Sunday, 12 April 2015

Network Solutions are evil.

So if you're one of my stalkers, you'll have noted that my other blog,, has disappeared. If you're desperate to see the guff I wrote there on frame building, I highly recommend you learn how to use the wayback machine.

I set up the other blog a number of years ago, when I had a vague idea that I might end up building bicycle frames for profit, either as a part-time gig or else as a full-time semi-retirement thing. I do a pretty good bicycle frame, but the whole gig just isn't profitable, like with many hobby things. The reason my frames are pretty good is that I spend an absolutely incredible amount of time obsessing over them. If I was to charge for my time, nobody would (could!) buy one. If I cut corners so they didn't take as much time to build, they wouldn't be special. They'd be the same as what everyone else makes. Catch 22. Yes I will continue to build bicycle frames. No I won't sell you one. You're going to have to learn to live with that disappointment.

In any case, the name registration for was due to expire this year. It costs me money to keep the name registration going, so given that I've lost interest in that I decided not to renew. That's where the trouble started.

I had littlefishbicycles registered with Network Solutions. Back when I registered the URL, they had a complete monopoly on .com internet names, so you went with them or else you didn't get a name. So I registered with them, paid a small fortune for the privilege of them doing, well, not actually very much, and made use of my name.

A few years ago I faced a similar dilemma. I knew my domain was going to expire soon, and I was vacillating about whether or not to renew. Then a few months before expiry I got an email from Network solutions thanking me for my payment. I was surprised, as I was certain I hadn't authorised an auto-renew. I gave them the benefit of the doubt though and let it pass. I logged into my account, found the auto renew checkbox, and ensured it was turned off.

So you know where this is going, right. A few months ago, I got an email from Network Solutions, telling me DIRE THINGS were going to happen soon, because my URL was going to expire. I logged into my account and made sure the auto renew was turned off, and left it at that. Sure enough, a week or so later, I get an email from them saying that my bank had refused payment, and that I needed to update my credit card details. They'd had a go at charging me, but this time my card had expired so it didn't work.

I logged into my account with them to find a cancel button. Nope. Nothing. There isn't even an email address - just a US phone number. I can see now what would happen if I tried calling that. My business would be important to them, and I'd be reminded of that for half an hour whilst on hold. So I didn't bother. Frankly I figured they'd be stuffed because of the expired card.

So since then, I've been getting emails from them every couple of weeks, telling me that they'd tried (again) to bill my card, and that my bank had refused. Eventually I got an email from my bank asking if I'd authorised payment to this mob. I told them I haven't, and so they cancelled my card, and are reissuing me with a new one.

So now, thanks to these pricks, I have no access to my account for a week or so while the new card gets here. And when it does, I'll have to update my details with all and sundry. I did a web search on "network solutions unauthorised charge" and get a really amazing number of hits. Turns out it's their standard business practice. If you're an IT professional and you read this, please, please, don't do business with these bastards. If you know an IT professional, please warn them.

In the meantime, I've found my old card is just perfect for applying and smoothing epoxy to my boat.

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