Network Solutions – Domain Name Front Running

I was speaking to a customer earlier who claimed that seconds after searching for an available domain name at Network Solutions, said domain name was instantly showing up as “registered” on other whois lookups.  Back at Network Solutions domain checker – the domain continued to show as available.

This led him to believe that Network Solutions was in fact instantly registering every domain name that people check.  SURELY NOT I thought…  so I did a quick experiment…  I checked on their site for the availability of a random domain – nsdesign20.com – and as expected, this showed as available for registration.  I then checked via Enom (the registry we use for all our .com registrations) and sure enough – nsdesign20.com was registered, and unavailable.

A little more digging shows this practice, commonly known as Domain Name Front Running (or domain tasting) is indeed confirmed by the folks at Network Solutions who claim they are actually trying to “protect customers” and is not simply a case of them using phishing techniques to hijack or steal domain names, FORCING customers to register with them and no-one else (I’ll let you decide which attitude is correct).  More info can be read on Wikipedia (updated just yesterday).

The good news, for those people who have been conned (as some would suggest) is that they only keep the domain registered for a 4 day period, so that’s good of them, and no I haven’t included an actual link to Network Solutions in this blog post as I wouldn’t wish them on my worst enemy (I’m not angry – honest). 

Ps – don’t anyone dare register nsdesign20.com when it becomes available in 4 days – It’s critical to our future plans.

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