Lawsuit stems from “customer protection measure”.
My prediction has come true: Kabateck Brown Kellner, LLP has filed a class action lawsuit against Network Solutions for its practice of preemptively registering domains names searched for on its site. This issue was uncovered on the DomainState blog in January and set off a media firestorm. On the day the news broke, I wrote:
“If Network Solutions doesn’t stop this practice immediately, they are guaranteed of lawsuit in the near future.”
Kabateck Brown Kellner, LLP issued a press release (posted to the domain community by Domain Name News) today announcing the lawsuit. The suit also names ICANN:
Network Solutions’ scheme is made possible by ICANN. ICANN allows companies that sell domain names to avoid paying registration fees for names cancelled within five days. Thus, Network Solutions can defraud customers at no cost to itself.
ICANN is moving to make its $.20 registration fee non-refundable, which would effectively shut down Network Solutions’ practice. Also, it’s notable that the law firm didn’t sue VeriSign (NASDAQ: VRSN). It’s actually VeriSign that enables this activity by choosing to provide the refund. The .org registry started charging a “restocking fee” that has curtailed domain tasting on .org domains.
I’m sure the law firm didn’t name VeriSign because of that company’s deep pockets.
For more on the Network Solutions fiasco, see Editorial: Where Network Solutions Went Wrong.