Hoopla.com Stolen, Net Sol says, "Oops! Not Our Problem!"
April 12, 2002 8:09 AM   Subscribe

Hoopla.com Stolen, Net Sol says, "Oops! Not Our Problem!" Leslie Harpold's Hoopla.com was stolen from her through a series of dodgy faxes (or something...) and now, Network Solutions is throwing up their hands and telling her they can't do anything. If this doesn't beg for Metafilter community action, I don't know what does.
posted by benbrown (102 comments total)
One word: awful
posted by Cobbler at 8:14 AM on April 12, 2002

from all the horrible new i hear, they're like the anti-google.. in that they do everything wrong.. (as opposed to right)
posted by lotsofno at 8:16 AM on April 12, 2002

Sheet. This reminds me of the notices that used to gang in Portuguese garages before the EU cottoned on: "The garage is not responsible for anything that happens in this garage"(their emphasis).
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:18 AM on April 12, 2002

She's has a lot of bad luck with her site. And I have never heard a good word about Net-Sol.
posted by iconomy at 8:20 AM on April 12, 2002

had. She's had.
posted by iconomy at 8:21 AM on April 12, 2002

Well, this would be a good item for an Internet column in any number of publications.

Also, any business (particularly large corporations) using NetSol would be justifiably concerned by this. They couldn't afford to let something like this happen, even for just a few hours.
posted by mattpfeff at 8:25 AM on April 12, 2002

I'm afraid that there's little that the MeFi community can do about this -- barraging the fools at NetSol with e-mails isn't going to fix their dodgy procedures, because they're going to say that we're not parties to the issue, therefore our input is irrelevant. I think we're best making our opinion of NetSol known by voting with our feet -- if any of us are foolish enough to still have any domains registered with these incompetent boobs, we need to transfer them today.

Though perhaps we could do an Amazon or Paypal fundraiser so that Leslie can hire herself a crackerjack attorney who's willing to file suit against NetSol and the domain stealing bimbette for fraud, breach of contract and lots of damages. (Which will be a helluva thing since said bimbette is in Germany, making this an international debacle.) I recognised this fake-a-fax loophole in 1997, brought it to the attention of a NetSol "customer service" agent and the response was "Oh, who would want to do a thing like that?" The clear answer: Sarah Hubert.

Oh, wait, Ms. Hubert's contact information is readily available via whois, so there may be a reasonable target for MeFi action. Perhaps enough feedback about her fraud might cause a crisis of conscience for the Berliner brigand. Hmm. Just a thought.
posted by Dreama at 8:36 AM on April 12, 2002

Have her post here what we can do, who we can fax, who we can email, who we can call, and we'll do it! At least I will...
posted by gen at 8:36 AM on April 12, 2002

I've had to deal with these morons and it's incredible. Trying to reach a live person with a brain at NetSol is a disaster. It's like it's a whole office full of telephone wires that forwards you to voicemail after voicemail.

I would be more than happy to make a stink about it. Those idiots are getting rich despite their incompetence.
posted by aacheson at 8:43 AM on April 12, 2002

How could the database show that the record was created on April 5, 2002, when hoopla.com's been around forever?
posted by solistrato at 8:46 AM on April 12, 2002

I found it very easy to reach a live person with a brain at NetSol when I paid them $200 for an "express" domain transfer. Maybe that's the problem, they can't be arsed for less than $200.
posted by kindall at 8:51 AM on April 12, 2002

I recently had a very smooth experience with netsol. I volunteered to host the site for this local non-profit that I work with. To do that I had to get the name servers changed on the domain registration. I was geared up for a royal bureaucratic battle with Netsol. I figured that getting a change to the registration would require faxes and notarized documents because the registration had no e-mail address for the administrative contact, and the ISP that originally registered the domain for them had been gobbled up several times in the past two years so even the techincal contact info boore no relation to reality. I was pleasantly surprised when it only took about 10 minutes on the phone with Netsol to get the name servers changed and have my name and e-mail put in for the administrative and tech contact.

After I hung up, my cheer turned to horror. One phone call and I got the name of the administrative contact changed and now had full power over the domain. I promptly transfered the registration to domainmonger.
posted by dchase at 8:52 AM on April 12, 2002

do not email threats or mean-spirited messages to hubertaxer@yahoo.com.

