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ICANN Investigates Insider Domain Name Snatching 152

Posted by kdawson
from the suspected-not-proven dept.
Tech.Luver sends us word that, hot on the heels of reports that Verisign may be planning to sell DNS root server lookup data, ICANN has opened an investigation into a suspected practice by registrars it calls "domain name front running." The suspicion is that insiders at some registrars are using information from whois searches to snatch up desirable domain names before interested customers can register them. Here is ICANN's announcement of the investigation (PDF). ICANN asks that anyone who suspects they have been victimized by domain name front running to email them with details.
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ICANN Investigates Insider Domain Name Snatching

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  • Some proof (Score:5, Informative)

    by suso (153703) * on Thursday October 25, 2007 @11:13AM (#21114021) Homepage Journal
    I have proof of this happening and I'm sure others do too. We have two different customers that looked up domains to see if they were available, asked us to register them and before we could register them, they were already registered by places in China and the Carribian. Both domains where somewhat obscure and I didn't see any reason why they should have normally been bought. In both cases, the domain was released after the 5 day period that ICANN allows (which I think was a mistake on ICANN's part to have that policy). But in some cases it might not be released if it turns out to be popular. As I said about the Verisign thing, this is an invasion of privacy.

    One of our customers (who allowed me to mention in this post that his domain in question was psysci.net) that had this happen said that he only used the command line whois and networksolutions.com to lookup the domain, so it might not just be small registrars involved in this scam. But that's a pretty serious accusation to bring against Network Solutions so take that with a grain of salt. THe company that tasted psysci.net had a name of Wan-Fu China, Ltd. The company that tasted the other domain had a name of (MAISON TROPICALE S.A.), which you can find a little more information about here [domainstatute.com]
    • Have you tried:

      host -t NS domain.com
      instead? If it says NXDOMAIN (no such domain), the domain does not exist.
      • by suso (153703) * on Thursday October 25, 2007 @12:05PM (#21114875) Homepage Journal
        Have you tried:

                host -t NS domain.com

        instead? If it says NXDOMAIN (no such domain), the domain does not exist.


        Well of course I can do that but now even that is in danger of being snooped [slashdot.org]. But I can't expect a customer to do that every time, but they deserve better treatment than to have their domain snatched before they can even buy it. I think once this whole Verisign thing gets resolved, I'll setup a domain checker on our website so that they have someplace more trustworthy to check.
        • "I'll setup a domain checker on our website so that they have someplace more trustworthy to check."

          1. set up domain name checking website
          2. snoop on queries
          3. PROFIT!

          • by corsec67 (627446)
            That, or make a ton of random queries so the snoopers buy a lot of not used domains.
            • by antic (29198)
              Isn't one of the problems that they don't buy it, they just taste it free for five days?

              That rule should be scrapped. If you want a domain, you pay for it up front. If you make a mistake, tough luck - you're out $10 - big deal.
    • by fotbr (855184)
      I'm not so sure that network solutions is completely innocent in all this. They're in it to make money, and if they can make money by selling records of whois requests, they'll do it. I've had similar experiences checking their whois service to see if a domain is registered, only to come back a couple of days later and find its now registered. First time I chalked it up to bad luck, second domain was too obscure to be bad luck.

      I don't think network solutions is doing the snatching, I merely think they're
    • by hodet (620484)
      hmmmm....I just tried checking a random domain on the networksolutions whois. ( 21laforest.com ) It's available so I'll check it a month from now to see if its snatched.
      • by Chapter80 (926879) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @12:22PM (#21115169)

        I just tried checking a random domain on the networksolutions whois. ( 21laforest.com ) It's available so I'll check it a month from now to see if its snatched.
        ha ha! Not a very controlled experiment.
        • find an available name
        • post it on slashdot
        • check a month later to see if it's taken.
        There are enough ass-tunnels out there (like me) who'd pay $8.95 just to screw up your experiment!
        • by hodet (620484)
          Good point, now I will check a second secret domain to prove or disprove the "ass-tunnel" hypothesis.
          • by rs79 (71822)
            "Good point, now I will check a second secret domain to prove or disprove the "ass-tunnel" hypothesis" "

            % whois ass-tunnels.com

            Whois Server Version 2.0

            Domain names in the .com and .net domains can now be registered
            with many different competing registrars. Go to http://www.internic.net/ [internic.net]
            for detailed information.

            No match for "ASS-TUNNELS.COM".

