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The very fact that a domain name has been registered creates one form of public notice that someone is asserting a claim of rights to the same, so your thinking about how to interpret an "unused registration" might be a bit backwards.
[edited by: Webwork at 11:54 pm (utc) on July 24, 2006]
I'd guess nine out of ten of us can relate to your problem - but there's no point worrying; find an alternative and move on!
You could make an offer - you'll never know if you don't - or lay a claim via a registrar in case it gets dropped. But many reports suggest that's guaranteed to raise the price out of anyone's reach - despite the $20+ deposit you pay.
[edited by: Webwork at 12:34 pm (utc) on July 26, 2006]
[edit reason] No blog or blog type references please. [/edit] [/edit][/1]
Were you pulling our leg or what?
[edited by: heirJORDAN at 5:37 am (utc) on July 27, 2006]
I'll be forced in to an unreasonable offer or some sort of lame bidding scheme
Well, as they say in this neck of the woods, shy bairns get nowt; if you don't ask, you don't get! I've approached the owners of several domains and made gentle enquiries as to whether they'd be prepared to sell; in a few cases, it's worked out nicely and, in others, they've either declined or expected an unreasonable price for their domain. You'll never know if you don't try!
Also, as has already been pointed out, a domain doesn't have to visibly have something on it, in order for it to be actively used.