Change to Network Solutions Transfer Process Makes Domain Transfers Difficult

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I’ve used Network Solutions sparingly in the past because I found the domain name renewal rates to be expensive. I generally keep NameJet auction inventory at Network Solutions until the domain names are sold or come up for renewal, at which point they are transferred away. It’s always been an easy process – a quick unlock and button check to request an authorization code, which was sent fairly quickly.

Well, it looks like the transfer process is now more like its sister company, Register.com, and that’s not a good thing from my perspective. Both companies were acquired by Web.com in the last few years, and they likely share internal learnings and processes.

This morning, I went to transfer a domain name from Network Solutions, and I encountered a number of questions the company posed before I could get to the final request page. I was asked where the domain name is being transferred, why I am transferring it, if I bought it at auction, and whether I have other domain names at NS. That was after a couple of button clicks and confirmation pages ensuring that I really want to transfer the domain name.

The questions aren’t such a big deal aside from their slight annoyance, but after making it through these questions, I received this notice:

Your request for an Auth Code has been received and your information will be validated to ensure the security of your account. If your request is approved, you will receive your Auth Code by email in 3 days.

To cancel this request, please call one of our Customer Service Representatives at 1-800-779-4903.

Thank you.

THREE days to send a EPP transfer authorization code?? You have to be kidding me. This is very similar to the annoying Register.com transfer process, which often (in my case) ends up with a rejected transfer due to security issues. Luckily, I have an awesome contact in Christie Kelly at Register.com to help with these rejected transfers, but it would be frustrating to wait 3 days for an EPP code and then deal with a canceled transfer due to security or other issues.

I get that it’s probably some sort of retention tactic because business clients who are busy would probably rather just pay the expensive annual renewal fee rather than jump through hoops to save a few dollars, but this will be frustrating to a domain investor who moves inventory quickly and needs to be able to transfer names expeditiously. I can only assume it’s been thoroughly tested by Register.com, and the lift in renewals is worth the amount of complaints, but it’s annoying from my perspective, especially because I didn’t specifically choose to use Net Sol when I won a domain name at NameJet.

I feel badly for people like NameJet GM Matt Overman and Christie Kelly who are going to bear the brunt of domain investor frustration. I also feel badly for domain investors who are determined to move their domain names from NS and are now going to have to jump through hoops to do it.

I would hope Network Solutions can identify domain names won at NameJet and allow them to bypass this cumbersome process. Ugh.

78 COMMENTS

  1. This part in particular bothers me: ” If your request is approved, you will receive your Auth Code by email in 3 days.”

    Why would they not approve my transfer, and why should it take 3 days to get an email with my auth code?

  2. NetworkSolutions and Register were (and are still) offering domain names for 0.5-0.75 dollars for new customers and I guess this is the new tactic to make them stay there.

    By the way, has anyone tried reporting this to ICANN? I’m sure I had gotten a link to their “report page” where one could report a particular registrar to ICANN if the registrar is not allowing a user to transfer domains away from them. Maybe that could help?

    • Actually, by ICANN policy registrars have up to 5 days to issue an EPP so its unfortunately within the limits. With big registrars such as this however there is certainly no reason they should be holding it unnecessarily (which is obviously what they are doing).
      Just a retention tactic to increase their conversion rate on higher renewal rates as stated earlier.
      Shady business practice designed to trap non-technical end users.

    • Over the last twelve years and more, I have come to expect shady business practices from NS. All within legal limits, but meant to manipulate the average unsophisticated or inexperienced domain buyer so NS makes more money off of them.

  3. It would be nice to have the option of disabling this ‘layer of protection’ on an account level basis. I’d also like to add that it would nice to disable all of the upselling annoyances on various Registrars as well.

  4. And another option is to explain to them why you are moving the domain name away.

    You don’t need to explain, but still.

    The whole process can be very intimidating to most folks.

  5. I transferred one from them last week, received the same emails but challenged them to speed it up saying anything other would be deemed as restrictive and poor customer service. They pushed it through quicker but whether this is possible on a regular basis is another question. Most things about NS are poor imo.

  6. Is very frustating Elliot.

    About a month ago I won a domain at NameJet and was forced to jump through the same hoops to get it transfered out.

