Network Solutions

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Network Solutions Logo.png
Type: Privately Held
Industry: Internet, Domain name registration
Founded: Herndon, VA, 1979
Founder(s): Emmit McHenry
Faisal Shah
Headquarters: 13861 Sunrise Valley Dr., Ste. 300
Herndon, VA 20170
Country: USA
Employees: 900
Twitter: TwitterIcon.png@NetSolCares

Network Solutions, LLC is an Internet-centric company providing products and services targeted at the web. The company's product and service offerings include domain name registration, email hosting, website development, ecommerce products and solutions, web hosting, SSL certification, online marketing services, and website design services; they are particularly focused on helping small, and developing companies establish themselves on the Internet.[1]

The company's corporate headquarters are located in Herndon, Virginia, USA.

On August 3rd, 2011, announced that they were acquiring Network Solutions for $405 million in cash, 18 million shares of common stock, while also refinancing existing net debt of Network Solutions and paying certain fees.[2]


The company was founded in 1979 by Emmit McHenry, an entrepreneur from Arkansas; it began as a tech consultancy focusing mainly on applications development.[3]

In 1991, Network Solutions was awarded the contract to operate the domain name registry on behalf of the US Defense Information Systems Agency. The company's mandate was to register domain names in the .com, .org, .mil, .gov, .edu and .net, and this service was free of cost to customers.

In 1993, the company was the sole bidder for the contract for operating domain registry service for .com, .net and .org domains, from the National Science Foundation, the first company to do so.[4] At that time, the functions of registry and registrar were both performed exclusively by Network Solutions. The company would hold the position of the sole domain registrar in the world for these three registries for the six years, until 1999. The company was also given the contract of maintaining the central Whois database of assigned names.

The company was acquired in 1995 by the Science Applications International Corporation. Two years later, in 1997, Network Solutions was listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange under the ticker symbol "NSOL". Its initial public offering raised $67 million USD.

The control of Network Solutions changed hands in 2000, when Verisign acquired the majority share holding at a price of USD 20 billion.[5] Verisign resold the company in 2003 to the Najafi Companies, while retaining the .com domain registry business for itself. Network Solution's business changed from being a registry to becoming a domain registrar. Under the new management, Network Solutions launched an inorganic growth strategy by first acquiring InQuent Technologies in Toronto (Canada) in 2004, followed by acquiring MonsterCommerce in 2005. The company's ownership changed hands once again in 2007 when General Atlantic, a private equity firm, bought into the company.

On August 3rd, 2011, announced that they were acquiring Network Solutions for $405 million in cash, 18 million shares of common stock, and refinancing existing net debt of Network Solutions and paying certain fees.[6]

The First Registry and Registrar

NSI at first functioned as an administrator for domain name registry along with DISA under a sub-contract in 1991. NSI issued free .com, .gov, .org, .mil, .edu and .net along with free Internet Protocol address blocks. NSI in 1993 became the sole company to be registrar of top level domain names. The grant was provided by National Science Foundation after a bidding process in which NSI was a sole bidder. With this grant NSF was the sole registrar for Top Level Domain Names (TLDs), it also maintained a central database for the assigned Domain Names called the WHOIS. This improved monopoly of NSI in the domain name registration. The permission given by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to charge fees for the domain name registration from the applicants led NSI to levy hefty charges on the costumers applying for Domain Names. In 1995 NSI charged $100 for two years registration. Later overwhelmed by the increasing monopoly of NSI, the United States Department of Commerce (DOC) amended its contract with NSI and forced NSI to provide domain name registration to competing registrars at wholesale prices, rather than the regular rate of $34.99 per year the amount it still charges today. DOC and NSF also assisted to the formation of a new organization which will oversee the registration of domain names and their accreditation. This new organization was aimed to reduce the monopoly of NSI in the domain name registration business and allow new private organizations a market place for the entry into this business. The organization was named as Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). [7][8]


The board of directors at Network Solutions is comprised eight members, four of whom are representatives of General Atlantic. The board is presently chaired by Robert F. Callahan, in his position as chairman of the board and special advisor with General Atlantic.[9]

The executive team is comprised of seven members, with the CEO, Tim Kelly, also serving as director on the board.[10]

Domain Registrar Function

According to the statistics compiled by Name Intelligence, Network Solutions had registered a total of 6,678,361 domains by the end of 2007, making it the third largest in table rankings, with GoDaddy taking first position (21,683,746 domains) followed by eNom in the second (8,113,940). As of 2010, the company is host to 7 million domain names, 1,000,000 emailboxes and 300,000 websites.[11]

As a domain registrar, Network Solutions offers the following services:

  • Domain name search
  • Expired Domain search
  • Web forwarding
  • Domain transfer
  • Private registration


Awards & Recognition

The company has been recognized for customer satisfaction excellence[12] for a fourth consecutive year (2006 to 2009) by J.D. Power and Associates under their Certified Call Center Program.