Los Angeles, CA – A class action complaint was filed against domain name registrar Network Solutions, LLC and ICANN for basically cybersqatting and frontrunning on customers’ domain name availability searches through Network Solutions. The case is titled, McElroy v. Network Solutions, LLC et al. The complaint alleges that when a customer searches for the availability of a domain name on Network Solutions, but does not purchase it, Network Solutions itself registers that exact domain name that was searched. Network Solutions then places a full page add on a website provided under the searched-for-domain-name indicating that the domain name may only be purchased from Network Solutions. If the same customer attempts to purchase the domain name from another competing registrar, godaddy.com for example, it receives an unavailability notice. When the customer returns to Network Solutions to purchase the domain, it is charged three and a half times more than registering it elsewhere.
The complaint charges that Network Solutions’ misconduct can only occur “through the acquiescence, tacit approval and participation of ICANN” and its Add Grace Period (AGP) agreement, which allows “a domain name registrar to avoid paying a registration fee for domain names canceled within five days of registration.” The complaint continues that “ICANN was, and is, aware of Network Solutions’ actions and continued to permit Network Solutions’ fraudulent abuse of the AGP for its own gain and to the detriment of consumers.” The complaint lists causes of action for fraudulent concealment, aiding and abetting fraudulent concealment, and unjust enrichment.