Company Swiping The Domain Names You're Thinking About Registering

from the sneaky,-sneaky dept

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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  1. identicon
    Daniel Barbalace, 21 Jul 2006 @ 10:17am

    Possible way to fight scammers

    Another thought I had was that it would be trivial to write a program to go to such domain lookup scam sites and look up randomly generated domain names. Since such scam sites are automatically registering those names, it's a $50 or so hit every time they prospect. A lookup bot could easily cost them a million dollars a day or force them to not register all looked up name.

    A better bot would repeat the search on some randomly generated names to make their bots think that name has high potential. Imagine them holding on to "fdskjlk.com".

    Then we could have a nice little bot war, where they try to prune domain names that have too many consonants between vowels, and our bots would then use randomly picked short-English words like "goodpicklesleep.com".

    You know, it is possible to make a lot of money while keeping your integrity. Instead of trying to profit at other people's expense, these companies could spend their time performing a useful service. Or is that too hard?

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