It's getting more and more difficult to do any kind of domain research without running the risk of losing your domain ideas to unscrupulous domain tasters.
Back in February, we described the problem as follows:
- A perfect domain name pops into your mind.
- A quick check at your favorite domain registrar reveals that the domain is still available.
- For some reason, you put off the actual registration for a few days.
- And when you come back to finally register the domain, it's taken by someone else!
Back then, it took domain tasters "a few days" to intercept, analyze and register the domains that you came up with.
Now, it takes them less than 2 minutes.
Last week an associate of mine was bulk-checking 200+ generic typo domains through a software that shall remain unnamed for now. All of the domains were available. But less than 2 minutes later, more than 50 of the domains had been registered by a number of different offshore companies from the Bahamas.
There is no way this could be a coincidence. And if you read the more recent comments in the above mentioned article, it's clearer than ever before that there are severe leaks somewhere that allow domain tasters to compromise your domain searches and steal your domain ideas.
Yesterday, I did a search on both estibot and whois.sc.. About 4 different names with each of them. I used estibot to check the overture traffic, and those on whois.sc I wasn't concerned about the overture. Anyway, 6 out of the 8 ( 3 i had checked on estibot and 3 on whois.sc ) Were registered less than 1 minute and 30 seconds later by
501 NE 1st. Ave. Suite #201
Miami, FL 33132
The evidence is overwhelming that they were using illegal data sniffing to steal these domains. I have already contacted a very experienced attorney on the matter and I will update when I get further along.
However, in the meantime, I suggest not using whois.sc or estibot.com at all.
Josh, the author of Estibot, responds:
Thank you for reporting this problem also via e-mail. I appreciate that. I'm the programmer of EstiBot and this causes great concern. I can tell you for sure that the searches on EstiBot are not given to any third party. [...]
What is happening here is that Belgium Domains is sniffing the whois services, not EstiBot itself. EstiBot performs a whois search for the appraised domains, because it's an important part of the valuation.
The culprit in this case seems to be Network Solutions. Their whois seems to be compromised. I will try to find an alternative whois service. Any help is appreciated, if you have suggestions please let me know, you will find my contact details on the site. I am willing to pay for a reliable whois service.
Finally I'd like to remind everyone that every time you do a whois search with any service, you run a risk of losing your domain.
Have you had a similar experience? Share it below, providing as many details as possible, and maybe we can do something about it.