Be Careful When Checking If A Domain is Available!

Be Careful When Checking If A Domain is Available!

Domain Front Running:

Domain name front running is the practice whereby a domain name registrar uses insider information to register domains for the purpose of re-selling them or earning revenue via ads placed on the domains landing page. By registering the domains, the registrar locks out other potential registrars from selling the domain to a customer. The registrar typically takes advantage of the 5-day “domain tasting” trial period, where the domain can be locked without payment.

Maybe I’m crazy or maybe I just became one of the newest victims of this underhanded practice. The other day I was thinking about ideas for future website projects. I wanted to see if a certain domain was available, so I fired up the Godaddy website I’ve used for years, and typed in LVWD.net. Alas is was available! I wrote the idea down and filed it away for when I had more time to research. That was on Tuesday. Today, Friday, I decided to actually purchase the domain name and no dice. Someone magically flew into my head, grabbed the idea, and went to town. Let’s see, who grabbed it:

http://www.networksolutions.com
Visit AboutUs.org for more information about LVWD.NET
AboutUs: LVWD.NET
Registrant:
LiveWorld, inc.
4340 Stevens Creek Blvd
Ste 101
San Jose, CA 95129
US

Domain Name: LVWD.NET

Interesting. And when was it registered?

Record expires on 12-Jun-2009.
Record created on 12-Jun-2008.
Database last updated on 13-Jun-2008 12:57:21 EDT.

Thursday, or the day before I tried to buy the domain. What the hell? It looks like the person/company that registered has a related domain. LVWD could be a shortened way of saying Liveworld, I’ll grant them that. But what are the chances that after owning their domain for 12 years they finally decide to spring for this somewhat relevant domain days after I checked the availibility? Either I’m paranoid or Godaddy sold my search.

Domain Front Running isn’t exactly new

After looking around, it’s clear that this subject has been covered:

Network Solutions claimed caught front-running
Domain Name Front Running
Who is really monitering your domain searches
Domain Front Running by Registrars Continues to Draw Attention
Network Solutions, ICANN Sued Over Domain Front Running

I managed to miss the news stories, and I consider myself somewhat informed with this stuff.

I’d love to hear some feedback

  • Do you think I am incredibly uninformed in the domain name industry?
  • Have you been aware of this and avoided using Godaddy or Netsol?
  • Have you lost a domain to this yourself?
  • Who do you use for checking domain names to avoid front runnners?

Update

Today (Monday) I received a call from a rep at Godaddy regarding this issue. I had sent them an email on Friday regarding this domain name. He assured me that Godaddy isn’t front running, Godaddy is against what Network Solutions is doing, and Godaddy is not sharing WHOIS search data with anyone. As nicely as he could, he explained it was a big coincidence and that he was surprised that a 4-letter .net name (without numbers) was still even available.

I appreciated the call, and I’m impressed that Godaddy went out of their way to respond to my email with a phone call. I’m not quite sure what happened, but next time I see a good domain I’m buying it right away. Better safe than sorry 🙂

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