NameSilo

How can we research domains without losing them to our registrar and their employees!

Labeled as analysis in General Domain Discussion started by oldtimer, Feb 16, 2019.

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  1. oldtimer

    oldtimer Do some good for humanity and the environment VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I have been hand registering domains for a long time now and over the years I have lost many domains that were available at the time that I was doing my research and shortly afterwards were taken by someone who put their info under whois privacy. This subject has come up before on the forum, but there are those members here that always rush to tell us that we are imagining this and it's just coincidence that someone else must have also thought of the same domain as we have, which in some cases they might be right, but when we are talking about very specific and niche domains that are kind of obscure then it makes one wonder about the coincidence factor. After hearing so many stories on the forum about people losing domains that they have researched for I am beginning to wonder what could be done about this problem. I myself have had domains taken right out of my cart which I was planning to register in the following days. Now I understand that just by checking a domain and or even by putting it in in your cart you are not granted any rights to that domain until you actually register it, but even though you have no legal right to the domains that you have researched for, but shouldn’t the registrars respect the fact that it probably has taken you a lot of time and effort to find a domain that was available and as a long term customer shouldn't they give you ample time before they allow their employees to take advantage of their insider knowledge and take the domains for themselves, some people might want to research domains all through the month and wait till a later date to register them I don't think that it's fair for all their efforts to go to waste. I have heard that some of the registrars (or their employees) sell the list of the valuable domains that have been checked for availability through their home page search box or through the whois inquires.
    I hope that the registrars can come up with some kind of a solution for this problem soon but meanwhile if you want to know whether a domain is available or not don't check it at your registrar specially when you are logged in, because if you happen to be good at hand registering new domains there is a good chance that someone is monitoring your searches and will snatch away any good domains that you have thought of although they usually only take one domain at a time as to not raise any suspicions, because if they took all the good domains that you have searched for then they cannot claim that it was a coincidence, they usually take the best domain on your list that you have done research on and wait for the next batch that you are going to do research on later, the better you are at hand registering domain names the more domains they will snatch away from you and over time a pattern will become noticeable that no matter how hard their paid operatives on this forum try to convince you that this is just a coincidence the big picture that will emerge after we hear other people's complains about this problem can no longer be ignored by the registrars. I estimate that over 5 million domains might have been taken this way over the last 10 years from people who have looked up available domain names and wanted to wait until a later date to register them.

    If you have had similar experiences with domains that you have researched on please sound off so that it can be shown that this is not an isolated situation.

    Keep all comments constructive, professional and on topic. This is an Industry wide problem so don't single out any one registrar, we need the registrars help to come up with a solution for this problem.
     
    The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
  2. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO Gold Account VIP

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    The practice is called front-running. Registrars should not allow it. I am not sure why some registrars allow their staff to run a tail on customer domain search activity but I am sure that it happens. There are too many anecdotal stories of it happening.

    Anyway, at Epik, I am sure this does not happen. You can use the free bulk search tool even if you don't have an account with us:

    https://registrar.epik.com/index/bulk-register-domain

    Also, at Epik, we do allow a limited amount of domain tasting. If you register a domain and delete within 5 days, we let you have the refund to your account balance minus the ICANN fee. You can also enable your account for Express checkout which is fast enough for use with dropcatching.

    Good luck.
     
  3. karmaco

    karmaco Top Member VIP

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    Don’t search at any registrar until you are ready to buy. I believe some are coincidental. There are many names being registered all the time. If you thought of it and it’s got any value it’s likely been thought of.

    One of the worst is GoDaddys appraisal. If you type something in there you better be prepared to buy it right after. I don’t think it’s right but you are doing public searches so not sure anything can be done about it.

    The only real solution is to not type it until you are ready to buy.
     
  4. NameDeck

    NameDeck Design. Develop. Deploy. VIP

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    Just never, ever use a registrar's whois. Use a whois command on your own server instead and be done with it .

    It's hard to prove but I have had this happen to me in the past on multiple occasions.
     
