Monday, February 28, 2022

lumpy lives

Renewed the domain.

For three years. 

Lumpy lives!

Or to put it another way: you're stuck with me for another 3 years at least...


What a PITA Network Solutions is.

I have to deal with these people twice. Sometimes twice a year. For my company domain and for this fun domain name for my fun hobby. When they expire close to one another.

Network Solution/internic seems like the snake oil salesmen of old. But maybe they feel they can do this because they have us by the short and curlies.

It begins with annoying, repetitive, badgering, spam-like advertising MONTHS before a domain is due to expire.  "Your services are coming up for expiration." Then unnecessarily urgent, insistent, fear-mongering messages. "Keep Your Domain Active." Or, your "domains will be deactivated." Later, "Deactivation Notice." Well before the expiry. Constant peppering. Isn't it ironic that they send a barrage of messages not unlike spammers.

Strong-arm tactics this year over on my company domain but "giving" me a related .SITE domain for free but then demanding the payment for it after one year gratis.

This year I felt like the renewal messages were deceptive, sneaky, deliberately opaque. I start receiving messages every 2 weeks about the renewal coming up. Ah. It's February. The expiry date is late May. On opening the message, there's a big, eye-catching, set-the-hook headline:

Early Renewal Benefits

But the line below, if you bother to read it, says:

Renew now and save 50%* on new products, from domains, email, hosting, and more!

Oh. So that's not a renewal benefit. There is no benefit. So there's no need to renew early. There's no incentive. You're just grovelling for my money way out ahead of the expiry.

I would like to report these people to the international better business bureau. Meh.

So, I decided to play Devil's Advocate this year...

I wanted to see if I could get the 50% off.


3 February 2022. I fire up the chat on the Network Solutions web site. No way in Hades I'm gonna phone this in...

Human Rotciv P., Web Advisor, offers to help me. I tell him, "I received an email notification, it said 'Renew now and save 50%".' Does this apply to me?"

See that? I was giving him an out.

Huh? He asked a surprising question. "Does it say that the promotion is from us, Network Solutions?" 

I answered affirmatively. I sent him a copy of the email along with the sending address.

My Web Advisor then said, "Do not reply nor provide further information on it. That email is not from us and it has been reported as phishing email."

Too bad we weren't on video chat because my mouth was hanging open...

Looked completely legitimate to me.


He went on. "You can also block the email so that you will no longer received an email from it."

Ha, ha, ha. I would LOVE to block annoying, nagging, confusing, repetitive, misleading messages from Network Solutions! That'd be awesome!

I terminated the chat, tongue in check. This representative was bonkers. 

But my question... remained unanswered.


In the meantime, I double-checked the rates. 

Of course, that takes a hundred clicks and careful reading and many checks, to ensure you don't get sucked into agreeing to some service or feature you don't want. And I calculated the cost per annum.

years priceper year
1 42.9942.99
2 83.98 41.99
9 350.91 38.99

A very-slow but still welcome cheaper-by-quantity model.


23 February. I thought, "Let's try again today..."

After coming out of the queue, I was connected with human Marie.

Said I wanted to renew and I was curious if I applied for the "Early Renewal Benefits."

She said, "Let me check on that. One moment please..."

And then after a short while said, "I can get this renewed for you instead."

Oh. A bright light at the end of the tunnel.

I asked for a confirmation. "Are you saying I can renew at 50% off?"

Marie said, "Yes, but I will have to process that for you manually."

And we were cut off!

The chat dropped.

Ha. A key technology company can't maintain or re-establish a digital communications.

I scratched for the day.



In the meantime, I updated my profile.


Two days later. Let's get back on the horse.

Connected with Zeke. Verified my account. But he couldn't answer my questions. So he handed me off to Amruth Yogeesh, Web Advisor, who assured me he could help. "I will definitely help you with the domain renewal with a lesser prices."

Again, I asked if I applied for the 50% discount offer (fully expecting to be declined).

After a moment, he came back with the message. "The price of 2 years renewal is: $ 127.56. As we are running the amazing discounts on the renewal, I can get the domain renewal for you at: $ 83.98 for 2 years. You will save: $ 52.00 by renewing it today."

What? Shaking my head.

I told him what I thought the regular prices were.

Amruth said, "The prices have been hiked."

Whiskey tango foxtrot?! Really? In the last 2 days? I opened another browser and crawled through the renewal screens. The prices were not hiked! He was smoke-screening.

Then he pulled the car salesman tactic. "I have checked the discount offers for you with our admin team and I can get your domain renewed for 2 years at: $ 67.18. Shall I renew the domain name for $ 67.18 for 2 years now?"

