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Network Solutions warning (not sure if real or not)

This Slashdot discussion accuses NS of front-running; registering all domains searched on their whois. I don't know if this is real or a hoax, but the links seem fairly convincing:
http://slashdot.org/articles/08/01/08/1920215.shtml
Henrik
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
 
 
I do all of my searching/whois on netsol because of their nice UI, but always register elsewhere... sometimes weeks later. I've never had a problem.
TD
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
 
 
I checked NS for a domain, then registered it with another registrar about two months later, as others have said, no problems.

I also checked some alternate domains and also had no difficulties at all.
.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
 
 
(Typing/pasting in this window, as I'm doing tests in another window)

1.Okay I just tried:

letsdoatestoforjoelonsoftware12349876.com at network solutions

networksolutions says that it's available.

2. So, then I went to GoDaddy and pasted into the domain search

This is what I get back from GoDaddy:
 
LETSDOATESTOFORJOELONSOFTWAR
E12349876.COM is already taken. (click here for info)

Click the info, fill out GoDaddy's captcha... unfortunately I get this back:

The Registry Whois service did not respond. Please try again later.
See Underlying Registry Data
Report Invalid Whois

Click the "See Underlying" link, and get this back:

WHOIS Underlying Registry Data:

 
The Registry Whois service did not respond. Please try again later.
---
(I think somebody is overloading Network Solution's servers?)
 
3. Let's try this domain on 000domains.com

...says it's taken too

4. Let's try a WHOIS at networksolutions:

Your WHOIS Search Results
   
letsdoatestoforjoelonsoftware12349876.com is Available – Register it Now!


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!

 
 
  Visit AboutUs.org for more information about LETSDOATESTOFORJOELONSOFTWARE12349876.COM AboutUs: LETSDOATESTOFORJOELONSOFTWARE12349876.COM
 
   
  Registrant: Make this info private
  This Domain is available at NetworkSolutions.com 
  13681 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 300
  HERNDON, VA 20171 
  US 
   
  Domain Name: LETSDOATESTOFORJOELONSOFTWARE12349876.COM 
 
  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 
 
  Administrative Contact :   
  Network Solutions, LLC 
  domainsupport@networksolutions.com 
  13681 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 300
  HERNDON, VA 20171 
  US 
  Phone: 1-888-642-9675 
  Fax: 571-434-4620 
   
  Technical Contact :   
  Network Solutions, LLC 
  domainsupport@networksolutions.com 
  13681 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 300
  HERNDON, VA 20171 
  US 
  Phone: 1-888-642-9675 
  Fax: 571-434-4620 
   
  Record expires on 08-Jan-2009 
  Record created on 08-Jan-2008 
  Database last updated on 08-Jan-2008 
 
  Domain servers in listed order: Manage DNS 
 
  ns1.reserveddomainname.com    205.178.190.55   
  ns2.reserveddomainname.com    205.178.189.55   
   
      Show underlying registry data for this record 
   
 

Current Registrar: NETWORK SOLUTIONS, LLC. 
IP Address: 205.178.189.133 (ARIN & RIPE IP search) 
IP Location: US(UNITED STATES)-VIRGINIA-HERNDON 
Lock Status: ok 
DMOZ  no listings 
Y! Directory:  see listings 
Data as of: 14-Jun-2005 


-----
So basically networksolutions is saying it's available - but only for them.  They have registered it, their own WHOIS says so - but they will still sell it to me.
Sunil Tanna
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
 
 
That's the idea - nobody is sure if this is illegal or not, but it is unpopular. It also seems that lots of people on the net have taken it on themselves to teach Network Solutions a lesson by writing scripts to 'whois' a huge number of randomly generated names.
Martin Send private email
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
 
 
Maybe I never have an issue because I try to sleep on it before I actually register yet another domain :)

Last time I heard about this it sounded like there was some loophole where registrars can 'reserve' a domain for a short while and then release it back into the pool at no charge. So I'm not sure if scripted efforts amount to much more than a DOS attack.

