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04|10|2008 12:42 am EDT

Network Solutions Got Game – Hijacking Sub-Domains

by Chad Kettner in Categories: Registrars

TechCrunch recently reported that Network Solutions, has been hijacking unassigned sub-domains and using them for link-filled landing pages to increase their revenue.

Win Betteridge, the webmaster for GotGame.com, was the first to find out what was going on.

After realizing that app.gotgame.com came up as an Network Solutions page with text links, Betteridge noticed that every unassigned sub-domain did the same thing. “I don’t know if this is standard practice for a hosting company,” Betteridge stated, “but this strikes me as another case of Network Solutions unreasonably profiting at the expense of its customers.”

This issue is shocking from a customer’s perspective, but certainly isn’t anything new. Last year, Domain Editorial reported that GoDaddy and Dotster were hijacking sub-domains for the same purpose. What makes this story a bigger deal, however, is that Network Solutions’ reputation is already in a world of trouble.

Network Solutions has been the center of controversy over the past few months because of their poor judgment and lust for profits. Earlier this year they were accused of front-running domains – which led to a class action lawsuit – as well as profiting from racism by making money off Nigger.com.

The issue is no longer about whether or not the company is looking to make money through controversial means, but rather a question of how far they’re willing to go to do so.

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2 Comments

John Berryhill

April 10, 2008 @ 12:58 pm EDT

GoDaddy, incidentally, has been doing this for years. If you set up specific forwards for 3LD’s, there is no default wildcard – GoDaddy monetizes the rest.

Tyger Gilbert

April 11, 2008 @ 12:45 am EDT

I first dealt with Network Solutions in 1997, and found several of their practices to be “crooked”, relative to what I would consider fair practices. Over the years, I have watched as they have foisted one bad faith (though technically “legal”) scheme after another on both their customers and the domain industry at large. Why anyone who is now a customer of theirs doesn’t immediately go screaming to a different, (honest) registrar and/or hosting company is beyond my comprehension. If GoDaddy or any other registrar is using any of the same devious practices as Network Solutions, I would suggest the same to all of their customers as well. We use Verio for our hosting and get all of our domain registrations with Melbourne IT through them, and we have never had ANY of the kinds of problems I have experienced and heard about with Network Solutions. ICANN should outright prohibit the kinds of dirty tricks they pull, and recommend to the U.S. government that the .com and .net domain databases be maintained by some (any) other company who is more ethical. They’ve made enough money off of everyone with their pirate tactics over the years.

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