Just as there are patent trolls, I have learned, thanks to legal marketing consultant Larry Bodine, that there are domain trolls, whose business is registering domain names in which someone has shown an interest, but has not purchased, then offering the names for sale, usually at exorbitant prices. Larry warns that you should not check for the availability of a domain name through sites like www.whois.com, but to use your Web browser or to Google the name to find out if it’s available.
Larry Seltzer, a columnist at www.eWeek.com, wrote about the practice last year, and identified an entity called Chesterton Holdings, which is a domain squatter (a more polite term for domain troll), and described how Chesterton acquired domain names. I also came across an outfit called Internet REIT, which is a very sophisticated domain squatter. According to John Cook, who writes a blog for the online Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Internet REIT has bought up 400,000 domain names. So don’t be surprised if the one you want is among them.