I did a quick Google and found this on a thread. Even if its a legit response, I still do think they are guilty of trying to hook you on inflated prices.

http://www.billhartzer.com/pages/network-solutions-registering-domains-after-availability-lookup/

Hi Bill,

I work for Network Solutions and saw your tweet on Twitter and would like the opportunity to respond, This measure is geared for our customers. It gives them a chance to look for domains consider if it’s what they want and then have an opportunity to register it.

Network Solutions is not front running. “ Front Runners” are people who register domain names known to have been searched, for the purpose of monetizing them and then selling them at inflated prices either directly to the customer who searched for the domain or through aftermarket channels.
We have started protecting all domain name searches at Network Solutions by holding the searched domains for our customers for a short period of time before releasing them. This gives our customers the opportunity to register names later without fear that the name will be registered by a “Front Runner.”
We are not monetizing these domains, nor do we intend to keep them after the holding period.

We did this because we heard customers complain that queried domain names are being snatched up by other people as soon as they searched. Network Solutions makes sure its search data is secure and we do not sell it any third party. I know that Network Solutions has no intention of keeping any searched domain or monetizing it.
TD
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
 
 
It's not illegal.  It's just, by far, the most blatant example so far.

Pretty much all the registrars are doing something like it.  What they do is registrar zillions of domains.  See how many hits they get on the domain. Calculate if it would profitable for them to keep and park the domain. If it would be, purchase the domain for themselves.  If it would not be, return the domain within the 5 day grace period, and effectively pay nothing for the domain.

I've pointed out this issue before on this forum and elsewhere. The scale of this problem makes a few people sitting on unused domains pale into insignificance.

The solution would also be easy: abolish the 5 day grace period, or make registrars pay some small fee (say $1) to cancel a domain within the period.
Sunil Tanna
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
 
 
TD posted at the same time as me. 

Good for network solutions if they're not parking these pages to put ads on.

BUT: What happens if somebody does a search at network solutions, finds a domain, and then decides to shop around for the cheapest registrar? 

Network solutions reserving the name, means that customer is effectively committed to buy at network solutions as soon as they do a search?  AFAICS, waiting for NS to release the domain isn't necessary a solution - because theoretically another registrar could wait for NS to return the domain to the pool, and then snap it up then.  That registrar would know exactly what names to target because they could simply monitor the domain database for which domains NS releases in the grace period.
Sunil Tanna
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
 
 
Sunil's test is conclusive and we can all do our own and get the same results.

Network Solutions is abusing its position to do frontrunning. That's basically an established fact.

Now, NS has responded and claimed that they are doing this to prevent frontrunning, but that is obviously BS CYA.
Tony Chang
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
 
 
I just searched for this one on their site:

http://isitreallytruethatnsisstealingpeoplessearches.com/

Please note that that now points to a domain owned by network solutions.

I have a technical question - how can the DNS records get updated so fast? It takes my domain hours to propagate, but this domain was available 8 seconds after I searched for it.
Scott
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
 
 
There's another flaw in their supposed anti-front running scheme.

Person X does a search for a name at NS.  Finds it's available.  NS registars the name automatically, and will sell to person X.

Now let's say evil person Y is monitoring X's domain searches, with the intent of stealing X's domain ideas.

Guess what?  Network solutions haven't stopped person Y at all.  All person Y has to do, is go to Network Solutions, and they will happily sell person Y the name...
Sunil Tanna
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
 
 
How can the DNS get updated so fast?

Because there are vast numbers of people who know what the word "DNS" means, but have no clue how it actually works. Whenever someone talks about "propagating" in the context of DNS, it usually means they think that new information must be sent to computers all around the world whenever a DNS changes.

How can the DNS get updated so fast?

Well, let's say it takes .01 seconds to do the disk I/O to add a new DNS record to a database. Why would you think you would have to wait any longer than that to see a new DNS record appear in the system?
Ron Burk Send private email
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
 
 
Hi Ron, because my local DNS server is not owned by Network Solutions.

You say it only takes 0.1 second to propagate? Why is that true for NS and not true for everyone else?
Scott
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
 
 
"You say it only takes 0.1 second to propagate? Why is that true for NS and not true for everyone else? "

Check the TTL settings on your DNS records.
Mark Griebling
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
 
 
>> You say it only takes 0.1 second to propagate? Why is that true for NS and not true for everyone else?

