If this story proves to be true (let's let the courts decide), then there is a special place in H-E-double toothpicks for those responsible.
A federal class action lawsuit has been filed against Network Solutions and ICANN over something called "front running" domain registrations.
Here's the story in English.
Once upon a time Network Solutions was the only game in town selling domain names (i.e. www.thenameofyourwebsite.com). Several years ago, that nonsense was stopped and other private companies were allowed to get in on the game also selling domain names. Network Solutions likes to charge $35 a year. Other companies are known to charge less than $10 a year.
According to the lawsuit filed, Network Solutions (in collusion with ICANN, more on that in a moment) has allegedly been automatically buying up domain names the second a potential subscriber searches for the availability of a specific name. The person searching for the domain name gets a message that the site is unavailable, leaving them with the option to do without or go to Network Solutions and pay the $35 a year.
More allegations from the lawsuit; ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, what is supposed to be a highly trusted independent non-profit that is supposed to make sure everyone plays fair in the sandbox) is accused of being in collusion with Network Solutions.
So what does ICANN have to say about this, so far? Taking a look at their site, I could only find an enthralling read on confusion over IDN Wikis as discussed at a recent meeting in India as their latest news. Network Solutions latest press release is promoting a "To Blog or Not to Blog" webinar.
The lawsuit was filed by Kabateck Brown Kellner, one of the scariest consumer law firms in the country. KBK has won 750 million dollars for their clients off such big names as Google, Yahoo and Eli Lily.
Can you say www.yipes.com?