  5. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO Gold Account VIP

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    For the record, we don't tail WHOIS lookups here:

    https://whois.epik.com/

    It is logged as a lookup count but we treat it the same way as a whois lookup done at the terminal. In a few weeks, we'll launch the free WHOIS lookup product called WhoQ.com, which I think folks here will appreciate as a tool for both doing WHOIS research but also for making it easier to get in contact with the verified owners of domains for cases where the registrar hides that information.
     
  6. NameDeck

    NameDeck Design. Develop. Deploy. VIP

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    Cool. Will definitely check out your new service when it launches. Keep us posted! For the record, Epik is one of the few registrar's I trust with a whois search.
     
  7. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO Gold Account VIP

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    Thanks. The cultural norm here is "Do the right thing even when nobody is looking". For anyone who has ever worked at a registrar or owned a registrar, they will appreciate that. Full-service, all-inclusive and no-nonsense. Not looking at people's whois look up history would be an example of no-nonsense.
     
  8. hookbox

    hookbox Top Member VIP

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    Can't wait to use your new tool.
     
  9. stub

    stub Top Member PRO VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    @oldtimer - I would change my registrar (as a belated action), and as @karmaco said stop immediately using your registrar to lookup domain availability. You probably should use something like gWhois.org instead. An excellent free whois tool, IMHO. I have no connection with them.
     
  10. oldtimer

    oldtimer Do some good for humanity and the environment VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    We still have to find a solution for this problem, in any other industry using insider information for the benefit of the employees of a company (or their associates and friends) is not tolerated. If experienced domainers such as those on this forum have given up on fighting this issue, what chance a small business has which their people might have brainstormed for many hours to find an available name for their business and after having gone through a meeting and deciding to go with that name they go back to register it in a few days and to their surprise they find out that it is no longer available, most likely the unsuspecting people at that small business are just going to think that it was their bad luck for not being able to get their favorite domain and will continue with their second choice that they might not be as happy with not knowing that some employees at the registrar (or their friends) probably had decided that they wanted that domain for themselves and snatched it away once they saw it on the searched domains list for that day. Something has to be done about this, sooner or later most companies whether in the domain Industry or at large are going to have to realize that they can no longer deny the patterns that are going to emerge about their activities through big data analysis.
     
  11. stub

    stub Top Member PRO VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Insider Trading is illegal. But has it gone away? There will always be greedy people in this world. Your best solution in an anonymous world like the web, is to not do things which invite people to be greedy. Like using your Registrar to lookup domains. Whatever the registrar's name is.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019
  12. oldtimer

    oldtimer Do some good for humanity and the environment VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I am not just concerned about myself, I am also bothered by the fact that this practice has been going on for over 10 years now and the registrars have allowed many regular people and businesses to be victimized by their employees.
     
  13. stub

    stub Top Member PRO VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Not concerned about yourself? You started this thread stating how you had been abused by your searches over the years. If you don't do lookups on any registrar's whois, you significantly manage the possibilities to be cheated out of your hard work. IMHO.
     
  14. oldtimer

    oldtimer Do some good for humanity and the environment VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    "I am not JUST concerned about myself"

    We are trying to address a problem that is bigger than what we might have experienced individually, I just used my own experience with this issue as an example.
     
  15. johnn

    johnn Top Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Just search for crap names and let them register them.
     
  16. Lord Antares

    Lord Antares Top Member VIP

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    I've had this happen too.

    The solution is to register the domain.
     
  17. stub

    stub Top Member PRO VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Good luck in your quest. I think the chances of having success are slim to none. People reading this thread should take control of their own destinies by NOT DOING LOOKUPS ON ANY REGISTRAR'S WHOIS LOOKUP TOOL (which is where the principal problem lies). This will have much more effect than making it illegal, or whatever it is you are suggesting. With very little change of methodology from the people, like you, who have been abused by this.

    I'm not saying every registrar is guilty of selling (or use for themselves) their whois lookups. But some do. And you agree to this in their ToS. I'm not saying which Registrars have "safe" lookups from their employees. Some may have rules in place. Some may not. But you get around the problem entirely, by doing as I suggested above.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019
  18. oldtimer

    oldtimer Do some good for humanity and the environment VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I still believe that Registrars should give ample time to people (maybe up to a month) before they start using domain search and whois info in a way that puts them in competition with their own customers. Domainers might figure out a way around this issue the way that you have suggested but as I already said most regular people don't know that they are being abused, we have to demand that Registrars stop this practice for the sake of everyone else out there that are not domainers. IMO
     
  19. Jay Ha

    Jay Ha Exploring.. Gold Account VIP

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    Can almost swear this had happened to me several times in my early days (that's 5 months ago).
     
