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GoDaddy denies weird front-running claim

Kevin Murphy, September 21, 2020, 18:46:54 (UTC), Domain Registrars

GoDaddy has been forced to deny (again) that it engages in front-running after a social media post attracted hundreds of comments.

Front-running is the practice of a registrar monitoring customers’ availability searches then registering the name itself in order to mark it up to a premium price.

No reputable registrar does this any more, if only because it would be reputation suicide.

But a poster on HackerNews claimed to have been exploited in precisely this way,

searched a few days ago for, looked for unique names for simple game didn’t know if I wanted it or not

guess godaddy decided for me: 1 days old Created on 2020-09-16 by, LLC

just a warning if you have a special name do not use godaddy to check if its available

Domains can appear to be front-run due to the law of large numbers. Registrants may think they’re the only one with a unique domain idea, but they’re likely not.

After the HackerNews post attracted hundreds of comments (largely promoting Namecheap as a superior competitor) and a post from Eliot Silver, GoDaddy decided to issue a response.

“These accusations are 100% false. This type of behavior is predatory, unethical, and goes against everything we stand for as a company,” registrar head Paul Bindel posted over the weekend.

Bindel went on to post the results of search queries for “felons” and related terms over a couple of weeks. There weren’t a huge amount.

Complicating the story, he also says that the domain was suspended not long after registration, and will soon be deleted, after it was flagged as a fraudulent registration by a compromised account.

Interestingly, the HackerNews account used to post the original allegation appears to have been created on the same day as the post, which is literally the only thing he or she ever posted on the site.

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Comments (4)

  1. steve brady says:

    From this moment forward anyone who wants to buy a .com for $11.99 will have to think of something quick.

  2. Matthias says:

    Where is the story?

  3. steve brady says:

    How quick? 15 minutes ago I discovered was never before registered. Then I checked Twitter and created the account @ethicsprobe. 5 minutes ago I just purchased for $12.17 at GoDaddy.

    I’m investigating.

  4. steve brady says:

    This is your superior officer.

    I’ve concluded the ethics probe, and found none.

    I cancelled the domain order and the twitter account, it’s not my job to police the web.

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