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The Domain Name Ambush

Yeah, I know: I been away a long time. Why is complex, but house issues, health, and a surprisingly difficult WIP (not to mention a Caribbean cruise) all conspired to eat March. I’ll have more to say about the health issues once there’s more to say about them. The house is coming along well, and although I’m not in truth feeling a whole lot better (hint: it’s an oxygen issue) some time is at least opening up, hence today’s big story.

I’m working quietly with a number of people on a joint project that I can’t talk about right now. However, I promised the group that I would contribute a domain for it. The project is not new, and my promise was made literally years ago. At the time, I looked at what we all considered the perfect domain–and someone else already owned it. No biggie; it happens all the time. The project itself has been on again and off again, but it seems to have gained a little momentum in recent weeks. Yesterday, almost three years later, I checked for that perfect domain…and it was available. So I grabbed it. I registered it precisely the same way I registered the last couple of domains I registered.

Now, apres domain, le deluge.

I’ve gotten at least thirty emails soliciting site design, logos, PHP programming, shopping carts, artwork, SEO, and other Web folderol. I’ve gotten nine calls to my mobile, same thing. And a text message.

This has never happened before, and I’ve been registering domains since 1995. I’m not sure what’s changed. However, I noticed after only a little inspection that most (and possibly all) of the solicitations are from India. (As with most spam, a lot of them are cagey about where they actually are.) Every single person who left voicemail sounded Indian, and several were quite honest about their locations.

So what’s going on here? Has the same thing happened to any of you? My first guess is that some sort of scraper service is offering lists of recent domain name registrants to Indian Web shops. Maybe the Indians have made Web dev a big priority in the three or four years since I last registered a domain. I don’t know. In truth, I don’t care that much, except perhaps for the calls to my mobile. That’s supposed to be illegal, but if they’re in India, it would be hard to sue them for breaking a US law.

As I said, the spam doesn’t bother me, and I don’t generally answer calls from numbers I don’t recognize. I suspect that after a few days, they’ll move on to more recent registrations and get out of my hair. We’ll see.

Now I have to get back to that Odd Lots I’ve owed you guys since February. Tomorrow fersure.


  1. Lee Hart says:

    I had it happen to me a year ago when I simply moved my domain from one webhost to another. I got deluged with ads for a month or so. I didn’t bother to track where they seemed to be coming from; they don’t get more than 1 second of my time (delete).

    Another odd thing I’m still fighting: I get complaints from people in various foreign countries that they can’t access my web pages. I call my webhost, they say “Oops, I’ll take care of it”. That country comes back; but then others disappear.

    It’s a problem because people that can’t see my website also don’t get my contact info; so they can’t TELL me that it’s not working.

  2. TRX says:

    A few years ago I checked a list of potential domain names using the lookup function at a large provider. A week later I went back to buy one, and it had been registered by someone else, but they’d sell it for only $350. Same for every other name I’d checked on. Gee whiz, imagine that…

    I figured the provider was running a simple script, registering the domain themselves if someone did an enquiry without immediate purchase. After all, it costs *them* nothing.

    1. I’ve read that this is an issue with some providers, which is why I never check on a domain I’m interested in if I’m not ready to register it on the spot.

  3. TRX says:

    > oxygen issue

    If it’s sleep apnea say something here or email me; I’ve been dealing with it for fifteen years now.

    1. It is, and yes, I’d like to pick your brain about it. Email me phone contact information and we’ll use voice (everybody remember that?) instead of all this tedious typing.

  4. TRX says:

    I used the same email address that worked when we were talking about “Gran Torino.” Did my message make it through the other day?

  5. Jason Young says:

    I have five domains registered through and haven’t had any issues. They’re a little more expensive but have good Mac centric tools and great customer service. They auto-renew each year (about $20 each). Never get any junk mail.

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