Several sources (i.e. NamePros, DomainState, Domain Name News, Slashdot) reported that domain registrar Network Solutions is domain name front running, a practice I wrote about in October last year. Domain front running is the practice of tracking domain search data and then registering the domain name before the potential registrant who was initially interested in the domain can do so. In October I said the following:
I don’t believe domain registrars and registries are performing domain front running. But to play it safe it should be a good idea to not use whois services operated by people or companies you don’t know, small domain registrars or software from untrusted parties for your domain availability checks.
Now, isn’t it disturbing that you cannot even trust the big domain registrars anymore? According to the sources mentioned above, Network Solutions is tracking all domain searches made on their website. It then automatically registers all domains that have been looked up, hence making it impossible to register them through another domain registrar. In addition, it places the following information in the domain’s whois data:
This Domain is available at NetworkSolutions.com
13681 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 300
HERNDON, VA 20171
This Domain is Available
600,000 domain names are registered daily! Don’t delay; there’s no guarantee that a domain name you see today will still be here tomorrow!
>> Register it Now
Network Solutions has also registered several trademark-infringing domains in this way. Individual domainers and holders of large domain portfolios are accused of cybersquatting and typosquatting every day – even wrongly in most cases. Despite this still bad reputation of the domain industry, one of the largest domain companies is registering TM domains on a grand scale now! Network Solutions should know better.
I can only repeat what others have said already: Get the word out and don’t let Network Solutions get away with this! Not only is this a very unfair practice towards their clients, but NetSol is also illegally holding TM-infringing domains and it further worsens the reputation of those in the domain business.