Network Solutions patents domain purchasing system

Patent for domain purchasing system granted ten years after application was filed.

Network Solutions, now part of, has received a patent for its Certified Offer service…ten years after applying for it.

Network Solutions applied for the patent titled “Certified Offer Service for Domain Names” back in 2004. It was rejected multiple times, but the company successfully amended and appealed.

The service lets customers make an offer on a domain name that is already registered. The patent explains that the first step of the service is providing an automated appraisal to the customer to give them an idea of how much the domain is worth. The customer then makes an offer and Network Solutions tries to verify that the buyer has enough funds to pay for the domain if the offer is accepted. (As I’ve found, this isn’t always the case). Network Solutions then emails the domain owner (presumably using contact information in WHOIS) to present the offer to them.

The company charges an initial offer fee as well as a commission on the purchase price.

The patent (pdf) covers many aspects of the Certified Offer service as it’s currently run today. I tried to verify all of the steps, but they seem to be having technical difficulties right now as the service keeps hanging up when I submit a domain.



  1. kd says

    This service is a real pain. People lowball you with this service and when you respond with your price there is no negotiation. I have sold domains through this service but really don’t like it. In fact I’ve found if you ignore these blind lowball offers, the users typically find you via whois and then you can have a real negotiation.

    This is also a big moneygrab for NetSol. They charge a user to make an offer that most of us know has zero chance of going through. NetSol wins even if the end user gets nothing out of it in return.

  2. says

    I understand the motivation for the service. Hopefully can work out the bugs.

    Responding to insincere or underfunded inquiries soaks up a lot of time. It would be nice to be reimbursed for the hours spent engaging with people who inquire about domains. But I also wonder how many potential sales will be negated by asking potential buyers to pay a fee merely to communicate.

    The service makes most sense for ultra-premium domains where inquiry volume is high and the percentage of qualified buyers is very low.

Leave a Reply