Domain name snarfing

Posted: July 23, 2006 in Web Wise

Ever get a great idea for a domain name and do a quick check to see if it is available? Careful, there are a few domain registrars who are snarfing those domain names. Brad Waller wrote an article titled Domain Hijacking Hijinks in which he talks about a study that pretty convincingly shows that if you check domain name availability at the CNet domain search page, for example, chances are it will quickly get registered by someone else if you don’t immediately register it yourself. That someone else is an outfit called Chesterton Holdings. Waller does some Googling of whois data, office addresses, and phone numbers and finds quite a tangled web of “holding” companies that are connected to this domain name snarfing business.

And for what purpose? Profit of course. It works like this. Domain name queries are monitored for potentially interesting names, or names of potentially great interest (numerous queries). Then Chesterton or someone like them registers the name. The domain name then finds its way to Domain Cargo where the domain name is offered for sale. While waiting for a buyer ads are run on the snarfed domain.

With the rapidly diminishing pool of good domain names the best action to take to prevent getting snarfed is register that domain name immediately.

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