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Every time you search for a domain on Network Solutions, they register it themselves. (networksolutionssucksballs.com)
71 points by nickb on Jan 9, 2008 | hide | past | web | favorite | 42 comments

Here, do some automated searching. Save as ns.rb and run as "ruby ns.rb" or do a +x...

----- cut here -----

   #!/usr/bin/env ruby -w
   require 'rubygems'
   require 'mechanize'
   require 'digest/md5'

   search_form = WWW::Mechanize.new.get("http://www.networksolutions.com/").forms.first
   search_field = search_form.fields.name("domainNames").first

   1.upto 50 do |i|
       puts search_field.value = "#{Digest::MD5.hexdigest("#{rand(9999999999)}")}.com"

I wonder if continually searching trademark-based names and notifying over-aggressive corporate trademark lawyers might be a better strategy? Maybe your script should be "mcdonaldsrestaurant#{i}.com"

There was a thread on reddit where people had gotten NS to register some names that might be awkward to explain to any outsiders (gross, non-pc stuff, etc). If you have a non-pc sense of humor, you might enjoy:


This won't do anything but load their server slightly. They're using the 5-day cancellation rule, so they don't actually pay for the domains that they reserve.

Could be wrong here, but the point is to draw enough attention so that the refund policy is changed.

Yeah, but why would this help? Unless you can hurt their bottom line, you're unlikely to change their behavior.

If a few thousand people run this server a day or two before Q1 ends they'll have to explain to the press why they missed earnings projections by so much

If the press pays attention to this, it could make them lose potential clients.

Hopefully this exposure will seriously hurt their business, but I think ICANN is responsible for failing to administer the assignment of names appropriately. There should be no refundable period and applications like this made in bad faith should lose network solutions their accreditation.

An opportunistic leech already registered this domain, so seeing this domain doesn't really show much, except a bunch of ads.

The point is that after you search for a domain at netsol.com, you get a Network Solutions landing page: "This Domain is available - Get it Now!", they effectively squat every domain that's searched -- for presumably a 5-day refundable period -- and in the process lock-out every other registrar from selling it.

Here is another domain which is mentioned in the comment thread: http://networksolutionssucksballs.com/ , someone searched for the name and it already has a Network Solutions landing page, and though you can buy it, its 'taken' if you try to buy it from another(cheaper) registrar.

You can try it out yourself, it takes around 15 minutes after you searched a domain for them to register it and appear with a NetSol landing page, instead of timing out.

And BTW, the person that bought the youguysseriouslyregistereverythingisearch.com domain to squeeze some Adsense clicks while its making headlines is registered to:

Campbell, Susan susankcampbell@live.com 2085 Ryder Avenue Everett, WA 98201 US 425.3177143

Here is the Network Solutions official response:

Dear George Scott,

Thank you for contacting Network Solutions Customer Service Department. We are committed to creating the best Customer experience possible. One of the first ways we can demonstrate our commitment to this goal is to quickly and efficiently address your recent request.

We want to make sure that our customers do not lose the domain name to disreputable individuals (or entities) that snatch up domains after a domain search has been made. Network Solutions, along with many other registrars have received numerous customer complaints of domain names being registered by someone else, typically outside of the United States, just minutes or hours after someone else has conducted a domain name search at a registrar site, performed a WHOIS query, or typed a domain in the browser to see if there is an active Web site. The industry calls this practice domain name "Front Running."

To thwart the efforts of these sneaky individuals, Network Solutions reserves unregistered domains for up to four days from the date they are searched on our Web site. This customer protection feature provides our customers the opportunity to register names at a later date without fear that the name will be registered by the "Front Runners." If the domain you searched is available and one that you really want, we suggest that you register it immediately to ensure that you will not lose the name.

Please do not respond to this E-mail. If you have any additional questions, you can reach us via e-mail by completing our online form at http://www.networksolutions.com/en_US/help/service-request.j... or by phone at 1-888-642-9675 and provide Service Request # 1-321287601.

Thank you for choosing Network Solutions.


Arlan001 Network Solutions Technical Support Specialist

(c) Copyright 2008 Network Solutions, LLC. All rights reserved.

