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Domain Names Forum

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Domain Squatters
What's the latest?
Dorian




msg:3021298
 11:26 am on Jul 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Is there now any law forcing people to either make use of the domains they're sitting on or force them to sell them at their market value?

 

gpmgroup




msg:3022463
 12:07 pm on Jul 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

So these guys who are idly sitting on domains in the hope that they can squeeze some cash out of new businesses are proving to be the scourge of ecommerce.

The same could be said of the real estate / property market. There is no way the cost of property reflects the build cost, most of the money received for the property goes into the previous owners pocket for no added value.

What determines the asking price is what enough people are willing to pay not the cost to deliver.

Some people will be looking to run a business and will see if the cost of acquiring the property amongst other things will be viable for their business. They may have to accept that their business would just not be viable in somewhere like Mayfair.

As domains become more established the banks will lend against the perceived value of domains in the same way they do with property. This will push the prices of domains much much higher as it has done with property prices. If people had to pay cash for property the prices would plummet as many businesses / home owners can only just afford the monthly repayments.

The best way to think of domains is the return you can make from owning a domain. Can you justify the cost for that return? Rather than what current owner is making from you on your purchase. It may be you have to accept that you cannot currently afford to acquire a premier location.

The nature of the domain market favours the flexible buyer rather than the seller as it a very wide and very thin market model.

gpmgroup




msg:3022493
 12:31 pm on Jul 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Its also worth noting that different ccTLDs have very differnet levels of restrictions on domain usage.

It ssems over the last couple of years ccTLDs are tending to less rather than more restrictions.

For example .fr .es .pk and .in have all had the rules around registering domains in their space relaxed.

.au is still more regulated than most but it too has recently been toying with the idea of "On Target PPC ads" being a permitted use of their domains.

[auda.org.au...]

Webwork




msg:3022505
 12:41 pm on Jul 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Very interesting read gpmgroup. I always enjoy reading a policy and procedure document that packs a lot of practical intelligence into a few words. The Auda policy statement does a very nice job of protecting the legitimate interests and concerns of a) consumers; b) trademark holders and celebrities; and, c) domainers. Hats off to Auda, the .au registry and the Aussies. Nicely done. "Here here!"

From [auda.org.au...]


4. DOMAIN NAMES REGISTERED FOR PURPOSE OF DOMAIN MONETISATION

4.1 It is acceptable to register domain names under the close and substantial connection rule for the explicit purpose of domain monetisation within the category “a service that the registrant provides”. The “service” being provided by a domainer is the service of providing users with information and advertising links about the subject matter of the domain name.

4.2 In addition to their obligations under auDA Published Policies and the Registrant Agreement (domain name licence), domainers must comply with the following conditions of use:

a) the content on a monetised website must be related specifically and predominantly to the domain name; and

b) the domain name must not be an entity name, personal name or brand name in existence at the time the domain name was registered.

4.3 The condition in paragraph 4.2a) is intended to ensure that the close and substantial connection between the domainer and the domain name is visible and meaningful to users. If the content of a monetised website does not relate to the domain name in any discernible way, then the domainer is not providing the service described in paragraph 4.1 and the close and substantial connection rule is not satisfied.

4.4 A “reasonableness test” is used to determine whether the content on a monetised website satisfies paragraph 4.2a), ie. would a reasonable person regard the content as related specifically and predominantly to the domain name? For example, a monetised website at www.shoes.com.au would need to contain information and advertising links about shoes and/or shoe manufacturers and suppliers. If the website contained information and advertising links about clothing in general including shoes, then it would not be acceptable under the close and substantial connection rule.

4.5 The condition in paragraph 4.2b) is intended to ensure that domain monetisation is not used as a cover for cybersquatting or other misleading or fraudulent activity.

[edited by: Webwork at 12:45 pm (utc) on July 26, 2006]

Dorian




msg:3022780
 4:10 pm on Jul 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

4.1 It is acceptable to register domain names under the close and substantial connection rule for the explicit purpose of domain monetisation within the category “a service that the registrant provides”. The “service” being provided by a domainer is the service of providing users with information and advertising links about the subject matter of the domain name.

What's that in English?

pageoneresults




msg:3022794
 4:23 pm on Jul 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

What's that in English?

That MFA sites are acceptable.

zpbs1914




msg:3022993
 6:22 pm on Jul 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

I guess I don't see the same things you do Dorian-whenever I've needed a URL, it's typically been an hour or less trying different combinations. BTW, remember per Brett Tambke's suggestions the best URL's are the well branded ones, not necessarily the company name ones, etc. Sorry you are having difficulties, but I agree with the previous poster who mentioned that people buy URL's that they plan to develop but don't get around to it for a while-I'm in that situation and I would hate for a law to tell me I have to give the URL back because I'm not moving as quickly as somone would like me to.

truezeta




msg:3023474
 1:44 am on Jul 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

Exactly! As much as squatters make my blood boil. I too have domains I haven't gotten around to developing yet. So, I guess we all are squatters in our own way.

John Carpenter




msg:3023851
 8:59 am on Jul 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

So these guys who are idly sitting on domains in the hope that they can squeeze some cash out of new businesses are proving to be the scourge of ecommerce.

