I saw @andybobs post on Twitter this morning and want to make sure he gets some answers. I met with some internal folks to find out what was happening.
Andy’s post said: “Hey I think NETWORK SOLUTIONS, LLC. are registering domains typed into their website !!! “
I found out that 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.”(Have posted some background info on ” Front Running “ below).
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.
Over this past weekend I told @film_girl who was looking to register her favorite domain to do it ASAP to avoid losing it to a “front runner”. I also posted a link on Twitter a few days ago to Ades Blog who advises registering domain names immediately and has some good info in his post.
Background on front running:
“Front Running” occurs when a domain name is registered, typically by someone outside of the United States, just minutes or hours after someone else has conducted a domain name search at a registrar site or has performed a WHOIS query for the domain. The reason people “front run” domains is to conduct what is called “tasting” to see how much money they can make on a domain name through pay-per-click ads or by re-selling the domain in the aftermarket at a highly marked up price.
Hope this clarifies things and I am thrilled to be doing my job as a “listening post “for Network Solutions.
(Note: This is my personal blog and I do not normally send my posts to anyone in Network Solutions for approval. However, this post has been approved by Network Solutions Legal Department to make sure I accurately reflect Network Solutions policies on this subject. I got the idea of posting this Note from a Matt Cutts blog post and thought it as good practice.)
Update : 742 p.m 01/08/2008
Alice Marshall wrote a post on how the Social Media helped us listen and reach out. Thanks everyone I have learnt a lot from the social media.
Update : 6.31 p.m 01/09/2008 - Official from Network Solutions :-
We have been listening to your comments here as well as those on other sites regarding our customer protection measure. Throughout the launch of this effort we have made, and continue to make, improvements to our protection measurehere is an update on some of the improvements we are implementing in the near term:
1) We have changed the current webpage to which reserved domain names resolve to a general under construction page. Additionally, all new reserved names after tonight will not resolve to any page at all.
2) This week, we will be making enhancements that will address the concerns related to disclosure of zone file and DNS server information of the reserved names. This should address some of the concerns recently raised.
3) Very soon we will remove our customer protection measure from our WHOIS search page, so that no domains searched on this page will be reserved. We will continue to reserve, however, domains searched from our homepage.