toast0 46 days ago [-]
If you're worried about front running, do

    host -t ns reallycoollname.com
And only if that comes back negative, do a whois. If you're really paranoid, run your own recursive DNS, so your recursive hits the TLD servers itself. TLD servers aren't going to log checks for names they don't have; they've got better things to do; registry whois servers probably aren't going to log either, but whois shows more intent than DNS queries.
phgn 45 days ago [-]
A domain availability check based on DNS seems ideal, but a surprising number of domains actually don't have DNS records, so there are false negatives. For WHOIS I guess the biggest concern is recursive / thin whois servers not operated by the registries.

Unfortunately there is no perfect method. I've had this happen to me before, and am starting to believe it was just coincidence. I think there are too many domain queries globally for someone to look through, so I'd suggest not searching a name too often and you're probably good.

(I'm building a faster domain search based on DNS and WHOIS data)

wmf 46 days ago [-]
Yes, there have been stories about domain front-running for years. You want to use whois from the command line instead of Web sites to look up domains.
godot 46 days ago [-]
Another idea for folks who are either less paranoid or doing lower stakes hobby projects -- I often search for the domain I want but without the TLD. If I wanted "foobar.rocks" I search for "foobar" on my registrar (Hover) and they run a search for "foobar" on all TLDs they support and I can tell if the one I want is available or not. Not 100% fool-proof against front running but it's good enough when I search/buy domains for my low stakes projects.
177tcca 46 days ago [-]
Even the official whois web application for this?
loosetypes 46 days ago [-]
A previous thread, https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24506303, had an interesting response from someone from Namecheap.
path411 45 days ago [-]
Yep, even if I don't end up hosting on namecheap, I always do my searches there
nondeveloper 46 days ago [-]
Same happened to me recently. One day the .com was $12, the next day it was a premium domain available for a cool $2,200. Used Namecheap. Now I use ICANN’s whois search and buy the domain if it’s cheap and there’s a greater than 50% chance I’ll use it.

It would be great if someone wrote a script to query random domains at a dozen registrars to bilk these front-runners into wasting money on worthless domains.

LinuxBender 46 days ago [-]
I suppose one way to test this theory would be to write bots that periodically and randomly query specific names, then see which registrars are bumping the prices for said names. They might exclude server providers from their scoring so the bots should run from home networks and look like real browsers. I bet there are folks here with experience in that area.
privatemonkey 45 days ago [-]
Bunch of years ago, probably 2009, I looked up the domain fables.com. Did a whois for that and similar domains, ..and ... Not taken! Thought about registering it through my regular webhost but decided to spend the evening looking for a host with better server options before registering. Next day I decided to go through my regular webhost just to discover that the domain wasn't available any more. Got contacted a month later by a domain broker that asked for 5-10 000$. The asking price now is 156.000$.
wideareanetwork 46 days ago [-]
It would be fun if someone did some systematic research to try to work out if this is actually happening and which companies are doing it.
happyconcepts 46 days ago [-]
It happens but why do you only point your finger at the registrar?

Perhaps investing in an antivirus or antimalware package would alleviate your problem.

musicale 46 days ago [-]
That has been a common practice for a while afaict.
lmarcos 46 days ago [-]
That's why I use gandi.net.