Domain Name Game Has Happy Ending

A few minutes ago I was really ticked off. Now, I'm laughing like crazy and for kind of the same reason.

You might not know this but the domain name game is a mess. There are some very unscrupulous types who monitor the searches being done by people like you and me for new domain names. And, if they happen to see that you've found a good one that isn't yet taken, they will try and pounce on it before you. Hesitate and they will buy it right out from under you.

Legal? You betcha.

Unethical, underhanded and the domain of slime balls? You betcha. I hesitated a couple of years ago on a name for this blog that is similar to what it is called now. Sure enough, I got pounced by thinking about it for a couple of hours.

Sandy wrote to me about a recent blog post and mentioned an idea for a website and perhaps a little business. I didn't know if she was serious or not but I checked out the domain for her. It was taken. But, I got creative and came up with a name that is just as good and maybe better for her purposes.

So, I wrote to her and told her I thought it was a good idea and that she should register the name right away. And, I told her why. But, after I sent the email and took a phone call, I started worrying that one of these pouncers would see my search and grab it. Since I was still logged into GoDaddy, I went ahead and bought it and was in the process of writing an email to Sandy telling her I'd transfer it to her and that I didn't want her to lose it.

Then, a few minutes later I got an email from GoDaddy saying that the sale didn't go through as someone had bought it out from under me. My first hope was that it was Sandy. I checked WHOIS but no such luck. It was bought by a website designer which meant this person knew what they were doing and stole it away from me and my friend. I really felt like I had let her down by not buying it the moment I saw it was available.

And, then my anger turned to laughter. I got an email from Sandy and she was all excited. She had gotten my earlier email and decided to go for it. So, she contacted her friend Patricia who owns the website design company and told her to buy it and is already starting her site.

This story has a happy ending and I'm looking forward to this site. You're going to love it. Lots and lots of people are going to love it. I can't say anymore about it but we'll be hearing from Sandy sometime soon.

Meantime, please let this be a cautionary tale. If you find a domain you think you want – buy it. Don't hesitate if your gut is saying do it. If you wait to think about it that gut feeling may turn into nausea.

2 thoughts on “Domain Name Game Has Happy Ending”

  1. Hi Bob,
    This happened to me last year. I was setting up a property web site for a Realtor, and I searched for WestHollywoodViewPenthouse.com. It was available, so I emailed the Realtor who checked with her seller, and then the next morning the Realtor emailed me with the “ok” on that domain… but now it had been taken.
    Here’s the thing that blew my mind… it was taken by Network Solutions. Can you believe that Network Solutions is grabbing domains that are searched? And I hadn’t even done my availability search through Network Solutions.
    I was able to register the domain through Network Solutions, at 3X the price I pay GoDaddy.
    What I’d like to know is, how is this done? Where along the line can someone see what domains names are being searched. Do you have any idea?

  2. Here is a link to a two-year old article that discusses it. http://www.dailydomainer.com/200775-domain-tasting-monitoring-searches.html
    “Network Solutions say they do it for their customers and that they let the domain name go after four days. Here is part of their explanation:
    Network Solutions believes the frontrunning problem is occurring somewhere between when domains are searched at a registrar and when the registry VeriSign is pinged.
    Someone is selling the data and Network Solutions has implemented this solution to stop it. Network Solutions will not release the domain if you request, and anyone who visits the domain or Network Solutions can register it.”
    Here is the full article from Domain Name Wire. http://domainnamewire.com/2008/01/08/network-solutions-faces-pr-nightmare-over-domain-frontrunning/

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