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Domain Names Forum

Domain name snatched from under me
am I being paranoid?

 7:49 am on Dec 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

Client X sells widgets, and has an extremely unusual company name. Client X has me check for companynamewidgets.com which is available. They make their site down payment (including a fee for .com and hosting) through Paypal, I decide to wait 2 days before paying for the hosting. Before the money clears my account, a bulk register has acquired the domain.

There is no way on earth that any company would think to register this .com, the name is too unique. Yet within two days of a company asking me to secure a .com for them, a bulk register has. How could someone working for a bulk register have determined that I was going to register this .com? It seems just impossible that its a coincidence, between the odd .com and the timing.



 7:55 am on Dec 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

Where did you do the WHOIS lookup to tell that it was available? I've always suspected that some places that supply WHOIS searches keep track of the names people search for.


 9:14 am on Dec 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

Is the domain name registered to your client?


 9:55 am on Dec 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

I've done whois lookups on godaddy and register, the client did a few on other sites (not sure which ones). The registration is under the name of a bulk register right now. Its still showing up as available with register.com, but not with godaddy or other registrars.


 10:26 am on Dec 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

NEVER do a whois domain lookup until you are ready to buy the domain, right there and then, with your credit card at hand.

Clients often ask me to check if x, y or z domain is available. I then make a list of the domains they will accept in order of preference and buy the first one available on the spot.

This method ensures that you don't get pipped to the post. There are far too many "dodgy" whois services out there that will simply bulk-buy every name you enter.


 10:43 am on Dec 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

Try whois.thur.de as whois server. First, you can use it to query all available TLD's, second it's owner - Lutz Donnerhacke - is a respected individual and goes a long way in Germanies early hacker and grassroots internet community. I can't imagine him abusing whois queries.


 8:47 pm on Dec 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

That's pretty scary that companies would bulk register domain names searched for in their whois system. I guess I'll stick to registering domains immediately after doing a whois or at least finding a reputable place (hopefully godaddy is safe considering I do most, if not all, of my searches there).


 1:28 am on Dec 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

Wait about 10 days and then look the domain up again, you often find the bulk register has let it drop. They have a relationship with the registrar that enables them to buy it and drop it without paying anything. They are hoping you will pitch in with an offer to buy it from them. It's important you don't offer them anything because it encourages this bad practice.

By the way, I'm seeing quite a few people on various forums complaining about this practice but I've never once seen any verifiable evidence that this practice (scanning and registering whois searches) actually takes place.

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