Domain Swiping

posted Apr 24, 2006

There have been some accusations made lately about "domain swiping". "Domain swiping" refers to the following sequence of events:

  1. You go to a Domain Name Registrar to check to see if your desired domain name is available. They say it is.
  2. You go away to think about whether you really want it.
  3. You come back in two or three days and check again, only to find out it's been taken and now if you can get it at all, you'll need to pay inflated prices. Presumably this is some rare domain name that you can expect a speculator didn't register in the meantime.

It occurred to me after reading about this that it may have happened to me. As I was deciding whether to buy (and this is back when domain names were a respectable chunk of change to a college student, not $10 like today), I looked several times, when "suddenly" it was gone, and I had to settle for for a long time was just a solicitation to buy the name, which I believe changed hands once, with the last owner actually soliciting me directly. Only in this last year is it now some sort of real site. (It's some sort of site for a particular high-school re-union, so I don't suggest following that link; I just mention it to show it's not a parked domain anymore.)

However, since we're talking about a pronouncable (if meaningless in English) four-letter domain name, it's hard to prove anything. I'm lucky to have gotten a four-letter .org.

I decided to test this a few days ago. I went to GoDaddy and queried Currently it is unregistered, and it has been for the last four days now. If there is somebody or several somebodies out there grabbing domain queries as they go buy, it's not an automated process.

Of course, now that I've made my query public, who knows if some joker will register it. (But I "nofollow"ed the link, so don't get too excited. :) )


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