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Avoid Network Solutions stealing your domain name ideas! [Archive] - SOWPub Small Business Forums


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January 24, 2008, 08:30 AM
Came across this article on my Windows Secrets membership site

regards peter

How to safely find and register a domain name

Finding a domain name that fits your needs is becoming increasingly difficult. As you've probably noticed, if someone has already registered a particular dot-com name, chances are good that someone else has also registered the dot-net and dot-org versions. The same holds true in any configuration of those three top-level domains (.com, .net, and .org).

When a domain name is registered, domain squatters often grab up the same name on other top-level domains in order to take advantage of potential traffic.

A couple of weeks ago, I read a story by Larry Seltzer at eWeek.com about Network Solutions, a major domain registrar. As you may know, you can use a Web form on Network Solutions' home page to check the availability of a domain name.

What you might not know is that if the domain name is available Network Solutions will immediately register it to itself! Network Solutions told eWeek that the reason this is done is to protect you from domain grabbers who might register the domain before you do. Even so, Network Solutions' form of "protection" presents a problem if you want to register the domain name with another registrar, most of which offer lower registration fees than Network Solutions. (Network Solutions subsequently made a few minor changes to its practices, as described by Seltzer in a later post.)

An obvious solution to this problem is to not search for domain-name availability at Network Solutions' site. However, that won't protect you from other registrars who might start using the same practice.

I've found a safer way to handle the entire process of locating and registering a domain name, especially in cases where you're researching a possible name for a Web site that you're not launching immediately.

For example, maybe you've got an idea for a site, but you're not sure you'll actually build it. Naturally, you'd be curious as to which domain names that match your topic areas are available. But you might not want to spend the money (or needlessly tie up names that others could use) by registering all of the available domain names you find.

You can't simply enter a desired domain name into the address bar of a browser, or search on the name in Google. Many names that have already been registered, and are therefore unavailable, don't show up using these methods, because no visible Web pages have been posted not even a home page with an "under construction" sign.

The best approach is to look up domain names in a service that never registers names that you search on and never sells its search queries to third parties. One such service is EasyWhoIs, a feature of EasyDNS.com, a domain-name-system hosting provider that Windows Secrets itself uses.

EasyDNS's privacy policy specifically describes the company's "no front-running" guarantee. Use the https version of EasyWhoIs, so your search is encrypted as it travels across the Internet. Using secure https may be a bit paranoid, but it does protect your valuable domain-name concepts in the unlikely event that an ISP employee is sniffing Web traffic for ideas.

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