To protect our valued customers from the dastardly practice of "Front Running", we engage in exactly this practice but do not refer to it as "Front Running" when we do it.

I had the same idea for a patent searching site...

If they still let you register it for the same price that you'd get initially it seems significantly less evil than flat out stealing it. It's still evil though, because they're reserving domain names so other registrars can't offer them.

Have you looked at their pricing chart?


These folks charge $34.99 for a .com per year! Godaddy charges $9.99.

So how to we file a complaint with the FTC? Definitely some false advertising going on "This Domain is Available - Get it Now!"

How about a contest to see who can get them to register the funniest name?

Has this happened to anyone else?

The question is do they let you purchase the domain after they automatically register it?

If they do, this can simply be a very effective automatic reservation of pages, so they don't get grabbed while you fill in your personal info/credit card info.

If not then this really sucks.

They do. And they don't put any ads on the domains, and give the domain back to the pool after 5 days.

It's a fair deal to save you from the unwanted domaingrabbing through whois!

Hah! networksolutionspissedonmyprivacy.com

Good one.

I went for the predictable; http://networksolutionssucksballs.com/

"This website is registered by network solutions."

I took a picture for safekeeping.

What happens on the net stays on the net--forever.

I've been complaining about this for over two years.

It's just an ugly business practice. NSI should be drummed out of the market with a policy like that. What's next? hold the domain and put it up for auction?

I like pcnames:


because it utilizes some nifty JavaScript, a kind of "search as you type" method regarding inquiries of domain names. It also (claims that it) doesn't log or record those queries.

That Network Solutions leeches queries and then charges $34.99 per year for registration is also insane. (Testing:) It really is quite unfortunate that they're @ number one of the list for a google search RE "domain name registration". . .

I guess there's always the BBB.

You could make them lose money on this.

1.Search for a lot of domains that no one will ever go to (aebubibabaabaabaabba.com). 2.Hit the domain a lot of times, follow links 3. network solutions will register the domain, pay their money, and no one will ever go to the site.

I wonder if there are safe guards, ie the program can only spend $50,000 a day to register domains. To give network solutions the least lead time, it would be best to flood the websites at the end of the 5 day period.

They're standing behind the decision, too: http://www.cio.com/article/170950 After Furor, Network Solutions Stands by Name Policy Network Solutions says it will take steps to better notify customers of its controversial policy of temporarily registering domain name searches.

Network Solutions sucks! GoDaddy follows the same path. I moved to NameCheap (recommended) for a better service.

NameCheap is just an eNom reseller.

NameCheap is in the same boat as Registerfly was a few years ago.

I wouldn't trust them.

What are they going to do next? Resolve all failed DNS lookups to their paid search engine?*

*This was done by VeriSign, but at the time, VeriSign owned Network Solutions.

I had a feeling this could be done to exploit people...

I'm going to try searching a few dumb domains to get them to lose money in ICANN registration fees.

They don't lose money on that. They just cancel each registration after 5 days and get full refund.

I think the point is more that they never pay. If they were actually paying and then getting their money back, they really would lose money on this (in float), and it would be easy enough to write a script that would make them run out of money.

Exactly. They would lose 5 days' interest on the money, and more importantly, whatever money they alloted to this scheme would be exhausted quickly. Then they wouldn't be able to keep doing this.

Yeah, if anything it makes them money from ad clicks.

I'm pretty sure a customer who got all their clicks from 'auuuedeeekssae.com' and the like would suspect fraud. And if they got all their clicks from 'networksolutionsloveshitler.com' they'd suspect worse.

"And if they got all their clicks from 'networksolutionsloveshitler.com' they'd suspect worse."


Well I was wondering how long that would take to happen. (thought about that dirty trick years ago and hoped no one ever did it).

And look! The domain tyhrwqblknklnlkandasdasdasd.co.uk is taken! /www.upload-images.net/imagen/357846aac7.png (and it wasn't me)

Network Solutions has now become the world's largest domain squatter. They're really going to eat it after this mess up.

someone smart figured out how to get a lot of clicks on ads!

pretty shady - something I've always wondered about - thanks for cracking it open.

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