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|Domain Name Holding - That's Not Right!|
There ought to be a law
I know this has been discussed before, but I am really fed up with domain registrars who do nothing more than hold domain names for ransom. They hold these names, skewing search engine results, and have no relevant content. Case in point: I have a directory web site which has in its domain name a word that can commonly be spelled two ways: modern and old English. I use to own both, but now only own the modern spelling. I found the “old English” version still floating around in Google – in fact it was the first result on a test inquiry, but had absolutely no content related to the domain name. The page was nothing more than links, the prominent one being THIS DOMAIN FOR SALE. So I inquired and they want 500GBP, nearly 1,000UUSD. GET REAL! I run this directory site as a hobby and make a few bucks through Google ads. Obviously I wanted the old English spelling version for people who still use it. BUT $1,000!
So, I ask, why are there no rules governing this type of activity. I understand “free enterprise” and “capitalism,” but if a domain is registered and used for nothing related to the domain name, then it should not be allowed as there are people who have legitimate use of a name but may not be able to, or want to, spend $1,000 to be able to offer a convenience for visitors. It’s not like I’m Coke or McDonalds.
Old English? I doubt it. If you had the domain, anything written in Old English would get very little traffic, regardless of how common the phrase is. Middle English? Maybe. Still doubtful. King James English? Shakespeare's English? Oh yeah, you mean that Early Modern English. Like Ye Olde Shoppe? Still wrong. But anyway, the domain 'squatting' issue can be compared to 'real estate squatting'.
People had the cash and the foresight. They bought the land and took the risk.
Guess I can say the word is theater. I own theater, am interested in theatre. Whether old, middle, King james, etc., a lot of people still use it especially in England and Canada.
Seems unfair to me also, but its their property. When I was a kid there was a corner lot in town that was very valuable. Some old man had owned it for years.
Every body at one time or the other tried to buy it, but he wouldn't sell it.
He eventually died and his heirs sold it in a New York minute! They made a bundle and he never saw a dime of it. Thats just the way things are some time.
Its capitalism spelled with a big C! KF
Then use that spelling in some inbound links and rank for it. No need to own the domain. Much like color and colour and center and centre. Get some links with the right anchor text and you're good to go.
Never thought of that. Thanks. It helps that I also own about a dozen domains I can do tht on.
Still, though, it's not right. Just my opinion.
[edited by: Marshall at 4:07 am (utc) on June 26, 2007]
I sooo agree but got flamed stupid for starting a thread almost exactly like this. :-)
It really is annoying when it's domain parking. Then again, we all have domains that we keep "for future development". I know I do. I really do have plans for them, and no time at present. I think there's nothing wrong with that, right?
Now, what if I decide to park them in the meantime? Easiest way of making money in the meantime, in theory. Next logical step in this debate, is why should larger companies be discriminated against. So, you see, it's not that simple :(
The only lesson in this is, don't let your important domain names expire ;)
You're exactly right. And people forget that, unlike land, you never own a domain name. You just pay a fee to have the entry in a database for a period of time so that it is convenient for your users to find your site by typing it.
If you're not using the domain name as a way for your users to access your site easily (whether by http, email, etc.) then I think the original poster is right - it should be prohibited by law.
"The only lesson in this is, don't let your important domain names expire ;)"
Letting it expire was unintentional. Circumstances beyond my control prevented me from renewing it, but that's not the issue.
It is one thing having a domain for future development, but it's another to hold it from being used by someone who wants to develop it.
As I also mentioned, the domain name with "theatre" in it showed up as the first result in a Google search, but the content had nothing to do with theater, or theatre if you prefer. So, not only does that say little for search engine algorithms, but it is a disservice to people who are doing a genuine search and who create web sites with pertinent content.
So I guess it’s a combination of two rants: people who hold domains without the intention of developing them and search engines who tout their accuracy and make web builders jump through hoops just to get ranked and, in the mean time, place a useless site as the first result.
Post Script: I re-launched this site at the beginning of June and they wanted on $65US for the domain. I thought then it was too much. Obviously, they are aware of the fact I re-launched the site: $65US to $1,000US in three weeks!? They can sit on it for the rest of their lives.
