This is a pretty conclusive article and remarkably startling. I expect Network Solutions' legal department will be busy in the near future.

When someone is considering purchasing a domain name, often they will turn to a website offering a 'who-is' service to see if a domain is free or not, and who owns a certain domain.

If the customer buys a domain, then the domain name company ('registrar') turns it on straight away but they have a five day grace period in which to the registration fee to VeriSign for a reserved domain.

Now the accusation is that Network Solutions are spying on the users of its whois service, by recording the searches and then reserving the domain. This doesn't bankrupt them because they can drop the domain before the five-day grace period ends.

This has the result that for those five days, the customer can only buy the domain from Network Solutions, other domain name companies are locked out.

This is akin to the front running because Network Solutions has insider knowledge that a customer is considering buying a domain name, and they reserve it before other companies have a chance to win the customer's business on factors such as price or service.

The customer can only buy the domain from Network Solutions, the only other choice is to chance it and hope that no one else buys the domain and hopefully Network Solutions will eventually release the domain name back into the pool.

Domain squatting is illegal for other people like you and I, but it seems that Network solutions is allowed the first five days squatting for free!