Remember, they're adding a new domain record - not one that's already in the cache of non-root DNS machines.  When there's a request for DNS information for the new domain, it will go all the way up to one of the root DNS machines and get the info from it (and that info will then be cached by the non-root DNS machines in that chain).

When you update DNS information, it won't get to all the non-root DNS machines until the cached info expires and it re-queries a root-DNS machine for it.
RocketJeff Send private email
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
 
 
AHHHHHHHH..... OK, I got it. That's cool, hadn't thought of that difference before. It's not present in the local DNS tables, so the request gets forwarded until it is found at some other node. But if it's a domain that's been around for a while, the local DNS tables have a record for it, which can then be out of date if it's been recently changed.
Scott
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
 
 
Teehee, Network Solutions are going to get pwnd for this.

Myself, I gave it a try with a less-than-savoury reference to  Network Solutions domain name.  I wonder if they're analysing the domains that get pre-registered?  Hope so.

This could, of course, be the first step on a slippery slope for all the big registrars... :(
Carp
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
 
 
I think they were trying to do the right thing here -- ISPs are selling information regarding domain research to the domain trading people.

Why use Network Solutions whois to buy from someone else?
Duff
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
 
 
> Why use Network Solutions whois to buy from someone else?

Because they come up top of the search results for things like "register domain" or "register domain name". So a lot of people go there, do a search, and no doubt might then decide to shop around when they see NS's prices.

Since when did it become right that looking at somebody's advert (which is what their web site is) meant it was okay to force you to become a customer?


And, BTW, the solution that NS developed does NOT stop anybody else from monitoring your searches and buying the domain that you wanted.  I already explained that in my previous post.  All it does is stop these others from buying anywhere other than NS.
Sunil Tanna
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
 
 
A lot of people are complaining about Network Solutions doing this. What you have to remember is that they're not the only one. It's becoming more and more common. Many registrars are doing this.

It's mainly because they can hold a domain for free for several days before they have to release it or pay.

And some of the seedier registrars will use it to test out domains with spammy websites to see how much revenue they make from the ads if you don't buy it right away. If it makes more money than the sale price, well I'm sure you can figure it out...
Stephane Grenier Send private email
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
 
 
NSI's rep said: "Front Runners" are people who register domain names known to have been searched, for the purpose of monetizing them and then selling them at inflated prices either directly to the customer who searched for the domain or through aftermarket channels.

...

But isn't that exactly what they're doing?  What if I find a domain I like while searching at Network Solutions, and then decide to shop around for the best price?  I can't.  Network Solutions already registered it for the purpose of selling it to me at an inflated price ($34.99 instead of $9.99).

I hope regulators smack them hard for this nonsense.
Meh
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
 
 
Internic's already said they're going to do something about it: they're going to round to Network Solutions' offices and unplug their servers.

</Just kidding>

Internic really said that they're not going to do anything about it.
Sunil Tanna
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
 
 
Internic is just NS's b*tch then aren't they? International Corporatism gone amuck. No accountability, just bend over and take it.
Scott
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
 
 
"And, BTW, the solution that NS developed does NOT stop anybody else from monitoring your searches and buying the domain that you wanted.  I already explained that in my previous post.  All it does is stop these others from buying anywhere other than NS."

The people who are monitoring your searches are companies that "taste" domain names at no cost. Nobody is going to buy whois data, and then buy domains for $15 from Netsolutions.
Duff
Friday, January 11, 2008
 
 
So find the best price and THEN check availability.

I registed a .org name for a client.  Not long afterward, the .com version was a bunch of advertisements vaguely related to the group's purpose.

Earlier this week, someone contacted me (as webmaster@xxx.org) and offered to sell me the .com for $257 with an obviously mailmerged type of message that said the .com is "much more valuable" than the .net or .org

And they had the nerve to say they do this to help people out.

Sleazeballs.
Wes Groleau Send private email
Friday, January 11, 2008
 
 

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