Network Solutions to Change Front-Running Practice

    January 10, 2008

As we reported yesterday, Network Solutions has been in a lot of deep-water after many people discovered the company was guilty of "front-running"–the practice of registering a domain name after someone has checked on its availability.

Today, CNET is reporting the company is reeling from the backlash and has announced they will make changes to their practice.

One change is that the company will offer only an "under construction" page for sites that it has reserved…Another change coming soon is that Network Solutions will register domains only when people search for domains from the company’s home page. No longer will it do so when people use the company’s Whois search page.

It make you wonder what went through the minds of the executive that make these reputation-risky business decisions–probably just dollar signs.

Seriously, when you thing about the potential value to your bottom line, consider more than just the cash that comes in the door. A great reputation takes many, many years to build and trust is hard to gain, but easy to lose.

While NetSol might have fattened their revenues over the past couple of weeks, they’ll now likely lose out in the long run. Of course, 95% of their customers will have no clue of the dirty tricks that just backfired, but those that did hear about it–marketers, webmasters, web designers–are the ones that can influence others.

Imagine the next time an ordinary business owner asks his web designer, "Where should I register my domain name?" Do you think that guy is going to recommend Network Solutions?