domain name search: something is not right

strange results when checking available domain names

At a conference back in September, my co-worker Ralph got stopped by a rep at one of those companies whose goal in life is to buy domain names and then sell them for tons of money.  He told the woman he owned  She almost fell down.  He, of course, was kidding.

We all know that this industry is a bit “shady” (while at the same time we all wish we had the foresight to buy when it was first available).  When it comes to companies that sell website domain names, it is a very competitive and lucrative industry.  After all, how much did Go Daddy pay to advertise .co as a top-level domain during the Super Bowl.

Then, a recent experience made me go, hmm (I apologize if you now have CC Music Factory in your head).  So what happened?

I searched a domain name.  It was available.  A few days later I came back to the site.  I searched it again.  It was no longer available.

Well, that happens all the time.  Of course, it does, but the strange thing was that this happened three times in the same month for completely unrelated domain searches.  Well, you might say, you just were looking for something that someone else thought of too.  Sure, it is possible, but three times in the same month?  I can also tell you that these were not super catchy, trendy, or highly searched urls.  In fact, they were really niche and very long tail website domain names.

I don’t have any proof of course but I have been thinking for quite some time that someone is watching.  The reality is, how hard would it be for these sites to monitor searches?  It would be very easy.  But the question is, is it ethical?  In my opinion, no way!  To me, these companies would have a moral obligation to not source their data for their own monetary gain.

website domain names and tapping into search results

Internet marketing consultants search analytical data for the types of keywords that are driving traffic to a website and then use them, in various ways, to bring those searchers into the site.  This is very different than using those keywords to garner domain names that users are likely to purchase.  Especially if you see a user comes back multiple times to check the same website domain name – it is of course more likely they will convert.

I could be totally off here and maybe all of this is just one big coincidence.  So I am curious.  Have you had an experience like this one?  Do you think these domain name search sites are monitoring their results?

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