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Network Solutions Blows It

May 27, 2013

Annoyed Alex Nuta 2 Comments

Those of you that know me know that I’m at my most vicious when I come across poor marketing, or poor service, but there is one other thing that really gets me riled up: Outright lies to sucker a customer in. Network Solutions is the latest example.

Looking on Google to find a vendor, I saw a special offer from Network Solutions for SSL certificates at $9.99. This is a Google Ad, right above the first search result, so they’re paying money to be there. Keep this in mind for the next part.

I’m already a Network Solutions customer, so the fit is already good. Top that with a crazy low price of $9.99 and there’s absolutely no reason not to go there.

I click on the link, and I get this page:



The page compares Network Solutions with Godaddy, Digicert and GeoTrust to further highlight both the functionality and the lower price of the $9.99 offer.

Needless to say I’m sold. Click on the “Get an EV SSL Certificate button” and you get this:


So far so good. Next, to pay, I log into my account, select the payment method, and the total recalculates:


What? From $9.99 to $549?

Fearing that I’ve made some kind of noob mistake on a limited time offer, or an offer for new customers only, I go back and reread everything. No mention at all of an expiration, no new customer prerequisite. No mistake.

My next step was to call up the service line at Network Solutions, where a very polite rep tells me that it was a limited offer some time ago, but that she could offer me, by way of compensation, a 40% discount on an SSL certificate. Let me do that math real quick here: 40% of $549 is a savings of $219.60, leaving me to pay only $329.40

That’s more than GoDaddy, more than Digicert, and even more than GeoTrust, whose $299 rate is now starting to seem like a bargain.

So, in case you’re keeping track, Network Solutions is paying for an ad placement with Google, maintains a special offer set of pages and product code that you can put into a cart at $9.99 only to switch up the price at checkout. Any way you slice this is at least misleading, at most outright lying.

I have to wonder how many sales they end up making like this. I can’t imagine anyone not feeling a little cheated on reaching that checkout page.

If you ask me this is a classic case of “blowing it” online, from what used to be the #1 registrar. Food for thought.

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    Jason Jan 28, 2014

    I just came across this offer yesterday, I believe in a google AD. I already had purchased a cheap SSL, so I didn’t take advantage of it right away, I went to go look for it today, and all I could find was your blog post….I think Network Solutions never got around to adding the appropriate staff to handle the size of their business, and I’d be surprised if they haven’t been slowly shrinking over the past 10 years.

      Alex Nuta Jan 30, 2014

      They haven’t been doing well, but that has more to do with price and their constant bombardment of “value-added services” which add little or no value at all.
      Don’t get me wrong, Network Solutions has always been technologically superior. I didn’t mind paying a premium compared to other registrars when that premium was 10-25% more.
      But now that they are 700% more expensive than what I’m paying at GoDaddy, I just can’t justify the expense.
      Now they’ve switched tactics from being the easiest to manage to being the hardest to transfer domains out, which I guess makes sense if your customers are leaving in droves…
      Of course, that is not to say the GoDaddy is any good, technologically. In fact how badly they suck could be the topic of an entire blog post, from bizarre and defective interface, to the fact that it takes forever to propagate changes in their system where Network Solutions takes mere moments. I miss the easy functionality too at Network Solutions, but I comfort myself in the knowledge that I’m saving 85.7% on my domain registration costs.


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