NetWork Solutions: How YOU can gouge your customers in 10 steps or less – a case study

By | January 27, 2008

Or How Many Times Can YOU Upsell your products and GET Away With it!?

I had heard that Network Solutions had been trying to sell $9.95 domains for $34.99, so today… as I was cleaning out my closet, I decided to conduct a little experiment. I used Dreamhost to check for a domain that was available to register: I chose the one listed below and it showed it was available. I then repeated the experiment with a second domain (a different one entirely) to verify my results.

So here goes, is it true that Network Solutions is gouging customers?

On the first page, I entered the domain, I came across this oddly checked box (I had not submitted a request for dot net anyway, so I let it ride) – The FIRST UPSELL. But let’s not forget all the other domain boxes on that first page with four more attempts to get you to buy additional domains at greatly inflated prices…!

upsell#1

So I clicked ‘Add Domains to Order’. At this point I hadn’t seen a price on the page for the domain registration. The link shows the prices clearly elsewhere but NOT on the purchase order.

upsell#3

I was then asked to choose a public or private registration for $9 per year. So I clicked. Second Upsell – Checked!

upsell#2

Adding Hosting… Mmm. Well, it’s a reasonable question but… for someone with good quality hosting already, a superfluous question. And the prices: well, reasonable to pricy. Third Upsell.

upsell#3-8

Ok… In one fell swoop, you are asked about SEVEN additional products, taking you through to 10 upsell attempts in total… Let’s see… Fourth to Tenth Upsell in ONE Page. Oh, boy!

Upsell#10

And they’re not done yet! We’ve still got the pricing page: Upsell #11.

Did you see that? Not only did you get upsold on the domain with private registration (which my host throws in FREE!) but they defaulted to FIVE years payments… and the first year is $34.99. Quite shocking, really. An original bill for just $9.99 (using another company like Yahoo! Domains or GoDaddy or any of a dozen decent registrars) was upsold to over $289 dollars for a domain that was a NEW domain!

And the EXTRA value?

Of course, you are getting some extra value: a dot com and a dot net, but the private security… Mmm. Let’s face it: domain names became commodity type services years ago, so the upsell is Network Solutions trying to add extra profitability to its bottom line.

But the customers? Who cares… As long as you are making your own bottom line. Upsell all you want… customers love it, in fact, they come back for more, and more. NOT.

Don’t UPSELL me!

The last time a company tried to upsell me on an item I was purchasing on the Internet, I hate to say it but it was box PC from DELL. I looked through all the options in the page, and came away disgusted. I understood that computers are massively complicated items, but my own needs were specific and didn’t need much tweaking, yet I was faced with the UPSELL on warranties, software packs, monitors (grossly overpriced, I might add), …

When I know what I need, do NOT upsell to me. If it’s online, I’ll just close the browser. If it’s at a store, and I’m not ‘just browsing’, I’ll be complaining to the representative or heading for the exit. It’s not that I’m a cheapskate or what… I just do not like being treated as a cash machine for a company.

I prefer to see a product or service sold at a price that doesn’t need an UPSELL as the company make a decent profit, and the customer gets a quality product or service. That’s all.

Am I nuts? Or is this one of the axioms of American business these days? Does it bother you, too? Let me know.

Important CAVEAT

Oh, and by the way, the domain that I tried to register with Network Solutions is now no longer available! So don’t even try to do domain searches there, you’ll end up being held hostage for your domain at $34.99 for the first year. The second domain I searched for but didn’t complete the transaction is similarly unavailable. As is the third domain which I merely searched for. Dreamhost doesn’t do this, why does NetworkSolutions?

Note: I didn’t link to NS other than for the single price page. It’s too ridiculous.

Author: InvestorBlogger

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