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Is some company registering the domain names I look-up?

Diabolical scheme to snatch good domains or mere coincidence?

     
10:41 pm on Nov 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Forgive me if this sounds stupid or has already been covered.

Last week I looked-up a domain name that was exactly on-target for the next website I want to do and it was available. Today I look and it's registered to someone else. Is there some way that someone can get a list of what domain names have been "looked-up" to see if they're available (not the registrar I checked with but someone else -- the registrar would WANT me to get the domain name through them). I'd imagine that having such a list and then registering the names that are being looked-up would be a great business...

...or am I not getting enough sleep?

10:57 pm on Nov 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I'm not telling.

Yeah, this theory has been around for awhile, and why not believe - at least for any given registrar - that it's possible to track.

Though, based upon my own extensive experience, I'd have to say either 1) it's not true; or, 2) I must simply pick crappy domains.

Here's another thought: Recently there's been a few big players that have been registering everything under the sun on a traffic test basis for a few days then cancelling the registrations that don't show traffic promise.

You might want to check back on the registration just in case. Just don't be typing the domain into your browser or you'll encourage these companies to keep it. :(

11:08 pm on Nov 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Interesting, Web. Thanks.

(Whew! It's not just me.)

1:07 am on Nov 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I noticed this about three weeks ago. I decided to test the strangest string of letters (that mis-spelled a common word that was part of a phrase) that I could think of. The very next day it was not listed as registered through Whois but was labeled as reserved by my registrar. I tried to register it and I was not able, A few days after that it was able to be registered again with no problem.
1:12 am on Nov 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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:) add me to the ranks of the paranoid.

My stepdaughter's name is unusual. Made-up in fact. Doesn't even follow conventional spelling rules.

Looked it up one day out of curiosity.

Looked it up the next day intending to register it, and got interrupted before I could get it done.

Went to register the next day - poof, she gone.

<insert twilight zone music here>

1:28 am on Nov 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Okay, all you X-filers, here's the challenge:

Go to any random registrar and start - but don't complete - the registration process of any old domain. Maybe even make an attempt to have the domain look like it might be worthy of registration.

Then, tomorrow, report back here: Was the domain somehow myteriously registered in the next 12 hours?

Let's put this to a test.

AlexMiles

3:05 am on Nov 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I'll test it again, but last time yes. Someone took it.
3:27 am on Nov 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I have heard this, so yes, it may be true
3:47 am on Nov 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I had this happen on a domain. Very unusual name. I found it was available, and discussed it with my partners in that venture.

I went back the next day to register it and it was taken. I was sure that either my network was hacked or the registrar was screwing me.

A couple of days later, I found out that one of my partners had taken the initiative and registered it. ;)

12:56 pm on Nov 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I found out that one of my partners had taken the initiative and registered it.

Alas, I have no partners to blame for having a similar experience . . many times. :(

6:43 pm on Nov 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Ah yes, the ol' "partner took the domain" job. Gets ya every time.

Webwork, I think this is a cool idea. Do you think we should try it on certain registrars only? Does anyone here feel that there is a heightened level of sheistiness going in from, say, GoDaddy, rather than NetSol? And I take it we should try the most awkward domains possible... or should we try something that looks like it could actually generate some traffic? I'm gonna try one on NetSol, and go as far as I can before having to put in the credit card info... i'll check back with ya'll on Sunday or Monday to tell you if it's gone.

6:49 pm on Nov 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I'm not so much interested in impugning RegistrarX as I am in seeing - when put to the test - whether the casual observation "they took my domain" is mere coincidence or if something more can be proven.

If anyone says "they just did it to me" that event will naturally be followed by any number of other members "checking it out". I, for one, will join the fray if we get to that point.

