If you are thinking about registering a new domain name, do not try it out first

1.by entering it as a search term in Google or any other search engine

2.by keying in the URL window of a browser to see if it is being used

3. by entering it into any WHOIS search page, even with a registrar you think you can trust.

Also do not send your possible domain name in an e-mail or instant message or in plain text in any form on the Internet.

A nefarious practice, called “domain name front running,” occurs when someone finds out your desired name and either registers it themselves or locks it before you can register it.

Some of these companies will then try to sell your desired domain name back to you for an outrageous sum ($30,000 was reported in one case) while others will require that you register the domain name in a specific way (if you refuse, then your desired domain name will go to another company which will simply repeat the process). Some of these companies are seemingly legitimate domain name registrars who we are not naming to protect the guilty and to avoid being sued.

The solution

Test the availability of your domain name only in the process of registering it with a registrar you have chosen carefully. If your domain name is available, finalize the registration immediately so that you have control over it. If you have multiple possible domain names and can’t choose one, register them all and then decide later which one you want. The cost of the extra registrations is a fraction of the cost of dealing with the scammers.