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Web.com to Cut More Network Solutions Employees

October 17, 2011Domain Registrars, Domaining, Domainnamewire, Network Solutions, Register.comComments Off on Web.com to Cut More Network Solutions Employees

Company plans more pink slips at iconic domain registrar.

Web.com plans to fire more Network Solutions employees after it acquires the company than it previously thought.

The company, which also owns domain name registrar Register.com, originally thought it would save $30 million through efficiencies. Now it expects to save much more by “cutting senior manager posts, including Network Solutions’ chief executive, and consolidating data centres and applications”.

“There is significantly more overlap than we originally estimated, and so it’s likely going to be more headcount reduction,” CEO David Brown told Reuters.

It looks like those cuts will come from senior management and not lower level and customer service employees.


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Register.com Owner to Acquire Network Solutions

August 3, 2011Domain Registrars, Domaining, Domainnamewire, Network Solutions, Register.com, web.comComments Off on Register.com Owner to Acquire Network Solutions

Register.com and Network Solutions to get married.

Two of the highest priced and oldest domain name registrars are getting married.

Web.com, which owns Register.com, will pay $405 million plus 18 million shares of Web.com stock as well as take on Network Solutions’ debt.

The cash portion of the deal will be funded with new debt: $600 million of First Lien Credit Facilities and $150 million of Second Lien Credit Facilities, as well as a $50 million revolver. The new debt will also pay off the remaining $84 million of debt from the Web.com acquisition of Register.com in 2010. After closing, the combined company will have $740 million of net debt.

Network Solutions is owned by a number of investors, primarily General Atlantic LLC.

The two domain name registrars have watched their market share suffer in favor of lower priced rivals such as Go Daddy, but have still managed to keep millions of domain names at higher prices. Typical registration prices at the registrars is about $35 per year. Their customers are less price-sensitive and often purchase full online presence packages.

The message from Web.com is clear: Register.com was a good acquisition for the company, so Network Solutions make sense as well.

I suspect we’ll see more consolidation in the registrar space over the next year.


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Related posts:

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Network Solutions and Register.com Slot .Co Second

December 23, 2010.co, Domain Registrars, Domaining, Domainnamewire, Network Solutions, Register.comComments Off on Network Solutions and Register.com Slot .Co Second

Big registrars pushing .co as next best thing to .com.

Last month Go Daddy created quite a buzz by briefly changed its default domain name search parameter to .co.

Although Go Daddy and its competitors continue to offer .com first, two large retail domain registrars are making a significant push to get customers to register .co.

Both Network Solutions and Register.com are promoting .com as a second choice to .co, with Network Solutions even promoting .co above other domain extensions you’ve selected.

Here’s a screenshot from Network Solutions. I searched for xyzdomain and selected the default .com and .net TLDs. .Com is unavailable, but Network Solutions slots (and auto selects) .co along with .net, even placing it ahead of the available .net.

If the .com is available, Network Solutions still slots .co as number two but doesn’t auto select it.

At Register.com .co is called out as an alternative whenever your .com isn’t available. The site pitches the domain as an alternative to .com, saying .co is short for “company”. Alternative TLDs are far down the page:


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Court Ruling on Baidu v. Register.com Has Implications for Domain Registrars

July 22, 2010Domain Registrars, Domaining, Domainnamewire, Register.comComments Off on Court Ruling on Baidu v. Register.com Has Implications for Domain Registrars

Court says registrars can’t get away with gross negligence just because it’s in their TOS.

Domain name registrars, take note: you can’t just claim no responsibility for your actions in your terms of service and expect a court to uphold it.

That’s exactly what Register.com tried to do in a lawsuit brought by Baidu. If all the allegations are true, Register.com really screwed up on this one. Yet it claimed Baidu couldn’t hold it accountable because it agreed so in the terms of service.

But a ruling (pdf) today by the judge in this case says otherwise: you can’t just disclaim responsibility for your gross negligence:

If these allegations are proven, then Register failed to follow its own security protocols and essentially handed over control of Baidu’s account to an unauthorized Intruder, who engaged in cyber vandalism. On these facts, a jury surely could find that Register acted in a grossly negligent or reckless manner.