I repeat, do not email threats or mean-spirited messages to hubertaxer@yahoo.com.
posted by trioperative at 8:56 AM on April 12, 2002

hubertaxer@yahoo.com it seems was registered the same day as the hoopla.com alleged domain theft. If anyone finds a longer-standing email address for one "Hubert Sarah", it would also be wrong to post it here.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 9:02 AM on April 12, 2002

I transferred all of my domains from NetSol a long time ago. People have been telling everyone to do this for quite some time now. I know a lot of smart corporations have taken this action as well. NetSol simply cannot be trusted and they have proven they are unwilling to change their faulty processes, so why continue to use them?
posted by camworld at 9:05 AM on April 12, 2002

do not email threats or mean-spirited messages to hubertaxer@yahoo.com

Second that. I'm sure Leslie's already sent something her way. We'll see what happens. Then we'll unleash the Angry Mob Justice.

Something to do: I just emailed the EFF about this. I'm not sure if they'll bite, but surely the fact that someone could just be silenced because of one company's incompetence is scary enough for them to act. Why not add your voice?
posted by solistrato at 9:06 AM on April 12, 2002

when I paid them $200 for an "express" domain transfer

Ha. Sucker! I didn't even pay for the phone call :)
posted by dchase at 9:08 AM on April 12, 2002

This is an outrage of the highest order. I'm sure a good chunk of Network Solution's revised license language that happened in the last year or so (where you no longer "own" your domain, but only sort of "lease" it from them) was done to shield them legally from their own incompetence.

Anyone with a domain still on Network Solutions should call 1-888-642-9675 and politely ask how to prevent their own domain from being hijacked by a Network Solutions screw up.

And how priceless is the banner image on their site?

"The value of trust" indeed.

Everyone, and I mean *everyone* should move their domains to Dotster, Joker, or DomainMonger (among others) as soon as possible.
posted by mathowie at 9:20 AM on April 12, 2002

this is not the first incident of network solutions high jinx... in fact... its not the second or the third.... war on domain name theft?

no one beats zeldmans take on this kind of BS.
posted by specialk420 at 9:38 AM on April 12, 2002

One Word : Network Solutions
One Solution: Not Network Solutions
posted by elpapacito at 9:41 AM on April 12, 2002

but hey, that's two words
posted by chrisroberts at 9:52 AM on April 12, 2002

Is it Sarah Hubert or Hubert Sarah?
posted by iconomy at 9:54 AM on April 12, 2002

I’ve been following this story on Textism... and this very morning my best friend called in a panic - her domain was hijacked as well. Oddly, they never changed the contact e-mail - that’s how she found out about it. She hadn’t gone through NetSol, but rather Domain Registers of America... she registered that one domain with them, they wanted a faxed copy of her drivers liscense and her social security number. She balked and registered everything else with another company... yikes.
posted by mimi at 9:57 AM on April 12, 2002

Couldn't we urge the media to shine a huge bright light on NetSol's incompetence? I mean, this is ridiculous. Why don't the appropriate media publications pick up on this and run with it?
posted by mikhail at 10:34 AM on April 12, 2002

Note: To help prevent malicious domain hijacking and domain transfer errors, the registrant for this domain has chosen to prevent its transfer. Any attempted transfers will be denied at the registry. The apparent authority (registrant) for the name must unlock the name at the current registrar in order for a transfer initiation to succeed."

Heh. Just checked my whois and noticed that this has been fairly recently added by my registrar eNom. Take that, NetSol bastards!
posted by evanizer at 10:41 AM on April 12, 2002

In excellent news, there is finally a class action suit getting started in the U.S. as of yesterday. Contact info here. From the lawyer's comments about NetSol eating their e-mail address, it looks like NetSol finally screwed over the wrong law firm.

So if you've been affected by NetSol/Versign's incompetent practices, this would be an excellent time to help try to make them squeal. (I haven't verified this lawyer's info, so use good judgment if you make contact.)
posted by blissbat at 10:42 AM on April 12, 2002

That's funny, because there is a domain that I've been trying to register that has been expired since August 5, 2001. They claim there are "many factors that may cause the expiration date to vary from the eventual date of deletion", but isn't 8 months a bit too much to process the record?

I have a theory on why they won't release it: they're waiting to get money out of the interested party. They now have multiple services and partnerships, such as selling the domain via GreatDomains.com, and have the "service" where you can give them money to get on the waiting list for expiring domains. My theory is that they are watching the WHOIS queries on expired/expiring domains. If there are query hits on a certain domain, it might prove there is possible interest in someone purchasing the domain. Why would they release it outright, if they can get someone to pay them to get on the waiting list, then release it AND then have the person pay for the domain?
posted by magnetbox at 11:01 AM on April 12, 2002

Now that we've all got our NetSol licks in- who do y'all suggest for reliable, secure domain registration?
posted by mkultra at 11:18 AM on April 12, 2002

Not Dotster. Dotster is the one registrar where I've actually had a domain stolen from me. Check out www.whimsy.net - used to be mine, damn their eyes.

