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Be careful where you brainstorm domain names

Not to point any fingers at any particular company, however, there have been reported strange cases of “being too late” to register a domain name. I don’t know if you had this experience of checking a particular domain name, and that same name was registered later that day by someone else? There are two ways of preventing that.

1. Buy the domain name right there and then.

2. Brainstorm a set of domains on a service you can trust.

This part is a bit tricky. You either check with the source what they are doing with the lookups, or use someone who claims not to track or monitor lookups. That’s why we built our website checker where you can check domain availability. We wanted a secure unmonitored domain lookup tool where we knew we could check domains, and not be afraid of being late. We were sometimes brainstorming on a Friday night with a couple of beers. You know how it is… Domainers hanging out, you get a cool idea or a name, and you want to check it right away. So we also built an iPhone app that does just that. app.whons.com (discontinued). Easy for me to say, having an awesome engineering team, and the resource (not just today, since some of those services we built in 2006).

Domain availability iPhone app - WhoNS
Domain availability iPhone app – WhoNS

However, we wanted to make this easy for anyone. So now you can either use one of the services and apps. Or you could use our domain availability API and build any kind of service with additional functionality. If you are not a developer and need someone to build a tool around our API, my assumption is it wouldn’t cost you too much to get someone on Elance or Odesk. The advantage of this is you could have it custom built with suggestions, many TLD’s, etc. You have to figure that one out on your own, you have us to worry about the API part. Meaning, we will soon introduce the freemium model, so you can make some queries for free. Depending on the amount of queries you make, it might solve your problem for free.

Thing is, there is no way you can prove to the company that you were looking for a domain name that was later registered. You are in no way reserving a domain just by looking at it, or favoriting it in your notes. You have to secure that name for at least a year, and be done with it.

 

Written by Goran Duskic

I am the founder and CEO at WhoAPI. Entrepreneur for more than a decade in the hosting and domain industry. Sold my previous company. 500 Startups and StartLabs alumni. Author of a white paper "Domain Disclosure: Dirty Dozen" and eBook "26 Fundraising Questions for Startups".

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5 Comments

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  1. Excellent post! Thank you.
    Can you elaborate on what does “secure that name for at least a year” exactly mean, since some domain registrars offer it at additional cost and it’s still not quite clear to me what it actually “secures”?
    Thank you!

  2. I read reports about domain registrar who did this. However, it never happened to me. I never buy a domain right after I think about it. I usually check the domain directly on the registrar website. Never happened to me to see the domain registered.

    However, a domain costs 10$ to register. Let’s say that a tool register all the websites brainstormed by their visitors. How high is the chance to register so many domain names and then convince someone to buy the domain name he looked up for 1000$ ?

    • The problem is registrars are allowed to speculate on domain names for free, because they have a provision to return a domain without paying for it after a set number of days.

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