NSI Targets the Little Guy

BOSTON (05/09/2000) - Network Solutions Inc. today announced a range of new services designed to make it easier for consumers to register and obtain their own domain names.

The services, along with a relationship announced yesterday with America Online Inc. (AOL), are the company's answer to increasing competition in the domain registration business, which the company held as a monopoly until deregulation late last year, and the increasingly consumer-heavy Internet user base.

"At least half of our customers now are average Johns and Janes off the street, so we have introduced a range of new services to make it simpler to register a domain name," said Doug Wolford, general manager at Network Solutions.

Among the new additions to the company's service: a suggestion engine that works from user-supplied keywords and makes the job of choosing a domain name easier, an online customer support database based on technology from Ask Jeeves Inc. and a more basic domain registration service that allows customers to register domain names for a minimum of a year and hold them for future use.

NSI began offering one-year registration in products aimed at engineers and advanced users when deregulation hit the market last year, but until now, the minimum length of time new domains could be registered on the company's consumer-oriented packages has been two years.

"It's all about ease of use," said Wolford. "The domain name customer is changing. The new people coming onto the Web are not going to be as tech-savvy" as current users.

NSI has good reason to target such users. Wolford said it is already seeing increasing demand from consumers and has seen 850,000 users for its "dot com Business Card" service, which packages a domain name with a Web page for customers.

A deal announced yesterday with AOL also furthered the company's push into the consumer market. The company's services will be promoted on AOL flagship sites such as AOL.com, Netscape Netcenter and CompuServe. [See "AOL to Promote Network Solutions," May 8].

In early March, Internet security company VeriSign Inc. announced a deal to buy NSI for $21 billion. Shareholders of each company are due to vote on the takeover in early June. [See "UPDATE: VeriSign to Acquire Network Solutions," March 8].

Network Solutions, in Herndon, Virginia, can be reached at +1-703-742-0400 or at http://www.netsol.com/.

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