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Registering a domain name

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Hi, just have a quick question about registering a domain name for a project. Let's say we've come up with a name for our product and we want to get a website started to keep potential visitors informed of our progress, etc. The corresponding domain name goes to a search page and the whois information is private (protected by Moniker Privacy Services). It seems like it's going to expire within a year so I'm guessing the current owner isn't planning to use it. Has anyone found themselves in this situation? Wwhat is my best course of action? I'm assuming I can try to contact the current owner through the company and attempt to strike a deal. If the owner turns out to be a bulk domain registrant that just forwards to search pages and charges a lot when people want to buy the domains, how much can I expect to have to pay? I should mention this is just a small project and we don't know where it will lead. However, having a website is a necessary part of marketing and we'd like to explore the avenues at our disposal. Thanks in advance for any advice.

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Look for contact information and try to purchase the domain. The amount you can expect to pay is completely arbitrary, since it's a private deal. It's a question of how much it's worth to you, and if it's worth more to anyone else.

Alternately, go ahead and find another domain name. For example, if your organization/team has a name, get <team_name>.com, and track the project at <team_name>.com/products/<project_name>, or something like that.

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Yes, the amount they ask for can be anything, however there are some people that are effectively in this type of "domain reselling" business and judging by the number of arbitrary web sites out there I was hoping someone might have had a personal experience and they could say "Yeah, they asked for $x dollars."

We do have a group site but there's something about marketing a product from its own. I'm probably being shallow, but then again, our consumers will certainly be.

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Original post by Kipple
Yes, the amount they ask for can be anything, however there are some people that are effectively in this type of "domain reselling" business and judging by the number of arbitrary web sites out there I was hoping someone might have had a personal experience and they could say "Yeah, they asked for $x dollars."

We do have a group site but there's something about marketing a product from its own. I'm probably being shallow, but then again, our consumers will certainly be.


In the time it took you to make this original post and to post this reply, you could have contacted the current domain owner and found out what they are asking.

You know or should know that you can buy domains for a few bucks each year ($5-10 depending on the TLD, where you buy, and number of years). It is a trivial matter to ask yourself if the money they want is reasonable, or if you are better off picking some other name.


Just email the people and get it over with.

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Well, as I previously said the whois information is private so I have to try to go through the company they used. The e-mail that's listed is invalid. I was just checking if anyone here has previous experience with this type of situation and if there's anything I should watch out for (scams, hidden fees like transfer fees, and so on).


Thanks for the input!

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Explaining my domain-cybersquatters situation would consume too much effort...

According to legal professionals on LinkedIn, I'll just say that you have a lot of options where obtaining or recovering domain names from cybersquatters is concerned. Unfortunately, the most effective way to obtain or recover domain names from cybersquatters is litigation, and litigation is expensive.
  • Don't concern yourself with the reported expiration date. Most cybersquatters have their registrars automatically renew their domains on that date. If the domain is not renewed by that date, however, the domain will enter the Redemption Period, which can last up to 30 days. If the sponsoring registrar fails to restore the domain, which is not the same as the registrant renewing the domain, the domain will be deleted from the registry and made available to the public.

  • If the domain is made available to the public and the domain has had some degree of publicity, the domain will likely be immediately registered by cybersquatters.

  • If you can afford litigation, concern yourself with Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy. If you can prove that the current registrant is using the domain in bad faith, you can obtain or recover the domain.

  • On LinkedIn Answers, attorney Doug Lytle at Duckor Spradling Metzger & Wynne says, "California state law has an anti-cybersquatting statute specific to personal names at Business and Professions Code section 17525 et seq. If the company that registered it [after you] is foreign, however, jurisdictional issues can be a hurdle and add to the expense." If your domain uses a personal name, check local/state law for a similar statute.
If the domain you desire is not worth the effort, select a different name or a different domain name. If you don't want to select a new name for the project, you can actually turn the situation into a positive by registering a catchphrase, a character name, etc., as the domain name, and adapt your marketing/community strategy as appropriate.

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Thanks for the info, Morgan. Are you suggesting that I should not even bother trying to contact the domain owner to inquire about purchasing the domain name?

I do think that we have a good project name and one that is easily marketable. I am also concerned that, if we proceed with this name but use another domain instead, the cybersquatter may gain more leverage for his position.

Perhaps I am oversimplifying things. At this moment no one is familiar with the name so I am hoping this would be the best time to attempt a deal - and your post seems to make a similar point.

[Edited by - Kipple on October 15, 2007 8:13:37 AM]

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Original post by Kipple
I am also concerned that, if we proceed with this name but use another domain instead, the cybersquatter may gain more leverage for his position.

Yes. If your game is successful, it's a win-win for both you and the cybersquatter.
But that's a big IF.
If you believe your product will be that successful then you should buy the domain, if you can afford it.
That's two more big ifs.
You could also just buy the domain with some other extension, like .TV or .BIZ or something.

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Quote:
Original post by Kipple
Thanks for the info, Morgan. Are you suggesting that I should not even bother trying to contact the domain owner to inquire about purchasing the domain name?

I think you're missing my point.

If the registrant is not a cybersquatter, contact the registrant and discuss your desire to acquire the domain name. Sometimes you might encounter a registrant who initially refuses to give up or sell the domain because holding onto that domain has become tradition for them. Make an offer anyway and negotiate.

If the registrant is a cybersquatter—they can be identified by pages such as this and this—then you can pursue litigation (expensive) or you can purchase the domain (potentially more expensive). I wanted to register heretic.com for my company, but the registrant, located in the Cayman Islands, wanted US$10,000 back in 2002. Cybersquatters are merciless in their pricing. I think of them as cyberterrorists because what they're essentially doing is holding domains for ransom, an action that violates UDRP. Their ransom has no maximum limit. But you could get lucky.

If you don't have the money for litigation or to pay the ransom, what other option do you have than to select a new name or domain name?

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At first you should be sure that your desired domainname is not protected by any laws/trademarks.

Just imagine the current domainholder got a trademark and forgot to renew his domain. You think you are lucky, register the domain in some weeks and then have to pay a fine because you are "cybersquatting" and are loosing the domain too.


[u]How much is it worth?[/u]
This is nearly impossible to tell without knowing the domainname.

Nevertheless there are some important things that gives value to a domain.
- short, generic names -> leading to more typeIns and/or easier marketing
- old traffic (backlinks to the site, or a big enough userbase who have still bookmarked the page.

Just with a little value the domains will be re-registered by domain-snap-services just seconds after they "dropped".


So the best option would be to make an offer to the current holder of the domain. (Try to get any contact person/e-mail etc.)


If the domain doesnt have any real direct value for the domainholder the usual price will be between $50 and $500. (All depents on negotiation and the position of both).

Do you need to buy it? Does the other one need it for something else? Is there someone else interested in the domain? etc.


just my 2cents

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