I recommend Joker.com. Transferring my domains to them from NetSol right now, actually, and I've had new domains registered with them for two plus years. Excellent, inexpensive service.
posted by annathea at 11:20 AM on April 12, 2002

I just posted about this on BB:


posted by doctorow at 11:23 AM on April 12, 2002

I had requested a domain transfer to another service, at least 3 weeks in advance of the expiration with Numb Skulls. The new registrar (Register.com) had cashed and posted the payment and accepted the transfer. NS held onto the domain and sent me an email THE DAY AFTER IT EXPIRED to tell me that they could not process the domain transfer, as my domain had expired. I waited 4 MONTHS until they "released" the domain and luckily re-purchased it.

The headlines don't get any funnier than this:
"Microsoft, VeriSign team on e-commerce security"
"Microsoft enlists VeriSign for .Net security"
posted by 120degrees at 11:28 AM on April 12, 2002

until the resolution is final, i'd like to not piss anybody, especially the person who will have the chance to say yes or no to giving me back the domain too mad. once i have a final answer, then i'll be up for a more proactive campaign, but i'd like to keep the negativity - especially that directed at the current owner to a minimum since i may be depending on a slip of kindness from them. until it's final, I'd like to keep NetSol or the hubertaxer person from getting overly hostile toward me, since I'm relying on cooperation from them.
posted by leslie at 11:32 AM on April 12, 2002

leslie: have you tried sending a fake-fax of your own?
posted by signal at 11:43 AM on April 12, 2002

Perhaps a Critical IP Sucks redux may be in order?

(Strangely, I tried to transfer a NetSol Domain from one server another, requiring DNS changes, for TWO YEARS before I finally gave up. I faxed, I called, I screamed. Nuthing. The email address on the account was dead, and finally, rather than actually change the email address on the account, they opened a new account for me that went to no domain and were cheered at their "issue resolution." F*ckers.)
posted by ltracey at 11:45 AM on April 12, 2002

I feel sorry for everybody who's in the same position as Leslie but doesn't have the goodwill of the personal publishing community to rally people to their cause.

It seems to me that the best way to fight VeriSign is to create painless, effortless ways for people to move their domains elsewhere. Perhaps some sort of centralized transfer service?

Zeldman has the last word: "This company's incompetence staggers us. Just when we think they can't get any worse, they exceed all previous feats of non-service. A gibbon with an abacus would do a better job. Lord, if you are listening, smite these evil clowns."
posted by jjg at 12:11 PM on April 12, 2002

this sucks...

hoopla.com is a favorite of mine..

hope this works out for ya leslie...

i guess its time to get my domain away from NetSol..

posted by PugAchev at 12:11 PM on April 12, 2002

I posted a thread about the fake renewal invoices Verisign is sending to non-Verisign registrants a couple of weeks ago. I work for a small ISP who uses OpenSRS and we've, in the past two weeks, lost about 10 of our registered domain holders due to this slimy scam...at least temporarily, they're all disputing the charges with their banks and credit card companies, and they've all filed a complaint with the FTC. I love my customers.

If you've been taken in by Verisign's duplicity, I'd suggest filing a complaint with the FTC as well as your local district attorney's office (or equivalent if you're not in the US). Many federal-level investigations start with local DA's listening to the complaints of their respective constituencies. Complaining to your local Better Business Bureau may also help, though Verisign's listed as a 'satisfactory' business with them.

Also, be aware that if you plan on changing your registrar away from Verisign, the earlier you start the process, the better. I used to be able to start the process a couple of weeks before the domain was due to expire. However, Verisign stonewalls you so much--they're now holding all transactions that would have negative impact on Verisign's finances to the "all changes must be submitted in writing 30 days in advance" clause of your registration agreement, then argue with you about what is considered "writing" until the domain expires--that I now start the process 60-90 days ahead of the expiration date.

Which means, in a practical sense, that I'm no longer switching Verisign-registered domains over to OpenSRS when a new domain-owning customer comes to me. "Trust is the foundation of every human relationship," indeed. Unethical, sore-losin', moneygrubbin', rude, pedantic, stonewallin', lowdown motherf#$*ers. Grr.
posted by WolfDaddy at 1:03 PM on April 12, 2002

Joker.com = good. The only thing is, if you need to transfer a domain, you need to send a letter to Deutschland.

