Geoffrey Meredith
Thoughts on Technology


(posted on 30 May 2008)
I came across new "game" being played related to domain names.  I was in a position to attempt to capture a domain that had expired and was about to be deleted.  I had the .ca version of that domain and wanted to get the .com that was just about to be available.  I employed a service that is designed to capture these domains as soon as they become available.  I've done this before successfully so I was hopeful that this one would happen without a hitch.

Well the service announced that the domain had been captured by a registrar called "".  I knew a lot of the domain spammers capture newly deleted names to "taste" them for the revenue generation prospects.  They usually drop these domains within 5 days so that they don't have to pay for them.  I guess that they are looking for domains that will generate more revenue than the roughly $6/yr that they end up paying for registering them.  So I was hopeful that I still might get a crack at the domain.

About 4 days after the domain was captured by "", I got an email that was trying to "sell" me the domain, suggesting that the fact that I had the .net variant (I didn't have that) that I really should buy this .com from the sender, for the low price of only $557!  I was careful at the time to not follow any the links in the email as that might have shown interest to the sender and they might have kept the domain.  I didn't repsond.

About 12 hours after receiving the email the domain change hands to a registrar called "vibrant networks".  After two days, I received a second email, substantially the same as the first, although reminding me that this was their second email on the subject.

After the second 5 day tasting period ran out, I finally captured the domain.  I then went back and started checking the links provided by the email.  This is how I got the $557 purchase number as it wasn't actually in the email.

A interesting fact is that the whois server for the second taster was, which is the same domain where the link in the initial email was pointed at.  So these two domain registrars seem to be related and were playing some kind of tag team game.  I guess they figured that they needed 10 days to try to "sell" the domain to me.

I've use the words "game" and "sell" in quotes above as I actually consider this activity to something in the neighborhood of scam to extortion.  Somehow think that this kind of activity is against the terms of service that registrars must follow to be accredited by ICANN.  ICANN has really got to clean up the mess of scammers that are posing as domain registrars.  These guys make the oil, gas and electricity market manipulators look tame by comparison in their brazen activities.

The one takeaway I can suggest from this experience is that if you run into a similar situation, don't do anything to raise the scammer's hopes of actually selling you the domain as I think that this will reduce your chances that they will just let the domain go and give you a real chance of getting the domain.