Is NameCheap and Domain Agents stealing our domain ideas?

by ncloud
24 replies
Who the heck is Domain Agents and how do they seem to grab the domain that I want before I'm able to purchase it?

This has happened to me like 3 times now. I spend a lot of time trying to come up with a good domain name that is still available. I check to see if it's available by typing it in the address bar of my browser and seeing if there is anything there. I also go to NameCheap and search for it there. I don't usually purchase it right away because I like to think about it for a couple days. But, I note that it is available. Then when I come back a few days later, guess who's bought it up? Domain Agents - whoever they are. And of course they want like $199. minimum for it.

I'm starting to wonder if when we do a search for a domain on NameCheap if they keep track of what people search and pass that info on to Domain Agents. And then Domain Agents probably goes and beats people to the domains knowing that some of those people will come back to purchase the names they looked up. I'm guessing the NameCheap partners with Domain Agents and when they are able to sell some of these domains at higher prices NameCheap probably gets a percentage. What do you think? Are they stealing our domain ideas when search for them on NameCheap?
#agents #domain #ideas #namecheap #stealing
  • Profile picture of the author PLR Basket
    Happened to me once with GoDaddy. Definitely something fishy here...
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  • Profile picture of the author gianbizz
    I have experienced some problems with GoDaddy recently. There is a possibility that the Registrar has cooperation with domain agent, OR it may also that the domain agent have a tool or software that can tracking the domain searches without the knowledge of registrar.

    If a domain name is available to register and I want it, then it's best to register it immediately without delay. I have learned this lesson before
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      I don't usually purchase it right away
      And that is why you have a problem. No one is STEALING domains from you - you didn't register the domain when you had the chance.

      If you get the domain WHEN you find it - instead of "thinking about it for days" or leaving to check elsewhere....you won't have a problem.

      When you search for a domain name and then leave - you alert third party softward that you have an interest. Then that software automatically puts an initial buy on the domain. It's like a "temporary registration" though that's not an official name.

      They "hold" it and often sell if (for more money) to the person who originally looked for it. Pretty smart, huh? 90% of the time, if you wait a couple weeks that name will once again be avaialble at the regular domain price.

      By "wait" - I mean WAIT. Don't look for the domain - don't check to see if it's for sale somewhere....don't keep checking registrars to see if it's "still taken". Every time you do that - you can trigger another "hold".

      This is a business model and a profitable one. It will not affect you at all IF you register a domain name WHEN you find the one you want. If you have to leave and think it over - you'll lose it every time.

      It's easy to avoid and it's no worse a business practice than buying a domain for $10 and trying to "flip it" for $100.

      Note: You can mitigate somewhat by using a site like "nameboy.com" to narrow down available domains. THEN when you find 2-3 domains that will work - go to namecheap or wherever and register one of them immediately. Do not google search for it - or look in any other way before you register it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Azwan Asban
    check whois and see the registration date of domain.
    If domain was registered same day with date you search the domain may be it is possible.

    some registrar do not refresh their browser. It happens to me sometimes when I search a domain. I saw that domain was available then I go to whois show me domain was registered first in 2002.

    EDIT: I always use godaddy to search a domain name. Never happen something like steal ideas. I have a doubt about other registrars whether they have a software to do like that or not.
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  • Profile picture of the author ncloud
    I wish someone would have warned me about this from the beginning, but at least I know now. I suppose there's no harm in checking a domain availability in your address bar is there?

    some registrar do not refresh their browser. It happens to me sometimes when I search a domain. I saw that domain was available then I go to whois show me domain was registered first in 2002.
    Yeah that actually might be what happened here because Who Is says the domain was registered by Alpine Domains on March 15th. So maybe what I was seeing the other day wasn't updated or refreshed.
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  • Profile picture of the author Freebiequeen1999
    Yes they do and even Godaddy (used) to do this....smaller registrars do it...it is called domain frontrunning

    some have third party software to "hold' the domain and try to sell it back to you - or a deal with such a seller =

    I think domain agents probably has a deal with them

    when I bought my first domain in 1999 it cost $150 so things are better and cheaper now

    there are some "hacks" to get around this but seriously....use your head



    1)InterNIC | The Internet's Network Information Center

    yes the site looks like a crazy site from 2003 but should be safe, you don't register there it is where registrars handle disputes - owned by us dept of commerce - use their whois


    2) Keep it simple...just type the name into your browser...if you see a site, or a "site coming" or "domain here at xyz" or one of those cheezy fake search engine/parked sites...then move along and try another name

