Beware! Network Solutions Registers Any Domain You Lookup On Their Whois
There’s an update to this story at the end of the article
If you go to Network Solutions (I can’t even bring myself to provide a link to their site anymore) and look up the availability of a domain, and if it’s available, they will register it! This is unbelievable and incredibly unethical. I first read about it on Bill Hartzer’s blog (via Marketing Pilgrim) and had to find out for myself. So I went to Network Solution’s website and looked up networksolutionscanbiteme.com. As you can see below, the domain name was available.
Then, within seconds of submitting that request, they had already registered it. How do I know that? All I had to do was go to the domain I had just queried and this is what I got.
I smell a class action lawsuit coming on. My advice to you, stay very far away from Network Solutions. Chris Dohman has more details about it on this Sphinn comment.
My biggest problem with this practice has to do with imposing this so-called customer protection service on users that aren’t customers yet. For example, what if I stumbled upon Network Solutions and wanted to look up the availability of a domain name. Then, after finding a domain name I liked, I saw their fees and wanted to look elsewhere for registering my domain. Well, I couldn’t (for the time being) and I would be held hostage by Network Solutions. I don’t like the service for other reasons too, but that’s my main beef. Fortunately, there’s already some concessions that are being made. Shashi Bellamkonda who works with Network Solutions has posted the following changes that they plan to make within the next week or two.
- We have changed the current webpage to which reserved domain names resolve to a general under construction page. Additionally, all new reserved names after tonight will not resolve to any page at all.
- This week, we will be making enhancements that will address the concerns related to disclosure of zone file and DNS server information of the reserved names. This should address some of the concerns recently raised.
- Very soon we will remove our customer protection measure from our WHOIS search page, so that no domains searched on this page will be reserved. We will continue to reserve, however, domains searched from our homepage.