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Registry Offence

That’s the headline of an item I provided for BackBytes, a blog from Computing magazine. Let me fill in the details…

Choosing the right domain name for your site is one of the important decisions you have to make. But once you have made that choice, should you set about buying all the possible variants? Well, no, it’s an almost bottomless pit. Should you buy some of them? Well, maybe, and each case has to be considered on its merits. If you’re a financial institution it makes sense to buy names that might otherwise be acquired by fraudsters. And I noticed with some amusement that has been registered by the Guardian newspaper, presumably to stop Private Eye doing so.

But on the other hand, it’s perfectly possible to have domain names that are similar but each refer to legitimate web sites. For example, is the website we continue to maintain for the family of writer Julia Darling, whereas is the site of the identically named US-based singer-songwriter. And again we chose for our customer, Alan Mann, who paints trains and boat and planes and much more besides. We couldn’t buy because that belongs to a firm coincidentally in the aviation business and has gone to a US genealogist. These sites have existed alongside each other for many years now without any difficulties arising.

But there are firms out there – Domain Registry of America is a notorious example that I won’t grace with a link – who try to make sales by persuading you to buy variations on your domain name to prevent others from doing so. There’s a particularly nasty scam when somebody rings you up (a client of ours was nearly caught by this) and says they’ve just been approached by a company wanting to register a domain name similar to yours, and saying you have the right to register it (at several times the going rate) providing you do so within the next hour.

Compared to these tactics all that Central Domain Registry of York did was to write to me, on paper, to advise that they’d noticed that was available and suggesting I buy it to avoid somebody else snapping it up. So I visited their site, (again I won’t give them a link) to see what their charges are (£34.50 per year). Just out of interest, I checked whether is available: it is, and if anybody is interested I can get it for you at the knock-down price of £25 all in for two years and still make a fair profit on the deal.

So I wrote to the diary section of Computing magazine, Backbytes, and today they have published it.

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