Saturday, November 25, 2006

Registering An Address For An Externally Published Blog? Be Careful!

When you register an address for a Blog*Spot blog, it's a pretty simple process. Setup a new blog, give it a Title, and a URL. The URL will be something like xxxxxxxx.blogspot.com, where "xxxxxxxx" must be unique. There is only one way to check for availability of any "xxxxxxxx", and only one way to register your choice for "xxxxxxxx", and make it unavailable for someone else.
  1. Enter the blog Title.
  2. Select an available URL.
  3. Select a template.
  4. Add a post to the new blog.
  5. Publish the new blog (this step only necessary for a Classic blog).


When you publish your blog externally, it's a bit more complicated.
  1. Hire a service to host the blog / web site.
  2. Register your URL.
  3. Hire a service to provide you a directory (DNS) entry.
You may hire a package deal, where all 3 components are provided by the same service, maybe even your ISP. You may get all 3 components for free, ie no actual hiring involved. But you will have to spend some time on step 2, choosing and registering the URL.

Now, choosing the URL for an externally hosted blog / web site is not as simple as choosing a Blog*Spot URL. You will register the URL with the company that actually provides the registration service. There are, unfortunately, multiple companies that provide the service, and no one company has a master list of allocated URLs. So you can only tell them what you prefer, based upon what's available at the time. If the registrar verifies your choice as available, they register it in your name and you now own the URL of your choice.

So the folks experienced in registering URLs use a lossy process. They find several possibilities, then have their registrar register one of the choices, usually in a list sequenced by preference. And here's where the problem starts.

If you see a possible URL, based upon your listing what's available at any time, there's no guarantee that the same URL will be available an hour later, or even 5 minutes later. There are multiple registrars (as I indicated above), and at any time, other folks like you could be choosing the same URL. This is a much more common situation when you are choosing a URL based upon current trends. If you think it's trendy, you probably aren't the only one.

But that's not the only problem here. Besides other people like you, you may have to compete with an automated domain squatting process that observes your research, sees what names you check for availability, and registers those names for itself. If you decide 5 minutes, or an hour, later to register a specific URL, you may find that it's not available. At least, not available for the normal registration fee of $10. Try $1,500 - payable to Domibot (or any of several different names that they operate under).

I hope that you haven't read this far, and are now wondering what I'm smoking. I'm perfectly serious - and you can read about this further, if you like. Here, too, we have a discussion where this problem was discovered. And, if you're wondering
Just how much money can Domibot make, anyway?
you may want to read Bob Parsons (GoDaddy) The add/drop scheme... where the scam is discussed in detail, and in dollar value.

So, if you're planning to register a URL, and are looking for a good one, that's descriptive and unique, be aware of the possibilities. If you read the discussion (and be warned - it's a pretty long one), you'll find that no one really knows how Domibot operates. There are 3 ways to deal with them.
  • If you find an available URL that looks good to you, register it on the spot.
  • If you later find that your choice is available for $1,500, pay the fee.
  • Wait until the URL is again available, either 5 or 10 days later.
Read the linked articles, if you think I'm dreaming. I'm not.

3 comments:

Dirty Butter said...

Fascinating!

Chuck said...

I've always maintained that truth is more interesting than any fiction.

Dirty Butter said...

I guess that means I didn't pick out a good name for my domain, as I didn't have to pay any premium for it ;( . Or maybe I just got lucky and I beat the bots to it LOL!!!