Network Solutions is under fire this week for using a questionable tactic that forces users to register domains with them. As of Tuesday, Network Solutions automatically reserves for four days any domain name that is the subject of a search on its site, preventing users from buying it anywhere else.
But Network Solutions charges $35 a year for a domain name, whereas many of its rivals charge as little as $8 per year. The company claims it instituted the policy to protect customers from front-running, a practice that involves trolling the WHOIS registry for recently queried domains with the intention of buying them and hiking up the price pretty much the same thing Network Solutions is doing. In other words, the companys solution for front-running appears to be to do it themselves.
ICANN has announced their intention to look into the matter but hasn't determined whether the registrars policy violates its regulations.