    I couldn’t believe it took 3 days! Outrageous.

    Luckily, it wasn’t rejected, but I really hope they change this as it is a great inconvenience.

  7. You might be able to avoid this 3 day wait by calling in but you should not have to wait at all.

    It is none of their business why you are transferring out. They should send you a survey AFTER you get the auth code if they want answers but they should not hold YOUR domain hostage before you answer their intrusive questions.

    NetSol has always been a terrible company to deal with and Register.com is right behind them.

    Somebody should do a test transfer out, answer all the questions with terrible answers and then see if they get denied for an auth code.

    If netsol denies an auth code request, that would be newsworthy.

  8. “Luckily, it wasn’t rejected, but I really hope they change this as it is a great inconvenience.”

    As Elliot said, why should it be rejected ?. Almost like a bank querying why you are withdrawing your own money .

  9. Frustrating indeed. I found out about these ridiculous 3-day wait last year when I tried to transfer out some domains.

    What was even worse was their “Gold VIP program” — it automatically enrolled me into their “auto-renew” feature, even though I had MANUALLY set all my domains to not renew.

    I got a nice surprise one day on the credit card. Of course to fix this, I had to call and be put on hold for FIFTEEN-minutes just so I could have a rep reverse the charges and disable the Gold VIP features — because you can’t do it online!

    What a load of CRAP.

  10. All domainers should have a standard answer for them on the why are you transferring out question.

    “Because your renewals scares the shit out of me the entire year”!

  11. Security concerns are a valid reason, but in this context it’s used as an excuse that creates plenty of inconvenience to the registrant. Not to mention, no email is sent for the transfer request, to serve as a reminder that you made it!

  12. Their old transfer system used to be far better. It seems like they have implemented the Register.com (Another Web.com company) AUTH code process. This is very frustrating.

    It is not like anyone is going to change their mind in those (3) days. It is just a bottleneck in the process annoying a lot people.

    I have seen multiple complaints on domain forums, webmaster forums, and other social media.

    I am also not a big fan of having to fill out a mini survey for each AUTH code I request.

    I used to look forward to Network Solutions domains @ NJ. Now I am not quite as motivated to bid on those good Netsol domains @ NJ.

    Brad

    • Thanks for the kind words Elliot. I like to go to conferences to get bombarded with process complaints 😉 j/k

      I do understand the frustration with this process, especially for those who buy domains on a consistent basis. I am actively working with Matt Overman and a team at Web to make the transfer process easier for NameJet customers and wholesale customers alike, as I personally work very closely with those 2 groups. I know that there will be changes implemented- we are currently/actively working out tech processes and logistics.

    • So you are announcing that netsol will stop inhibiting the transfer out process by shamefully holding auth codes for three days?

      Please confirm.

      If this is not correct, what are you saying?

    • Hi Rob, I’m not making any official announcement, I’m letting you know that we hear the complaints and are actively working on a workaround on the transfer process for wholesale and NameJet customers.

    • Glad to hear that you are working to make transfers out easier for wholesale and namejet customer but I would love to hear the logic for the long term company policy inhibiting transfers out for all netsol customers.

      For at least the 15+ years that I’ve had to deal with netsol, netsol has made it intentionally difficult/shady for all customers to transfer domains out of netsol.

    • Hopefully Web.com also addresses the Register.com issue at the same time.

      With Register.com you have to wait 4-5 days for an AUTH code, which is always rejected. I have never had one request approved. It always results in the exact same email (below) –

      “You recently requested an auth code to transfer your “XXXXXXXXXX.com” domain name.
      Your request has been processed and at this time it has been declined due to recent suspicious activity in your account.

      Register.com is committed to providing the most secure and reliable domain services for our customers.
      We have implemented specific security measures to help prevent unauthorized transfer of domains to another registrar.
      The type of suspicious activity that could have caused your request to be declined includes:
      – Multiple failed attempts to login to customer’s account
      – Recent changes to the account holder’s name, email address, or login ID
      – Attempts to access the account over the phone without authorization
      – Recent changes to the accounts password
      – Domain name lock not removed
      – Recent changes to billing or credit card information

      To receive your auth code, please call one of our customer service consultants at 1.888.734.4783. They will confirm you to the account and then fulfill your request.

