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Network Solutions Steals Your Domain Names

Something disturbing happened today. I did a search for a domain name on networksolutions.com, and they stole it from me. That's right...stole it!

I usually search at networksolutions.com because they have a nice feedback about which of .com .net .us .org etc. are registered for the domain name I'm searching for, then I buy my domain names for cheap somewhere else (who pays >$30 for a domain name anymore?). There may be an equivalent way of doing this, but I know how to do it this way, and I'm lazy.

It turns out that on December 16, 2007, Network Solutions started a "service" for their customers. When you search for a domain name they immediately put it on hold. You can purchase it through Network Solutions, but if you try to register the domain name through another registrar, you are told that the domain name is not available. Network Solutions claims that it is protecting the domain name for their customers, so that someone else doesn't steal it from them, but...well...I'll just quote Domain Name News:

The company believes that this solution helps in combating “actual front running” and helps their customers by reserving the domain name. This “solution” does nothing however to prevent another registrant from picking up the domain name. If the orignal[sic] searcher comes back 10 minutes later to register the domain, another user could still purchase this domain. The only thing this solution seems to be preventing is fair trade as another registrar is being prevented from selling the domain name to a potential customer.

They may have tricked me once, by holding my domain name hostage, but they won't have that pleasure again. I'll not be searching for domain names on their site anymore.

Originally published on January 22, 2008 at 3:39 pm


  1. Matthew Bass Says:
    January 22, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    I had heard about this through another source as well. Outrageous! They have real gall to say this is for the good of their customers. Sheesh.

  2. Wayne Says:
    January 24, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    I just found out about this last night because my wife was using them to find a domain name for their company since they split it up. She searched several names and found one that was available but really was not what they wanted because of the length of it. She tried a few more with no luck. Not really knowing what she was doing she later searched it again on whois.com and noticed it was no longer available. Being an IT person myself, she asked me how come it was available when she checked it at NetSol and later it was not available. Didn’t take me long to find out through a whois search to determine they had stolen a legal companys name and holding it hostage.
    Sounds like its time for a class action lawsuit! This type of business practice should be stopped dead in its tracks. They claim it is for protection of their customers. HA HA. You folks are only fooling yourselves. They also said they release it after 4 days. During that time anyone else can register it at NetSol and you would loose your name.

  3. Dave Zan Says:
    January 28, 2008 at 4:05 am

    Honestly try to answer this question: can one steal from another what they never owned to begin with?

    Followup question: when you search for a domain name in a registrar’s availability tool, do you own those search results? If you answer yes, then I’d like to see what factual basis or so do you have to backup that answer.

    I’m commenting because I personally find it disturbing that people use negative words like “stealing” rather loosely nowadays, especially when based on unfounded and misguided grounds. After all, who wants to be a target of inaccuracies that might become accepted wisdom?

    And no, I’m not with Network Solutions. I have worked with a registrar in a previous life, though, but I can certainly understand how people feel about this.

    OTOH, you’re doing the simplest solution to this issue. That’s one less problem to pull your hair out on. :)

  4. paul Says:
    January 28, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    Hey Dan,
    Thanks for the comment. Listen, I don’t want to get bogged down in a discussion about semantics, and whether or not “steal” is the correct term, because it should be obvious that I was using the term for emotional impact.

    However, in defense of myself, I’ll offer analogy: if I found something I liked at the store and was taking it to the checkout, and someone came along, beat me over the head, and took it…I think most people would use the term “steal.” Sure I didn’t own it, but I had every intention of purchasing it.

    Now this analogy breaks down because ultimately the store owns the item I intend to purchase if and until I purchase it. However, I think in the case of Network Solutions it is even more heinous, because they no more own the domain name than I do. For them to come along and lock it up unless I buy it from them _is_ stealing. This is a breach of public trust as a registrar, and why so many people are in a tizzy about it.

    It’s not an exact analogy, and again I admit I was using the term “steal” for affect, but that’s about the best I can to do defend myself.


  5. patrick Says:
    February 18, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    The sad thing is a lot of people won’t know enough about their domain reg options to realize what a scam this is… NetSol must know that theyre pricing is excessive or they wouldn’t be doing it

  6. Rachan Says:
    February 25, 2008 at 6:16 am

    They stole 4 names from me today - I’m with Paul.

  7. Stay away from NetworkSolutions.com (baca: jangan dekat-dekat) « SuGembel® Says:
    February 27, 2008 at 10:25 am

    [...] Referensi: Network Solutions Steals Domain Ideas Confirmed Don’t Let Network Solutions Steal Your Domain Name Network Solutions Steals Your Domain Name [...]

  8. onedeep99 Says:
    April 4, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    They just did the same thing to me. I KNOW nobody else just so happened to purchase the domain I was interested in. Thats too much of a coincidence. Was available yesterday. Not today. Unreal… anything we can do? I really needed that domain.

  9. Angry Too Says:
    April 11, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    I have been looking for something with the word indigo for a long time. I tested “indigorowl.com” at network solutions last night. I got that popup window which said something about holding the name for four days. I didn’t know what it meant, but the only way out of the window was to click okay. So I did.

    This morning they have stolen it. Overnight I created a flash website with a blue rowhouse with windows that open to old fashioned blues music.

    I was going to purchase this domain name. Now they own it. There should be a law against things like this.

  10. Angry Too Says:
    April 11, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    Correction. I made a typo on the domain name. It is “indogorow.com”. I was kind of upset when I wrote it.

  11. Angry Too Says:
    April 11, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    One more thing in reply to Dave Zan above. This is going to take some imagination, so I hope I don’t lose you here…

    If you look for a book in a library, you do a search and go to the shelf and take the book. Libraries are there for people to use. It’s a service.

    However, what if there existed a few very rare magical books that would grant your every wish. But you must first guess the precise name of it. Then the librarian would give it to you. Would you think it evil if the librarian stole your chance to have the book and kept it for themselves? Of course you would!!!

    A library is a service that allows people the opportunity to search for an item that will benefit them. Evil librarians are evil. So is Networks Solutions.

  12. karmafornetsol Says:
    April 29, 2008 at 10:31 am

    I have also had my domain name “RIPPED OFF” by NETSOL, which is a much better term to use than “STEALING” and as for “DAN” what are you posting here for anyway? registrar in a past life? I THINK NOT! but i am hearing the sound of HEE HAW!

  13. Domain Theft » Right Pundits Says:
    June 7, 2008 at 2:35 am

    [...] turns out to be Network Solutions, Inc. If you search for a domain there, they are likely to register it themselves and try to sell it back to you at a premium. We discovered that they will sell you the domain back [...]