Network Solutions Implements New “Front Running” Policy; Is it Any Better?




After getting into all kinds of deep-water with its front running (aka domain tasting) practices, Network Solutions announced it would make changes to its policy. Thanks to Keri Morgret those changes have been spotted in the wild.

While searching for available domain names–and then deciding to abandon the search–Keri was presented with the following pop-up.

Here’s what it said:

Thank you for using networksolutions.com to search for your domain. If you have not made a purchase decision yet, we may be able to reserve the domain for 4 days to give you more time. Reserving the domain will help protect your search from front running. Reserved names will be available for registration only at networksolutions.com Please note that during these 4 days anyone can register these domains through our site. To remove the domains from a reserved status please call 1-800-333-7680. For more information, please visit our home page.

Please click “ok” to reserve all eligible domains that you have just searched.

Funny that Network Solutions wants to “help protect your search from front running.” Weren’t they the ones that were guilty of doing the front running? The message is certainly designed to make you feel safe and secure in clicking “ok” but then you realize that, by doing so, you can’t switch over to Go Daddy and save yourself $20+ in registration fees. ;-)

What do you think of the new pop-up?

  • http://www.yoursearchadvisor.com Andrew Miller

    Still not enough to make me feel warm and fuzzy as a consumer. I don’t think I represent the average NetSol customer, and unfortunately too many of them probably won’t realize the implications of this new policy.

    I would still say “Shame on NetSol” for trying to squeeze money out of their customers. It’s not illegal, just unethical in my opinion.

  • http://www.ioergercreative.com Roderick Ioerger

    I will be much more interested in this, if ICANN makes the changes they have suggested for their June meeting. If they make those changes and Netsol still offers this option then that will be saying something because then this service would potentially be a cost center for Netsol.

  • http://www.reviewopportunity.com Rusty Campbell

    Network Solutions lost their credibility with me a long time ago. They’re just backing off because their front running practice hit the media and the blogs.

  • http://www.thevanblog.com Steven Bradley

    Translation:

    For the next four days if you want to purchase the domain you’ve reserved you’ll have to pay our price and buy it from us.

    By the way we’ll gladly sell the domain to someone else, because we don’t really understand what it means to reserve something.

    Please understand this message is meant to scare you and make you think we really care when we don’t.

  • Ike Korlayne

    Obviously Andy does not understand the definition of front running or domain tasting. Network Solutions isn’t registering the domain when you search for it, they are only reserving the domain name. They aren’t tasting the domain, as they are not keeping the domain after the registration period if it gives enough ad revenue.

    It might not be the best practice, in some people’s opinions, but I doubt there is a practical way to reserve a domain for a specific person, unless the searcher already has an account with Network Solutions. And it will certainly prevent actual front runners, like UltraRPM and MetaPredict, from registering domains they get from spyware when you search for domains (http://www.techchee.com/2007/07/19/spyware-steals-domain-name/).

    This really seems like much ado about nothing, to me. The only real change is that now Network Solutions is notifying of the reservation upfront, and giving you the option not to register the domain.

    If you don’t like it, why use Network Solutions’ site to check for domain availability anyway? Search at your preferred registrar’s website. Caveat: Don’t use the search box at ultrarpm.com. Notice the conspicuous absence of any way to register a domain on that “registrar’s” website.

    -IKE

  • Ike Korlayne

    Sorry for the immediate follow up, but if you want a list of domain tasters, a good indication is the location of a “registrar” on the ‘top losers’ list at registrarstats.com:
    http://www.registrarstats.com/Public/TopDomainChanges.aspx?type=Lose&time=Month

  • http://www.ioergercreative.com Roderick Ioerger

    Ike,

    Actually if you ask to have a domain “reserved” then the registrar is registering the domain name. That is the only way they can guarantee the reservation.

    It so happens you believe domain tasting to only have an ad revenue generated model and that would be incorrect. In this case the way the registrar is domain tasting is buy completing the purchase on domains usuers register and returning the domains the user do not. This is definately domain tasting.

    This practice could become painful if ICANN decides to enforce their rules and applies a nominal fee for each unregistered domain name returned.

    Roderick.

  • http://responsiblemarketing.com Patrick Byers

    Interesting topic. Whether it’s front running, domain tasting or not, I applaud Network Solutions for taking a small step in the right direction.

    It would have been nice if they would have done this a long time ago.

    Patrick Byers
    The Responsible Marketing Blog
    http://responsiblemarketing.com

  • http://solutionsarepower.com/2008/network-solutions-encourages-icann-to-end-front-running-for-good/ Shashi Bellamkonda

    I work at Network Solutions. We know how important this issue is for everyone, and not only did we listen, we’re acting. Roderick is correct when he says that domain tasting is at the heart of the issue.

    Next week ICANN can vote an important issue to resolve to resolve front running for once and for all. Network Solutions is advocating that ICANN acts now to penalize fraudulent domain tasting, and we have published an official statement on our web site to that end.

    Please excuse this URL, but given the seriousness of this issue, it was appropriate to provide a link: http://tinyurl.com/63yaox

    Shashi

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