Domain Name Front Running : What It Is, And How To Avoid It

Domain Name Front Running (DNFR) is one of the most common malpractices that occur with domain names. This is when someone else buys the domain name you are interested in, before you can purchase it.

We cover this topic in depth here, and give you ways to avoid falling victim to tactics like these.

Understanding Domain Name Front Running (DNFR)

The Internet is a very active platform. Millions of domain names are registered in a month, and this is why DNFR is so common.

Most domain registrars deny the existence of DNFR, stating that it is against their policies. Yet, many customers have stated their domain name becoming unavailable before they registered them.

After the front runner registers your name, the reseller will set the domain name up for sale after a few days at a much higher price. Imagine paying $600 for something that was previously available for just $10.

Some Evidence

With technology growing at its blistering pace, the existence of DNFR is highly plausible. Yet there are several debates on whether it even exists. Some registrars have special algorithms to determine whether the domain name you are looking for is valuable. Such technology can be easily used for DNFR.

In 2007, the Policy Vice President of Network Solutions made a public post stating that DNFR exists, and that it is quite common with gTLDs. And over several years, ICANN, the organization that manages all domain registries, has also received several complaints regarding DNFR.

Some Ways To Avoid DNFR

In spite of several claims that DNFR is not real, it is better to remain cautious than suffering unexpected loss. Here are some ways you can avoid DNFR.

  • Don’t Discuss The Domain Name You Want On Public Query Sites: Some people who answer your query about whether the domain name is good, can also register the domain before you. Instead, ask for honest opinions from your friends and/or experienced family members.
  • Find Out If The Domain Is Registered On WHOIS: WHOIS is a database that maintains records of all domains registered on the internet. Don’t use popular registrars to check whether your domain name is taken, because they contain several prying eyes.

Instead, check the WHOIS website to find out whether the domain is available. There is a safer way of doing this with WHOIS, described here.

  • Grab It Immediately: If you see that the name of your choice is up for domain registration, then make sure to grab it quickly to avoid losing it to a front runner.

Shopify has its own domain registration process, with its own domain name generator, that keeps these malpractices at bay. It is advisable that you buy your desired domain name on the Shopify Admin page of your website builder to avoid prying eyes.

This is about everything you can do about domain name front running. Although this practice might still exist, avoiding can indeed be quite simple.

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