Why Network Solutions Showed a $10k Price for an Unregistered Domain Name

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Sam Biddle, a Senior Writer at Gawker Media, posted this tweet about Network Solutions  showing  a price of  $10,000 for the unregistered SamBiddle.com. Biddle opted to register the domain name  at Hover for $13 instead of paying the  exorbitant  price  listed at Network Solutions.

After seeing the tweet, I tried to replicate the registration process at Network Solutions. I was unable to find another unregistered domain name with a premium asking price. I dug in a bit further, and I believe I found the issue that caused the unregistered SamBiddle.com domain name to show up as being for sale for $10,000.

If you visit Afternic and search for “SamBiddle.com,” you can see a listing for that domain name with a $10,000 asking price. Network Solutions is a partner of the Afternic Premium Promotion network, and the registrar lists Afternic-listed domain names in its results when an exact match is searched. My guess is the former owner of SamBiddle.com had it listed at Afternic before it expired, and after the domain name expired, the listing was not removed from Afternic. Consequently, the Premium Promotion network price was listed instead of the standard registration fee.

SamBiddle.com

Although it appears that this was more of an innocent mistake than anything else, it does make the registrar look bad by listing a premium price for an unregistered domain name. I don’t think Network Solutions is at fault in this situation, but there should be some way for Afternic or the registrars to regularly check listings to ensure that the listed domain names are at least registered.

On a separate note, kudos to Biddle for registering SamBiddle.com.

Thanks to Ken Schafer for sharing this via Twitter.

1 COMMENT

  1. this kind of thing has happened at godaddy too when a domain that has expired and dropped is still in their auction system.

  2. This is such a frustrating issue. IMO, this could be resolved rather easily if only the marketplaces took the time to clean up their databases. They could very well setup a notification system that automatically removes names from their database upon no reply from the the previous domain holder.

    • They could easily pull in the daily PendingDelete lists and remove those domains from their listings. It could potentially save a lot of frustration and wrong information. Not to mention clean data is better data.

      On several occasions, I have requested Afternic and Sedo to remove the PD names from their listings so the name could be backordered at certain registrars that get feeds from Afternic/Sedo. Having those names in the feed makes it appear that you could buy the name immediately for the premium price and prevents a backorder from being placed.

      It’s an easy fix!!! I do database development work and this truly is a simple task.

  3. Just to play devil’s advocate here: what’s the incentive for a registrar to fix this glitch? Besides the occasional nasty tweet, that is. Is fixing this really going to have a huge impact (or any impact) on their bottom line? I bet this glitch will still be there a year from now.

    • As I see it, it’s not really a registrar issue. They are relying on feed data from Afternic/Sedo/etc. to be accurate, which it isn’t.

      Huge impact? Probably not.

      It’s pure laziness, whoever you think is at fault. It’s a very cheap, very easy fix for either party. There is no reason not to implement this type of daily clean up.

      When I called a registrar about this issue one time, they tried to sell me the name at the premium price of $15k. I told them even if I was willing to pay the money, they couldn’t guarantee me the name because it was in Pending Delete status. The service rep just didn’t get it.

      Having bad data when you have all the tools and accurate info available to you? Lazy.

  4. So to answer your question on the incentive for fixing this issue: The incentive is to not look a bunch of clowns in these situations (no offense to you actual clowns out there).

    The registrars and marketplaces are the authoritative organizations lay people look to in this industry. They should hold themselves to a higher standard than getting it “mostly right”.

    Most people don’t understand the in’s and out’s of the domain industry, how registrars and marketplaces look.

    So when somebody like Sam Biddle, who is probably more tech savvy than most, has this kind of issue and thinks he’s getting ripped off, he’s probably not the first one. He just has a media outlet and Twitter followers to voice it to.

  5. I purchased a domain on a drop about 3 months ago. Within 2 weeks I sold the domain. A week goes by and I get an email from Afternic that they sold the domain I purchased and I had to transfer it to the new buyer. What had happened was the old owner of the domain I purchased on a drop had it listed at Afternic and never took the listing down.

    I received threatening emails from Afternic for about 2 days and I tried to explain each time I was not the owner who listed it on their service and even showed them the date I purchased it.

    There has to be a better way for services like this to monitor the domains they have listed. I am pretty sure many names listed at these places are either sold or exchanged ownership via expiration since they were listed.

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