... other than than, they're fantastic. They even throw in name servers with the price of registration.

-- jon
posted by ph00dz at 1:18 PM on April 12, 2002

Thank god for web archive. Here's the cached Registrar Rankings section of the now defunct DomainNameBuyersGuide.com site.
posted by riffola at 1:23 PM on April 12, 2002

Magnetbox -- I was on the other side of that same thing (a domain they said I hadn't renewed but had expired over six months ago): today's blog entry on the subject.
posted by laze at 1:26 PM on April 12, 2002

I'm all for moving my domain elsewhere. Can anyone make any registrar recommendations? Maybe someone should create a domain transfer resource!
posted by joshua at 1:28 PM on April 12, 2002

Also -- I can wholeheartedly recommend GKG.net for domain management. Great interface, great customer service, and I've had no problems with them yet. Domains are $9.99/year.
posted by laze at 1:29 PM on April 12, 2002

OpenSRS rocks.
posted by dglynn at 1:56 PM on April 12, 2002

Lord, if you are listening, smite these evil clowns.

Well, there might be some options here other than the court of public opinion - which, if VeriSign cared about, wouldn't have done this.

For small, personal, non-profit web sites, probably the quickest and cheapest route is to go to state court in Fairfax, VA (which VeriSign's service agreement designates as the proper place to bring such an action) and ask the court to enforce the contract as written - in other words, force VeriSign to provide the domain registration services as set forth in the contract.

The advantage of this option is that, by seeking a temporary injunction, it is possible (but not guaranteed) that one can get quick relief from the court - especially in a case like this, where VeriSign admits that they acted improperly, in violation on the agreement.

There are a variety of more expensive and drawn out procedures one can use for domain-name hijackings, but they typcially only make sense in commecial contexts where you can seek large amounts for economic damage.
posted by mikewas at 1:58 PM on April 12, 2002

it appears that the person who transferred the domain has moved it to AIT DOMAINS. I looked around on their site, and in order to transfer a domain, a charge has to be made on a credit card. Since this person used a fraudulent fax to steal a domain, wouldn't this ultimately be credit card fraud?

I also wonder if Leslie used a card to purchase her domain and if her cc company would be able to use their buyer protection plan to get her domain back legally? have your cc company fight Mr. sarah's cc company maybe?

Just a couple of ideas.
posted by mkelley at 2:00 PM on April 12, 2002

Some links that are worthwhile:



...I think that this topic should be brought to the attension of the press (not that they don't know, but in light of the recent Hoopla).... anyone want to help me write a press-release?
posted by Nick Finck at 2:04 PM on April 12, 2002

Since this person used a fraudulent fax to steal a domain, wouldn't this ultimately be credit card fraud?

Mail fraud and wire fraud spring to mind. In the course of a court action, a subpoena to AIT Domains and then to the credit card company ought to be able to trace the real identity of the person responsible - assuming it was a valid card.
posted by mikewas at 2:13 PM on April 12, 2002

I think that this topic should be brought to the attension of the press

First we need to have one central list of facts and a simple summary of the story. Cnet and Wired News would probably be a good start and then see if Poynter's Morning Briefing would add fuel to the fire. That page give some good leads on a couple of story ideas. Maybe it can be passed that way.
posted by mkelley at 2:24 PM on April 12, 2002

I sense a Kaycee Nicole Scooby Doos-type fire a-brewin'. :)
posted by laze at 2:54 PM on April 12, 2002

posted by mkelley at 3:00 PM on April 12, 2002

Second that "rocks" on OpenSRS.

I just finished consolidating all of my many domains contact info and DNS servers, all through their handy web interface within minutes.