    3) super simple ..if you go to a smaller registrar be prepared to just buy the domain you want on the spot, if it is taken prepare to simply buy your 2nd or 3rd choice

    JMO - no matter what any "guruuuu" tells you - a dot.com is the standard....always take a dot.com if you can.
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  • Profile picture of the author tacitinc
    Why all the fuss? Its obviously a sniper setup...lol so '98

    I highly doubt registrars are in colludes with domain aggregates...but the giants are still out there like Kevin Ham or Mike Mann (infamous epic sniper from AOL days lol) - some of these domain portfolios are privately held at $100-300 million+ so why would any one be surprised when we see them still doing same thing or others out there trying to mimic their business models. (not sayin kev or mike are the culprits of Domain Agents) but thats just my 2 cents... its nothing new domainagents.com
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  • Profile picture of the author DomainAgents
    Hi Everyone,

    I'm Phil with DomainAgents.com

    Just to clear things up, DomainAgents does not, nor has it ever, front run domain names.

    DomainAgents is a neutral third party negotiation platform that helps domain buyers and domain owners through the negotiation, escrow, and transfer process.

    We work with many well known companies including Namecheap to power the "Make An Offer" service that is displayed when an already registered domain name is searched for. You can search for literally any domain name and if it comes back taken, you will see the ability to make an offer.

    We are not, nor have we ever been privy to the searches conducted on Namecheap or our other partners.

    - - -

    When it comes to safe places to check domain names for availability, I would actually suggest sticking to Namecheap and other well known registrars.

    As was mentioned, there has previously been the issue of front running at the registrar level. It was a horribly received move on the part of GoDaddy when they did it for a period of time. To repeat this error would be a incredible PR blunder that respectable registrars would not risk their reputations over.

    - - -

    Happy to answer any questions that anyone here may have.
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    • Profile picture of the author Freebiequeen1999
      Originally Posted by DomainAgents View Post

      Hi Everyone,

      I'm Phil with DomainAgents.com

      Just to clear things up, DomainAgents does not, nor has it ever, front run domain names.

      DomainAgents is a neutral third party negotiation platform that helps domain buyers and domain owners through the negotiation, escrow, and transfer process.

      We work with many well known companies including Namecheap to power the "Make An Offer" service that is displayed when an already registered domain name is searched for. You can search for literally any domain name and if it comes back taken, you will see the ability to make an offer.

      We are not, nor have we ever been privy to the searches conducted on Namecheap or our other partners.

      - - -

      When it comes to safe places to check domain names for availability, I would actually suggest sticking to Namecheap and other well known registrars.

      As was mentioned, there has previously been the issue of front running at the registrar level. It was a horribly received move on the part of GoDaddy when they did it for a period of time. To repeat this error would be a incredible PR blunder that respectable registrars would not risk their reputations over.

      - - -

      Happy to answer any questions that anyone here may have.
      Well that sounds good BUT....google is my friend...hmmm...

      why would you then tell people to search for a name at "Namecheap and other well known registrars"? HUH?

      I am going to repeat my prior advice -

      1)InterNIC | The Internet's Network Information Center

      yes the site looks like a crazy site from 2003 but should be safe, you don't register there it is where registrars handle disputes - owned by us dept of commerce - use their whois


      2) Keep it simple...just type the name into your browser...if you see a site, or a "site coming" or "domain here at xyz" or one of those cheezy fake search engine/parked sites...then move along and try another name

      3) super simple ..if you go to a smaller registrar be prepared to just buy the domain you want on the spot, if it is taken prepare to simply buy your 2nd or 3rd choice
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    • Profile picture of the author kk075
      Originally Posted by DomainAgents View Post

      Hi Everyone,

      I'm Phil with DomainAgents.com
      Hey Phil-

      For someone that's not actively watching for opportunities, you sure did find your company mention here in a hurry. I know WF indexes fast, but a personalized reply in less than 20 hours makes me think you either have some killer reputation monitoring software, or that Domain Agents is using some serious proprietary tools to do exactly what the OP suggested.

      Just an observation though.
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      • Profile picture of the author Path Theory
        Originally Posted by kk075 View Post

        Hey Phil-

        For someone that's not actively watching for opportunities, you sure did find your company mention here in a hurry. I know WF indexes fast, but a personalized reply in less than 20 hours makes me think you either have some killer reputation monitoring software, or that Domain Agents is using some serious proprietary tools to do exactly what the OP suggested.

