Via /. is the story that Network Solutions Registers Every Domain Checked at their website. Any domain that is searched on Network Solutions’s website for availability is preemptively registered by Network Solutions if the domain is available. Network Solutions also hosts a webpage at the queried domain, thus forcing you to purchase the domain from Network Solutions instead of another registrar.
The recent ICANN Los Angles meeting of the Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC) had a discussion on this (the video is still up) and had issued an advisory (PDF ; 197K) seeking comments from the public on whether domain name front running takes place.
I’ve recorded a video today (January 8th, 2008) in real-time, showing that the process occurs less than 2 minutes after querying Network Solutions for a domain.
The text in the youtube video is probably too hard to read. A larger version of this video in 800×600 resolution in AVI format can be found at Filefront (AVI ; 12MB ; click on the Download Now button).
The domain in the video queried at Network Solutions is http://ttcs-domain-testing-test-from-trinidad-and-tobago.com/
Network Solutions has responded to the accusations of domain name front running, calling the pre-emptive domain registeration “a security measure to protect our customers” and that the domain is released just before the end of the 5 day grace period.
(Edit Jan 9th, 2008 – minor edit to 1st paragraph and added more details on Network Solutions response)