      Thank You,

      Sandy Ross
      EVP, Customer Service
      Register.com”

    • I only had one issue transferring a name from NS, and it was resolved quickly. All other transfers have been quick and easy.

      I’ve never had an easy transfer from Register.com without help from Christie or someone else in tech support.

    • Well it is October 2014 and it sure as hell is no easier at Network Solutions now ! And they wonder why people dont use them out of choice !!

    • Brad, what happens when you call them back? Do they give you the hard sell to try to get you to stick around?

  13. That Q&A during transfer is a marketing research that NetSol has put in place to better understand why people are considering moving away so they can enhance their service in the areas around the reasons. The additional questions like where you’ll be moving makes it less suspicious than just asking why. Welcome to the NetSol labs… You were all part of the experiment.

    • I understand. But do I really need to fill out the Q&A every time with the exact same answers? At that point it is not providing any new information and is just a nuisance to the customer.

      Brad

  14. Transferring a domain from NS to GD is an easy process. The same goes with Register and 1 and 1. you shouldn’t encounter any problem.

    • You can be patient when a registrar’s policy is holding up a 6 figure deal, but I won’t. More power to you if you don’t mind waiting 3 days to get an auth code, then waiting another several days for the transfer, only to get an email that the transfer failed due to security reasons, and being told you’ll have to sit on hold with a customer service rep.

      You’re either rich enough not to care about getting paid on large deals, or you’ve never had a large deal held up due to a registrar being annoying for the sake of earning a few extra dollars in trying to retain your business.

      There are many more registrars like Go Daddy than Register.com when it comes to outgoing domain transfers. When I want to cancel a cable channel or service, or when I want to unsubscribe from a newsletter, I like to be able to do it quickly. I don’t want to be held up for unnecessary reasons as a means of retention, and I believe this measure is primarily for retention since most other domain registrars with smaller margins on domain registrars don’t have this added hurdle.

    • If you communicate with a buyer about the steps, there should be an understanding. If they back out because of the registrar, then they have no real interest in the domain name.

      Are you involved in many 6-figure domain deals to indicate this change impacts your domain business? What domains are you selling above $100K?

      Doing things quick is good. However, doing things right require patience. You would want the peace of mind that a registrar is doing their best to protect your domain names.

      $250K is nothing to NS. Why would they want to create a tougher process just to make peanuts? The main intent of this change is probably to protect the domain owner than to make an extra buck by slowing the transfer process.

      No, I’m not rich like you. It doesn’t benefit me to share my opinion on this NS matter. It makes sense to at least ask information pertaining to the domain transfer. This gives the domain registrar an opportunity to perform better. It is possible they can match the price of the receiving registrar.

      $250K is not enough to create conflict that may lose future customers. There is more to the policy change than making a few cents.

  15. I have been trying to transfer one of my 6 domains at NS for a week now. They all but ignore service requests of any kind.

    I’ve already moved 5 of my 6 sites to a new hosting company. I didn’t realize how slow NS hosting was until I got 50megabit/second internet!

  16. @Brad Mugford – “It is not like anyone is going to change their mind in those (3) days. It is just a bottleneck in the process annoying a lot people.”

    Well said. Customer Service still means something to a large number. This excessive wait will push customers away.

  17. Ahhhh, the all too slow, agonizing demise of a lumbering behemoth (and former monopoly, dating to the dawn of the Internet!).

    The absolute worst of the worst. I, too, encountered precisely the same torturous gauntlet that Eliot did, just last night, in fact …but, with a twist!

    In my case, it gets even worse! After receiving notice of the mind-numbing 3 Day wait, I subsequently received still another notice by email, informing me that my transfer wasn’t gonna happen – period! – unless or until I picked-up the phone and physically called into NetSol to ‘discuss the matter’ with a ‘Transfer Specialist’.

    Only then, would I receive ‘conditional permission’ to proceed with my transfer request, and the consent would STILL require the aforementioned 3 Day wait.

    Consider yourself ‘lucky” Elliot! The whole thing is a bloody horror show – designed and implemented for no other purpose than to obstruct, impede, harass, and undermine.

  18. I have better about NetSol:

    If you get abused and purchase a stolen domain without know your whole account is freeze for +3 months. This means you cannot transfer any domain!!!