I even hid the reseller info of the one domain register I didn't like (who I used for one domain before I knew what OpenSRS was.) I'm surprised OpenSRS still requires you to use a reseller - they'd clean up if they turned over as a end-user solution.
posted by jca at 3:27 PM on April 12, 2002

when I paid them $200 for an "express" domain transfer

Ha. Sucker! I didn't even pay for the phone call :)

Hey, the guy who bought it paid for it, I was happy with the five figures I had left over. ;)
posted by kindall at 3:34 PM on April 12, 2002

I think I've transferred all my domains away from NS (using 000domains two months before renewal date - worked like a charm), but is there any way to check? In other words, is there a tool somewhere that lets you look up who a domain is registered through?
posted by LeiaS at 4:24 PM on April 12, 2002

LeiaS, do a whois search for the domain name, it'll show the registrar.
posted by riffola at 4:31 PM on April 12, 2002

Oops, that just occurred to me. I guess what I really want is some magical tool to remind me if I have some spare domain lying around that I have forgotten about. But I guess that would have to read my mind.
posted by LeiaS at 4:57 PM on April 12, 2002

Camworld shuffled his sandals, harrumphed, and blustered:
I know a lot of smart corporations have taken this action as well. NetSol simply cannot be trusted and they have proven they are unwilling to change their faulty processes, so why continue to use them?
This boils down to "Pfft! My elite friends and I have known this for years. What kind of idjut would even go near NetSol? Heck, we go back so far on NetSol malfeasance we actually know what 'NetSol' and even 'InterNIC' mean."

The issue is not that Leslie (who, unlike some corporations, is allegedly not "smart") used NetSol. It's that NetSol negligently permitted an unauthorized domain transfer. Not everybody knows how bad NSI actually is; even if you know, it can be difficult to get your domain out of NSI's talons; the victim should not be blamed.

To paraphrase Hairspray, "Oh, go have an eclair."

As for domain registrars: easyDNS cannot be beat, with astonishingly clued-in phone service and a no-slamming policy.
posted by joeclark at 5:34 PM on April 12, 2002

Does anyone know what's happened to Alison Headley's bluishorange? It's been unreachable for a couple of days, and the WHOIS shows the domain as expired in Feburary. Another NSI crap-job?
posted by theNonsuch at 6:43 PM on April 12, 2002

I really feel for Leslie, but for entirely selfish reasons, I'm really glad to see this thread. I've been making web pages for years now (don't worry, I know you're not impressed), but I never got around to registering a domain name (because I'm CHEAP). However, since I'll be losing my school server space soon, I've been searching without luck for an independent website that reviews registrars. Now I can use this thread!
posted by Eamon at 6:56 PM on April 12, 2002

This should definitely be prosecutable as mail fraud (IANAL).
posted by rushmc at 7:32 PM on April 12, 2002

So, angry mob, can someone name the biggest websites registered through Netsol?

I feel a few faxes coming on.
posted by Neale at 7:36 PM on April 12, 2002

So, angry mob, can someone name the biggest websites registered through Netsol?

Like perhaps netsol.com. That would be grand.
posted by aaronchristy at 7:44 PM on April 12, 2002

probably the quickest and cheapest route is to go to state court in Fairfax, VA

Even though my web presence is pretty much limited to Metafilter (and some web pages at the library where I work), I wish there was something I could do to help here. Seeing as I live in Fairfax County, though, I could probably go egg their house, or TP their trees, or something. Other than that, I can only say fight the good fight, all!
posted by arco at 8:21 PM on April 12, 2002

So, angry mob, can someone name the biggest websites registered through Netsol?
Microsoft.com, MSFT.net, etc are managed by IDNames.com a NetSol company.
posted by riffola at 8:26 PM on April 12, 2002

Neale, aaronchristy -- grand, but... I knew someone who became an international fugitive and spent some time in jail for a stunt something like that.

Incidentally, regarding Dotster... I just lost one of my domain names (seattleweather.com) because they didn't bother to notify me that it was expiring. They have the correct address for me, and my e-mail is working fine. But I didn't get any expiration messages and neither did the tech admin for the site. (I have used Dotster for years and never had any trouble getting notices before.)

That domain was sniped away from me two weeks after it expired -- Dotster does NOT have a 90 day grade period, nor do they send out a final written notice. Two of my other domains expired as well, but I caught them before they were sniped. I am furious, because I would have paid for the domain if I had gotten the notice, of course. $14.95 is not that much money. But now some jerk has it. (He could be a perfectly nice person, I suppose. But as long as he has my domain name... )

Of course, this isn't quite as evil as Leslie's situation, since I could have prevented it if I had checked the expiration myself instead of expecting the service I paid for. But I can certainly understand the helpless feeling that one gets when one's domain is screwed with. I had my own run-in with NetSol and a shut-down domain name a few years ago. Lawyers were involved. I moved all of my domains elsewhere and no longer do business with NetSol.
posted by litlnemo at 8:57 PM on April 12, 2002

Dammit. "Grace period" not "grade period."
posted by litlnemo at 8:58 PM on April 12, 2002

fwiw, domain monger, which is somehow related to the venerable Tucows network notifies you via email 60, 30 and 1 day before your domains are set to expire. They make renewing and managing your domains a breeze. And their tech support has been prompt and easy to work with. They may not be the cheapest out there ($17/yr), but I've had nothing but good luck with them.
posted by crunchland at 9:35 PM on April 12, 2002

Joker. Or Gandi. Nothing beats having a registrar outside US jurisdiction, assuming you're a US resident.
posted by kindall at 11:59 PM on April 12, 2002

Does anyone know what's happened to Alison Headley's bluishorange?

