[sf-lug] domain transfer experiment (timing ...) - NOT sf-lug.{org, com}, from Network Solutions / Web.com to quite competent registrar

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Wed Jul 8 09:08:51 PDT 2015

Quoting Michael Paoli (Michael.Paoli at cal.berkeley.edu):

> Experiment ... let's see how long it takes to transfer a domain
> away from Network Solutions / web.com

[snip lots, including you getting Auth Code / EPP, and that EPP
mysteriously failing, including after alleged 'help' over the telephone
where NetSol suggests you must have done something wrong:]

> sometime on 2015-06-28, out of curiosity, I tried the transfer again,
> again putting in the original auth code on the receiving registrar's
> site, and running it through yet again.  Interestingly, this time, after
> a bit, it didn't fail (whereas before it would almost instantly fail on
> every attempt, regardless of auth key used - I suspect Network Solutions
> / Web.com has some "hidden" bit they don't show in the whois data, that
> they manually flip to allow the transfer to proceed - as I rather doubt
> it failing earlier, then working after the phone call, was mere
> coincidence.  For some odd reason, I imagine ;-) their call flow chart
> having portions like:
> o click here to flip bit after 2 business days, don't tell customer
> o click here to flip bit after 2 business days, tell customer
> o click here to flip bit now, tell customer 2 business days (what I
>   apparently got)
> o click here to flip bit now, tell customer (last resort, only if we're
>   totally screwed if we don't do this now for customer)

Yes, quite.


Suppose you were the old-school all-in-one registrar & back-end
registry organisation for domain registration, who used to be the
InterNIC, partly funded by Federal money and partly by a series of big
Beltway Bandit corporations.  Suppose that your outfit was somewhat
involuntarily morphed in 1998 by the US Department of Commerce and newly
formed ICANN, requiring you to create a stable programming interface
between your customer front-end (your registrar) and the back-end that
holds domain data in a huge networked database (your registry).  Suppose
said new interface is dubbed the Shared Registry System (SRS) Protocol.
Suppose other private firms are then invited to go into _competition_
with you as additional registrars, communicating with your back-end
database using SRS Protocol, and soon several hundred such competitors

In that hypothetical, you _might_ just perceive an incentive to
passive-aggressively interfere with incumbent customers deciding to 
depart and switch to one of your competitors, motivated by the
ongoing perception that, well, you suck.

You might adopt a business model of high prices, poor service, and
having a 'How to leave us for someone else' routine that's prone to
mysterious failures but works well enough for the persistent to avoid
too many complaints to US Department of Commerce and ICANN.  You might 
thus limp by as a terrible incumbent registrar that many people keep
paying higher-than-usual fees to for worse-than-normal service for no
better reason than being as close to the Hotel California / Roach Motel
for domains as you can get away with.

I'm not accusing NetSol of adopting that business model since 1998,
because that would be accusing them of persistent fraud and bad faith
towards its customers, and I wouldn't want to allege such a thing.  That
would be bad of me.  {cough}

Besides, who can prove it's malfeasance and not incompetence?  ;->

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