The same could be said of the real estate / property market.

Actually, no. Domain names are substantially different from real estates. Why? Because every domain name is unique. If somone registered sony.com, sony.org, sony.net, sony.biz, and sony.info, then Sony couldn't use any one-word gTLD domain for their site. In contrast, if someone bought a nice building, which Sony wanted, then Sony could easily get any other building equally good or better (or have it built). This does not hold for domain names.

That's why cyber squatting is not the same as real estate market and why it needs to be eliminated.

Dorian




msg:3023905
 10:03 am on Jul 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

For the record I also have domains I haven't utilised. And if someone came to me and said that domain means something to us it would be exploitative of me to ask what are you prepared to pay for it.

But I want to keep off the moral issue because that's a minefield and probably wouldn't hold much water in law. Mine was always a business issue in that domain squatters are restricting ecommerce by taking away the opportunity for start-up companies to have a domain closely associated with their product or service.

Sure you can get round this and make the most of any domain by branding it well. But why should you need to? There are enough struggles involved in running a business without paying a tax to some opportunist who is adding nothing to industry.

vincevincevince




msg:3023911
 10:14 am on Jul 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

For all those who say that the law would be impossible to implement the answer is very very simple.

Limit the sale price of a domain to $15 US, whatever the domain.

Enforcement? Easy - automatic refund of double the difference. Sure, I'll buy your domain at $115 as I know you're going to have to pay me $200 (plus costs) in due course.

Second offence? You being barred from registering or renewing any domain name and having all your current domain names immediately deleted.

davezan




msg:3023999
 11:35 am on Jul 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

Second offence? You being barred from registering or renewing any domain name and having all your current domain names immediately deleted.

The IP community ain't going to like that. And one can always get around that by using different IP classes, aliases, credit cards, and what have you.

gpmgroup




msg:3024042
 12:10 pm on Jul 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

So these guys who are idly sitting on domains in the hope that they can squeeze some cash out of new businesses are proving to be the scourge of ecommerce.
The same could be said of the real estate / property market.

Actually, no. Domain names are substantially different from real estates. Why? Because every domain name is unique. If somone registered sony.com, sony.org, sony.net, sony.biz, and sony.info, then Sony couldn't use any one-word gTLD domain for their site. In contrast, if someone bought a nice building, which Sony wanted, then Sony could easily get any other building equally good or better (or have it built). This does not hold for domain names.

That's why cyber squatting is not the same as real estate market and why it needs to be eliminated.

The issue is nowhere near as black and white.

If somebody registers sony.com sony.info they are in potentially big trouble
If they are lucky Sony will use UDRP [icann.org...]

If they are unlucky they could be sued under the Anti-Cybersquating Consumer Protection Act wich allows for statutory damages of upto $100,000

This nice exaample explains a lot of the issues/terms
[chillingeffects.org...]

UDRP can be quick this recent case after the cybersquatter tried to sell the OXXO name to the owners of the OXXO chain. [arbiter.wipo.int...]

The cybersquatter was lucky he got off lightly with his only cost being the $1100 he paid to acquire the name.

Sometimes the issue isn't so clear cut like when the Nissan Motor company wanted Nissan.com from Uzi Nissan
[nissan.com...]

What about something more generic like apple?

Should the Apple Computer Company be allowed to use their trademark to get apple.com apple.org apple.net apple.info apple.biz apple.co.uk? What about Fiona Apple, or Apple Furniture manufactures or Apple Funeral Service?

Whatabout something really generic like tourism?
Would you take the domains away tourism.com tourism.net tourism.org tourism.info and tourism.biz and give them to the US tourist Board? Hey what happens if the UN comes along and wants them surely they would have more right than a single country?

Domains are property. As the internet matures risks will decrease (or at least be quantified) hence benchmarks will be established and domains will be increasingly managed and funded in the ways real estate is.

Dorian




msg:3024063
 12:34 pm on Jul 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

Let's keep on track. I wish I hadn't used the term 'squatting' now. This isn't about cybersquatting and typosquatting. They're both (rightly) covered by legislation.

This is about speculation. Sitting on domains which you think will be worth more to someone else than the amount you spent on it.

John Carpenter




msg:3024106
 1:11 pm on Jul 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

If somebody registers sony.com sony.info they are in potentially big trouble
If they are lucky Sony will use UDRP [icann.org...]

You think I didn't know that? The example of sony.com was used to show the substantial difference between domain names and real estates.

[edited by: John_Carpenter at 1:12 pm (utc) on July 27, 2006]

gpmgroup




msg:3024119
 1:18 pm on Jul 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

This is about speculation. Sitting on domains which you think will be worth more to someone else than the amount you spent on it.

The question is how do you identify speculation?

Domains with no nameservers?
Blanks domains?
Holding page
Domains with adverts for sale?
PPC Page?
PPC Page with a domains enquiry link?
The number of domains registered to one entity?

You also need to ask should people be allowed to trade in domains? You can buy most commodities in the world with a view to selling it on at a higher price - Should be people be allowed to trade in copper, wheat or houses too?

gpmgroup




msg:3024138
 1:36 pm on Jul 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

You think I didn't know that? The example of sony.com was used to show the substantial difference between domain names and real estates.