The judge refers to a case that is actually a good analogy here:

Green v. Holmes Protection of N.Y.. Inc., 629 N.Y.S.2d 13 (1st Dep’t 1995) (holding limitation of liability clause was not enforceable where alarm company was grossly negligent when it gave burglars keys to store and security codes to disengage alarm and failed to respond promptly when crime was discovered).

Register.com also argued that Baidu agreed that the search giant would be responsible for the security of its account. But the judge noted that Register.com did implement security features because this type of hijacking was foreseeable:

The attack by the Intruder was reasonably foreseeable — it was precisely because these cyber attacks are foreseeable that the security measures were adopted. While Baidu gave up, in agreeing to the Limitation of Liability clause, any claims for ordinary negligence or breach of contract based on ordinary negligence, it did not waive its claims for gross negligence or recklessness. If Baidu can prove gross negligence or recklessness, the Limitation of Liability clause will not be a bar.

Of course, it will be up to a jury to decide the ultimate outcome. But the judge has reaffirmed that a registrar can’t run away from its gross negligence in security matters.


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Related posts:

  1. Register.com: Baidu Can’t Sue Us for Negligence. Its In Our Contract.
  2. Baidu Sues Register.com Over Hacking Incident
  3. How Baidu Got Hacked by the Iranian Cyber Army

Court Ruling on Baidu v. Register.com Has Implications for Domain Registrars

July 22, 2010Domain Registrars, Domaining, Domainnamewire, Register.comComments Off on Court Ruling on Baidu v. Register.com Has Implications for Domain Registrars

Court says registrars can’t get away with gross negligence just because it’s in their TOS.

Domain name registrars, take note: you can’t just claim no responsibility for your actions in your terms of service and expect a court to uphold it.

That’s exactly what Register.com tried to do in a lawsuit brought by Baidu. If all the allegations are true, Register.com really screwed up on this one. Yet it claimed Baidu couldn’t hold it accountable because it agreed so in the terms of service.

But a ruling (pdf) today by the judge in this case says otherwise: you can’t just disclaim responsibility for your gross negligence:

If these allegations are proven, then Register failed to follow its own security protocols and essentially handed over control of Baidu’s account to an unauthorized Intruder, who engaged in cyber vandalism. On these facts, a jury surely could find that Register acted in a grossly negligent or reckless manner.

The judge refers to a case that is actually a good analogy here:

Green v. Holmes Protection of N.Y.. Inc., 629 N.Y.S.2d 13 (1st Dep’t 1995) (holding limitation of liability clause was not enforceable where alarm company was grossly negligent when it gave burglars keys to store and security codes to disengage alarm and failed to respond promptly when crime was discovered).

Register.com also argued that Baidu agreed that the search giant would be responsible for the security of its account. But the judge noted that Register.com did implement security features because this type of hijacking was foreseeable:

The attack by the Intruder was reasonably foreseeable — it was precisely because these cyber attacks are foreseeable that the security measures were adopted. While Baidu gave up, in agreeing to the Limitation of Liability clause, any claims for ordinary negligence or breach of contract based on ordinary negligence, it did not waive its claims for gross negligence or recklessness. If Baidu can prove gross negligence or recklessness, the Limitation of Liability clause will not be a bar.

Of course, it will be up to a jury to decide the ultimate outcome. But the judge has reaffirmed that a registrar can’t run away from its gross negligence in security matters.


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Related posts:

  1. Register.com: Baidu Can’t Sue Us for Negligence. Its In Our Contract.
  2. Baidu Sues Register.com Over Hacking Incident
  3. How Baidu Got Hacked by the Iranian Cyber Army

Web.com Buys Register.com for $135 Million

June 17, 2010Domain Registrars, Domaining, Domainnamewire, Register.com, web.comComments Off on Web.com Buys Register.com for $135 Million

Large registrar agrees to be acquired by small business hosting and design company.

