Home > computery stuff, corporate fail > Network Solutions uses latest technology – snail mail, phone and fax

Network Solutions uses latest technology – snail mail, phone and fax

October 27, 2009

So, we’ve owned our domain (yes, it needs freshening up) for 10 years, and Network Solutions wrote a snail mail to us telling us that the domain registration was due for renewal towards the end of December.

I did a double-take over getting some mail from them – this is the mighty Network Solutions, doncha know, true arrogant herders of the internet, a benefit bestowed upon them by ICAAN, with no discussion with actual users of the internet. Back in 1999, they were the only game in town for internet name registration, and behaved like they owned the place. Now, things are different, and almost anyone can be a domain registrar (and almost everyone is), so I wanted to get revenge by moving our registration to DynDNS.com, a dynamic DNS host who has been really good to us over the years.

Yesterday, I went to DynDNS’ web site to shift the registration, and their web widget informed me that I couldn’t because the domain was ‘locked’ by NS. Then, I went to the NS web site to see how to unlock it. The only way to get a message to them was a web form to their sales staff, no way to get to tech support at all – not even a way to describe what issue I had.

So today, I get a call back from a charming (seriously, despite his employer) guy called Darrick, who is apparently in charge of the Registrar department. Long story short, there are only two ways to unlock the domain, i) B. has to phone them between 9:30 am and 5:30pm Eastern, and they will somehow determine her authenticity, or, I discovered later, if we send them a fax, attesting to her authenticity, then all will be well.

So, a fax proves authenticity? These people are idiots. All it requires is that she declares herself to be herself, and provides her current email address. Any villain could high-jack the site by declaring herself to be the rightful owner.

The idea for this rant  started out as pouring scorn on Network Solutions for using non-network solutions like mail, phone and fax to do their communication, and ended up pouring scorn on them for a huge authentication fail.

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  1. October 28, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    We’re sorry you have had such a hard time with your domain transfer. Can we help facilitate the process? Please let us know (smedia [at] networksolutions.com).

    Thanks,

    Shashi Bellamkonda

    • S.
      October 28, 2009 at 7:27 pm

      Shashi,

      NS has a lot of baggage for me. When we first bought your company’s services, 10 years ago, the company simply took the money, and when we commented that we couldn’t access the account management tools, it simply ignored us.

      So I’ve been quietly seething for nigh on ten years.

      Add to that, the recent mail we received was the first communication we’d received from the company in all this time, inevitably, asking for money, I thought wtf, why should I give them a single dime more of our ca$h, what exactly have they done for us, lo these last ten years?

      My dialog with Darrick went very well, and despite my baggage, he managed the situation very well. Kudos to him for that. And kudos to you, for noticing this and coming here to offer help.

      Another visitor here left a trail that led to here which clearly states that things have changed at NS.

      Good for you. But you’ve probably got a boatload of pissed-off customers from your previous regime. You need to give them some love, in my opinion.

      Thanks for dropping by.

      Update: At 12:00 noon PST, I faxed the email address change form to NS. As of 19:30, the web site was still showing the old one. Let’s see how this pans out.

      • S.
        October 29, 2009 at 9:34 pm

        It’s 20:00 October 29th.

        The email address of the principal contact at oddstray.com has still not been changed, so we still cannot log in to do account management. A fax to authorize the change was sent yesterday at noon.

        What I thought was a glimmer of light was the discovery that my contact email address was correct. I connected to the form which is supposed to send me an email with my login ID. That was an hour ago. No email.

        Well, I suppose it could have been caught by some SPAM filter somewhere, but what SPAM filter would catch emails from Network Solutions?

        This is reminding me of why I got so pissed off with ‘Notwork’ Solutions in the first place.

        I’ll wait until another hour has passed before I post this, so if you see it, it’s because NS somehow can’t send automated emails. I kid you not.

  2. S.
    November 2, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    I finally got the domain registration moved to DynDNS. Here’s how it went:

    An automatic email eventually turned up at 11 pm or so for the changes to my stuff. So, it does work but, in this case, it was so slow I could almost have used Fedex.

    Monday morning, B. receives two emails from Network Solutions, one indicating that the fax attempt to change her email address was not supported by adequate authentication. What?!?!? None was requested, that’s why I was ridiculing their system. The interesting thing was that they used the current (as opposed to the old) email address to let her know. The email indicated that they had tried to phone her, but that there was no answer, and no voicemail. Well, that must have been the old telephone number, as the Skype system we use now, has forwarding and voicemail aplenty. On the Fax, I had annotated that the phone number had changed. Can you say inconsistency?

    Anyway, it included a name and a contact number to call.

    The second email had process information, which proved very accurate, about how to physically conduct the transfer.

    This morning, B. called the name and number, who tried to determine her authenticity using security questions. Since Network Solutions had never contacted us since we had set up the account, we had never set up any security questions. The questions turned out to be a set of questions about her life years before we were even customers of Network Solutions. A guess is that they Googled her. Can you say, “Intrusive!”. She said, “Please, I *really* want to change (from Network Solutions)”.

    Anyway, the rest was straightforward. I was able to log on as B., and followed their process. B. got an email with a code, which I then supplied to DynDNS, and in a few days, it’ll all get tidied up.

    Network Solutions recovered a little bit from their (in my opinion) dire performance, but only enough to enable us to get out from under.

    Be warned.

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