Is NSI FrontRunning?
Date: Tuesday January 08 2008, @12:35PM
Topic: Verisign/NSI

Numerous reports today (e.g. Slashdot, NSI Registers Every Domain Checked), that NSI is "frontrunning" -- registering domains (for the domain tasting period of five days) whenever a customer goes to its site to check on the name's availability but doesn't actually buy it.

One consequence is that the customer is locked in--no other registrar can get the name even though no one has actually taken it. Which seems anti-competitive.

On the GA list, Jonathon Nevett from NSI explains what they think they are doing as follows:

In response to customer concerns about Domain Name Front Running (domains being registered by someone else just after they have conducted a domain name search), we have implemented a security measure to protect our customers. The measure will kick in when a customer searches for an available domain name at our website, but decides not to purchase the name immediately after conducting the search.

After the search ends, we will put the domain name on reserve. During this reservation period, the name is not active and we do not monetize the traffic on these domains. If a customer searches for the domain again during the next 4 days at networksolutions.com, the domain will be available to register. If the domain name is not purchased within 4 days, it will be released back to the registry and will be generally available for registration.

This protection measure provides our customers the opportunity to register domains they have previously searched without the fear that the name will be already taken through Front Running.

While it's good they are not trying to monetize the domains, it still seems to make price shopping much harder for the consumer.

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Monetizing Domain Name Front Running
by fnord (groy2kNO@SPAMyahoo.com) on Friday January 11 2008, @01:17PM (#16971)
User #2810 Info
Michael writes:
While it's good they [NetSol] are not trying to monetize the domains, it still seems to make price shopping much harder for the consumer.
I would say that they are monetizing the domains, and making it almost impossible for the consumer.

First, once you register with NSI you cannot transfer to another registrar for 60 days. Other than those familiar with the domain industry, how many businesses/individuals are going to bother, or remember, two months later to transfer a domain. So NetSol gets another customer, perhaps for more than one year, particularily when the transfer would be by an average consumer to save about $20/year.

Second, DNFR is not a new problem as some news coverage states. I have had it happen myself on three occasions going back about 5 years and I don't register many domains (I don't recall the registrars). Various blogs/websites have had numerous tales going back a similar period, so some of those doing the front running must by now be quite sophisticated. If they are that sophisticated what is to stop them from having tools that register the name the second it comes off the four day hold (domain tasters already have them)? Not many average consumers would have such tools, so again it is the average consumer that takes the hit.

The end result is at least that NetSol vacuums up consumers and at worst that NetSol's supposed solution won't protect the name anyway. Typical NetSol. And of course ICANN will typically spin its wheels. -g

[ Reply to This | Parent ]
NSI Domain Frontrunning
by krischenowski on Tuesday January 15 2008, @01:13PM (#16974)
User #4730 Info
The so-called" improvements NSI should have made are complete bullshit and teargas from NSI communication smoke-balls to the eyes of the global Internet community. I can prove why:

I'm not a customer to NSI and I did another test (after that one one Jan 8th) by just looking for the fantasy name tetremisis.com on the NSI website together with a simple website package. In a second window I followed the Whois and was really surprised that tetronis.com was reserved by NSI before I finished my purchase (which I of course did not do). Some 1 min later I tried to register register tetremisis.com at United Domains (a big German Registrar) but the search revealed that tetronis.com is not available. I made screenhotes again, if someone needs them, please feel free to send me an email at krischenowski at dotberlin dot de.

Again I don't find this an acceptable business practice at all and a potentially illegal infringment of trademark rights of third parties. If such a case would happen with a German registrar the registrar could immediately be sued by a provisional injunction with cost of between 2000 and 10000 Euro costs for the registrar.

Dirk Krischenowski
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This article comes from ICANNWatch
http://www.icannwatch.org/

The URL for this story is:
http://www.icannwatch.org/article.pl?sid=08/01/08/2141239