Case Study – How Your Domain Name Gets Stolen (Part 3)

by Paul Wilson


domain01.jpgBefore I go into the results of the case study I want to personally thank those that participated. For two weeks I had a core group of volunteers who faithfully checked on five different whois search engines. Their assistance and suggestions really helped in putting all this together. To get some background on the case study read this post and this post.

My case study was based on the belief that shady whois search engines were being pinged whenever a domain search was being conducted. If they saw numerous pings they would snatch the domain and try to sell it back to you.

With this belief, a group of about 20 people for two weeks did whois searches on specific terms. Here are the terms and the whois search engine we tried the terms in:


Network Solutions

Random: mbyra


Desired: Copyright1999-2007

Everyday we would try the same two terms in the same engine. One search term was a possible term someone would desire; whereas, the other term was random but short.

However, at the end of the study not one name had been high-jacked. To be honest, I was quite surprised (I really thought would go quickly). In fact, before writing today I looked one final time to see if a last minute snatch had occurred, but no such luck.

I wrote to those who participated in the case study to see if they had an opinion on our results. I heard back from Dustin and John. Below are their responses:


“Just a thought about domain names and such. I logged in from different computers on campus and so my ip number wasn’t constant. If a person with the same ip adderess consistantly purchases domain names, mabey it increases the likelyhood of the domain name being grabbed, this is a bit of a stretch i know but it would make sence to only grab domains where you think there is a likelyhood of a purchase buying it back, aka people who have proven history of buying domains. Just a thought..”


I was thinking that maybe the domain names you chose aren’t being stolen because they don’t contain any key marketing words. You know like what if e tried a domain name like “FREE-DROEMG.COM” or

Both of these suggestions are really good. I welcome any other suggestions from the peanut gallery. I just have a hard time believing that it is a “mere coincidence” that good domain terms are stolen literally hours before we go and buy them.

Thanks again for all those who participated! ~Paul W.

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