[edited by: Marshall at 5:20 am (utc) on June 26, 2007]
Well, to stop 'sitting' on a domain would mean there would have to be a minimum standard of development. And it would have to be pretty low (look at some of the real websites out there)...
So the 'squatters' or their registrars would just meet the minimum requirement (run a script or something) and nothing would change.
Maybe they should change the name from ICANN to ICANN'T. But you're right simey, people probably would put up minimum content.
I have a question for anyone who is knowledgeable with Domain Registrars: Do they pay anything for these names while they sit on them since they are a registrar?
|a lot of people still use it especially in England and Canada. |
The word "theatre" is not an "old English" version. It is the current and correct spelling in Britain and in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and all the rest of the English speaking world. Theater is a US corruption that has come to be the accepted spelling there. Sorry, but some of we Brits get annoyed when people in the US try to tell us how to spell English. ;)
|If you're not using the domain name as a way for your users to access your site easily (whether by http, email, etc.) then I think the original poster is right - it should be prohibited by law. |
That would open a real can of worms. Presumably there would then have to be a time limit for someone to put a website on a domain after registration. How do you control that? What if you are busy doing other things and don't get the site completed by the deadline, do you lose the domain? What constitutes an acceptable website? Would a single page do, etc, etc?
|It is one thing having a domain for future development, but it's another to hold it from being used by someone who wants to develop it. |
You mean "possible", "perhaps", "maybe" future development? Personally I don't see the difference. I hold several domain names some of which I perceived to be valuable when I registered them. I thought to myself, "I'll have that and when I get a roundtuit I will put a site up there". Like many others in this situation I haven't found the time to do this so I am guilty as charged, just as you were when you held the domain and did nothing with it.
WRT cost, we are talking basic supply and demand here. If someone owns something that they know is desirable then the Price goes up. I will agree that they are not being realistic and probably only a major company would be willing to pay them what they are asking.
Having said that, I have had people approach me for domain names that I own and offer me £25 or £50 for them. I may have held them for three years or more, handled the admin and paid the registration fees, etc. Am I then going to sell a domain for £25? I don't think so ... I'll just hang on to it until I get a roundtuit.
|Theater is a US corruption that has come to be the accepted spelling there. Sorry, but some of we Brits get annoyed when people in the US try to tell us how to spell English. ;) |
i just checked the spelling on all my favorite music venues in so cal usa.
greek theatre los angeles, the el rey theatre, the roxy theatre, gibson amphitheatre, john anson ford amphitheatre, orpheum theatre, ventura theatre.
i've also subscribed for years to our local canyon theatre guild.
i actually couldn't find or think of a "theater" within 100 miles!
just to stay a bit on topic, none of the above have "theater" in their domains either...
When I go to a theatre/theater and I am anticipating my friend arriving shortly, I may decide to 'bag' the seat next to me so that there will be a seat for him upon arrival and we can watch the play together.
On the other hand, I certainly wouldn't 'bag' the seat next to me and hold it when it became clear my friend wouldn't be arriving on time. It would be rude not to let someone else who arrived on time enjoy the show from a reasonable seat.
ok, here's my 2p.
|Sorry, but some of we Brits get annoyed when people in the US try to tell us how to spell English. ;) |
Thanks for saying that. Also, "centre" and "colour". They're our words, US broke them.
|the domain name with "theatre" in it showed up as the first result in a Google search, but the content had nothing to do with theater, or theatre if you prefer |
Can't they be reported to, and banned from Google for keyword spamming in this instance?
|Presumably there would then have to be a time limit for someone to put a website on a domain after registration |
I'm sure that the company in question would argue that a useless directory of all their other domains they've ICANNapped is useful content.
I saw a thing on the news a while ago, some dude had registered half a million domain names, and just made millions off click traffic.