  19. I learned that Network Solutions were a bunch of thieves a dozen years ago when they sat on an expired domain I wanted to register (which legally should have been available for their $35 per year registration fee then) until they could find some “investor” who would pay an insider price and turn around and offer it for $1888. I wanted it for a legitimate website but couldn’t afford to get around the corruption in their system. I became a dealer for Verio and got the benefits of $8.95 domains for years, mostly registered through Melbourne IT in Australia. I’ve never had any problems with them, and can get the transfer codes instantly. [Blatent, voluntary positive testimonial for Verio]

  20. It’s high time for netsol and register.com to start showing more respect toward their clients, especially regular clients like us. Handling a large portfolio is time consuming and we cannot afford to play their silly customer retention games.

    register.com is one of the most difficult registrars I’ve worked with. They just waste your time and deny outgoing transfers for arbitrary reasons. For example you request two auth codes at the same time, after five days (sounds like government doesn’t it) they approve the first and decline the second.

    This attitude is counter-productive, now if I see a prerelease domain that is register.com I will really think twice before placing a bid. The odds are, I will just pass and avoid frustration later.

    • If you call Register.com directly, they will give you the auth code right away. No need to wait for this auth code by email. The email request is to protect against identity theft issues.

      The staff at Register.com are professional and helpful. In my opinion, the majority of the transfer process relies on patience.

      “If you are patient, you get the right results”

      • Why should I have to waste my time and be at someone else’s mercy for a domain name I own? What other major non-web.com registrars do that? Have you found rampant theft at registrars that don’t require this level of “security?”

        I’d bet that the company would privately snicker at you because I think the real reason they do it is for retention. Even if they save 10,000 names a year, that’s $250k in added revenue at a $25/year registration, not including hosting and other fees.

      • Your time must be valuable to not want to be at the mercy of NS and other domain registrars. It seems like an excuse to avoid conforming to their policies. Policies change. It’s a part of the domain industry.

        Do you really own your domain names? If you feel that you do, then why do you have to conform to these policies? The registrars have a lock on your domains. If you want more control over your domains, then own your own domain name registrar.

        They may have changed their policy for retention purposes. Domain owners know whether they want to transfer, or keep their domains at a particular registrar.

      • J, you obviously just don’t “get” it. You don’t understand how companies like NS work to manipulate their customers and profit off of them in any and every way they can. They have it calculated so everything they change will make money for them, and at the point the changes stop making more money for them, they will change the policy again so it will. It all has nothing to do with customer satisfaction, ease of operations for the customer, or security of the customer’s domains. The only way to win with a company like this is to not do business with them, particularly when there are so many other games in town. I learned that with NS more than a decade ago.

      • I get it Tyger. NS has done something right to retain many online business owners. They have been in business almost 20 years.

        With these recen changes, NS is probably protecting their customers. If you follow all the steps, the transfer process is painless.

        Complainers are whiners. What is another week in a domain deal? Are domain owners worried the buyer will discover the domain is not worth the price? Why worry if you are selling a quality domain?

        That’s the only reason I think this policy change is a burden for current NS customers. They think a large deal will fall flat.

  21. Sorry J, it has nothing to do with security and everything to do with customer retention.
    I have shown how absurd their behavior is, and my experience is not unique.

    Do they think we are all retarded ?

    • Sorry Kate, but I beg to differ on this topic. Retention is a small profit margin. If you are a business owner, would you jeopardize millions to make thousands? Probably not.

      NS looks to be protecting the customer. We don’t know what goes on behind close doors. Saving a measly $250K from going out the door is not worth the negative publicity.

      NS is in business to provide their customers the best service possible. If domain owners are upset about these current policy changes, they should voice their concerns to the right people.

      I doubt complaining here will address the transfer delay. What I see us that domain investors are worried about the buyer changing their minds. If you are not selling a quality product, then the transfer delay may compromise your deals. Otherwise, I don’t see the problem.

      I requested an authorization pin in a few days. I’m sure the transfer can go through smoothly. People whine because they know their domains are overpriced and do little to benefit the buyer.

    • You’re probably the first person who doesn’t work for the company that is defending this practice. Even a company representative has stated that they are working to improve this process for domain investors. Clearly, you are in the minority.

