HostGator Parks Domain Names to Make Money off Your Websites

I discovered something pretty sneaky about HostGator web hosting.  Hostgator parks domain names which are using their DNS (domain name system) if you are not using your domains.

What happened the other day was I was trying to create a subdomain for this blog and Singing Dogs to use on Tumblr.  I recently deleted my Facebook account since I want to focus on other social networks, like Tumblr.  The nice thing about Tumblr is that sharing is very quick, fluid, and part of the ecosystem and links are DoFollow.  (Unlike Facecrook run by Mark Fuckerberg.)  To get the maximum SEO (search engine optimization) benefit out of using a Tumblr blog it's best to setup a subdomain.  Lots of startups nowadays host company blogs on subdomains on Tumblr for the SEO benefits and due to the fact content is much more likely to get shared readily.

As I was trying to add a CNAME record to create the subdomain at my domain name registrar, something must have went wrong.  I checked the main domain, AdamYamada.com, and saw this website was being parked.

adam yamada hanff“WTF? HostGator!” is all I could think to myself.  I then thought, “Well, maybe this is just a fluke or something.” Then I checked Singing Dogs and HostGator was parking that domain too!

singing dogs adam yamada hanff

For those that don't know what domain parking is, it is essentially displaying ads on a domain name instead of putting up a blog, forum, or website with content.  The domain owner hopes visitors will click on displayed ads, earning them revenue.  Domain parking is a big industry and something that earns a lot of people good money, but a hosting company shouldn't be doing this in my opinion.  If you are going to route DNS anywhere it should be to at least advertise your web hosting offerings.   Even if you have domain names you are not doing anything with I think domain parking sucks.

If you land on a subdomain that doesn't exsist or you haven't setup, HostGator will display a 404 error page advertising their hosting.  It's just weird they do it on a main domain name since most other hosting companies would at least display an error page to let you know something went wrong, instead of trying to earn money. hostgator park domainsWhat's fucked up about this is the fact that HostGator shouldn't be making money off customer's domains parking them.  When I got on the phone with HostGator support today I was going to tell the service representative off, but it wasn't worth my time.

I am seriously inclined to move backed to Site5 after this domain parking incident.  I've also been having error issues which HostGator blamed on caching but I know that isn't the issue.

Let's not forget the major outage at the Provo, Utah datacenter which took out customer's websites with BlueHost, JustHost, HostMonster, and HostGator.  All companies are owned by Endurance International Group (EIG) which is sort of infamous for buying hosting companies… and then ruining them.  HostGator is starting to become like the all other EIG web hosts, crap!

Q&A with Mohit Aggarwal creator of NameMesh

mohit aggarwalIf you are looking for a complete and one-stop domain generator Mohit Aggarwal, the creator of NameMesh, might have the answer for you.

You see, a lot of domain generators cater to finding brandable domain or a keyword rich domain name.  Typically most web entrepreneurs or startups find themselves using several generators all to accomplish the task of finding a good available domain.  Mohit's aim is to make it easy to find a brandable domains or keyword rich domains in the same place, saving people time and hassle.

Since I was curios about NameMesh and Mohit has been hard at work on his generator I had short Q&A with this web entrepreneur about his latest project.  We discussed how he built and came up with the idea for the domain generator and why he feels it is filling a void in the domain generator market.

Adam Yamada-Hanff: What is your background with domains?

Mohit Aggarwal: I don't have much background with domains. I took the leap of faith in September last year and started my entrepreneurial journey.

AY: Why did you decide to build NameMesh and how do you think it is different from other generators out there?

MA: I read this article which talks about 16 ways of generating names with examples of successful startups. The idea of NameMesh was to take the original domain name you thought and apply all the 16 ways like synonyms, misspellings, portmanteau, prefix, suffix, clever extensions etc. The thing was that I would have been disappointed if I missed some common naming pattern which was available for the domain name idea (keywords) I had but instead settled for less desirable domain name.

Existing domain generators all seem to target one thing or the other like short url, mixing, suffix etc. So I was basically typing the same keywords in multiple sites.

AYH: What code and software did you use to build NameMesh? How does it generate names?

MA: I mainly used Python, Django, [and] PostgreSQL. I used them because I wanted to learn them 😉

Name generation is mostly having algorithms running on words dictionary. Different algos for different things like removing vowels, etc finding substrings, adding prefixes, suffixes list, synonyms, antonyms etc.

AYH: How did you come up with the domain? Did you find NameMesh with a beta version?

MA: Yes, I searched ‘name* tube' but it wasn't available but NameMesh was. Mesh sounded good and meaningful.

AYH: What are you futures plans with NameMesh? When do you think it will be out of beta testing?

MA: I mainly want to focus on marketing NameMesh, mainly because I have seen very good retention rates (> 70%) and a lot of good feedback.

On technical side, I want to make it more ‘intelligent' and ‘dynamic'. Will be launching SSL shortly. I hope I can dedicate more coding time to it in future.

I am planning on removing the beta tag soon as it has been a long time since its launch in October 12, 2013.

AYH: Tell me a little bit about yourself? IT background, location, etc.

MA: I am based in Delhi, India. I have about 3-4 years of experience in product development and have worked with both startups and giants. I quit my job in September 12 after saving some money that can keep me going for about 2-3 years. I love being an entrepreneur and I hope that I can find a way to sustain myself in this time.

AYH: Have any tips for the best way to utilize NameMesh which you have not shared before?

MA: NameMesh Domain Search Tips has some tips on using NameMesh effectively using wildcards.

AYH: How do you keep the domain searches and saved data in accounts private

MA: The domain searches are not stored. There is no search history, mostly because of domain theft and privacy concerns.  The saved data (favorite domains) is stored in our database and requires authentication. The framework (Django) is very mature and widely used.

To enhance the security I am working on SSL version. In fact, its working at – https://namemesh.com. Since, it does slow down things a little bit, I will be making it optional to choose SSL.

END

If you are interested in keeping up with Mohit Aggrawal and NameMesh developments you can follow @NameMesh on Twitter.

Did you enjoy the interview?  Do you have any questions about NameMesh?  If so, leave a comment below.