            Whois Server Version 2.0

            Domain names in the .com and .net domains can now be registered
            with many different competing registrars. Go to http://www.internic.net/ [internic.net]
            for detail
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by jamar0303 (896820)
          "There are enough ass-tunnels out there (like me)"

          Thank you for that brilliant word. Ass-tunnel. Now I will forever associate you with Goatse (which I think is a visual representation of such).
    • Everyone is having these issues...
      but I think we are all focusing on the symptoms and not the cause.

      Domain names need to be priced geometrically - so every one you buy costs more and more. No one needs more than 25 domain names. If they need more than that, make a NS and have subdomains dammit. It's much harder to get your squatting site to recoup $1000 than $8.
      • by Dogtanian (588974)

        Domain names need to be priced geometrically - so every one you buy costs more and more.
        Then there'll just be some contrived workaround, involving registering under different peoples' names, different company names and/or downright bogus names or companies.

        And even if they consider that and somehow stop it (it's fairly obvious), commonsense tells us that some enterprising cretin will have figured out another sneaky way around it in no time.
        • Then each owner of the TLD should be required to verify the register's info if requested by another person. If they can't verify the account info, they revoke the domain for 30 days to let the person correct the info, otherwise they release the domain to be registered by anyone again. imho, this should be done already anyway. So how would you verify the info?
          1) Call the phone number - ask what domains they have registered. If they can't tell you (because the list is way too longer) then F-em.
          2) Mail a
          • by Dogtanian (588974)

            1) Call the phone number - ask what domains they have registered. If they can't tell you (because the list is way too longer) then F-em.

            This won't happen. It assumes that there is (or should be) someone at the end of that phone line who will automatically know which domains are registered. What if it's a small company? What if a clueless secretary answers the phone?

            The solution is to force everyone who registers a domain to have someone who knows what's going on always answer that phone number. But if an individual registered the domain, what if (e.g.) their girl/boyfriend answers the mobile phone and doesn't have a clue? If it's a moder

            • Rebuttal:

              1) I'm not saying revoke the domain if the person who answers the phone can't name the domain in 30 seconds, I'm saying let them know they have 15 days to name the domain. However, this is why I like the "official letter" method over calling, because it's harder to screw up.

              2) The "domain management services" can't exist - if I phone or mail them and ask what domain they have without telling them anything else about the account, how are they going to know what domain to say between the 1,000
  • Not the Point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mfh (56) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @11:19AM (#21114117) Journal
    When a domain is snatched, usually it doesn't matter if the original owner gets it back or not. That's not the point, in most cases. Thieves will use the domain to drive traffic to their astroturfing/spam network and drive their PR up in the process. That stays in memory indefinitely and has a beneficial impact on any site like that.

    If the owner gets their network back, they still have the stigma of the bad activity associated with the domain.

    Preventing domain theft is going to only get increasingly more difficult as technology becomes more complicated.
    • This isn't about snatching domain names from previous owners. It's about improper use of search records from the whois databases, using this information to automatically grab new, currently unregistered domains when other people check the domain names' registration status.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by sm62704 (957197)
      This is only slightly on-topic but I have karma to burn so wtf, someone might think it interesting or amusing.

      I used to be a Quake addict, ad my ISP offered "unlimited internet access" and he wasn't kidding. They gave free web hosting with internet service, so I proceeded to start the "Springfield Fragfest" [sj-r.com] (note that the link is NOT to the Springfield Fragfest, it is to an article in Springfield's local paper that succinctly illustrates the fact that the real Springfield, which has an alderman named Gail S
  • by lena_10326 (1100441) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @11:23AM (#21114193) Homepage
    A year ago I searched on a domain I had spent 2 weeks thinking up. It was available but I waited 3 days. When I went to purchase, it was registered 1 or 2 days before. At the time I chalked it up to bad luck.

    I only wish I could remember the domain name. I might have it in my notes but I have pages and pages of notes.
  • by hansamurai (907719) <hansamurai@gmail.com> on Thursday October 25, 2007 @11:27AM (#21114243) Homepage Journal
    Say you want domain xyz.com and you have no idea whether anyone else owns xyz.com or if it's in use.

    1. DO NOT go to xyz.com. If it is being squatted then the squatters now have a hit on it, they have one more reason to keep it if they're just testing out the ICANN 5 day snatch and release policy.

