Yesterday (Wed, Oct 24) The Washington Post ran a story that The Security and Stability Advisory Committee of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers was investigating the practice of stealing domain names called “domain name front running”. A user will visit a domain registration site such as GoDaddy, plug in a name they are thinking of buying in the WhoIs to see if anyone owns it. Before the user can register it, those running Whois or the domain registration site will register the name for themselves instead. They then sit on the name for a few days to see if it gets any additional hits. If so they might give yo a link to “Make a certified offer” to buy the name, if it doesn’t, they may spit it back out.
Of course those involved deny it. Guess what: This is absolutely happening. I used Network Solutions to purchase to purchase my family name (Durwin) as a .com. Anyone can see that it is not a typical last name, as a matter of fact, except for a guy in Florida, I know everyone with my last name. I checked for availability on a Monday, put through my purchase and waited for the domain to resolve to my IP. When Wednesday came and it hadn’t I checked with NetSol. They told me the name was purchased 2 hours before my purchase and the purchases must have missed each other in the process. As you can see, the domain is parked, and hasn’t been used for several years: http://www.durwin.com.
Oddly enough it was purchased by someone with an american name in Singapore through GoDaddy: andrew melcher 29 Jalan Elok Singapore, Singapore 229067 Singapore Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com) Domain Name: DURWIN.COM Created on: 30-Jul-03
Expires on: 30-Jul-08
Last Updated on: 04-Jul-07
The above information is all publicly available through any Whois search. I’ve of course received emails, usually when the domain is close to renewal time asking if I wanted to buy it. Obviously either someone at GoDaddy, NetSol, or third party has been swiping names in order to resell them at inflated costs. Some people say this is business, but it’s more like insider training. I’d be happy to be part of the class action lawsuit against whoever is found guilty of this.