Register.comWeb hosting and design company Web.com has agreed to purchase privately held domain name registrar Register.com for $135 million. The company views domain name registration as a lead generation tool for other services such as setting up web sites and hosting, and also sees cost savings of $10 million by merging the two entities.

Register.com is one of the original higher cost domain name registrars, which has stuck to its $35-a-year pricing similar to Network Solutions. It is the tenth largest domain name registrar with 2.36 million domain names according to RegistrarStats. That places it just behind Moniker.

Register.com also owns its own portfolio of domain names that its customers let expire.

With the acquisition Web.com is also inheriting a lawsuit filed by Chinese search engine Baidu. Baidu’s account was compromised and nameservers changed, apparently due to lax security controls by one of Register.com’s employees.


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Related posts:

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In Battle Over Retail Distribution, NameMedia Leaving Sedo in the Dust

April 6, 2010Afternic, buy domains, Domain Sales, Domaining, Domainnamewire, NameMedia, Register.com, sedoComments Off on In Battle Over Retail Distribution, NameMedia Leaving Sedo in the Dust

Register.com agreement latest win for NameMedia.

Today NameMedia — which operates Afternic and BuyDomains — announced that it has signed Register.com as a premium promotion partner. That means that visitors to Register.com can purchase any of the domains at the “premium” promotion level listed on AfternicDLS in a simple purchase with instant fulfillment. It also means domains registered at Register.com are eligible to be listed at the premium level on the service.

Both NameMedia and the other heavyweight domain name marketplace Sedo have been trying to expand their reach using distribution agreements with instant fulfillment in which someone can buy a premium domain name just like registering a regular domain name. This is viewed as the holy grail of aftermarket domain name marketing.

So far, NameMedia has locked up Network Solutions and Register.com. All Sedo has nailed down so far is sister registrar 1&1. If the battle of retail distribution is in inking these agreements, which platform signs up the most top 10 registrars over the next 12 months will win.

That’s not to say Sedo can’t also sign deals with Network Solutions and Register.com. However, Sedo is at a great disadvantage because most domains on its platform aren’t priced. In order for instant purchase and fulfillment to work, domains must be priced. Sedo has been trying to get more of its inventory priced, but it’s a slow and uphill battle.

The problem for Sedo is that most people will only list a fixed price at one platform. If someone has a domain with a fixed price at Afternic, they don’t want to have a fixed price at Sedo too in case the domain happens to sell on both platforms prior to removing the inventory after a sale.

By nabbing Network Solutions and Register.com, NameMedia has captured two of the high cost, premium registrars. Of the other top 10 registrars, Go Daddy and Moniker are the most important. What NameMedia lacks right now is domainer inventory, since few domainers keep their domains at Network Solutions and Register.com. Go Daddy offers both inventory and distribution, although it may decide to lock out other providers in favor of its own premium listing service. Moniker has substantial premium inventory that NameMedia needs to tap into, although it lacks end user distribution.

The next 12 months will be critical in domain name aftermarket distribution. Let’s see if Sedo responds.


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Register.com: Baidu Can’t Sue Us for Negligence. Its In Our Contract.

March 22, 2010baidu, Domain Registrars, Domaining, Domainnamewire, lawsuits, Register.comComments Off on Register.com: Baidu Can’t Sue Us for Negligence. Its In Our Contract.

Domain name registrar argues that you can’t sue it for negligence because it’s in the TOS.

What happens if you register a domain name at Register.com and then Register.com screws up? Tough luck.

That’s the message the company is sending by asking a court to dismiss a lawsuit Baidu brought against it for handing over the keys to its account to a criminal.

In a motion to dismiss (pdf), Register.com’s representatives write:

Asserting a laundry list of inflammatory claims, Baidu seeks to hold Register liable for the January 11, 2010 cyber-attack, which appears to have originated from unknown criminals who also targeted sites such as Twitter, and which resulted in a brief interruption of service on Baidu’s Web site, baidu.com. But Baidu fails to inform the Court that when it registered its domain name through Register more than a decade ago, it expressly agreed to waive any future claims against Register for precisely the kind of service interruptions that form the basis of this lawsuit. Indeed, in numerous provisions of the parties’ contract, Baidu agreed that it would not and could not bring the very claims it now attempts to assert.

