It came to my attention today, courtesy of this post by Ms_Domainer on Namepros, that someone is impersonating domainers by registering Gmail addresses with their usernames and forum handles.
DomainMagnate originally posted this article (Domain Magnate » Blog Archive » Someone Snatched My Email!), and apparently both well-known and lesser-known domainers have been targeted. The alleged squatter’s motivations are unclear, but could include attempts to sell the names back to their rightful owners (which Google has banned), and sending seemingly “legitimate” emails using other people’s identities and trying to access login information for different accounts.
Out of curiosity, I went and checked, and sure enough, “domainsushi” AND the variant “domain.sushi” at gmail.com have both been registered, and NOT by me. I use my company domain for all my domain-related correspondence, so I really saw no need to have firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are a few things to keep in mind—if you have a common name (“Mike Smith”) or a username that multiple other people (non-domainers) might use, the name’s probably gone, but not because of any wrongdoing. But in the case of Ms_Domainer, tricolorro, or DomainSushi, well—it’s not likely that those are names that others had before. In my case, this blog was launched in July 2010, so to my knowledge, the brand “DomainSushi” never existed before that.
DomainSushi.com as a registered domain, however, has a history that goes back at least as far as 2008, and possibly 5-7 years before that. When I got it, it apparently had lapsed so long that it got recycled in the system and was available as a hand reg. So while it’s possible that that I’m the target of a recent Gmail squatter, it’s remotely possible that the person who owned DomainSushi.com before me, had registered its associated email addresses.
Gmail deactivates addresses that are inactive for a period of 9 months. The only caveat is that they are never made available to the public again, so if someone owned the name you’re after at one point in time, you can never register it.