeing how Verisign responds to a registrar change request… you get what appears to be a junk mail that, if you don't read the fine print on, and just delete, will result in a denial of the transfer request. … The actual instructions on how to confirm the transfer request are buried in the 'signature' portion of the email." [Politechbot]

15 May 2002: "A U.S. court on Tuesday ordered Internet naming giant VeriSign Inc. to immediately cease a direct-mail campaign that used what a rival called deceptive advertising to poach its customers." [CNN]

14 May 2002: "Domain registrar VeriSign has infuriated the Web community by wrongly transferring a New York writer's domain to an unchecked person in Germany. … The problem lies with the company's insistence on using printed and faxed forms, rather than Web-based password-protected entry to registrant details that many other registrars use. VeriSign does offer more secure options but at a premium and even this has been seen to fail, with hijackers grabbing domains with even so-called top-level security (Internet.com is a case in point). … The company has been reluctant to move from its form method as it not only makes transfer to other registrars a more time-consuming and complicated affair, but also leaves it in ultimate power over the domain details." [The Register]

13 May 2002: "Internet domain-name seller VeriSign Inc. was hit with a lawsuit filed on Monday by a rival that charged VeriSign with using false advertising to steal customers." [Reuters]

13 May 2002: "BulkRegister, the fourth largest domain name registrar, today filed a lawsuit against VeriSign at the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. The suit alleges VeriSign engaged in unfair practices with its recent "Domain Name Expiration Notice" marketing campaign." [Data Center Wire]

9 May 2002: "Members of the ISP-DNS list say that apparently harmless VeriSign 'invoices' may actually be attempts to steal business from a competitor, OpenSRS, and may be tantamount to mail fraud, which is a felony." [ISP-Planet]

26 April 2002: "A slew of customer complaints and rumors of massive layoffs at the world's largest registrar seemed to indicate trouble ahead for executives at Thursday evening's financial call." [ISP-Planet]

25 March 2002: "Verisign reportedly sending deceptive domain registration bills" [Politechbot]

28 January 2002: "A court has ruled that NSI can screw up its monopoly on dot-com domain name management and face no consequence for its actions … In 2000, a lower court ruled that NSI, a private company, which is the sole domain name registry for dot-com domain names, is immune from civil suit in cases where it negligently handled a domain name." [ISP-Planet]

20 July 2001: "VeriSign is accused of stealing customers from small businesses in the same week as it announced plans to register phone numbers." [ISP-Planet]

Here's a Web site devoted to Network Solutions and its various misdeeds: http://nsihorrorstories.com/

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