I was following the “Amazon Phone” story for likely different reasons than most… you learn things by watching and researching! I was watching how they played the domain strategy for the new Fire Phone! Could the “name of the phone” been discovered earlier? Features? How are they “hiding” what they are doing? Services used?
The simple answer is yes, from leaks of information internally, manufactures etc. the news did come out early but many features were revealed when Amazon announced the phone. Could you tell by domain registrations earlier? Yep!
My first discovery via domains was June 5, 2014 and it included 64 domain registrations related to a “phone”. At this point, the public was aware of an upcoming product launch, it wasn’t announced it was a “phone”.
May 9, 2013 would have been a true tipping point into the fact that Amazon was up to something! Why May 9, 2013? Amazon registered a bunch of domains, secretly. Secretly? Well they used whois protection and they also used a domain name registrar they “normally do not use”.
Amazon, along with many other large companies have the service MarkMonitor handle domains for them. This often includes buying existing domains, new registrations and much more.
On May 9, 2013 Amazon dropped its first clue with registering a fair amount of domain names at GoDaddy! They used “Domains By Proxy”, which is there whois privacy service. I am not sure the exact number of domains they registered and it doesn’t really matter. The fact is, Amazon likely had MarkMonitor, or it’s legal council register the domain names on May 9, 2013 at GoDaddy.
As you could see, a lot of information was provided in the early domain registrations. The Fire name was displayed. The 3D term was used.
On May 10, 2014 Fire-Phone.com was registered. This domain was actually registered before, but went PendingDelete and was grabbed on the drop.
June 4, 2014 AmazonPrimePhone.com and AmazonCellularPhone.com were registered.
FireSmartphone.com was registered on May 9, 2013 by “Richard Law Group” according to whois records and did not have privacy on it. Richard Law Group is a domain law firm and likely is used by Amazon.
Flagship domain? FirePhone.com was registered on Christmas Day, 2005… not by Amazon. The last that I could tell, the domain was parked using SedoParking.com name servers. This leads me to believe (educated guess) that FirePhone.com was likely purchased from the past owner between May 9, 2014 and June 18, 2014. It would be hard to guess the price paid, if it was purchased. Legal could have been used, but I am unaware if it was.
AmazonFirePhone.com is also in Amazon control, but was not before. This domain was on Moniker servers. This one is more likely legal could have been involved to obtain.
Amazon uses a redirect with the FirePhone.com domain name to the products main page on Amazon.com.
Amazon has since registered A LOT (likely several hundred) domains for protection reasons relating to the Fire Phone, accessories, reviews, contracts etc.
Did you notice all the Kindle domain registrations that also relate to many of the Fire Phones features….? I haven’t heard anything about a new Kindle with the same features as the phone, but again… the domains registered may clearly be a tip in that direction as to what Amazon is working on!