Searching for Domain Names

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 as my domain, I had to set­tle on because some­body else owns 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.