  22. If I didn’t know any better, I might think J works for the company. Someone from the company did reply, and instead of defending the practice as J seems to be doing, Christie said “I am actively working with Matt Overman and a team at Web to make the transfer process easier for NameJet customers and wholesale customers alike.”

  23. After trying about 10 times to generate an Authorization Code at Network Solutions tonight for 2 names I bought at Namejet I googled for “info” on problems transfering out of Network Solutions and found this thread.

    Now to find the info here that it takes 2-3 days to get an Auth Code from Network Solutions….WTF! That is a lousy policy and waste of a “customers” time when the “request” is simply ignored. At least they could flash you a message to let customers know there is a waiting period, instad of letting them continue to “try” and generate auth codes over and over with no response by email or otherwise.

    Bad policy Network Solutions!

    • The transfer process works just fine. Just received an auth code today. Why do you continue to keep requesting the code multiple times?

      Lacking patience is one’s downfall.

    • He’s right – there are times it won’t work – been on hold 2 days in a row – you were lucky your case was fine – in his and mine won’t work

  24. This problem continues, I’ve spent hours with several issues.

    The expiration date in their panel is incorrect for at least one domain, after waiting days they send me an incorrect auth code, etc. A nightmare.

    So I need to call them each time I want to transfer a domain? Especially great when you have double digit domains there and don’t live in the US.

    I’ve contacted Matt from Namejet.

  25. Matt is trying to help, this is real support, not time-wasting stuff and waiting days to receive the wrong info.

    NSI should learn a thing or two, but after so much time I doubt that.

  26. I just had this same issue come up with NetworkSolutions
    this very evening trying to transfer a domain out, and
    it is Incredibly Frustrating!

    That is actually how I found this blog by Googling
    “network solutions diffficult transfer” LOL

    Network Solutions are now doing absolutely everything
    they can in their power to keep their customers from
    transferring away, it seems almost like a trap.

    This is obviously the only reason and will likely catch alot
    of domainers off guard who are trying to “transfer quickly”
    before renewal and expect it to be a quick and simple
    process like with most registers.

    Unless major changes are made I am done with both
    Network Solutions and Register.com all together.

    I refuse to do business w/unethical registers who instead
    of building a competitve business model, profit by attempting
    to trick and trap their customers.

    great blog btw Elliot, Thanks

    • Jon, I agree with you 100% on refusing to do business with NetSol and Register.com and any registrar who operates like they do. I take every opportunity I get to tell anyone who is interested just how they operate and how difficult it is to do business with them, and I express exactly how I feel about their type of crooked, manipulative, and annoying business practices that make everything more difficult for customers. They bought their way into the catbird seat back at the dawn of the Internet, and they have managed to stay there ever since with backroom deals and industry politics behind the scenes. Treating customers honestly and making things easy for them would make more money than tricks and lies do. Every angry or disgusted ex-customer will cost them dozens of profitable customers for years to come. I saw through their deceptions 12+ years ago, and they haven’t changed their tactics a bit since then, so I keep warning people to avoid the aggravation and trouble of doing business with them.

  27. We tried to Transfer a Domain for an egypt friend. Since I started the request for an Auth code (4 days ago), we get lot of mails regarding renewal and safety and so on, but still no Auth code. In betwenn I send 2 more emails which resulted in more renewal Messages.

  28. Happily leaving these idiots. 3 days to send epp codes, in my case i waited too long (4 weeks) and the epp codes were not working anymore!! They are regenerating them quickly to make it even worse.
    About their questions when you ask the epp, you can skip them.
    And on the same pages they propose you to renew your domains cheaper than the normal fee.
    But i’m leaving anyway, i hate their panel and their way to charge lots for every little thing.
    GOOD BYE.

  29. Thanks for the great article!

    I am just going through the same process of trying to transfer my domain name to a cheaper hosting company.
    Was shocked that it took from about 11 pm to 1 am to figure out all the hoops to jump through and then got the “3 day” email.

    And I waited till 4 days before expiration to try and renew my domain name.
    Then today, 2 days later, I got an email to confirm my email address. Also am getting emails offering me consultation etc.

    Just before the final hoop they popped up a special offer for a $10 renewal.
    But after just renewing last year for the ridiculous price of $57 because I didn’t have time to mess around, this year I decided to spend the time to escape NS.

