Bill Hartzer

Did Microsoft Just Buy Vericen.com, a Typo Domain of Verizon?

Did Microsoft just register a domain name that is a typo (a typo domain) of Verizon? I know this might be a stretch, but I am really curious about one of the domain names that was just registered, and was set up on Microsoft’s name servers:

vericen.com

Well, most likely it was NOT Microsoft that registered this domain name. Here’s why.

First off, take a look at the whois record:

Domain Name: VERICEN.COM
Registry Domain ID: 1853664725_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN
Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.gkg.net
Registrar URL: http://www.gkg.net
Updated Date: 2014-04-07T00:06:28.0Z
Creation Date: 2014-04-07T00:06:28.0Z
Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2015-04-07T00:06:28.0Z
Registrar: GKG.NET, INC.
Registrar IANA ID: 93
Registrar Abuse Contact Email:
Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: +1.8776951790
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited
Registry Registrant ID: GKG-C0000352F5
Registrant Name: Domains Manager
Registrant Organization: Vericen Group LLC
Registrant Street: 1101 Pennsylvania Avenue
Registrant Street: 7th Floor
Registrant City: Washington
Registrant State/Province: DC
Registrant Postal Code: 20004
Registrant Country: US
Registrant Phone: +1.2027564510
Registrant Email:
Name Server: NS1.MSFT.NET
Name Server: NS2.MSFT.NET

When Microsoft registers a domain name, they will use MarkMonitor, and not some other company name. However, this is sort of curious, as it is registered to a company named “Vericen Group, LLC”. The address, though, 1101 Pennsylvania Avenue, 7th Floor, Washington DC 20004, is a Regus office, and not Microsoft’s address.

This is, though, maybe a classic example of a “typo” or “typo domain”. You see, when you search for “Vericen” or “Vericen Group”, you come up with Verizon or “Verizon Group” in Google, which clearly is very similar to Verizon. In fact, I personally would call it confusingly similar. But that’s up to Verizon to decide and take care of (if they wish to protect their trademark on Verizon):

What’s interesting, though, is the fact that when you go to Vericen.com in a web browser, it resolves to a search results page on Bing.com, which is the exact same behavior when Microsoft registers new domains: they point them to the Bing.com search results. This behavior makes me very curious about this particular domain name registration. What I haven’t tested, though, is that if ANY domain name is pointed to ns1.msft.net and ns2.msft.net the domain will resolve with Bing.com search results. Seems to me that Microsoft would have to set the domain name up on their server(s) in order for it to resolve properly. This is why there’s a possibility that Vericen.com could be owned by Microsoft, and a shell company was set up for this.

Verkey.com was also registered at the same time, and also resolves to a Bing.com search result. The domain is registered also to a Regus office in Sydney Australia:

Domain Name: VERKEY.COM
Registry Domain ID: 1853633931_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN
Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.gkg.net
Registrar URL: http://www.gkg.net
Updated Date: 2014-04-06T15:54:16.0Z
Creation Date: 2014-04-06T15:54:16.0Z
Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2015-04-06T15:54:16.0Z
Registrar: GKG.NET, INC.
Registrar IANA ID: 93
Registrar Abuse Contact Email:
Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: +1.8776951790
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited
Registry Registrant ID: GKG-C0000352F3
Registrant Name: Jason Warne
Registrant Organization: Verkey Australia Pty Ltd
Registrant Street: Level 13, Citigroup
Registrant Street: 2 Park Street
Registrant City: Sydney
Registrant State/Province: NSW
Registrant Postal Code: 2000
Registrant Country: AU
Registrant Phone: +61.0290047005

From what I can tell, there is no connection between Vericen Group and Verkey Australia Pty Ltd, just the fact that these domains are pointing to Microsoft’s name servers. I’m curious, though, as to whether or not a domain simply pointed to ns1.msft.net and ns2.msft.net will resolve. Maybe I need to test it?

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