Making Communications Buzz

Thursday, August 03, 2006

"Whois Hijacking": Stealing Domain Names After They Are Researched

This is a hot story that deserves attention. Ever wonder if someone might be "listening in" when you check to see whether a domain name is available or not? They may well be, so be careful when you check availability of a domain name.

What happens is that unscrupulous people monitor a site that offers a domain name search, and then they go ahead and register the domain name before the person doing the search can do so.

Next they do something called "domain tasting", posting a Web page at that hijacked domain to see whether it is getting any traffic coming from search sites like Google and Yahoo! If it is, they will keep the page and put all sorts of ads and links to other sites there -- basically a trashy form of Web advertising.

Here's the best story I have found on this: Whois Hijacking My Domain Research? by Larry Seltzer at eWeek.com.

I spoke to someone at Network Solutions about this, and she assured me that there is no way anyone can monitor domain names researched on their site. Network Solutions is one of the largest domain name registrars, and presumably their employees have better things to do than to try and hijack any of the hundreds of thousands of individual research requests entered into their Web site every day.

For more information about domain registration, check out the WHOIS page at Network Solutions, which functions just like the search on their home page when you enter a domain name.

Want to register a domain name? Check prices at sites like Omnis.com and GoDaddy before you pay $34.99 a year at Network Solutions.

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