    2. Go to a registrar site and do a search on xyz.com

    3. If no one owns it, buy it NOW. The first hour after your search could very well be the only time it is ever available ever again. There is a very high probability of this. If you do not buy it right away, by the time you come back it will be gone. A squatter will have bought the site to abuse the ICANN 5 day policy. If it gets enough hits, they will keep it, if not, they will release it and by the act of releasing some other squatter will probably pick it up. This will keep on repeating itself until you pay enough money for some just as evil company to grab it and sell it to you.

    There's your guide to buying a domain name in three obnoxious steps.
    • Now you tell us. :D
    • Why not just start a bot that makes random DNS queries? This would eventually make it unprofitable for the squatters to squat.

      --
      This space for rent
      • This is undoubtedly going on. People like us are doing it to screw with all squatters, and squatters are probably doing it to other squatters to get them to buy and keep crap domains. Doesn't seem to be helping much though.
        • Here you go... This program when run will create X number of random domains and then do DNS queries against them. Thus poisoning the hit database. Note: I'm sure any real programmer will look at this code and cringe...

          #!/usr/bin/perl

          use strict;
          use Net::DNS::Packet;
          use Net::DNS::RR;

          my @silly_list = ('sex','linux','monkey','pants','lucky','duck','cow',
          'chicken','clown','w2k3','fart','junk','monk','towel','hyper','viper',
          'amp','station','depot','diape
      • I don't think it'd work. It'd be very easy to load them into a table, filter them against dictionary words, and sort them by # of hits.

        Human eyeballs could pull the top 1000, do a quick spot check on the list, remove garbage names, and register the rest. Once setup, it'd take about 10-15 minutes of human intervention a day.

        • Good point. So if you're a whitehat and have access to the list of domains, some poisoning could still be applied by simply looking up each domain a (large enough) number of random times.

          The results could still be filtered by dictionary/eye but you at least devalue # of hits in their decision making process. Seems like a pretty important variable to take out of their equation.
    • by oahazmatt (868057)
      I've actually just subscribed to your practice. I lost a domain back in May due to financial issues (my first and last name.com) and went to register it again about two months ago. I did the search but didn't purchase immediately, believing I had time. Two days later it was a generic link site.

      This time, I searched for a new domain, found it available, and bought it outright. If I hadn't read this story, I probably would've delayed my purchase and lost on another domain name.
    • Go to a registrar site

      TFA mentions that some of the smaller registrars are logging searches put through their sites and engaging in the snatching racket directly through third party shell companies which are owned by or connected to the registrar. The registrar is trying to get a higher fee by having their shill sell the domain back to you for a higher price than the initial registration would otherwise have cost. Depending upon how automated the scam is the domain could be snapped up within minutes or
    • by rs79 (71822)
      " If no one owns it, buy it NOW. The first hour after your search could very well be the only time it is ever available ever again."

      An HOUR?

      Say people are doing this and note it's the registrats of which there are hundreds from big ones (Network Solutions, godaddy, etc) and small ones. Serious domain name colllectors become registrars just to get domains wholesale. The abuse tends to be in the hands of the smaller registrars, modulo some crooked characters at larger registrars which HAS happened in the pas
  • wow (Score:3, Funny)

    by zehaeva (1136559) <.zehaeva+slashdot. .at. .gmail.com.> on Thursday October 25, 2007 @11:28AM (#21114255)

    I am so very glad that ICANN has quickly come forth at the first signs of such a horrible problem, to think that the registrars would abuse their positions like this.

    I think we all can rest since ICANN is going to fix this before it even becomes a problem.

    oh wait ...

    • by rs79 (71822)
      " I am so very glad that ICANN has quickly come forth at the first signs of such a horrible problem, to think that the registrars would abuse their positions like this. "

      Keep in mind you have to send ICANN $70K to become a registrar.

      So ICANN has great incentive to keep them on the up and up.

      Oh wait...
  • Dear ICANN: (Score:3, Funny)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <<circletimessquare> <at> <gmail.com>> on Thursday October 25, 2007 @11:30AM (#21114287) Homepage Journal
    I have been the victim of Internet-related Terminology Front Running (tm). It began innocently enough with "trolling" borrowed from fishing terminology. But when "phishing" itself became a term, as well as "blog", "AJAX", "spidering", etc., I realized I was in a strange world where tech writers invent terms for phenomena most people aren't even aware exists yet. Usually the phenomena is out there for awhile first, and as it gradually trickles into common knowledge, terminology gradually evolves. But here we have terminology existing even before awareness of the phenomenon. Which brings us to "front running"...

    Oh, wait, we're talking about a different kind of front running? It means what again?

    See what I mean ICANN? I can't even keep track anymore. I thought I was tech savvy, but if I blink, these crazy kids are using words I don't even understand.