I was just there earlier this evening. Seems fine.
posted by bradlands at 1:02 AM on April 13, 2002

Or Gandi.

Not that I have anything against the Euro, but I'd rather not have to do the conversion every time I want to renew my domain. What possible advantage is there to having your domain registered somewhere other than the US?

I thought all the laws about website jurisdiction had to do with where the server it's hosted on is located, not the service you use to register the domain name.
posted by crunchland at 5:32 AM on April 13, 2002

From Gandi's contract

The Client owns the Domain Name registered. Gandi simply acts on the Client's
behalf. Client acknowledges that Gandi services consist only of including in
the shared Domain Names database, the Domain Name choosen by the Client, for
the duration of the present contract and without prejudice, notably, that the
Domain Name is available and that the Client respects terms and conditions of
the present contract
Conversion of US $12 to €12 is not a big deal really.
posted by riffola at 6:27 AM on April 13, 2002

Actually, no. $12 is €13.55 (1 USD = 1.12975 EUR).
posted by crunchland at 7:11 AM on April 13, 2002

So there you go, you are not even paying $12, and if the dollar remains strong against the Euro, you will save some money.
posted by riffola at 7:14 AM on April 13, 2002

I know people who have domains registered at Gandi for free speech reasons. If someone gets pissed off at him and wants to take his site down, there's no easy way for them to put legal pressure on the registrar.

Their actual Web host is physically located in Canada for the same reason.
posted by kindall at 11:55 AM on April 13, 2002

So, what I'm confused about is... was it personal?

Why would someone forge a fax for a domain if it wasn't personal? Is this the new method of cyber-squatters?
posted by amanda at 3:31 PM on April 13, 2002

It gets worse: smug.com has also been stolen.
posted by mathowie at 12:52 PM on April 14, 2002

This is horrible. I can't believe that not only do they let people steal domains, but they send renewal invoices to people who don't have their domains registered through them! That's the shittiest service I've ever heard of.

I use Joker, who are excellent. They are cheap and reliable. As for the currency conversion, I use Xe.com.
posted by animoller at 1:27 PM on April 14, 2002

Maybe the DNS hasn't updated, but I see smug.com still pointing to the page that shows up in the google cache.
posted by riffola at 6:22 PM on April 14, 2002

I transfered all my domains away from NetSol to Registerfly awhile ago because NetSol is so unhelpful and they aren't user friendly at all. Plus their prices are outragous. Registeryfly is great! I haven't had any problems with them and they're cheap.
posted by ncurley at 8:14 PM on April 14, 2002

If you a do a whois directly through Bulkregister.com, you get the name of one Greg Kallis in the UK. There are things that can be done -- lawsuits, or UDRP arbitrations -- but the problem is, they ain't cheap. Even without legal fees, filing fees for a UDRP are more than $1,000 USD.
posted by IPLawyer at 7:11 AM on April 15, 2002

I could tell you many stories about unattended requests to Netsol to update my contact info and such. But of all famous Netsol disasters I've heard of, this must be the icing in the cake. Luckily I have been using GoDaddy for my domains from quite some time ago, price is good, I administer my own info via control panel, dns setup fast as hell... no complaints. (no this ain't a GoDaddy ad although I admit it sounds like one, heck)
posted by betobeto at 4:13 PM on April 15, 2002

Heh -- I'm currently on the phone with NetSol, asking them how I can prevent someone from stealing my domain name, and I'm getting some real gems of answers.

I asked how someone can't just take a letter I've written them on my letterhead, replace the letter section with a request to transfer my domain, and then fax that off; the representative said the following: "You raise a good point. I should bring that to my manager to see if we need better security to prevent that."

I asked how they verify faxed letters to see if they are legitimate, and she answered: "We try to use all the contact information in the original registration to ask if the change request is OK." I asked what happened if they didn't get a reply -- I'm out of town and don't check my email, for instance -- and she said that they then let the change through. (I also pointed out to her that this verification step is nowhere in their fax letter of authorization policy, and she hemmed and hawed and told me that I should just trust her.)

