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Domain Names Forum

This 34 message thread spans 2 pages: 34 ( [1] 2 > >     
I have the same name as a famous person and own the .com
How do I know what the .com is worth to a musician?

 2:36 pm on Oct 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have owned my own name (.com) for 10 years. About 5 years ago I got an email from a musician who wanted to buy it from me and I never replied.

Now he won best new artist of the year at an awards show on TV and has lots of CD's and every time I go to a store people say "Hey, you have a famous name!"

He uses ".net" as his website. I don't know how to find out what a website is worth to a musician? What kind of broker could I contact to get an appraisal for a website that only has one potential buyer?




 2:45 pm on Oct 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

If you haven't already built a website about you/yourself, your life and your interests then you may well be opening the door to a hostile takeover by seeking the services of a broker.

Let the famous musician come to you, if he/she cares, but if not then just bask in the glow . . and incidental traffic . . of someone else's fame.

Just don't seek to make coin off their fame.


 2:50 pm on Oct 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

Just curious - do you get a significant amount of traffic due to him being famous?


 1:36 pm on Oct 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

then you may well be opening the door to a hostile takeover

Can you provide a reason for saying that? After all, the OP says:

I have owned my own name (.com) for 10 years.

I am aware that there may have been cases in the past where celebrities tried to aquire websites which use their names, through court/legal actions/lawsuits. I don't know how successful they have been in these matters. But hasn't the longevity of ownership (as well as being legitimately the person's [current webmaster's] actual name) been a big factor? I would think that it would be o.k. for the OP to try and find out if the musician is still interested in aquiring the .com name which is definitely more favorable than the .net. If the site right now is just a personal web site which does not have major income I would want to sell it to the musician for a few dimes if possible.


 1:38 pm on Oct 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

By the way, welcome to webmasterworld bran987! And good luck with that.


 1:44 pm on Oct 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

There is also an argument to made that the OP can no longer use the domain that he so righhtly owns, due to the very fame of the musician ruining the OP's own intended use (ie promoting himself. not the musician). So if I were you, I would get back to the musician and just ask for a fair price (...and a link of gratitude in perpetuity?)

My name is also the same as a large company... but the copmpany doesn't seem to care.


 1:54 pm on Oct 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

The biggest problem I see, bran987, is that let's say you sell the website to the musician. Then 4 years from now Sarah Palin chooses you as her running mate for President. Suddenly you are famous and no longer own your own(name).com site! Oh no! What did I do that for! You might ask yourself.. Lol. Then you might have to fight for it back! What are the odds... :-)


 2:20 pm on Oct 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

Can you provide a reason for saying that?

The law deals with fine distinctions sometimes. No mention was made by the OP that he/she developed a website about him/herself. If not, is the domain parked? If parked, has the OP labored to keep the domain free of "specific references to the musician"? Presumably so, but if not - and if the OP were to approach the musician about a purchase - then there may be an issue. It may not be a winner in a WIPO proceeding but the analysis doesn't end there if there is any other evidence of trading off.

So, OP, has the domain been in use as your personal website for some time?

If so, have you attempted in any way to profit by virtue of the "shared name"?

Not sure you want to answer or address such matters in a public forum, as explained in the Domain Forum Charter.


 7:34 pm on Oct 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have never tried to profit from his name or mine. I have used the website in the past to post my resume for employment, and I use it as my personal email address, sometimes for business and sometimes for personal use, i.e. me@me.com

But no.. I don't use it to make money off of my name or anything.. after all.. I'm not famous guys, remember?


 12:53 am on Oct 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

I think you need to be careful here - your namesake can take the domain from you if you try to profit from his name.

I think you should simply put up a simple, boring, and definitely non-commercial site about yourself. On the home page, put a link to the musician's .net site saying "If you are looking for Joe Bloggs the musician, go here (link)".

