A domain investor friend of mine forwarded me an email he received from Network Solutions today, with the following message:
Subject: The Domain You Searched For Is Still Available: On Sale Now!
xxxxxxxxxxxxxx.net Buy Now for ONLY $19 >>
Available as of 11/09/2009
Domain names are how people find you online, how you express yourself through email or your website, and it’s what customers think of when trying to find you. Register yours today while it’s still available!
nsWebAddressâ„¢ packages include your domain name registration plus:”
I always assumed that domain registrars and companies used Whois lookup data for internal purposes, but I didn’t think a company would use it for marketing purposes. My friend doesn’t believe he did the look up from within an account at Network Solutions, so he was even more surprised that his search was emailed to him.
I know that companies monitor searches and other research, and I’ve warned people to be cautious when doing research, but it just seems a bit over the top when a company sends an email like this. It’s almost like, “don’t mind us looking over your shoulder, but you can buy that name you looked up the other day just in case you didn’t realize.“
Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think this is right. I would really like to know how they got the person’s email address, but I can only assume they tracked his IP address to an account there. Personally, I use DomainTools for Whois lookups.