I asked how they verify that the letterhead is actually from the company, rather than just made up in Microsoft Word, and she said: "We also ask for utility bills and phone bills to verify the address belongs to who the fax says it does." I asked her, again, where this particular bit was in their fax LOA policy, and she again hemmed and hawed.

Her last effort was to tell me the following three things, in rapid succession:
  • "Network Solutions is much more secure than anyone else out there"
  • "we have more domain name registrations than anyone else out there, so you should feel secure that others trust us"
  • "we invented the domain name system, which tells you how much we know about making the process work right"
What a load of crap; I've gotta get my domain out of their hands.
posted by delfuego at 4:30 PM on April 15, 2002

Invented the domain name system!? WTF?

Anyway, those looking for an alternative to NetSol might want to check out Register.com. They're just as expensive but you get a password to log on and controll your stuff that way... I don't know ultimatly how secure they are though. I also use godaddy for a few registrations, they're cheap if you want to run your own DNS server.

But NetSol/Verisign really sucks.
posted by delmoi at 12:18 PM on April 16, 2002

I'll add AllWest as another registrar option. Good price, good interface, really fast, AND I just discovered that they have a domain locking feature (which I'm assuming means that once engaged, the domain can't be transferred unless you unlock it, also through the interface w/password).

My NetSol story - a friend registered our first domain in his name for us. When he wanted to transfer it to us, we had to sign and notarize things and then send them to him (another state) to sign and notarize - then NetSol told us that the request number on the paperwork didn't match something else and we'd have to do it all over again. Instead, our friend transferred it to another registrar of our choice, and then easily and quickly passed it over to us where we changed the owner name in a snap. Bleh. Every time this comes up I'm SO glad we're no longer dealing with them.
posted by thunder at 5:33 PM on April 16, 2002

I won't do business with Register.com. They're owned by Staples, who I work for (yes, now the awful truth is out!), who, frankly can't manage their way out of a paper bag.
posted by Samizdata at 8:52 AM on April 17, 2002

I've had problems with NetSol, updating my personal whois record after I got married and changed my name, and later trying to transfer ownership of a domain to another person. Both times, using their online system didn't work. I had to resort to multiple phone calls and faxes. One time, I was told I had to fax a request in on letterhead. When I pointed out I was a private individual and didn't have letterhead, the guy on the phone said, "Can't you just make up something in Word?" Yeah. Real secure.

A year or so ago I transferred all my domains away from NetSol to Registerfly.com. They've been pretty good (except for the site itself being slow), and I got renewal notices 60 days in advance of expiration. You can also use the domain management system to see how many of your domains will expire in the next 30/60/90 days.
posted by phichens at 9:54 PM on April 17, 2002

I just put a formal request in that my company no longer use NetSol... I can't get them to transfer off immediately, but all of our names expire within the next year, and they'll be transferred away as they do...
posted by SpecialK at 10:02 PM on April 17, 2002

SpecialK, I've heard horror stories of domains being locked in limbo after they expire. NetSol won't let other registrars register them and won't let you transfer the domain. They've even been reported as uncooperative months before the domain is up for renewal.

Best course of action would be initiate the transfer well before they expire. If the worst happens and you end up in paperwork hell with NetSol you can at least renew at the proper time to maintain some control over the domain.
posted by mutagen at 2:16 PM on April 18, 2002

Oh, and I've had good results with domain monger as well.
posted by mutagen at 2:18 PM on April 18, 2002

I just recieved this in my email.

"Dear Dotster Customers,

Over the last several weeks, it has been brought to our attention that several companies, incuding Network Solutions/VeriSign, are sending deceptive and predatory domain expiration notices and domain dispute
notices to customers of other registrars. We are writing to warn you about these mailings and to remind you that any legitimate information regarding the domains you register at Dotster will come only from Dotster Inc. and
will be clearly identified as such.

Deceptive Domain Expiration Notices: VeriSign Inc. (formerly Network Solutions) has been sending via postal mail false domain expiration notices. The purpose of these notices is to get the customer to unwittingly
transfer and renew their domain names with VeriSign.

Unfortunately, the notices are designed so that it is not clear who they are from. Please take note that Dotster only sends renewal notices via e-mail. If you receive a domain expiration notice in the mail, it IS NOT
from Dotster. If you follow the instructions in the letter, you will be renewing your domains at significantly higher prices than you currently pay at Dotster.