I don't think it does identify the difference between domain names and real estate.

Trademark issues aside, you are choosing a specific property its like choosing "Buckingham Palace" there are other Palaces you may be able to purchase buy but there is only one "Buckingham Palace".

Now the Queen might not want to sell to you especially if you only offer the price of a new apartment.

But....

I know she doesn't use it all the time so perhaps a panel could decide whether it should be transferred away.

kevinpate




msg:3024140
 1:37 pm on Jul 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

a bunch of hyperbole over what is and what is not right, even on the sony example. Sure, if someone nabs all the sony.whatever extension, the electronics folks might have a remedy. However, the elctronics folks don't own that name for all purposes, so do consider another aspect, which shows it's not quite as unique as has been suggested.

Say someone in downstate, i.e. southern, new york in the US wants to build some sites to highlight their own neck of the woods. It would be, at least, equally reasonable for that person to be interested in using sony.tld as it would be to develop some other variation of SOuthernNewYork.tld and I dare say, even preferable.

So yeah, woe unto he or she if they are trying to game a meglacorp like sony, but for an actual site on cool places to play, live, etc. in southern new york, the electronics folks have no greater claim to the name than the proud to be a southern new yorker chap or lass has to the name.

perhaps it is more like real estate than many concede (sometimes even me actually as I do prefer a different analogy to real property.) Going with the property view though, what gets built on a particular piece of 'property' is the decision of the owner. Of course, the owner can also sell off the parcel for someone else to build on, but that would be the owner's choice and decision.

I really just don't see any valid theory that would vest ownership in someone who feels he or she ought to get to build on someone else's property without first paying the market rate for the property, irrespective of whether they desire to construct their business, home, or merely a billboard pointing others to something at a nearby exit.

pageoneresults




msg:3024174
 1:51 pm on Jul 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

Sitting on domains which you think will be worth more to someone else than the amount you spent on it.

Dorian, is someone sitting on a domain that you've wanted? Make them an offer before property value increases again. In short, get it now before its too late. ;)

vincevincevince




msg:3025144
 12:49 am on Jul 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

Sitting on domains which you think will be worth more to someone else than the amount you spent on it.

I think that is the best definition going. People who seek to profit from the sale of a domain name at a price higher than they have paid for it.

And that is why I content my solution of fixing the sale and resale price ceiling at $15 US will solve the problem. If you cannot get more than $15 for a domain then the profit has suddenly dropped out of the industry.

DonMateo




msg:3025470
 8:21 am on Jul 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

If you cannot get more than $15 for a domain then the profit has suddenly dropped out of the industry

Many domain names are bought for an ongoing stream of income from PPC. You're not going to stop that with a $15 sales price.

How would the sale of a domain name with an active website be classified? - the website would arguably be worth more than the domain name. Who's to judge the value of façade put in place to increase the allowed sales price?

Anyway, it would be impossible to enforce a $15 sales price - cash payments could be made for local transfers and it would be too expensive to track/investigate all cross-border transactions to see if they relate in someway to a domain name sale.

When it comes down to it, the only workable solution is to leave things as they are - subject to market forces.

gpmgroup




msg:3025478
 8:28 am on Jul 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

$15 a name....

How do you stop leasing as opposed to selling?

Whould PPC be allowed?

Wouldn't it kill any chance of buying a [good] new name as the bulk would be registered and kept for ever?

Just out of interest why should domains have a restriction on their price: Why not cars, clothes, copper, wheat, diamonds, gold, or houses as well?

topr8




msg:3025511
 9:09 am on Jul 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

... i know most of the proposals for 'punishment' and 'prices' that have been suggested in this thread haven't been thought out and have been said out of frustration! - because they are mostly ludicrous and unworkable for so many reasons it isn't even worth starting to list them.

but imagine the fantasy scenario:

that cool 'unused' name that someone has been wanting is forced back onto the market for only $10 - what makes them think that they'll get it ... have they ever thought there might be many others who also want it?

imho the domain names forum is the most valuable one at WebmasterWorld, there is so much good info about choosing alternative domains here.

vincevincevince




msg:3025850
 2:36 pm on Jul 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

that cool 'unused' name that someone has been wanting is forced back onto the market for only $10

I don't know about others here but I am only suggesting a cap on the sale price, not forcing anyone to sell a domain. PPC is certainly a valid business model. Holding domains for your future use is also fine.

I think the only thing people are objecting to here is people stopping others from registering domains in the hope someone will pay through their nose to get the domain.

Those who say that price capping would not work with private transactions etc. forget that once the domain is transferred the purchaser has every interest in helping to bring a case of unlawful sale in order to get back their money.

For example, if I purchased a domain from you for $1500 I would be only too pleased to report the illegal sale of the domain at over $15 (or whatever the cap is) and I would do all I could to supply evidence of the same so I could get back the bulk of my payment as well as keep the domain.

wmuser




msg:3026088
 4:56 pm on Jul 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

If i took it right then no there is no such a law except cases where they have registered your trademark as a domain name

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