If the musician is interested and his technical team is awake, they will see the referrers from your site, and that you are showing good faith. They may make you an offer. Even if they don't, your karma is intact. ;)


 1:29 pm on Oct 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

So long as you are using it appropriately - and I'd guess that consistent use of the email address alone would count - and you are not, in any way, taking advantage of the coincidence, then I really don't see that you are in any danger of losing the domain name. (I'm not a lawyer, etc., etc).

As to value, there really is no yardstick; it's all about what it is worth to the other person.

If they are doing big business on the .net site (selling and promotion etc.), then there may be a few thousand in it.

If it's just a sad vanity site, then even vanity won't earn more than a couple of hundred!


 2:22 am on Oct 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

i'm wondering how the following scenario would be considered.
suppose famousperson.com is actually not-so-famous Famous Person's blog, vanity page or whatever, but legitimate content for and/or about nsfFP.
famousperson.com also has contextual advertising on the site.
you do all the right things including the home page linking out to famous Famous Person's famousperson.net home page.
considering the relevant keywords and maybe even a few accidental .com inbound links from authoritative sites, how could you stand a chance to protect yourself from claims of trading on fFP's name.


 2:31 am on Oct 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

I say make an offer for the .net. I wouldn't let someone have my name and be more famous than me.


 4:40 am on Oct 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

famousperson.com also has contextual advertising on the site.

If not-so-famous Famous Person sold it to him, then, he's possibly signed a suicide note.

how could you stand a chance to protect yourself from claims of trading on fFP's name.

My understanding of precedent is that there are generally two aspects to it:

1. the domain name is in use, and that use is legitimate, name-relevant, and unconnected with the challenging person / company

2. the site does not gain directly or indirectly by association with the challenging person / company.

I suspect that in this case, owning the domain name before the famous person was famous would be helpful, but not if #2 was broken in any way.


 6:30 am on Oct 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

Not wishing to douse cold water, but there are other considerations such as TRADEMARK law (also called REGISTERED in other countries, but that means something different in the USA). There is a precedent in trademark law called "in business" which may apply. Famous person may have a trademark or registered mark on their now famous name and may attempt to use that against the previous exisiting *.com name. Not saying this WOULD apply, but is a possibility.

That said, OP, do you WANT to sell it? If so put together an offer and know what YOU want for it. Then sit on it and wait. There's that old adage about opening a can of worms to consider.



 8:33 pm on Oct 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

I think you've got two options. First is bask in the glow and enjoy the geekiness of having a personalized email addresss. Second choice is contact the musician,ask for a fair/reasonable (probably low) offer with the suggestion that they probably need it more than you do. Maybe swap him the .net for the .com+cash. (that's not a profit thing for you, just a 'help someone out' thing).


 1:19 pm on Oct 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

Bear in mind that a musician will often have a record label and (if he/she has any sense) a seperate publisher. In general, the contract between artist and label/publisher gives the label/publisher full rights (and responsibility) to market the name, although often the costs will be taken out of royalties. Therefore, rather than contact the musician, I would contact the label or publisher if you intend to try and sell it.

[edited by: Simsi at 1:20 pm (utc) on Oct. 30, 2008]


 11:42 pm on Nov 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

Thanks guys.

Man, I also own "My name" at Gmail.com and I guess he has chosen to use Gmail as well because I get "Evited" to parties by his friends all the time. I don't know... if I email him on his website to just talk to him about buying it if he would even respond. I don't know if people like that even open their own emails. I wonder if he would remember emailing me 5 years ago.

I wonder if I respond to one of the evites his friends send me by saying, "Hey, I own "myname's" myname.com and you all know he uses ".net". Have him give me a call I'd like to sell him the name!"

What would happen. hmm. You all make me nervous saying he could just take it from me. That's messed up. Sounds unamerican. I can understand if I was trying to hold him up or if it was hindering his life in some way, but he's got a great life going. If he can just take it from me with attornies when I email him then what's the point. I'd rather keep my own damn email address with my own freaking name. I was named it before he was born so I have seniority ;).

Very interesting discussion.


