Network Solutions: The Conclusion

Update #3: Last Update. I swear. Network Solutions just sent me a “How did we do?” customer service rating survey. “Pleasantly incompetent, but eventually succeeded”.

Update #2: Oh. My. God. Will this ever end? Update #1 is the strikethru text below. #2 is that I just now received a “transfer cancelled” notification from joker.com’s bot. However, the domain still shows up in my list of domains at Joker. I think (hope, pray) that the cancellation notice was Joker’s way of letting me know that the transfer initiated by Joker was terminated because the domain no longer resides at Network Solutions (as they manually transferred it to Joker).

If I wasn’t in the middle of a food coma from the giganormus Kobe Beef burger with Brie Cheese melted on top, I’d be running around the halls foaming at the mouth…


The domain has been moved successfully (bumgarner.com, btw) and the conclusion is just screwed up enough to warrant its own post.

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

That the domain has been successfully transferred makes me happy. Happier still am I as an ex-Network Solutions customer.

The last conversation with customer service indicated that I had to click an URL in some email message to authorize the transfer. Since I never received the email, customer service’s theory was that “email is weird, can we use a different email address”. So, the email address was switched.

And the transfer worked. But I never received an email with an authorization URL. So, apparently, it really required Network Solutions’ Customer Service to go diddle my account to “unstick” the domain. There was no real action required on my part outside of wading through NetSol’s customer support voice menu hell and frontline support folk several times. I did receive an email at the new address that looked just like the rejection email, but was a success notice instead. No URL. Nope, actually, that wasn’t what happened either! Apparently, the SECOND email I sent — the snarky one — eventually wound its way into the queue earlier today and triggered Network Solutions to manually transfer the domain to the new registrar. While the email notification of this showed up nearly 6 hours later at the new address, I have no idea if .mac’s spam filters were at fault or if NetSol’s customer service person touching my account would have been the magic sauce. You’d think that they would deliver the “we manually diddled your domain” message at the same time they actually diddled the domain manually. Nope.

Joker.com has received the domain, charged my account $12, and automatically turned on the domain lock. The registration goes through to 1 year after the expiration date that Network Solutions held. Nice!

So, in conclusion, some pros/cons of Network Solutions:

Pros:

  • Their customer service folks are very nice. Polite. Patient. Seemingly want to help, even if they really don’t have much of a clue.

Uh, that’s all I got… anyone have any suggestions? Bueller?

Cons:

  • Network Solutions security is lame. Non-existent, really. Too change the email address for the various contacts on the domain required the domain name (duh!), the name on the domain, and an answer to a “security question” which was just my place of birth. Not hard to social engineer or otherwise hack. Given the difficulty of fixing bogus transfers, this is a bit disturbing.
  • NetSol is overpriced. 1 Year of domain registration services is $35. You can only [sort of] get discounts by committing to many years (up to 100) or by lumping on other services into packages.
  • Want a better price? Whine. NetSol is all about rewarding whiners with better pricing. Nothing is straightforward. I was offered $8.95/year domain registrations if I stayed with NetSol. If I were to return to NetSol, I could ask for the “domain services consolidation pricing” and get the same rate for all my domains. No thanks. I prefer to do business with a company that is up front about their products and pricing.
  • Net Sol sells products that are, at best, misleading. And they push these products throughout much of the normal customer interaction with their site in an annoying fashion. For example, the “Search Engine Visibility” product explicitly mentions improving your ranking on Google. But Google doesn’t sell pay-for-ranking products! So for $115/first, $35/month after, you get a tag generator, keyword suggester, 60 minutes of “personalized optimization tips”, and — of course — the useless submission to search engines crap.
  • While the customer service people were very nice to chat with, they had no clue how the actual domain transfer process worked. Of the four reps I talked with, three gave me completely wrong information — all three claiming that the transfer cancellation could not possibly have come from Network Solutions. When I finally got it through their heads that I did, in fact, possess an email claiming otherwise, all three were baffled and indicating that I should try again with actually changing anything. The fourth tech actually knew where the blocking problem was but clearly also lacked an understanding of the process given that the transfer happened without my having to respond to an email by clicking on a URL.

So, Network Solutions is a fine company as long as you don’t ever have to interact with them beyond the services on their web site. And as long as no one tries to bypass their “security” to spoof a domain transfer.


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