For years, there have been rumors that if you do whois domain lookups on certain less-than-honest lookup sites, the owners of those lookup sites will quickly register those domains, hoping to resell them to you later at a higher price. That's why many people are careful only to check for domain registrations on more trusted sites. However, it appears that some scammers may have figured out a way to get the search queries off trusted whois lookup sites. David Berlind points to an article showing how unregistered domain names searched for using CNET's whois lookup are quickly registered by a company called Chesterton Holdings, who then immediately puts up ads and watches the traffic to see if it's worth hanging onto. If the site gets no traffic, it is released -- just like millions of other such "domain kiting" attempts. What's unclear is how Chesterton is getting their hands on the search queries. The eWeek piece suggests four possibilities -- with three of them being quite unlikely (basically involving someone within one of the companies along the chain giving the info to Chesterton). The fourth suggestion is that somehow Chesterton has compromised the servers to get this info. Either way, it suggests that, even on more trusted sites, domain searches may be watched by people looking to snap up the domains before you do.
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