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VeriSign Re-launches Network Solutions Brand

VeriSign is re-launching the Network Solutions brand name to conduct its domain name, Web site and e-mail service business. The Mountain View, Calif.-based VeriSign acquired Network Solutions almost three years ago in an all-stock deal then valued at $21 billion and renamed the Reston, Va.-based registrar as VeriSign Global Registry Services.

VeriSign's research showed that Network Solutions, which provided the industry's first Internet domain name registration services in 1993, has the highest name awareness of any provider of domain name registration services. According to VeriSign, 87 percent of all domain name registrants surveyed are aware of the Network Solutions brand.

The name re-branding coincides with new online Web site offerings by Network Solutions aimed at small and medium businesses and a frequent flyer plan with the four largest U.S.-based airlines that awards 1,000 free miles for customers when they purchase or renew Network Solutions services.

The newly packaged Web site services include e-mail and domain name options, numerous design options, a library of photographs and free customer support. Network Solutions is also launching a "try-before-you-buy" purchase option that allows customers to create a Web site and save it for 30 days before making a purchase decision.

Since acquiring Networks Solutions in March 2000, VeriSign has struggled with its domain name business with customer service complaints and accusations of overly aggressive marketing. The re-branding reflects the company's efforts at improving service.

"Industry research and direct contact with our customers have shown us that domain name, e-mail and Web site customers want three primary benefits: superb tools, great service, and a reliable provider," said John Donoghue, executive vice president of Network Solutions. "While we realize we may have fallen short in some areas in the past, our visible efforts over the last year demonstrate how we have rededicated ourselves to serving our customers and delivering the most diverse and dependable group of Web services in the industry."

Network Solutions introduced its new Web site services after research showed that many small to medium size businesses think they don't have the time, resources or expertise to build a professional site.

In a survey conducted by Dunn & Bradstreet in April, only 36 percent of those small businesses polled had a Web site. In a study conducted by SnapNames.com in October, more than 69 percent of domain name registrations did not resolve to a live Web site.

Network Solutions' own research revealed that although 88 percent of those polled think that most professional businesses should have a Web site, 85 percent don't know how to build a professional Web site. Most say they would need to hire a professional designer and estimate that would costs them thousands of dollars. These businesses also say that not knowing the cost of building a Web site is a huge barrier to developing an Internet presence for their business.

"Network Solutions' new distribution partnerships and continued emphasis on improving customer service and support demonstrates commitment to the retail mass market SMB and SOHO markets," said Helen Chan, senior analyst at the Yankee Group. "For SMB Web site penetration to extend beyond the current 30 percent, it requires initiatives such as Network Solutions' that provide Web site solutions that are easy to understand and implement -- backed by a service that is responsive and effective in resolving customer needs."