Patent describes system for providing alternatives to already registered domain names.
When you search for a domain name at any major registrar, and the domain isn’t available, the registrar will likely serve up a list of similar domain names that are available for registration. VeriSign just got a patent for part of that process.
U.S. Patent 7,664,831 (pdf) was applied for in 2001, based on a provisional patent application filed in 2000. Here’s the abstract:
A method, system, and computer-readable medium is described that determines alternatives to a specified textual identifier, such as a domain name, by identifying and using words and phrases that are related to the identifier. A variety of types of related words can be used, such as synonyms and translations, and the related words can be determined in a variety of ways. One situation in which alternatives can be generated is after a user has requested to use or acquire an unavailable textual identifier, such as a request to register an already registered domain name, and the determined alternatives can then be presented to the user as possibilities for use or acquisition. When multiple alternatives are presented to the user, they can also be ranked as to relevance and ordered in a variety of ways.
The patent describes a system where synonyms and substituted words help determine available domain name alternatives.
You’ll recognize one of the inventors of the system: Jothan Frakes. Frakes, currently with new gTLD consultancy Minds and Machines, worked for VeriSign at the time the application was filed.