Didn't make sense. I needed to stall him to crunch his numbers in a spreadsheet. I asked "What about 3 years?"

"The 3 years term, I can get it renewed for you at: $ 98.38. You will save $ 24.00 for choosing the 3 years term."

Crazy math.

My radar was going off. "That's just a straight renewal right, no other services or features, right?"

Amruth confirmed, "Yes. It's just a domain name renewal for now."

So I pushed back again, "The email from network solutions said 50% off, so I guess that does not apply?"

And he said, "The 50% offer is available for 5 years, 9 years and 10 years domain renewal."


That was very strange.

"What's the regular price for 5 years?" I asked.

"The regular price for 5 years is: $ 210.00. After the discount offer, I can get it for you at: $ 159.96 for 5 years. You will save $ 51.55 on choosing the 5 years term. It is a good saving offer."

Either he was lying and doing some strange mathematical guessimetrics. A bit of both, actually.

I told him that I did not understand. "The renewal page shows 5 years regular is $199.95. You said 50% applies for 5 years or more. So that'd be $100 or so after the discount..."

The crazy man said, "The price which is showing it to as: $ 199.95 is without the tax charge."

Oh boy. "So without tax the discounted 5 year price at 50% off would be $100, right?"

He threw a curve ball from the mound. "No. The private registration service will be added as a free service along with the offers."

I retorted, "I did not ask for private registration, you said before a straight renewal."

"I have rechecked the offer discounts and the team said, the service is free."

"So 5 year renewal regular $199.95 discounted to $100 plus free private registration?" I pressed.

He came back with, "The 5 year discounted charge is: $ 159.18 along with the private registration service free with it."

To which I replied, "Well that's not free then." 

And I started to dismiss him.

And he got desperate. Do they work on commission? "The private registration fee is: $ 9.99 / year. You will get that service free for 5 years. You will save $49.95 for 5 years. The domain renewal price is: $ 210.00 and after discount it is: $ 159.18 for 5 years. Here, you will save $ 51.55 for 5 years. When we add, the price discount is: $ 101.50 for 5 years."

Where was the 210 coming from?! He was making no sense.

And he was gish-galloping me! No way, mister.

I declined. Terminated the chat.

When the chat asked for a review, I clicked 1 for poor service and the chat window locked up. 

Ha. Don't accept bad reviews, eh?

Wow. What amazing bafflegab! "Prices hiked." No, that was a lie. $210 for 5 years - no, that was a lie. $159 after discount - that was not 50%. 

Adding private registration "for free." No, he was burying that fee. With an opt-out that I suspected would be difficult to wriggle out of.

And... I still didn't have a straight answer.


I crafted a complaint letter but left it in draft.


Shall we venture into the den of the lions again?

Today, I steeled myself.

Connected with Scott Boudreau, from the Sales team. Asked about renewing Said, "I received an email entitled 'Early Renewal Benefits.' It says I can renew now and save 50%. Does this apply to me?" And then I immediately texted "I see the one year, without any extras, costs $42.99. 2 yrs 83.98. 3 yrs 122.97. I was thinking i'd go for 3 yrs if i'm eligible for the 50% off."

To which Scott replied, "Are you sure it's not renew early and save 50% on any NEW purchases?"

Finally. My leading question was challenged. At last. A good first milestone.

I feigned reading the email for the first time. 

Scott said, frankly, "I thought so. Mostly it's 20% off, sometimes 25% on renewing."

Ah. So, no 50% deal for me, but he extended the olive branch.

He offered, "$29.99 a year at the moment for renewal." About $13 off or around 30% off.

I asked about a 3-year term. 

"$89.97," Scott said. Then went for the close! Sneaky guy.

I verified it was for a "straight renewal" with "no extras," we exchanged some data, I made the legal department happy, we sealed the deal, and I received my order number.

I thanked Scott for his help and gave him a very good rating.

No BS.

I was happy.

The confirmation email arrived seconds later. All good.

Still, their notification practices are nasty. And they have some people manning the chat line who are nuts or on drugs or can't do math. And sell snake oil.

But it shows that with Network Solutions, you need to ask. Without a relevant promo code, the online tool will not apply a discount. Chat or phone and ask for a deal.


I'm not good at this. I don't like haggling. I don't like the upsell. But doing it by text chat gives me time to think, it reduces the pressure, it avoids the stare-downs, I can do my fact-checking, and run a spreadsheet to crunch my own numbers! I would not do well on a live phone call with these people.

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