Namecheap blocks domain registration from “coronavirus”

In an email to customers on Wednesday, Namecheap said it is actively blocking domain registrations that include certain words related to the current pandemic, including “coronavirus”, “covid” and “vaccine”.

Words blocked in domain search tool, Namecheap CEO says, preventing URL strings containing them from being purchased online, company emailed users of its registration tool .

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A quick search of Namecheap’s site turned up some URL options using the word “coronavirus,” including coronavirus.world, priced at $97,000. The covidvaccine.dev URL was also available for $12.88 per year, and covid19cure.vip could be picked up for the bargain price of $3.99.

Namecheap is working with authorities to remove fraudulent websites associated with the pandemic

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However, clicking to add the URLs to a shopping cart to check out brings up a window stating that “the domain contains restricted phrases and cannot be auto-registered”.

Namecheap is just a domain registrar that people can use to locate the URLs they want to buy – the name of a site which is usually followed by a .com or .org. The process is extremely simple: you enter the word, or more likely a string of words, into a search engine to find what’s still available (nothing with .com unless you’re creative) and the price you’ll pay.

There are already sites online delivering content that is not believed to be accurate in regards to the novel coronavirus. In this regard, Namecheap told its users that the company is “actively working with authorities to both prevent and proactively remove any fraudulent or abusive domains or websites related to COVID19,” wrote Namecheap CEO Richard Kirkendall, in his email to clients.

The company has left the door open for people who think they have “legitimate use” to register a URL with words, like coronavirus, related to the current pandemic. In these cases, they asked people to contact the Namecheap support team, who will review the request and then “manually register it for you”, if approved.

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