Network Solutions Bugs Me


I just had to purchase an SSL certificate for one of my clients. They’ve worked with Network Solutions before, and it’s the hosting company’s preference, so that’s what we went with. I don’t have a great history with NetSol, so I was interested to see if they’d changed.

My History with Network Solutions

I remember buying domains from Network Solutions when they were the only game in town. And by “town” I mean “anywhere”. $79 each I believe, and it was a painful process. At first, there wasn’t even a concept of an “account”. Each domain used the contact e-mail as verification, and heaven help you if you lost access to that account. Not to mention you had to fish around the site for the right form to use for your given request.

Most of that is forgiveable, it was the early 2000′s, and we all sucked at the web. Eventually other registrars popped up when ICANN opened the doors, and prices dropped. Finally, cyber-squatters could snatch up 10 times the domains! But by this time, NetSol had the monopoly on another juicy venture: SSL certificates. Once again, they were the only game in town, charging unholy amounts for essentially adding a record to their database with your domain in it. Thawte eventually came along to compete, but they didn’t have 100% browser support at first. When they eventually came close enough, NetSol went ahead and just bought them.

Then there was their great domain renewal scam. I started using GoDaddy when they came out, which was like a revolution in user-friendly domain management. But 11 months after registering a domain, guess what would show up in the mail? A letter from Network Solutions, telling me it was time to renew my domain. Fill out the form, include your $79 (same price, even with competitors) and you’d be set. Problem? They acted as if I’d registered through them. They actively tried to trick people into switching registrars without even knowing it.

I think if your business plan requires a monopoly, you have a stupid business.

My Recent Experience with Network Solutions

Fast forward to today. I’d like to express what bothered me, in the form of an imaginary conversation between myself and the NetSol website:

me: I’d like that $139 SSL cert, please.
netsol: Certainly! That’ll be $556, please!
me: I’m sorry, what?
netsol: Oh, we assumed you wanted to purchase this for 4 years upfront…
me: No, 1 year is fine for now.
netsol: Certainly! That’ll be $199, please!
me: I thought you said it was $139?
netsol: Oh, that’s just if you buy four years at a time.
me: You didn’t say that.
netsol: We know.
me: Ugh, okay. So the domain I need to secure is…
netsol: Oh, we don’t care. $199, please.
me: You don’t want to know what domain I’m securing, or the contact info?
netsol: No, $199 please.
me: Ugh, okay. Here’s your precious money.
netsol: Thanks! So what’s that domain again? And be sure to get it right. One typo, and you’ll have to pay all over again!
me: Seriously?
netsol: You don’t sound like you’ve been bent over a barrel before. Are you sure you’re a web consultant?
me: Shut up. Okay, I’ve entered the domain, and let it sit there for 10 minutes while I rechecked 100 times.
netsol: Whatever. Frankly, we’d rather have you mess up. So give us your contact info.
me: There you go.
netsol: Thanks! See you.
me: Wait, I thought you were going to verify stuff and issue my certificate?
netsol: Yeah, we’ll get to it and let you know. We already have your money, so the important part is done.
me: Bastards.
netsol: We know.

So, to summarize:

  • They advertise one price without telling you it’s the bulk rate.
  • You have to select a different number of years AND update your cart to be able to see the real price.
  • No pre-qualification before asking for your money. What if the client manages numerous sites and doesn’t realize they already have a cert for this domain?
  • If you enter the domain wrong, you are hosed. Even 10 minutes later, before they’ve issued your certificate, you’re stuck.
  • They don’t bother to tell you what to expect from the verification process. Only that you can check back for the status when you feel like logging in .

My curse upon Network Solutions

Network Solutions, you’re a pain in the ass to work with, and you don’t care because you run in monopoly mode. I don’t hope you go to hell (wouldn’t wish that on anybody) but I do hope you get fleeced by a nigerian scammer in your golden years. And that, combined with your various ailments, keeps you from enjoying life to the fullest. Perhaps your children only call on major holidays. The conversation feels forced, and awkward. And your grandchildren say you aren’t as much fun as their other grandparents.

Bastards.

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