    Wait... ICANN is the wrong organization to complain to about this?

    I give up.

  • by Qbertino (265505) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @11:37AM (#21114421)
    I've *never* used whois for probing novel domain-names for this exact reason. I just use the URL and see if it hits. If it and it's adjacent ones on other tlds of interest don't hit and I want it, I order it.

    Being a little paranoid allways helps.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Marvin01 (909379)
      You don't trust 'whois', but you trust your ISP not to sell DNS records? You are far more trustworthy than I. Not to mention the significant chance that the domain might be registered, but not exposing a web host.
      • by mikael (484)
        You could try 'traceroute' - but maybe that goes through the name servers anyway.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by idontgno (624372)

          Of course it does. Any IP communications which uses a name rather than an IP number is using some type of name resolution. Since the real question posed by this situation is "has this domain name been registered", you can't answer it without consulting with the domain name resolution system. And that is either a WHOIS query at a registrar or a name resolution check through a DNS, either incidental (ping my.foobar.foobaz.org) or intentional (dig my.foobar.foobaz.org).

          And I have doubts about using DNS to veri

    • by rs79 (71822)
      "I've *never* used whois for probing novel domain-names for this exact reason. I just use the URL and see if it hits. If it and it's adjacent ones on other tlds of interest don't hit and I want it, I order it."

      Um, you are aware not all registered domains have working websites (or even "should be working but isn't at the moment" websites) right? Some only exist to publish MX records, ie they're used only for mail.

  • To greatly reduce any doubt that this is happening, people should determine the availability of extremely unlikely domain names, like a random string of 24 characters.

    tksmowlapoxnvbwlqanmiutklweh.com
    laskjdfghlfkajgneruykvjniour.com
    qwieurylkajbaiurylkjasndfgpu.com

    If several of those are snatched up after a whois lookup, it's clearly not because anyone else actually bought the domain name because they wanted to use it.
  • by Dr. Manhattan (29720) <sorceror171&gmail,com> on Thursday October 25, 2007 @11:44AM (#21114525) Homepage
    I failed to renew my free dyndns.com domain on time and on Saturday someone using the U.K. host "Real International Business Corp." (which Google shows to be a host for all kinds of scam websites) stole the domain. It wasn't just someone grabbing an unused domain - they put up a copy of my front page (though the links led nowhere).

    They were even loading images, like I do, from my ISP's webspace. For a while I had changed the image to a big "WARNING!", but they noticed that yesterday and removed all links and images from their copy. A DMCA takedown won't work since they're in the U.K. and from what I've read of the hosting service, ethics aren't exactly their strong suit. So I've got to just learn from experience here. Oy.

    • I can sympathize (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      A good friend of mine had a very successful website with 300,000+ users that made him over $100,000/year. The domain had been registered using some free email account that he stopped using. Eventually the email address was reclaimed and made available again and some guy registered it and hijacked his domain. It took him over a year and a half plus thousands of dollars in legal fees to finally get his domain back. By that time the domain was worthless because all of his customers had gotten fed up with the s
  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @11:45AM (#21114551) Homepage

    One of the provisions of the ICANN Registrar Agreement is this: [icann.org]

    • 3.7.9 Registrar shall abide by any ICANN adopted specifications or policies prohibiting or restricting warehousing of or speculation in domain names by registrars.

    So ICANN has the authority to insist that registrars get out of the domain speculation business. They don't have to ask the registrars; they can simply order it.

    Currently, most of the "registrars" [icann.org] are fronts for domain speculators. Take a look at the list. There are whole families of phony registrars (Enom1, Inc., Enom2, Inc., Enom3, Inc., ... Enom371, Inc., ... Enom469, Inc.) There are ones who admit they're domain speculators (NameJumper.com, Inc., "!!BBB Bulk Inc"). There are ones that are fronts for "Club Drop".

    Most of these "registrars" are so phony they don't even have a business address.

    This registrar information is useful for filtering junk sites. If a site is registered with one of the bogus registrars, it's probably desirable to block its e-mail (which is probably spam), and throw it out of search engines.

    • So ICANN has the authority to insist that registrars get out of the domain speculation business. They don't have to ask the registrars; they can simply order it.