  20. Kate

    Kate Domainosaurus Rex VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    First of all, you should change your motto to: "Register, before it's too late" :)

    Often, people have made accusations of front-running but most of the time the domain never was available to begin with, it was a glitch and the whois confirms that the name was registered well before. Some registrars like GD often report names as falsely being available.

    Next, if the domain recently dropped, it's no wonder someone registered it. The droplists get a of eyeballs. A good domain normally does not remain unregistered for too long.

    Then at some point, domain tasting was massive so every single drop was tasted for traffic.
    Netsol (they again) was also famous for doing 'preemptive' registrations and locking 'your' name for 5 days so you couldn't register it elsewhere.
    That was indiscriminate front-running.

    I heard a long time ago that there could be another explanation: some registrars (GD ?) were showing suggestions based on recent lookups. I am wondering if this is not something that still happens. You search for a name, and the registrar records the results along with the keywords, therefore your will domain ideas could very well serve as a suggestion for another customer.

    The registrars do upsell, and I wouldn't be surprised that they use all sources available. Keywords sinners (I mean spinners), alternative extensions, or recent lookups.
     
  21. wormfood

    wormfood ---- Gold Account VIP

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    or some domainers become so obsessed that they forget that people have better things to do than steal hand regs.
    how many good domains are there available anyway? close to zero, considering what we see everyone here registering daily.
    the reward you'd get from scanning people's registration lookups and whois searches is probably very low. wahoo, you stole a scrap or two from unsuspecting registrants. who would waste their time doing that?
     
  22. oldtimer

    oldtimer Do some good for humanity and the environment VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Whatever tactics the registrars use they should make sure that they are not in competition with their own customers over the keyword ideas that they have thought of, at least not after a certain time has elapsed since they made a domain search or whois inquiry like lets say for 30 days.
     
  23. frank-germany

    frank-germany domainer since 2001 / musician Gold Account VIP

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    if I would be in the place of the spy
    I would give up soon
    as most handregs are worthless anyway
    so to filter through thousands of BS domains
    on a consistent basis is extremely stupid

    and registering those names is even more stupid

    and even more stupid is it
    to have identified a domain of value that is available
    and let it sit in the shopping card for more then 1 minute

    don't blame the registrar
    others ( thousands ) are doing the same as you do
    and may eventually come up with the same domain
    ... and the only difference maybe they actually register it
     
  24. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes formerly MetBob NameTalent Gold Account VIP Trusted Blogger

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    While occasionally a name I have looked at is gone a few hours later, perhaps I am just too trusting but I don't interpret it as insider benefit. I think it is far more likely simply a consequence of a million people simultaneously looking for domains or as @Kate has reasonably suggested possibly an unintended consequence of services like GD GoValue that suggest other names available.

    But if we want to feel more sure, it seems to me there is a simple solution. @Rob Monster the CEO at Epik has publicly assured us in this thread that searches we do there are not being used. It would seem simple for other registrars to publicly state what use, if any, is made of tracked search / whois / valuation data. I seem to recall some have already stated this but can't find thread.

    Bob
     
  25. NameDeck

    NameDeck Design. Develop. Deploy. VIP

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    I was looking for the same info but couldn't find it either. I hardly ever use a registrars whois and when I do it's because I'm lazy :).

    I must admit I have never checked a single registrars TOS to see if they gather data from whois searches and if they do, what they do with it. If anyone knows of a public source with a registrar comparison on this subject I'd be interested to know. If non existent I'm concidering to do some research (and publish) by my myself.

    I also wonder, as this could be considered to be frontrunning, if his is even legal. They call it a whois search but basically you are searching their database not the actual ''thin whois'. I'd call that misleading at best. At the same time, we're ok with a lot of companies tracking about anything we search for and are perfectly ok they use it for monetary gain.

    I like how @Rob Monster put it:

     

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