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Domain research hijacking?

Posted by Michael Bloch in ecommerce (Saturday July 22, 2006 )

If it’s true, then this really reeks. Have you ever queried a domain name to see if it’s available, found it to be, then come back to register it a short while later only to be find it’s been taken?

There may be more to it than just coincidence in some instances.

Larry Seltzer, a writer for eWeek, was contacted by a reader who experienced this and given the circumstances, Larry decided to run a few tests.

He picked 3 domain names to query, off-the-wall sort of names, and found them to be all available. Less than two days later, all three had been registered – by the same company; a known domainer organization. It was also the same organization that registered the name the reader researched.

A domainer is a person who registers domain names for resale or scoops up expired domains and puts up a page with PPC (Pay Per Click) ads, or registers domains for type-in traffic for the same purpose. Type-in traffic is gained through people typing a word/s into their browser address bar and then adding a “.com” at the end, or misspellings of other web site addresses.

In Larry’s experiment he used a meta-search WHOIS facility provided by a well known site to research domain names. It was the same application used by Larry’s reader. A meta-search WHOIS application is one that queries multiple services for domain name information, collates the information and displays the data for the user.

I don’t have any real problem with domainers, I somewhat admire their entrepreneurial spirit; but if the above is true, that’s really pushing the envelope of entrepreneurialism in my opinion – not to mention trust. If you have a domain registrar you regularly use, it might be a good idea to get their official stance on this type of practice.

Read more about Larry’s domain research hijacking experiment.

Larry also has an interesting article on domain tasting. Basically, domain tasting is the exploitation of the “Create Grace Period” feature introduced by ICANN. It’s a five-day period where a registrar can get a refund on a recently registered domain. Some domainers exploit this feature by registering domains, publishing up pages with PPC links, then watching to see if it creates any revenue. If it doesn’t they simply delete the domain name before the 5 days is up and get a refund. Nasty stuff.

Related:

Guide to choosing a domain name



 

 
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