      This is too easy for the registrars to get around. The unscrupulous registrars could develop their own secret network of shell companies, shills, and spammers to register hits from searches on the registrar's site and then split the profits when the registrar buys the domain back from their network of proxies to sell back to the customer. It wou
    • These phony registrars pay ICANN fees. Lots of fees. BIG fees. $5000 a year if I recall correctly. Amazingly, ICANN does not see a conflict of interest between their desire to take fees, and their purported mission to control the behavior of registrars.
    • by rs79 (71822)
      Get rid of speculators? Hahahahaha. Who do think participates in ICANN meetings?

      You've never been to one, have you?

  • As much as front-running is annoying (at the very least), I think registering typo'd domains is actually worse. Considering how many domains are registered simply for the purpose of catching people who misspell the domain they want to visit, it may be a larger problem.

    And from my experiences, it seems like the typo squatters usually bombard you with pop-ups and other annoying crapola on their sites when you accidentally wander into them. The front-runners at least seem kind enough to just tell you "this domain could be yours for only $1M". Bastardly, sure, but less of an annoyance than 4 pop-ups that trigger more pop-ups on being closed.

  • a good idea (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FudRucker (866063)
    why not make a domain named www.ICANNOT.org and just make it a listing/cache of domain names already taken so users looking for a domain can see if a name is already taken...

    Oops, too late, already taken...
  • You can directly lookup whois information at the internic's lookup page [internic.net], or use the unix whois command or a Windows utility like Cyberkit [pcworld.com] to discover whether or not a domain has been registered without leaking your interest to someone who might try to grab it first.
  • I say we setup a dictionary based query that (slowly as to not DNS) .. generates a mountian of plausible but not needed DNS queries. The domain squatters would then spend $$$ grabbing what amounts to useless domains .. Use the old scale of economy attack on them. It they have to sit on 10,000 useless names to hit one "real" one .. it becomes a LOT less profitable .. and they will move on.
    • under the rules there's no penalty for the 5 day waiting period. The squatters drop them before they pay any money. Icann needs a $15 non-refundable restocking fee or something.
      • by Quietust (205670)

        under the rules there's no penalty for the 5 day waiting period. The squatters drop them before they pay any money.

        Then trick them into thinking the domains are "real". Expand the dictionary-DNS script to keep track of the fake domains it queried and retry them occasionally - if they get registered, then add them to another list and start actively querying the webpages to generate "hits" for them.

        For optimum performance, publish both lists (both queried and subsequently registered domains) somewhere onl

  • That would clean up this problem, right? Sure, it's an impact on other lines of business, but domain registries have a 'special role' to play in the internet. One question, though, is whether ICANN could legally enforce this rule in various jurisdictions. Probably so, since ICANN could revoke the registry for not playing by the rules, but IANAL...

            dave
    • NetworkSolutions has now changed their name! They're now known as http://205.178.187.13/ [205.178.187.13] ! Watch for our new ad campaign during the Super Bowl.
  • If you do a whois on a domain name, then somebody, somewhere gets to see that you might be interested in buying it. It was really only a matter of time before someone started doing this.
    • by Dogtanian (588974)

      If you do a whois on a domain name, then somebody, somewhere gets to see that you might be interested in buying it. It was really only a matter of time before someone started doing this.
      I had this happen to me almost two years ago; it's hardly new.
  • I think this already happens. When you do a whois, which is usually the first thing in registering a domain, a variety of authorities are queried. Now - I don't know which one - but one of them is naughty and camping starts. There have been 3 occassions where I have run whois through netsol where within 24 hours the domain went from avail to camped (by studiomobile - a net 'research' company.) I think it is more than a coincidence.
    • by jafiwam (310805)
      This has been happening for at least 10 years. I remember playing a game with my tech support buds , looking up domains at network solutions (or whatever they were called at the time) and getting a point for each one that got registered within 24 hours.

      That was before the free trial period. (Why THE HECK would that be useful to ANYBODY except a scammer of some kind?)

      True, it could be an employee of them doing it.

      Either way this is NOT NEW.

      Now days with all the wild card DNS BS some companies are doing, I
    • Netsol? I've heard of them. They sound good.

      I actually need to register a domain at this very moment and right now netsols website just plain flat out doesn't work. It's been this way from about 9:30 - 10:30 est.

      Oy.

      • by rs79 (71822)
        I watched a movie and while I was doing that the gnomes of Zurich seems to have fixed NSI's website. It woiks now.

        I'm sorta impressed there's poeple at NSI fixing this stuff at midnight. I've never seen other registrars fix stuff at night especially without even filing a trouble ticket.