    Hope it works. My request was made at 1:00 am on May 7, so the three days is almost up.

    • For me, they offered the 10$ “deal” as soon as I started to get the AUTH code. It will be interesting to see how low they go during the process, as I just started it recently. But I will leave them anyway, because they are intimidating customers through their complicated processes and many unneeded “security” options. I was their customer for over 12 years now, but there is no way I will ever do business with them again.

  30. I’m just going to file an ICANN complaint to get the EPP code faster, don’t have the patients to wait for them to approve or disapprove.

  31. You can speed up Network Solutions transfers by calling 1-888-642-9675. Select the appropriate menu options.

    Tell them you need authorization codes to transfer out.

    Listen to multiple sales pitches. They’ll ask why you are transferring? Who you are transferring the domain to? What can we do to keep you at Network Solutions? Can we give you a discounted rate? Repeatedly decline to stay at Network Solutions.

    They will then send the codes to you within several minutes of the phone call.

    • But why the Fuck should we have to do that ?. Network Solutions make themselves look like con artists ,bot bona fide business people doing such stuff.

    • Yeah, I called in to expedite the process. Three days wait is just another hustle from them. Like throwing a brick at you when you leave the store. I got my codes almost instantly via email after calling. I was a loyal customer since 2000. Got tired of the upselling and hustles.

  32. hi
    my painful trip for moving few domains out of NS started 20th DEC, where their web interface is so bulky and full of ADs,and the part you really want is hidden somewhere so that you have to read all the BS on the page, what a waste of time.

    then to find out, nothing can be done & you have to call !!!

    after the call and request for auth code,
    and a funny part where the operator asked me:
    is there anything we can do to make you reconsider moving and change your mind?
    and to be honest, i was afraid to say NO, because they might really be an ass with me, so i just said, i just want to manage some domains from one registrar, i still have many domains in NS … hehehhe

    it took like 5 days to send the damn code, seems everything is automated but this !!!

    anyway, now i am in the process of the transfer, i requested from godaddy and gave them the auth code, but i am not sure how long it’s going to take??
    and then if someone has experienced this, will the transferred domain have the same DNS records? or is it go daddy will reset the DNS ???
    i dont want to be down !

    • In my experience, you will need to establish the DNS records with GoDaddy. Your website won’t be down during the transfer at anytime, but the DNS won’t be changed for you automatically. And be sure to check that all your details in the registration and DNS information is correct and the same, and every other little detail has been changed or corrected, and confirmed, or something will likely jump up and bite you in the rear when you least expect it and at the worst possible time. Don’t leave anything unchecked.

  33. I kept getting invalid auth codes from them. After 3 invalid ones and no reply at all from Network Solutions I posted on their Twitter site what I think of them. I then also made a formal complaint to CANN, who AMAZINGLY actually confirmed the complaint formally and took matter up. I immediately received a Valid auth code from Network Solutions. They do themselves no good whatsoever using such cowboy ,con artist like tactics and it will backfire badly.

    My suggestion is make a complaint to ICANN !!

  34. Requested an AUTH code and a Lock Off. Got the code after 3 days waiting, but the lock is still on. Anybody know how is that possible?

  35. @Danny Firstly double check the dates and make sure it isnt 60 days lock from any changes to whois etc. If it is all correct and should be no problem then try Network “Solutions” (hmm, “solutions” ??) and explain to them.Give them few days sort out. IF still problem then my suggestion is written to ICANN and explain problem and they will write to them and you will then see some action. Im was amazed that ICANN actually moved speedily when I complained.

  36. It’s now mid-2015 and this process is exactly the same despite Christie talking about how they’re actively working to change it.

    On top of that, NetSol’s phone numbers don’t work. When calling any of their numbers I just get an instant beep-beep-beep-beep…

  37. It’s all bullshit with NetSol, and 100% customer retention bullshit. Just transferred my last domain out from the crooks… if you want the EPP code faster than the 3 days just call them and tell them you need it now, they did it for me on the last 3 domains no problem, but not after doing everything and anything they could to try and keep me … price matching, etc. etc.. Took 20min. on hold but email came in a few minutes vs. a few days.

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