Same as the £1m website, the one where he was selling off areas of the screen literally 1 pixel at a time? Companies are actually stupid enough to buy a 1 pixel advert! They respond buy saying 'we've had more hits' but I doubt very much they've had more sales.
|You mean "possible", "perhaps", "maybe" future development? Personally I don't see the difference. I hold several domain names some of which I perceived to be valuable when I registered them |
Me also. And in triplicate, when I register a domain for a future personal project, I usually register 3 or 4 similar ones to use as redirects or fake review sites, etc....
|If you're not using the domain name as a way for your users to access your site easily (whether by http, email, etc.) then I think the original poster is right - it should be prohibited by law |
It should be controlled, in the same way keyword spamming will get you kicked off Google.
How about -- when a site goes up, some ICANN bod gets notified, and he checks to see the site is relevant to the domain name. If the domain is not relevant - i.e. spamming for another purpose, they get kicked off the database and someone else can have the name.
[edited by: lawman at 10:46 am (utc) on June 26, 2007]
[edit reason] spelling [/edit]
It would be more in keeping with the original intention behind the domain name system if the site or other use had to be ready before the domain name could be applied for. Put the site up on an IP and let ICANN see that you really do need the domain name first. I remember when you had to give a good reason for a domain name in your application, a feature which should never have been removed.
Unfortunately, those who sell domains for profit look upon them as property they own rather than just being an entry in a public domain database for a period of time. It makes it hard to see the side of the argument which is pro-public.
That idea's ok in theory, but what if a hosting company (such as myself) hosts domain names from a pool of just a few IP's?
For the differences in English spelling, we mainly have President Theodore Roosevelt to thank (blame). In 1906 he issued an executive order directing the Government Printing Office to simplify the spelling of 300 English words. Over half of these "reformed spellings" took hold. See [johnreilly.info ]
Domain squatting is a standard, criminal form of extortion. The very essence of the American neo-con form of capitalism that evolved in the days of prohibition. Yes there is a procedure for getting domain names back, its called ICANN and its inaccessible for small businesses and individuals - no surprises there, competition just isn't profitable.
>>Also, "centre" and "colour". They're our words, US broke them.
Oh they are not YOUR words. You borrowed centre from Old French, which was learned borrowing from the Latin centrum, which came from the Greek kentron for sharp point. Color came from the Old French colur which was borrowed from the Latin color which came from the Old Latin, colos.
Theatre you say? once again from the Old French, borrowed from Latin, theatrum, taken from the Greek, theatron which was formed from theasthai meaning to behold, formed from the root, thea, which means, 'a view'.
What about tire or tyre? Well, in the 1600s and 1700s both the Standard British and American spellings were tire. In the early 1800s the British adopted tyre as the standard spelling. Where did the word come from? From the word attire. It was borrowed from the Old French.
No words have been stolen, and they sure aren't broken.
"Domain squatting is a standard, criminal form of extortion."
If this isn’t extortion, I don’t know what is.
Out of curiosity, I did lookups on names similar to what I have now. ONE company seems to corner the market and I am shocked that they "own" so many names like mine. They boast "Over 600,000 names for sale." I contacted them about one, again out of curiosity. $2,888.00USD! Yes, it is nothing more than extortion. I responded to their email with two words: "You're crazy!"
Bottom line - this company does not develop webs so it is more than obvious they are doing nothing more than denying legitimate web developers the use of a name.
There is one other thing that has crossed my mind and maybe someone knows the answer- is it possible that when a person does a search on a domain name and does not buy it right away, that search is recorded by someone or company which gives them a “heads up” to purchase it? Food for thought. Then again, maybe as web developers, we should file a class action suit against company’s like the one I mentioned – 600,00 domains… - on some grounds of anti-trust or as another post had, owning a name in bad faith. Be real – who’s going to develop 600,000 web sites!?
|Oh they are not YOUR words |
Interesting history. Are you sure that "kentron" is right? The meaning doesn't seem to follow.
The Theatre one is good though. But I think from what phranque was saying, the original "theater" in this thread was a typo.
However Latin is Latin. Greek is Greek. We haven't changed it, and still called it Latin.
We have a lot of French in our language, among others, because of the number of times people have tried, and failed, to invade us. Some phrases, "faux pas", "téte á téte", and my favourite, "ménage á trois", I'm sure you'll be familliar with.