AlexMiles

9:30 pm on Nov 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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This time they haven't. I tried it with 10 domains, and they are all still available today. I shall keep testing.
10:22 pm on Nov 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I just tried it with a 4 word 18 letter .com that is a reasonable english phrase and with a 2 word 16 letter .com that is a reasonable english phrase. It was still available when I woke up this morning, I'll report back on Monday.
2:08 am on Nov 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I inquired about a few names. Now I wonder if a certain number of inquiries triggers someone to snap it up. I doubt there's anything to prevent a registrar from selling a list of what names people are looking up. I'd bet you could make a lot of $ with that list...
5:39 pm on Nov 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Try checking the availability on Alexa and it will be gone on that very day.

I spent one whole afternoon going through an expired domains list, checking for good keyword, backlinks etc and on that night that all of them were taken. Even those very lousy names that I don't even intend to buy.

In the end, I lost interest only, bought another name to realise that almost all of it is available afew days later.

11:06 pm on Nov 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Well, I tried the same domain name on two different registrars, and it's still available on both. Things look grim for the conspiracy theory!
12:07 am on Nov 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

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It hasn't happened often but it's happened to me more than one for strange names that i can't believe anyone else would want. It happened this last week. I looked it up on Thursday and by Saturday when I had decided to purchase it - it was gone.
5:12 am on Nov 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I don't know if any of this happens or not.. I just know I don't trust the systems involved, so I don't even check for the availability of a domain until I am prepared to secure it.

Not worth taking any chances, or giving someone else a heads-up.

11:28 pm on Nov 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I had a similar experience to newguy1 a couple weeks ago, checked the availability of an unusual domain, the next morning it was not available for registration. No registrant, just unavailable. Three days later, it was available again.
3:14 am on Nov 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

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It's no theory...It's a fact. I started a thread on this last year when I noticed some searches I performed were snatched up within 24 hours...and not just one...but 3! I used Powerpipe and they are watching and buying your searches...and that's a fact, jack. The only way to circumvent this would be to think it thru, search briefly, and buy immediately.

Woz

3:23 am on Nov 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

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... or perhaps do your searching at an independant third party whois service.

Onya
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5:20 am on Nov 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I just had something interesting (and related to this topic) happened to me at GoDaddy. I just tried to bulk register several hundred domains, singular and plurals of some keywords I'm interested in. Of those, there were 9 not taken. I thought.. Great! I've found a few new domains :) I took about 5 minutes before accepting them by entering the security code. When I did, 2 of the domains had already gone :( The best 2 :(

Conspiracy theories are back on the table!

I wouldn't put much trust in third party whois either. Who knows what their agenda is for providing free whois searches.

4:21 pm on Nov 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I actually have to register names all the time, often I help a business think of a name. I have NOT found that statement to be true.

J

6:25 pm on Nov 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Of course it can be true. Lets face the facts:

1) good domains can be valuable
2) regisering domain names is cheap
3) those who who run registrars and whois services can easily see what domain names are being searched on.
4) simply by snatching up the good domain name ideas these registrars and whois'ers can make a bundle.

Maybe they themselves do not purchase these domain names, but it is easy enough to form an alliance for just such purposes.

BTW, try getting a valuable domain that has recently expired...the registrars hold them hostage and make a killing. It's not much of a leap to apply the same to newly thought of domain names that the unwary search on.

3:09 pm on Nov 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

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It has happened to me at least 5-times. Now when I find a great domain name I register it immediately - or else the registrar I checked it with (or his/her pals) will register the domain within the day.
3:44 pm on Nov 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I presume this refers to small registrars, not large ones.

How would a large registrar keep track, and manually check to see if the domain is worth registering, considering the volume they go through?

3:57 pm on Nov 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I advise clients never to look up a domain name until they are ready to pay for one, on the spot, there and then...
5:09 pm on Nov 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Nope - it happens at large registrars too. They have eyeballs just like everyone else.
7:11 am on Nov 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

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i always wondered about this too

it makes sense i guess, but who is behind the registering of the names? the register company?

do they sell lists of searches or something (that would be lucrative i would assume, especially multiple ones)

who do they sell them to? or does some hack program allow a person to 'see' searches or collect stats from these searches

is this possible?

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