Network Solutions: How not to maintain a monopoly.

Update #3: And, not surprisingly, Network Solutions canceled the transfer again. Damnit. I really need to write down the bloody voice menu hell selections.

OK– so, finally, I got through to a Network Solutions Customer Service person that might have a clue about what is really going on. She says that the problem is the “authorization email”. Apparently, there is some authorization email that should be sent that I’m never receiving. It contains an URL that I must click within X hours of the mail being sent for the transaction to succeed.

It would be pretty funny if this ends up being overzealous spam filtering on the part of .mac. Bugs will be filed, if that is the case.

The Nice Customer Support person is updating the email address on my account to point to a different email address.

Hopefully, update #4 will be the last.

Update #2: Got enough coffee in me to call NetSol customer service back (after the 4th denied transfer now). The Nice Guy in customer service transferred me to the Nice Girl in the Customer Care & Retention Center (whatever it is called).

The first thing she did was reassure me that she & Network Solutions could help me with whatever problems I was having but, first, wouldn’t it be easier to stick with NetSol for the low, low price of $8.95/year? It was a price only available through the Customer Care Center.

“No, thanks” is what I said. What I thought was: “No, thanks, this is exactly the kind of marketing that is contributing to my decision to no longer do business with Network Solutions.”.

She also mentioned that said pricing is available to customers who wish to consolidate their inventory of domains with Network Solutions. In other words, if you do business with NetSol you can likely obtain a whiner’s discount.

Unsurprisingly, nothing has actually been resolved and it is abundantly clear that the data provided to the customer center folk is rather lacking in detail. Nice bunch of people, though — as much as I’m frustrated by the company, the customer support folks have been pleasant and patient.

Anyway, the overall customer support experience is maddeningly stupid.

Their claim is now that a domain lock takes up to 24 hours to propagate and, thus, any transfers initiated in that period would likely fail.

Fine, but I have record of four transfer attempts in four days all failing for the same reason.

Network Solutions is further claiming that, not only do they not have the au-thor-i-TIE to block the transfer, but that Joker.com has never initiated a transfer request. That the failed transfers are a figment of my imagination, apparently.

That I have four separate, identical, emails spread across four days that all tell me that Network Solutions has cancelled the transfer and that I should contact customer service is completely baffling to the customer service people I’m instructed to contact!

Their conclusion? Try the transfer again. There is no reason why it shouldn’t work!

OK. I’ll do that. One more time. If it succeeds, happy day and No More Network Solutions In My Life! If it fails, I’m going to have to try and convince Network Solution’s customer support that, in fact, they really are denying the transfer. That should be fun.

Update #1: And, of course, the transfer was again cancelled by Network Solutions, even though they supposedly “do not have the authority” (best cartman voice) to do so.

I suspect this’ll be the first in many updates. I don’t have the energy to argue with their “customer support” about how “weird” the email is right now.


You’d think that transferring a domain would be straightforward. I just want to transfer the last damned domain from NetSol to Joker. Should be easy.

But, no, it isn’t easy. And it makes me feel like I need to wash my hands after every time I interact with Network Solutions.

First sign of trouble was the first login. NetSol requires me to update my contact info. No way to cancel without logging out. I don’t need to update my contact information and I really don’t appreciate getting faced with my entire set of personal information when I logged in. And I am seriously irritated that NetSol won’t let me cancel out of the process.


I thought I was going to a business’s web site to get some business done. Yet, somehow, NetSol made it feel like I clicked through one of those fracking “update your paypal account info” spams.

After wading through a handful of various promotions and ads, I found the link to go turn off domain protection long enough to transfer the domain. Of course, it comes with a huge block of text reading:

If you are turning off domain protect in order to transfer your domain to another registrar, we would like to do whatever it takes to keep your business.

Please call 1-800-779-4903 to speak with a domain transfer support specialist.

OK — reasonable bit o’ marketing real esate. I can certainly understand why they are trying to keep my business at this stage. Turn off domain protection, grab an authorization code, no problem (or so I thought).

Next up? Go to joker.com, log in, start a transfer, put in domain name, paste in AUTH code. Done (or so I thought).

Now, Joker had several emails to me within a couple of minutes exactly detailing the process. After about 30 minutes, the first of Network Solutions email had shown up. In my Junk mail folder.

Another hour later and:

We have received a request to transfer the domain name FOOBARBAZ.COM out of your Network Solutions account and to an account at another registrar. … before we process this transfer request we want to ensure that the transfer request is the result of a choice you made to actually transfer your domain name to another registrar.

If you do wish to transfer your domain name registration out of your Network Solutions account, please contact Customer Service at registrar@networksolutions.com and we will assist you with that process.

Network Solutions is committed to delivering high quality services to meet your online needs. We hope to continue to serve you in the future.

Yeah, no. I just want a competent registrar that does just that; domain registrations. I do not want a registrar constantly trying to upsell me into overpriced “solutions” for problems no one has. $3,800 for “top 10 search engine placement”. Nope. No, thanks.

Not completely pissed yet. Send email to registrar@networksolutions.com. YES, please, transfer the domain. Joker, of course, has also gotten the denial and has already sent me an email stating that the transfer has been denied and that they’ll try again in 24 hours.

Network Solutions has already responded to my registrar@ email with a “thanks for your inquiry, we’ll get back to you within 3 business days”. And, of course, I didn’t get a response in the first 36 hours.

