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Is it a known practice of domain name registrars (in this case, godaddy) to buy a domain name very shortly after someone searches for the availability of that domain name?

I was searching for the availability of a domain name on whois.com, and seeing it was not available, I checked the whois info for that domain. Turns out it's owned by godaddy.com, but was created just a few months ago, right around the time I had previously searched for it and found it to be available. Should have snapped it then!

Is this just a fluke or is this a known practice?

If I was a domain name registrar, that's probably what I would do, i.e. monitor interest for available domain name from people's searches, and buy those available domains when a certain threshold has been met.

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This is called domain name front running. Apparently it is not illegal although certainly a questionable practice.

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  • The problem with this is that domain tasting went by way of the do do very quickly. The practice only lasted a couple of/few years and ended after a ton of complaints. As well, the top registrars stayed away from this practice, though they did share some information publicly. What was common was using a tool to see what keywords were searched for in search engines and then using the tool to bulk register the most likely domain names to have value using algorithms within the code. It was a tool that did the dirty deed using search engine data not necessarily a human.
    – closetnoc
    Jun 1, 2015 at 2:24
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Think about it. What good would it do them?? None.

Network Solutions 15 or so years ago used to share in real-time any search with domain monetizers and caught holy-hell for it. Hence why GoDaddy became such a success so fast. NetSol was charging nearly $50 a domain name and sharing searches and selling domain names for very little to those who will bulk buy.

The top quality registrars do not do this, but 3rd party whois sites might- but not likely since they want you to buy through them. They make a small mint off you buying through their site. Why would anyone ruin that??

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