One of the key questions when beginning a website is what domain should I use? Even more importantly, you will soon be asking which domain names are available? For instance, while I originally wanted somadesign.com as my domain, I had to settle on somadesign.ca because somebody else owns somadesign.com and wants far more money to sell it than I’m able to afford.
What occurred in between my initial desire for one domain and finding one that was available was a whole lot of searching. I tried dozens of different names and variations to the point of mild obsession. Most domain name registrars include a convenient little search box where you can try a domain to see if it’s available. I was always a little leery of this, since there was nothing preventing the site from capturing my search term and buying the domain itself. It turns out that Network Solutions, one of the largest domain name registrars around, has been doing exactly this. Command Line Warriors has the full story.
What it boils down to is this: Network Solutions would take your search term and register the domain themselves. They would then be only too happy to sell it to you, but now you’re unable to take your business anywhere else! My suggestion to avoid all of this is to do one of two things. 1) If you’re my client, leave it to me. I’ll make sure that your domain search isn’t compromised like this. 2) If you want to search yourself, use a trustworthy source like AjaxWhois, who have publicly denounced Network Solutions and promise never to do such a thing with your data. Also, you can search across multiple Top Level Domains such as .com, .org, .net, etc. simultaneously. Very nice.