Don’t let this end up costing you money. A domain, otherwise known as a URL, is the web address where people find you on the internet. When searching for that perfect domain name for your amazing website, there is one major thing to avoid: googling it.
But, how else are you supposed to find one?
Google is a search engine, so just “search” to see if it isn’t in use yet, right?
The problem with googling a domain is that there are cruddy people in the world who want to take advantage of you, and this gives them the opportunity to do so. Don’t let them.
I could get super technical, but this is basically what happens when you search for a domain through your browser…
When you google or search for a domain directly in your browser and it doesn’t exist yet, you’ll trigger a Non-eXistent Domain (NXD) data response from the Domain Name Search (DNS). The DNS is a computer server that holds public IP addresses and hostnames and tells the asking computer (your device) that the domain doesn’t yet exist.
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are companies you pay to provide you access to the internet, such as AT&T, Spectrum or Verizon. These ISPs sell logs of consumer internet activity to research companies. The research companies then extract the NXD data and sell it to another party. This party then does what is referred to as domain name front running (DNFR). DNFR is when one of these companies takes the domain you googled and registers it before you can. So, when it comes time for you to purchase that perfect domain name that you thought was open, they now own it and want to charge you a very, very high price to buy it from them.
Yeah, it’s total BS. I know. *insert eye roll emoji*
So how the heck are you supposed to find a domain?
It’s super easy. You are still going to search for your domain, but you are going to do it through a trusted domain registrar. Personally, I use Enom Central. It’s a secure company and much smaller than more popular and widely known options. I don’t use the major ones because not only are they huge companies, but some have been accused of Domain Front Running in the past. And, although most deny those accusations, I like to play it safe and stay away from (even alleged) evil empires.
So, don’t google the domain you want and everything will be all right in the world.