This seems like it’s on shaky grounds. Register.com didn’t just mess up, it really f’d up. It’s almost unbelievable.

If I park in a parking garage, I know the ticket says the garage isn’t responsible for theft. But if the garage operator hands a crow bar to a thief to break into my car, I can hold the operator responsible.

But Register.com claims its mistake was nominal:

In terms of the criminal attack, then, Baidu’s allegations boil down to the core of what actually happened here: a customer service agent mistakenly verified a customer by failing to confirm that the correct security code was provided back by the requester. But that is not an allegation of gross negligence; at best, it is simple mistake or ordinary negligence.

You should re-read what happened and decide for yourself.

Register.com also suggests that Baidu filed the complaint in part because Google had suggested it was moving out of China at the time. (See footnote 9 in the Motion to Dismiss).


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Related posts:

  1. Baidu Sues Register.com Over Hacking Incident
  2. How Baidu Got Hacked by the Iranian Cyber Army
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How Baidu Got Hacked by the Iranian Cyber Army

February 24, 2010baidu, Domain Registrars, Domaining, Domainnamewire, Register.comComments Off on How Baidu Got Hacked by the Iranian Cyber Army

Court documents show how imposter allegedly duped Register.com into handing over access to Baidu.com.

Last month visitors to Baidu.com were redirected to a page stating that the site had been hacked by the Iranian Cyber Army.

Baidu later sued Register.com for allegedly allowing a security intrusion that enabled the hackers to change the name servers for Baidu.com. But the original lawsuit redacted the essential facts about how the hackers got control of Baidu’s account at Register.com. Now an unredacted copy of the lawsuit is available (pdf).

What it alleges is stunning. Here’s how Baidu alleges the hacker got access to one of the world’s most popular web sites domain name account in under an hour:

1. Hacker starts online chat session with Register.com representative, claiming to be an agent of Baidu.

2. Register.com representative asks hacker to provide verification information. Hacker provides invalid information, but Register.com goes ahead and e-mails a security code to the email address it has on file for Baidu anyway.

3. The hacker doesn’t have access to that e-mail address, so he/she relays a bogus security code to the Register.com representative via chat. Baidu claims the representative didn’t bother to compare the code to the actual one.

4. Hacker asks Register.com representative to change email address on file to antiwahabi2008@gmail.com, and representative does.

5. Hacker now uses “forgot password” link at Register.com to request the username and password to the account. Hacker can then log in and change the name servers.

This isn’t the first time a major corporation has had its nameservers changed thanks to a compromised domain account. But the details in how the account was allegedly compromised are stunning. It’s also unfortunate that, had Baidu used added security such as that offered by Moniker or Fabulous, this entire event could have been avoided.


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Related posts:

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Baidu Sues Register.com Over Hacking Incident

January 19, 2010baidu, Domain Registrars, Domaining, Domainnamewire, Register.comComments Off on Baidu Sues Register.com Over Hacking Incident

Domain name registrar sued over alleged security breach.

Baidu, Inc. announced that it has sued domain name registrar Register.com over a hacking incident by Iranian Cyber Army earlier this month. Baidu claims that Register.com was negligent, allowing the hackers to change the DNS for the domain name.

I have searched U.S. Federal Court records to find the lawsuit, but have not located it. It will be interesting to see the details behind the lawsuit, as presumably it will detail what exactly the hackers did to take down the site, including any edits to the nameservers for Baidu.com.

Once again, it’s time for a registrar to offer bullet-proof registrations, including a service that requires in-person verification to make any changes to a domain’s contact information or nameservers. I’m not sure if such a service will profitable, as I know at least one domain entrepreneur tried this in the past. Will companies pay substantially more to ensure their domain names aren’t hacked? They should, but that doesn’t mean they will.


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