Network Solutions, ICANN Sued Over Domain Front Running

networksolutions.jpgNetwork Solutions and ICANN are being sued over the “front running” domain registration practices that we covered last month.

“Network Solutions has forced millions of people to buy Internet domain names from them instead of cheaper competitors through a scheme that’s netted the firm millions of dollars,” according to the federal class action lawsuit filed by Kabateck Brown Kellner. The suit also alleges ICANN is guilty by association as its policies allow Network Solutions to front run.

For those not familiar with the practice, Network Solutions (and some other registrars) lock up domain names as soon as a user searches for them, taking them off the market and forcing users to use their service to register the name they want.

Kabateck Brown Kellner give this example:

“Imagine if you asked a car dealer if they had a black convertible and were then forced to buy the car from them. Would you get a good deal? Each time someone asks Network Solutions about a domain name, the firm creates a monopoly for itself, forcing consumers to pay the price they demand.”

It was not clear what amount, if any is being asked for as damages in the suit, however Kabateck Brown Kellner boast at the end of their release:

Kabateck Brown Kellner is one of the nation’s foremost consumer law firms. Its clients have won more than $750 million against Google, Yahoo!,
Farmer’s Insurance, Eli Lilly and others. As a plaintiff’s-only firm, Kabateck Brown Kellner is always on the consumers’ side.

(via Network World)