 1:54 am on Nov 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

You all make me nervous saying he could just take it from me

I say don't worry about that at all. The likelyhood of that happening is slim IMO. I really doubt that men in black trenchcoats will show up at your doorstep demanding that you "hand over the domain, or else....", although that does happen in movies.... hmmmm.. :-) . I really don't see them taking any legal action against you unless you are in some way causing them trouble. They would most definitely rather work out a deal with you anyways, rather than spend money on attorneys and such.
I say send the musician an email if you can. Tell him you want 50 grand for the .com domain or else you will tarnish his name forever by stealing babies or something that will get your name on CNN if he wants to get tough about it. (Thats what some would do in the movies... not really advised to put it that way in real life though!) It is highly unlikely that there will be a problem if you approach him in good faith, and kindly ask if he would like to make your day with a very generous offer, after all he already expressed interest once before. If the guy actually gets to read his own e-mails or is advised of your contact, and if he is a 'good guy', he might really enjoy throwing some money at you if he is enjoying great prosperity as you say, and you both get something out of it then.
[disclaimer]I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice, just my opinion.[/disclaimer]


 12:44 pm on Nov 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

You all make me nervous saying he could just take it from me. That's messed up. Sounds unamerican.

If you Google <Kentucky domains> you might revise your opinion on that last part ;)

[edited by: Webwork at 2:32 pm (utc) on Nov. 4, 2008]
[edit reason] Generalizing search query [/edit]


 11:41 pm on Nov 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

If you Google <Kentucky domains>

Completely absolutely unrelated to the issue at hand here in this thread, and you should not have brought that up here at all, although it would be a good topic for a new thread.

Receptional Andy

 11:46 pm on Nov 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

a good topic for a new thread

You mean Kentucky Seeks to Block Online Gambling, For Good [webmasterworld.com]? ;)

IMO it's not totally off-topic, since the case gives some insight into how the courts view the concept of domain names themselves.


 11:48 pm on Nov 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

Receptional Andy...

SOME courts! Not all... yet!

Receptional Andy

 12:07 am on Nov 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

SOME courts! Not all... yet!

The clarification is welcome, although I didn't mean that Kentucky courts had legally defined a domain name - rather, that it seems to me that courts tend to end up comparing domain name names to things they more commonly deal with, and then looking at case law for those things. With strange results sometimes.

WebmasterWorld is a pretty tech-savvy community, so I think it tends to have a different perspective on this than most people ;)


 11:00 am on Nov 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

Completely absolutely unrelated to the issue at hand here in this thread, and you should not have brought that up here at all

As Receptional Andy points out, I think it is very relevant because the precedent that it could set if it comes off will potentially impact on the issue that the OP has and indeed on any domain name owner whose content arguably conflicts with the interests of another.

[edited by: Simsi at 11:01 am (utc) on Nov. 5, 2008]


 5:28 pm on Nov 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

I tend to be paranoid, but I would do as others have suggested, and keep using the domain in a legitimate way, making no attempt to bank on the fame of the singer. If this singer wants to buy your domain, let him approach you. He is not oblivious to you and when it becomes important enough to him to make an offer, he will. You'll probably get more money that way too, I should think.


 2:44 pm on Nov 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

google "Keith Urban" - unless you are of course, Keith Urban.


 3:44 pm on Nov 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

But what was the outcome?

BTW, it's a dreadful site - you cannot see the content below the fold in Chrome or FF, as there's no vertical scroll bar. If I was the musician, I'd have sued because such an awful site would diminish me in the eyes of my web-savvy fans!


 1:15 pm on Nov 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

I don't think it is over yet.


 5:48 pm on Nov 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

The value of the domain name is limited by one simple fact - there are only two people entitled to use it - you as the original owner and the famous guy. You don't have the option to create a bidding war (unless there are multiple famous guys with the same name).

If you decide to sell, I would think a direct approach would be best. Just email the webmaster and say something along the lines of "I don't expect to use the domain name as much in the future as I do now, would you be interested in buying it?"

I would keep it very brief and casual and see if they bite.


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