Domain Dispute Notifications: Many domain name registrants are receiving "Domain Dispute Notification" mailings from an entity identifying itself as XChange Dispute Resolution. The mailings falsely state that XChange is an ICANN authorized arbitrator and that the registrant must mail in a security deposit fee to defend ownership of the domain name.

The sender of these notices has not been approved by ICANN as a provider of dispute-resolution services under ICANN's Uniform Domain Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP). Registrants should not send money as
requested by this notice. Registrants who receive the notice should contact an appropriate governmental law enforcement/consumer protection agency to
report the incident. Recipients can also fax the notice to ICANN at +1-310-823-8649.


If you have any questions or concerns about these deceptive e-mails, please contact us at csupport@dotster.com.

Thank you."
posted by lucien at 12:24 AM on April 19, 2002

Speaking of ICANN and UDRP, can't Leslie appeal to them as well? And is there any news on the status of hoopla?
posted by crunchland at 5:09 AM on April 19, 2002

One time, I was told I had to fax a request in on letterhead. When I pointed out I was a private individual and didn't have letterhead, the guy on the phone said, "Can't you just make up something in Word?" Yeah. Real secure.

The last three law firms I have worked for - mine included - had computer-generated "letterhead." Anyone accepting "letterhead" as proof of origin nowadays is, in my opinion, grossly negligent.

Crunchland, the problem with the UDRP is the very hefty filing fee for the Complainant - last I checked, it was around $1000.00. However, from an attorney's perspective, this situation is a "target-rich environment" of bad guys, and there may be a number of different ways to nail them.
posted by mikewas at 5:42 PM on April 19, 2002

I, too have been harassed by NetSol and ended up renewing one of my domains with them this year. I have my other domains registered with BulkRegister, who is used by my host Cedant. I recently bought a couple of new domains through bargainnames.com, which I believe is a division of dotster, but I'm not certain. The charge was listed as Universal Registration Services. In any case, they let me choose my DNS, which will save a step down the road, and they charge only $9.95/yr. Now, just to get that one last domain out of NetSol's sticky clutches...
posted by misangela at 2:58 PM on April 20, 2002

Does anybody have an IP address for hoopla [or smug for that matter]?
posted by southisup at 2:09 AM on April 21, 2002

Class action suit? Contact me.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:20 PM on April 21, 2002

southisup: hoopla is For reference, you can find this by pointing nslookup at one of the original name servers for hoopla.com which in turn you can find from the whois information for one of leslie's other domains.

By that method, smug should be but that seems to be an empty directory at the moment.
posted by mike at 9:31 AM on April 22, 2002

Another vote for dotster, got the warning mail posted above as well. Its the little things like that which make me feel good about being a client of them.
posted by madmanz123 at 7:06 PM on April 24, 2002

smug resides on a different server than hoopla and fearless.
posted by leslie at 3:59 AM on April 25, 2002

I thought for sure we'd hear good news about this by now. Netsol/Verisign must be truly evil when they don't care what we, the domain purchasing public, think of them. No formal apology yet? What gives?! They should be on their knees, begging for our forgiveness!
posted by crunchland at 6:13 AM on April 25, 2002

Check out this entry (and associated links) at techdirt.
posted by lucien at 4:24 AM on April 26, 2002

So can anyone give us any advice on how to effectively move domains from NetSol/Verisign to another registrar without issues? Sure, I want to move my domains but how do I do so cleanly and quickly?
posted by gen at 11:34 AM on April 26, 2002

gen, The three things to be aware of in my experience are:
- to check that the email address for the admin contact on the domain is still current and accessible (so that you can reply to the email sent there to approve the transfer)
- ensure that the domain is not about to expire. The rules say that a domain can't be transferred if it's in the last 4 days before registration but ideally have 3-4 weeks just in case any queries arise.
- you can't transfer domains that have been registered/transferred in the last 60 days.

When you transfer the domain name, however many years you pay the new registrar for are just added onto the current expiry date. This means that you won't lose out if you transfer a domain that has only just been renewed and also if you've got a domain that's just about to expire you could renew it one final time with NetSol and then transfer it.

When you transfer a domain the DNS settings are preserved so there is no interruption to the operation.

Hope this helps.
posted by mike at 5:17 AM on April 27, 2002

Just a note that at this point, the textism.com article is the #12 return for "Verisign" on Google.

It's the first non-Verisign/NetSol domain returned.
posted by cCranium at 10:44 AM on June 24, 2002

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