"Whois" ripping you off?
Stop Network Solutions now!
The fight against domain name front running
If you are an artist, entertainer or entrepeneur searching for a valuable domain name, you might want to pick any of hundreds of whois portals to look it up. But don't make the mistake of using the one at Network Solutions - aka "NetSol". You'll get a reply saying "Congratulations", it's available. Whoopty doo! Meanwhile you may very well want to register it with any other registrar and may not have any particular loyalty to NetSol who once had a government monopoly on domain name sales that made them mighty rich and powerful in addition to being terribly overpriced. But not so fast! The NetSol whois interface now knows you are thinking about your big domain name because you just used that same whois portal to check for availability. Big boo boo! Apparently, from our own experience and that of others, the NetSol whois portal might also have some sort of algorythm that detects when a domain name conception might have commercial value. You may find that your hot domain idea is available one minute and gone the next. When you try to register the domain on Tucows or ReadyHosting or GoDaddy or Yahoo or any other registrar that same day, you might find it was just taken off the market. And when you go back to the NetSol whois portal you will no longer get a "Congratulations". Instead you might be told that your desired domain is available, in effect, only through NetSol. Congratulations chump! You've just been the victim of "domain front running". In other words NetSol is now forcing you to buy it from them alone if you still want it. Meanwhile you can't register your domain elsewhere for at least four days and if someone else beats you to it, then you're screwed. This preturbing practice is currently being studied by the government mandated domain industry watchdog known as ICANN.org. We're not sure if ICANN really cares or why they've so-far apparently let NetSol get away with it. Every published explanation given by NetSol has been absolutely jive.
NetSol is a preeminent Goliath on the domain scene. Enter "David" in the form of one Chris McElroy who has filed suit in U.S. District Court accusing NetSol of holding domain names in reserve based on whois lookups. We don't know if Chris will succeed in hitting Goliath in his all powerful eye. After all, NetSol has enough cash to hire a phalanx of ass-kicking attorneys. Nonetheless, we think domain name front running is a pure diabolical evil attempt at monopoly at the expense of the common gullible consumer. So let's just take it to the street. Be smart. Boycott Network Solutions. And if you have a hot domain name idea, be safe and look it up someplace else.
- Colorado Arts Net opinion/editorial - 2008 March 03