Can Registrars Buy Domains?
Here’s an interesting question, and I actually don’t know the answer to it. But people have asked me because I did work at Uniregistry which is a registrar. Ad they say, “Do domain registrars track which domain names people look up and perhaps buy it for themselves?”
Well, just so you know, a lot of people think it’s just GoDaddy and maybe four or five other registrars on the planet. Well, the reality is that there are thousands. And a lot of these registrars aren’t really public-facing. A lot of the registrars are for people who might own a lot of domain names – it could be a business – and they’re not really pushing to get new clients. There are those that are public-facing that might target a particular niche or offer particular services on top of being a registrar. And they all have different business models.
“They may not necessarily buy domains, but they don’t have to.”But when people are searching for different keywords at a registrar, they could be letting different partners know of that data. The registrars might not be registering the domains themselves or trying to scoop them at that much of a granular level. But they could be looking at trends where certain keywords are growing in favor while others are going down. And that will help in marketing different names in different places on the site. I mean there are a million different things:
- It could be selling that data back to domain registries. Now, remember, there are a lot of different registries that are selling gTLDs so they will know which domains could be more valuable.
- There’s a company called NameBright. That’s a registrar (I actually use them – I think they’re a great registrar with great prices) that provides how many times somebody visited the WHOIS or looked up the ownership of the domains that you own. So if I own cars.com, one of the columns says the number of times the WHOIS has been searched. That gives me an understanding of how many people are interested in potentially purchasing the domain name, which is a very important statistic. Are they benefiting themselves by selling that data? I don’t know, but it helps the customer.