OK, now I’m starting to be irritated. This whole process is designed to keep business with NetSol. I can understand the 3 days thing, but this is a domain transfer away from NetSol. You’d think they would deal with it promptly. Worse, just try and find anything on NetSol’s customer support about transferring away from them. Nothing. Nada. But they happily tried to sell me search engine placement when I searched for this info.

I’m starting to feel like one of those poor bastards who tried to cancel their AOL account.

Joker has now tried the transfer again, automatically. And it has failed again automatically. And I have sent another email to registrar@networksolutions.com (Yes, I know that this won’t do any good and, yes, I’m just responding to a fracking bot mail):

For the second time: YES, I WANT TO TRANSFER FOOBARBAZ.COM.

This is *exactly* why I want to transfer the domain. Network Solutions does a horrible job of the most basic services while turning around and perpetually spamming me with overpriced bogus services such as “search engine placement”.

Please stop holding my domain hostage. Let it go to a competent registrar.

Of course, this led to a call to Network Solutions 24/7 Customer Support line.

Nice, polite, and utterly useless.

Network Solutions says that the domain is unlocked and, therefore, NetSol has no authority to deny a transfer that includes the authorization code that NetSol provided.

But I have an email– quoted above– stating that NetSol did deny the transfer.

NetSol Dude: “But that isn’t possible. Network Solutions does not have the authority to block this transfer. You received an email with a link that you could click to authorize the transfer.”

Me (politely): “That sounds like it would have been great if it had happened! But it didn’t and I haven’t received any emails with links or anything but this denial with an email address in it. Now, why did Net Sol block the transfer?”

NetSol Dude: “It didn’t.”

Me (still politely): “Then where did this email from NetSol’s server and carrying NetSol’s logo that describes denying the transfer come from?”

NetSol Dude: “Sometimes email is very strange. Can you initiate the transfer again?”

Unfortunately, I couldn’t. I have to wait for Joker to try (and likely fail) again tonight. If it does fail, I can call NetSol tomorrow and walk through the process again.

But maybe I’ll get lucky and the email will not be so strange tonight…


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8 Responses to “Network Solutions: How not to maintain a monopoly.”

  1. silence says:

    Oh man, we have had similar bad experiences with NS! We only wanted to renew our domain and in contrast to the past when you could simply ‘insert coin to continue’, they now required us to log into their site… with accounts and passwords we never had used. Unfortunately the registered mail addresses were void, you can imagine the tedious and kafkaesque fax mail address change process we had to endure. It took roundabout four weeks before the email address was changed.
    Now I am really looking forward to transferring the domain away from them. Thanks Bill, for describing the hell we will have to go thru.
    They suck so hard, it would make a black hole blush…

    -silence

  2. Chris Walters says:

    While I can understand your frustration, personally, I’m glad it isn’t easy to transfer domains. Someone hijacked our domain (id.com) in 1999 by sending a forged fax to NetSol. We almost lost it. Just this year more hijack attempts were made by spoof emails and such being sent to NetSol. Obviously we monitor our whois pretty closely, and we were on the problem in a few hours. NetSol support were ok but only after I escalated big time. Just another viewpoint…

  3. PAPA JOE says:

    Dear Son,

    now u know some of the fn frustration i go through with some of the assinine sites & their incessant ads & promomtions.

    it used to be sooo easy.

    Papa Joe

  4. bbum says:

    Chris — the problem is that I jumped through all their bloody hoops and the transfer still hasn’t worked. Worse, their dumbass customer support claims that NetSol can’t possibly be blocking the transfer.

    Are you claiming that clueless incompetence is a security feature?

  5. bbum’s weblog-o-mat » Blog Archive » Network Solutions: The Conclusion says:

    […] Background: Go read this post for the Exciting! adventure that led to this post. […]

  6. Chris Walters says:

    Bill – I’m not claiming that. I’m saying if you escalate you’ll eventually get to somebody who can help you. At least that has been my experience.

  7. links for 2007-07-20 at James A. Arconati says:

    […] bbum’s weblog-o-mat » Blog Archive » Network Solutions: How not to maintain a monopoly. You’d think that transferring a domain would be straightforward. I just want to transfer the last damned domain from NetSol to Joker. Should be easy. But, no, it isn’t easy. And it makes me feel like I need to wash my hands after every time I interact (tags: NetworkSolutions blogs domains customer-service) […]

  8. Mark Dowding says:

    bbum – I’m having similar frustrations with Network Solutions! A billing error on their part has resulted in our account being suspended. This means that I cannot renew the service until the billing error has been resolved. The fact is, even though they have admitted owing us a refund, my account (300+ email boxes) have been deactivated and no one in the company can send or receive email! For a real estate agent today, this is like being deaf and blind and in a strange location. In the last week, I’ve spent nearly 8 hours including 2 hours on Saturday and 45 minutes on Sunday from my cell phone with the “customer no-service” department, trying to get things re-activated. I was just told by a supervisor that I could expect the email will “go up and down” for the next few hours, until I can contact someone on Monday! I was assured that they would keep an eye on things for me and re-activate as soon as it goes down. I asked him if there was a flashing red light that notified them of this problem (can you sense my level of frustration?) and I was told they would check it periodically! I can see from the postings that once I transfer my domain (and I WILL) I’m in for more of the same. Incompetence? That doesn’t even BEGIN to describe NetSol! Anybody know of a hosting company that can supply 400 web-based email accounts with reasonable storage and cares about it’s customers? If I treated my clients the way NetSol handles theirs, I’d be out of business.

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