Not New News!
Around 1999 I was in the tiny office of what is now a major UK domain registration company. The domain searches from the website flashed up. Interesting ones were registered.
Ahem, <legals>Of course I'm sure they must have been to protect the customer's interest</legals>.
BTW it was a little company then. When a domain was purchased the CC number went on a paper slip through an old CC sliding thingy ... Cutting edge is what happened if you put your fingers in the wrong place.