Network Solutions, Critics Spar Over Domain Front Running

NSI locks up what you search for 4 days

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The Network Solutions practice of registering domains being searched by visitors to the registrar has domainers demanding action by ICANN.

Network Solutions

Front running happens when someone observes domain searches being made by another person, and registers that domain out from under the searcher. It’s a long-rumored practice that infuriates legitimate domain searchers.

In addressing their regular practice of front running domains, Network Solutions told CircleID they are trying to thwart the domain tasters who try to take advantage of the five-day test period for domains.

"We are trying to take an arrow out of the quiver of the tasters," Jonathon Nevett, Vice President of Policy at Network Solutions, said at CircleID. "Due to no fault of registrars, Front Runners purchase search data from Internet Service Providers and/or registries and then taste those names."

If one searches for a domain at Network Solutions, but doesn’t purchase it immediately, Network Solutions puts it on reserve. During the next four days, it can only be purchased from Network Solutions before being released back to the registry.

Network Solutions charges $34.99 for a standard registration. Over a decade ago, that was the going rate. Today, numerous registrars offer far more competitive pricing.

This has caused much of the criticism about the Network Solutions policy. People who search for the domain on Network Solutions and go elsewhere to buy it find they cannot.

Waiting for it to expire at Network Solutions could allow someone else who is willing to pay the going rate to grab it first. People who are waiting for ICANN to resolve the situation probably won’t get satisfaction from that group.

Domain Name News noted a study by ICANN found the practice isn’t expressly prohibited by the terms of ICANN’s registrar agreements.

"Some folks may not agree with our approach, but we are trying to prevent this malicious activity from impacting our customers," Nevett said.

That may be the case, but it’s Network Solutions benefiting handsomely from the arrangement.


Network Solutions, Critics Spar Over Domain Front Running
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