May 09, 2001, 12:36 PM — Thousands of good Web addresses become available every day at about 6:30 a.m. EST. This little secret has spawned its own industry of profitable e-businesses selling e-mail lists of the latest data to hopeful Webmasters who want an easy-to-remember name.
Lee Hodgson, owner of DomainGuidebook.com, a site that tracks Internet domains, says many short names are now being given up by speculators who registered them one year ago at the height of the high-tech bubble. A quirk in the master registry of Web addresses reveals a few days in advance which expiring names are becoming available. (A link to Hodgson's technical explanation of this quirk is given at the end of this explanation.)
Which of these services is the best value? That's a tough question, but the Directory gives special notice to four sites: Daily Expired Domains, DNS Research, Domains Weekly, and Unclaimed Domains. Each offers a daily e-mail listing for about $50 per year. In addition, if you're looking for just one name, Domains Bot sells one-month subscriptions for only $19.95.
Finally, for those who've become totally frustrated with finding a good dot-com name, registering a dot-org name may be acceptable. One official of the Internet's governing body, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), www.icann.org, has opined that dot-org should be restricted in the future for nonprofit corporations only. But Josh Elliott, CEO of Basic Fusion, a company that provides services to Internet registries around the world, says this view is misplaced. Historically, he says, dot-org has been "open to anyone who can't register a dot-com name."
One of the Internet's founding documents, RFC 1591, describes dot-org as a "miscellaneous" domain. This makes it appropriate for individuals and some businesses that can't find a reasonably short dot-com name.
ICANN promised to have new suffixes, such as dot-biz, available by last January. But with that plan currently in disarray, using "name dropping" or a dot-org name may be attractive alternatives for new e-businesses.
Lee Hodgson's Technical Explanation of Expiring Names:
Domain Name Resource Directory's List of 43 Services:
Daily Expired Domains (service is $59.95 indefinitely):