Earlier this year we noted that Network Solutions is “front running” domain names—that is, automatically purchasing domain names that customers search for and holding them for four days before releasing them again. During that period, the only way customers can buy the domain names is through Network Solutions for 3 to 5 times more than what you can pay elsewhere. Now “search engine expert” Chris McElroy has filed suit against them, named ICANN as a defendant, and is seeking class action status.
Network Solutions is sticking by its story that its domain holding program is intended to combat front running, rather than just opportunistically finding a way to grab a piece of the front running pie. In a suspiciously pro-Network Solutions article in Direct Magazine, a spokesperson explains their position:
What Network Solutions is doing is registering the names for a four-day period to avoid having these unscrupulous operators start a series of rolling four-day periods in which they monopolize desirable or high-traffic domain names without having to pay for them. “Likewise, we’re not placing any advertisements on these domains to monetize their traffic while they are in the reservation period,” Wade said.
Well sure, you don’t need to monetize the traffic when you’re charging $35 to register it.