I think the point is, some spellings differ, and some meanings too, take "pavement", in the US that's a road I believe. Whoever decided to change the language should have called it American, as the English are no longer responsible for it.
But then again.....can we say "Mayflower".....? ;)
Sorry, Marshall, let me get this straight.
You had both domain names at one time and you had developed and had different sites on them both, right? (Or else you would have been "squatting" one domain name away from one of the other "angry of WebmasterWorld" participants in this thread.)
And then you let one drop, through inattention or incompetence.
And now you want it back but it's owned by someone else. And there ought to be a law to stop this happening.
>>The meaning doesn't seem to follow.
Look at the tip of a spear, point on, the sharp point is in the center.
I agree that language is dynamic. But it seems we all borrow words and spelling variations are just part of the process.
And of course meanings change as well. Take a simple word like 'alarm'. The Italians would give the battle cry, 'All Arme"!. Basically, 'to the weapons'. The French turned that into 'alarme'. By the 1500s the word in English had come to mean both warning and warning device. Hence alarm clock.
|Look at the tip of a spear, point on, the sharp point is in the center. |
I see, it's just a bit vague. You'd have thought Philyra could have come up with a better word to mean the middle.
|But anyway, the domain 'squatting' issue can be compared to 'real estate squatting'. |
People had the cash and the foresight. They bought the land and took the risk.
I also use this analogy but I take it a step further to ask this question........... What does buying a property and putting up billboard ads all over the yard do to the property value? And further more what does it do to the overall value of the neighborhood?
To me if you want to treat it like a real-estate then you should be developing the property not whoring it out. So I would say if someone registers www.example.com and parks ads on it they are hurting it's value.... since example.com is an obvious site for the keyword "example" the owner should be placing good content (even if it is static) that drives up the placement in search engines for the keyword "example"
That way when they go to sell the property they can show how they developed it...in the case of domains... show that it already has good rankings for the domain keyword and has no "ad only site" penalties.... someone who just puts click through ad links is nothing more then a slum lord IMO.
So yes it is wrong if they are just gobbling up domains and parking ads and asking you to pay a hugely inflated rate... not legally but in the scheme of good business practices.... If they develop the domain then I think they are doing you a service and therefor asking you to pay a large markup on what they paid is not only fair but is a valuable service as they were working on ranking your keywords before they were even your keywords.
Okay, maybe I should have used 'land speculation' instead. Buy up the acreage and wait. No need to make improvements to the land, just wait for urban sprawl, or like domains, wait until supply gets scarce, and let the scarcity drive up the price.
|However Latin is Latin. Greek is Greek. We haven't changed it, and still called it Latin. |
The only reason Latin doesn't change is because nobody speaks it any more. It's dead, and is now frozen.
All real, living languages change, morph and evolve endlessly. Tell me, do you still "fardels bear" over there in England? (from Hamlet). Do you find it difficult to choose "betwixt" two alternatives? Do you describe yourself as "gay" when you're feeling happy? Do you visit your "eldfather" on a regular basis?
Old words, old spellings, become obsolete and new ones arise. Languages vary by region, eventually becoming new languages. There's no clear-cut boundary between dialect and language.
But anyway, I digress...
|How about -- when a site goes up, some ICANN bod gets notified, and he checks to see the site is relevant to the domain name. If the domain is not relevant - i.e. spamming for another purpose, they get kicked off the database and someone else can have the name. |
Yeah, that’s just what we need – a bureaucratic organization being the final arbiter of whether a website is relevant or not.
|Domain squatting is a standard, criminal form of extortion. The very essence of the American neo-con form of capitalism that evolved in the days of prohibition. Yes there is a procedure for getting domain names back, its called ICANN and its inaccessible for small businesses and individuals - no surprises there, competition just isn't profitable. |
This isn’t domain squatting though. This is somebody who didn’t pay his bill that 99% of all other domainers in the world manage to pay on time – so he got his domain taken away from him (not unlike getting your car repossessed when you don’t make your payments) and now somebody else owns it fair and square. If it is a TM you might have a point, but otherwise that is the way the world works – you don’t pay, you don’t get.
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