Network Solutions And ICANN Both Sued For Allowing Domain Front Running

from the as-expected dept

Back in January, it was revealed that Network Solutions was involved in the rather sleazy practice of registering up any domain you searched for through its search engine, and holding onto it for five days — unless you bought it through them only. Since Network Solutions charges more than most other registrars, but is generally considered more “trustworthy” as a place to search for domain names, this was a pretty big deal. Lots of people search at NetSol and then register elsewhere — so by holding on to the domains and forcing you to pay NetSol’s inflated prices seemed like a scam. In fact, it seemed quite similar to the sleazy practices of questionable registrars, Network Solutions actually tried to claim it was actually to protect against those questionable registrars. ICANN, reprising its usual role as being powerless to do anything useful, promised to look into the matter, and promptly claimed that Network Solutions was doing nothing wrong. Many people feel otherwise, so it’s hardly a surprise to find out that both Network Solutions and ICANN have been sued by lawyers attempting to create a class action suit over the activity. Whether or not it deserves a class action lawsuit is a separate discussion, but it’s still difficult to understand how NetSol could possibly think this is a good idea or one that would be welcomed by anyone.

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Companies: icann, network solutions

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Comments on “Network Solutions And ICANN Both Sued For Allowing Domain Front Running”

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Jim says:

Got me too!

In October of 2005, I searched NetSol for a domain and within days, someone had registered it with NetSol’s privacy feature. I’m not talking about about a common name, but a unique company name. I find it hard to believe someone else was planning to use this name. I believe either NetSol, or some possibly connected third party was logging searches and registering searched domains in the hopes they could sell the domain throught NetSol’s Certified Offer Program. Of course, this means offer fees that go to NetSol. Oh, and “Note: The Certified Offer amount must be over $100 USD.” In the meantime, they collect per click revenue on bullsh*t search. Just because they put up a page doesn’t mean they’re not squatting. These people are scumbags.

DFS says:

NetSol has gotten me several times

Drives me nuts, client does a search, then tells me what name they want, I go to 1&1 to buy it for them, and boom… it’s registered to Network Solutions. My $7 domain turns into a $35 pain in the rump.

I hate Network Solutions. I hope they’re forced to stop this crap.

And by the way, I have almost 100 clients with domains on 1&1 and like Tim, never had a problem either.

Michael McCullough (user link) says:

what goes around

unfortunately most of us already realize this about netsol.
play their game find your website then sit on it for 5 days; otherwise if you want a cheaper rate then find one (like godaddy) then call netsoll and register the domain vs online. they will negiotate!
you said it right SleazeSolutions; mayby someone should get that website and have it point to netsol!

Phil says:


So the first question is if your other domain registars are so much better then NetSol then why are you not using their WHOIS features?

Registering domain names for the past 13 or so years I have come to realize NetSol cost more becuase you get what you pay for with no headaches. Yes they cost more but so does a Porsche over a Geo. You want more features, better service then you spend the money.

I have never had a hard time dealing with them, never had a domain name issue and never worry that they will close shop and my names become worthless.

Yeah lets register with godaddy and call in for some tech support then get the sales pitch instead of tech support. Never understood why all their tech support people get paid on sales.. “Oh you want that feature to work then you need to buy this product instead”

Anonymous Coward says:

All domains registrars are same,they block the names,up the price,register it for 2 years, wait if there is a bid, iam sure somebody desperately lookin for the domain name,will pay good money .
To register a website best thing wud be to have a list of websites names u hav in mind,check for alternatives,register them on the same day by online.

Simple and clear 🙂

JoeyT says:

This happened to me

I searched for an available domain name on netsol and then went to finally register it elsewhere the next day only to find out that netsol had “owned” it now. Jerks. I HAD to buy it from them if I wanted the site name. And the register info said they’d hold onto it for a year, not for 5 days. So, not sure which is correct. I’ll never use them again, that’s for sure.

Enrico S. (user link) says:

Network Solution's and ICANN liability

I agree that Network Solutions? business plan to ?reserve? all available name search queries was questionable from an ethics and business point of view.? I, for one, am surprised that Network Solutions and ICANN have been sued in a class action format.?

I originally posted about potential consumer protection liability related to NSI?s reserve policy here, but NSI quickly modified it?s policy and provided adequate notice on its web site in order to inform consumers that it would be reserving searched domains.? That post is found here.?

Consumer protection lawsuits are all about misrepresentation and deception.? Once Network Solutions posted notice on its web site that it would be engaging in this particular business practice, it is hard to imagine how consumers would argue they were ?deceived.?

As far as ICANN liability, the only possibility is an argument that Network Solutions was violating the accreditation agreement with ICANN and ICANN failed to follow-up on that known violation.? However, I have not seen any good analysis on the Internet which suggests that a violation of policy did occur.?

Anonymous Coward says:

Go domain searching like mad!

Ok, this is something that I’ve always suspected which is why I would always use the most arcane methods of seeing if a domain is taken.

Just for giggles I just started, and then canceled, the process of buying and from network solutions… $35/year my butt! Anyway, I’m sure they are actively registering those now.

Maybe if everyone goes to their site and looks for some stupid random string of characters it will screw with their system? Just an idea. 😉

Harold Bush says:


There is absolutely no need to use netsol for anything. GO Daddy or Dotster will allow anyone to do a whois. If you don’t trust them (using dotster since 1997) get your own free whois – here is the tiny url
I used Network Solutions prior to 1997 and they were even worse than they are today. Privatization is a great idea – this is the real world example.

Support ASCII Art! and Don’t kick over the bit bucket!

Shashi Bellamkonda (user link) says:

NetSol Listens... AndActs

I work at Network Solutions. We know how important this issue is for everyone, and not only did we listen, we’re acting. I want to say that we are not acting in a “sleazy” fashion, and that there are serious aspects to the matter, like domain tasting policies that create some nuances.

Next week ICANN can vote an important issue to resolve to resolve front running for once and for all. Network Solutions is advocating that ICANN acts now, and we have published an official statement on our web site to that end.

Please excuse this URL, but given the seriousness of this issue, it was appropriate to provide a link:


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