Network Solutions’ Certified Offer Service doesn’t guarantee a transaction will go through, despite the company’s claims.
I have received offers on three of my domain names through Network Solutions’ “Certified Offer Service”. This service allows people to make an anonymous offer on a domain name for a $19 non-refundable fee plus 5% of the sales price. I believe that most people that make offers through this service are unsophisticated domain buyers. Sophisticated domain buyers know they can make anonymous offers through other services without an upfront fee. Furthermore, many of the unsophisticated buyers don’t realize a world outside of Network Solutions exists.
When you receive an offer from Network Solutions, the e-mail reads:
A third party (the Buyer) using our Certified Offer Service(SM) has made an offer to buy DOMAIN. The Buyer has entered into a binding agreement with Network Solutions to use our Certified Offer Service and funds to purchase the domain name have been pre-authorized on the Buyer’s credit card.
As far as I can tell this is true. Network Solutions does pre-authorize the buyer’s credit card for the offer amount. But this doesn’t mean that the sale will necessarily go through. On my most recent would-be sale through Network Solutions, I accepted a $1,000 offer on a domain. The next step in the process after accepting an offer is for Network Solutions to initiate a transfer of the domain to the registrant at Network Solutions. I dutifully took the time to quickly remove domain locking on the domain so it could be transferred..
A couple weeks passed. No transfer request from Network Solutions. I contacted a Network Solutions support rep who said the status of the transaction was “waiting for buyer to respond with contact and account information.” I asked how long this can take, sense I didn’t want to have this domain off the market. She said she’d put in another request to contact the buyer. Another week past and I didn’t hear back. I called Network Solutions again. (At this point I had put in more effort than a $1,000 sale is worth). The representative said she’d escalate my request to the Certified Offer Service group. A couple days later I received a message:
Thank you for contacting Network Solutions Certified Offer Department.
We had to cancel the Certified Offer for DOMAIN because we did not receive the Certified Offer Credit Card Authorization and Account Information form from the buyer.
Your domain registration remains under your ownership at your current Registrar and has not been changed.
Thank you for using Network Solutions Certified Offer Service.
Quality Processing Specialist
Network Solutions, LLC.
So much for “certified”.