  • .. when you have stuff like this going on...

    http://www.mentallyretired.com/2007/09/17/fraud-in-the-domain-name-market/ [mentallyretired.com]

    I wanted a domain name after it expires in half a year and they're ALREADY MAKING ME BID FOR IT. Keep in mind, this is the REGISTRAR, not the current domain owner.
  • by Unmanifest (948811) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @12:26PM (#21115239)
    I was going to buy Squandered.org, .com, .net to release some original music and essays. Squandered.org was to be the band name, with the .org in the name to emphasize the "new media" thing.

    So I checked via godaddy.com, and it was available, but I didn't purchase it because my checking account was overdrawn. A while later(2 weeks to a month), I went to buy it, and it was taken. Whois said it was taken shortly after my availability check, by a company in Maine. It was cash-parked at Network Solutions.

    Anyway, a few months later(the dates are vague, I didn't mark my calender) I checked it to see what the people from Maine were doing with the title of my life's work. It was still just cash-parked at Network Solutions. So I checked WHOIS again, to refresh my memory about the name of the company, and it was now owned by an individual in Maryland instead of a company in Maine, but here's the scariest part: the registration date had *magically* moved backwards to 2005!

    I had personal reasons to remember very specifically that the location of the owner was in Maine. I didn't remember the company name, but I definitely remembered that the date of registration was just after I had checked it.

    And it's still just cash-parked. When it first happened, because of "Maine" and some personal events, I suspected a certain person I knew from certain forums had taken it for basically spiteful reasons. But when the date was altered, I was mystified and paranoid. "Why would the CIA and time-traveling lizard-people from Sirius conspire to keep me from doing my little project under that name?" Now, I'm relieved to find a more plausible explanation. A scammer or scammers with access to official registration data. Makes sense, I also own several other domains, so I might pop up as a high-probability purchaser. But I never contacted the owner, and in the intervening time I've reworked things to release soon under another name that I've owned for years.

    I did, however, pop off an email to ICANN detailing the events.

    Let me reiterate what's been said by others on this thread: don't check a domain unless you're ready to purchase it immediately.

    • Happened to me.

      I was going to buy "MadScientistsMedia.com"
      Ended up going to a Radio Station a few weeks later, now it's some guy doing music.

      As research for a company a few years back, I searched through about 500 names. Because I was using two-word combinations, I found a lot that were not taken -- about half.
      The company was not interested in the names -- but a couple weeks later I checked and about half of the ones I found free were taken. URLs like www.startpoint.com -- which I thought was very good, bec
  • GoDaddy's doing it for sure. Several domains that I have probed with their service that are currently not available anymore:

    http://guruevi.com/ [guruevi.com]
    http://pcman.com/ [pcman.com]
    my last name ...
  • Before doing anything, google xyz.com to see if it is active. Doing searches that ping the site, or that go through a registrar, or that alert anyone at all to interest in xyz.com can be a costly mistake. (I learned this lesson after seeing domains snatched after searches through reputable registrars.)
  • by Dannon (142147)
    The fortune at the bottom of the page reads:
    You will gain money by a speculation or lottery

    Well, someone is, at least....
  • ICANN has opened an investigation into a suspected practice by registrars it calls "domain name front running."

    I prefer "squatspecting" myself, as it is the cybersquatting upon others' domain prospecting, possibly to ransom the domain to the person who intended to register it.

    There was a .com domain I wanted, but it is currently held by a law firm with named partners sharing the same initials, and they could easily hold onto it indefinitely even if there's a change in partnership to maintain communication with former clients of the old firm. When I finally decided to get the .tv version which had been free, it too

  • I suspected this for years, when circa 2003 I ran whois query/dns searches on short and very meaningful domain in .com, just perfect to suit my needs, which was registered 1 week later! Guess wh was the registrar? Some squatter.
    After that I just go and register domain in 1 transaction - using registration form as whois/dns lookup and then immediately check out.
    From 2003 I registered 4 domains and this rule worked pretty well.
    Also I have one story when one not so expensive registrar just snatched domain from
  • This is old news. I wrote about it last July for eWEEK. [eweek.com]

    It definitely happens but it's in small enough quantity that I think it's being done with targeted compromises of servers involved with domain lookups at hosting services and the like. Either that or someone is selling the lookup data.
  • Took them long enough to figure this one out. I've recall hearing that this has been going on for 10 years at least! And since you can snatch a domain name and hold it for a few days before returning it for a refund, it doesn't even cost these crooks money to pull off this scam!
  • just start some automated mass-whois-lookup's and drown out the real ones in the garbage..

    that would solve the problem

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