        Just an observation though.
        Or someone reached out to let them know, which is the proper thing to do - Most likely not though.
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      • Profile picture of the author DomainAgents
        Originally Posted by kk075 View Post

        Hey Phil-

        For someone that's not actively watching for opportunities, you sure did find your company mention here in a hurry. I know WF indexes fast, but a personalized reply in less than 20 hours makes me think you either have some killer reputation monitoring software, or that Domain Agents is using some serious proprietary tools to do exactly what the OP suggested.

        Just an observation though.
        Nothing special, just Google alerts.
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    • Profile picture of the author mquest
      This is October 2015 and an obscure domain name I searched for and found available yesterday on namecheap (a plural version) is now unavailable and I'm asked to make an offer.

      If namecheap isn't doing this, then somewhere up stream is someone else poaching the information. Either way, I don't feel like it's safe to look via namecheap any more.

      The one place I've found that seems to be safe is bluehost.

      Dave
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  • Profile picture of the author Janice Sperry
    @DomainAgents

    That is nice you cleared up what YOUR company does and does not do. I believe that some domain registrars are still snatching up domain names or somehow reserving them if you don't buy it right away. It is easy to check. I did this maybe a year or so ago at two different "respectable" big name registrars.

    I went to each site and searched for something like avkuofo257qaeowihnnflaweinn.com which of course was available. I went back a couple of hours later and it was no longer available. I used different names but the same thing happened at both sites.
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  • Profile picture of the author DIABL0
    If your concerned over this, you could use internic/verisign whois to see if domains are available.
    I have a program and I enter in a bunch of domains and it returns which are registered and which aren't. I've never once had such happen and I search for domains quite a bit.
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  • Profile picture of the author Curtis2011
    People have accused domain registrars of doing this for years. It probably does happen.
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  • Profile picture of the author velvet
    Hi ncloud,
    this has certainly happened to me in the past, but not so more recently.

    I now use this software tool which allows you to build your domain name ideas with three keyword boxes.

    It then searches them and returns which are registered and which aren't as said in the posts above.

    https://brainstorm.domains/domain-name-analyzer/

    Not sure of course if it is subject to the process outlined above, but I have not had problems with it that I can recall.

    I then go to http://www.mydomain.com/ and register them when I am good and ready.

    Worth a try anyway.

    cheers, Mal.
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  • Profile picture of the author GforceSage
    Never search for name availability on the website of domain registrars unless you are prepared to buy it on the spot. Make sure your computer is clean and just enter the name in the address bar and see what happens.

    It is easy for any site to see what is being referenced in their search box and then go, "Ah Hah, that's a good one, lets claim it if the searcher does not buy it now."

    It's like standing in line at the bakery with a few people in front of you and you noticed from the side of the bakery case, as you walked in, that there was one Pecan Roll left that fell over on it's side and is being blocked by the muffins. You speak out loud and say, " I hope no one takes that hidden Pecan Roll in the back of the case behind the muffins." Instead of just staying quiet and buying it, you also went outside to your car after you spoke and asked your friend if they wanted the last Pecan Roll. Then you return for it after being out of view for a few moments... You have reduced the chance of that Pecan Roll being there for you when it's your turn to order.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      Never search for name availability on the website of domain registrars unless you are prepared to buy it on the spot.
      Do that and you will avoid the problem. It's something none of us know when we start out - it's something we learn the hard way. It's something companies say "we don't do" - but we know it is done by someone or other.

      Once you know how it works - you avoid having it happen to you. Problem solved.
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      Saving one dog will not change the world - but the world will change forever for that one dog.

      I wish offended people would react like fainting goats and quietly tip over.
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  • Profile picture of the author Path Theory
    I can't speak for other registrars, but I've never had it happen with namecheap. Right now, I have 1137 domains in my namecheap account, most of which were planned and searched for prior to purchasing.
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  • Profile picture of the author fred67
    Never check for a domain name in any of the 'Search' facilities, it'll get nabbed every time.

    If you have a good idea for a domain name simply type it into Google and see if anyone's got it.
    Not always correct, but most of the time it is. Then don't go scouting for the cheapest, most mainstream - GoDaddy etc are similar prices, penny-pinching will kick you in the Butt every time :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author mylo1
    Yup had this happen to me too.. it sucks
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  • Profile picture of the author affiliater84
    I think they do but I didnt experience with them. But I faced this kind of issues with godaddy.
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  • Profile picture of the author Affiliatebuddy
    i check domains all the time with instantdomainsearch.com and never faced such problem.. however i am hearing such issues for last one decade.
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