Interview of Larry Kutscher, CEO of Register.com on Front Running by Network Solutions
January 17, 2008 · Print This Article
I discussed in a recent post that Network Solutions had started front running domains. To gain more of a perspective on the issue, I spoke with Larry Kutscher, CEO of Register.com, a leading domain name registrar, about his views on the matter. Here is what he had to say:
1. Please provide a brief biography so that my readers know who you are.
Here is my brief biography for your to reference:
I joined Register.com as Chief Executive Officer on November 1, 2006 with a history of building and growing Internet-enabled businesses and supporting small businesses. Before joining Register.com as CEO, I served as Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Small Business Group at Dun & Bradstreet. During my tenure at Dun & Bradstreet, I was instrumental in helping the company expand its digital offerings, including the acquisition and development of Hoover’s. I was a member of Dun & Bradstreet’s Global Leadership Team since joining in 2001.
I also served as Managing Director of Wealth Management at Goldman Sachs & Co., and spent twelve years at American Express where my last position was as Senior Vice President of Interactive Enterprise Development.
2. Why do you recommend people use Register.com? What about Register.com makes you proudest?
Register.com helps small businesses succeed online by operating as their web department. We get feedback all the time that we have the best service in the industry. Whether we are solving complex technical problems or offering general ‘how-to’ advice, the exceptional service we provide is one of the things I am most proud of.
3. Recently, Network Solutions has started registering names that were searched on their website but not purchased. What is your opinion of their actions?
Register.com has serious concern over Network Solutions’ recent practice of registering searched but not purchased names via their website. As a registrar, Register.com takes very seriously the need to protect the ideas and domain searches of our customers. If it were to become standard practice that anytime you search for a domain name, the registrar purchases it, the customer loses.
You can be sure that if you search for a domain name on Register.com, we won’t use any information that you provide us to take it away from you. In addition, Register.com offers Domain Hold, a service customers can opt into to protect their idea by reserving a domain name for free for up to four days and then only they can come back to us to buy it.
It is a betrayal of the customers trust for Network Solutions to continue this practice. We hope we can put an end to this and focus as an industry on the ways we can help our customers.
4. What is your opinion about the explanation offered for this practice by Network Solutions?
The explanation Network Solutions has offered doesn’t ring true. They are not solving any customer problems with their new policy – in fact they are actually creating problems in the industry and ultimately for the customer.
5. In your opinion, does this action by Network Solutions violate any ICANN rules?
The bottom line is this is just not a good business practice and has the potential to hurt the industry and all of our customers. Due to this potential damage and the fact that this practice restricts competition among registrars, we believe that ICANN should immediately review this practice and Register.com has asked ICANN to do so in a formal letter.
6. Do you expect other registrars to do this as well?
I sincerely hope that other registrars will not adopt similar policies. As I commented previously, if it were to become standard practice that anytime you search for a domain name, the registrar purchases it, the customer loses.
7. What is your opinion of the 5 day grace period for domain registration allowed by ICANN? Should it be abolished or changed in any way?
The 5 day grace period is a positive thing for customers because it enables customers to carefully consider their domain purchase. At Register.com, we have leveraged this grace period in the best interests of the customers by offering a service called Domain Hold. Customers can opt into this service to protect their idea by reserving a domain name for free for up to four days and then, only they can come back to us to buy it.
8. What does Register.com do to ensure that when someone searches for a domain name on their website the information is secure?
When someone provides us their personal information we treat that information as highly confidential. We have a strict information security policy and privacy guidelines which ensure the customer’s personal information cannot be sold to a third party and is only transmitted to the registries through a secure connection.
9. Would you please let us know more about your Domain Hold service?
Register.com offers Domain Hold, a service customers can opt into to protect their idea by reserving a domain name for free for up to four days and then only they can come back to us to buy it.
10. One comment I often hear from domainers is that they don’t use Register.com because the prices are too high. Why has the registration fee been set so high?
Domainers are not our core target customers – our focus is on small business customers. So, while domainers may not need solutions to help them establish and build an online business, these types of tools are vital to the small business customer. Because of this customer need, many of our prices are bundled (not focused on just one product such as a domain) so our customers can purchase complete online business solutions.
That said, if a domainer wants the level of support and service we offer we will work with them on bulk domain pricing because we recognize these customers have different needs and pricing standards.
11. Are there any interesting developments for Register.com coming in the near future that you can reveal?
Over the past year we have launched several new and enhanced products (Build-My-Website custom design service, Do-It-Yourself website design tool, Professional Business Email, Domain Hold – just to name a few). In the near future,
you can expect to see even more innovative solutions to help the small business customer succeed online.
Thanks Larry for taking the time to discuss this with me!