Domain registrar Network Solutions has been caught front running domain names. Domain names searched via its whois tool are immediately locked, preventing the customer from acquiring the domain from other registrars. The domain name is automatically released if no purchases are made from Network Solutions after five days.
The Vice President of Policy at Network Solutions, Jonathan Nevett, has responded. Rather than reassure, the explanation confirms its unpalatable practice:
After the search ends, we will put the domain name on reserve. During this reservation period, the name is not active and we do not monetize the traffic on these domains. If a customer searches for the domain again during the next 4 days at networksolutions.com, the domain will be available to register. If the domain name is not purchased within 4 days, it will be released back to the registry and will be generally available for registration.
The irony here is that Network Solutions excuses its actions to its desire to “protect” its customers from front running:
This protection measure provides our customers the opportunity to register domains they have previously searched without the fear that the name will be already taken through Front Running.