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Buying a Domain From a Cybersquatter 800

Posted by samzenpus
from the ask-nicely-but-bring-a-big-stick dept.
Nevo writes "A partner and I are in the planning stages of a business. We've decided on a name that we'd like to use but the domain name is already registered. The owner has a single 'search' page up (similar to the one at www.goggle.com)... clearly not a legitimate business interest, but since we don't own a trademark on this name it doesn't qualify as bad faith, I don't think. Does anyone have any experience buying domains from these operators? Do you have any advice on how to approach the owners of these domains to get them at a reasonable cost?"
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Buying a Domain From a Cybersquatter

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  • Unfortunate (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@gmFREEBSDail.com minus bsd> on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:03AM (#28207637) Journal
    When I've accidentally typed in an address wrong, I've been brought to a page with "premium" domains that a squatter is sitting on [buydomains.com] listing the prices for them. They were all pretty bland and stupid sites like a000.org or MedicMan.net but they listed the prices anywhere from $100 to $5,000. Unfortunately what you have to realize if you're going to make this offer is that they're doing this for those few times a year they strike it rich so it's probably going to be closer to $5,000 or more. If the site is like two last names or something readable, it's probably going to be pretty high cost. Far less than a court case you probably wouldn't win though.

    The last thing you need to realize is that whatever money you give this guy is just going to fund him to buy up more domains and keep his hands on others longer. If you wanted to do the most conscious thing for the community, you would just find another domain and not give this scum one red cent.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AvitarX (172628)

      A co-worker of mine did that for a while.

      He purchased a bunch of green bullshit names and then put add pages on them. When people contacted him about purchase he would be like, well it means a lot too me and I want to start a site, but I haven't done much yet, what is it worth to you?

      Generally that was the end f it, but pretty much any offer was accepted.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:14AM (#28207739)

        A co-worker of mine did that for a while.

        He purchased a bunch of green bullshit names and then put add pages on them. When people contacted him about purchase he would be like, well it means a lot too me and I want to start a site, but I haven't done much yet, what is it worth to you?

        Generally that was the end f it, but pretty much any offer was accepted.

        I'd like to meet your coworker in the alley behind where you work. If you give him a whole bunch of whiskey so that he can barely stand before he gets there, maybe I could offer you some money once the trunk of my car shuts?

        It would mean a lot to me ...

    • Re:Unfortunate (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ed Avis (5917) <ed@membled.com> on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:57AM (#28208161) Homepage

      The last thing you need to realize is that whatever money you give this guy is just going to fund him to buy up more domains and keep his hands on others longer.

      That's the same if you buy anything from anybody. Do you believe that domain names should not be bought and sold but handed out by Santa according to who is good and who is naughty? If you accept that people have the right to resell domain names they own, it's entirely their own business what fee to charge. Of course if someone else owns something you want, and won't give it up without payment, it's natural to feel aggrieved and vilify the other person. That doesn't mean they are scum. It is the odd system of domain names and artificial scarcity that causes domain names to have a high value. Either pay what it's worth (and no, what it's worth is not the same as 'the price I think I should be able to buy it for') or choose a different domain.

    • Re:Unfortunate (Score:5, Informative)

      by aaarrrgggh (9205) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @09:11AM (#28208327)

      I appreciate the idealism here, but it isn't always so simple. We paid a squatter $3k for our domain when we really had better things to spend our money on; that was 5% of our start-up capital. We still regard it as the best investment we made. (Our original name was 25 characters and we got down to 7)

      Just be sure to set up a backup domain name in case things fall through and to give yourself better bargaining position. I think he wanted $6k for it.

      Another word to the wise-- don't make a domain extortion be your first purchase for a start-up. Sort out more important things first like getting clients. If your web presence is all you have going, things get harder.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Rogerborg (306625)
      Only on Slashdot could a post that begins with an admission that the author can't even type properly, and then meanders off into speculation, supposition and baseless invective be rated "Informative".
  • Make an offer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chrisq (894406) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:04AM (#28207647)
    If they are a squatter they will have contact info on their page. If not you can find the registered owner with WHOIS. I would make them a reasonable offer and stick to it. Remember that there may be available alternatives ( .org, .net, .us, etc.)
    • Re:Make an offer (Score:5, Insightful)

      by noundi (1044080) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:36AM (#28207927)
      There are always alternatives. The guy is however starting is business on the wrong end. My 2 cents are: register at another top domain, create a brand for yourself, if things work out fine then trademark that brand, then go ahead and seize any domain violating your trademark. Don't go worrying about the domain name to be perfect before you even have anything to showcase for, a domain is shit without content so focus on that first.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LordVader717 (888547)

        The way to go is to register your trademark before trading under it - as a lot of people have painfully found out.

      • Re:Make an offer (Score:5, Informative)

        by weave (48069) * on Thursday June 04, 2009 @09:25AM (#28208475) Journal

        register at another top domain, create a brand for yourself, if things work out fine then trademark that brand, then go ahead and seize any domain violating your trademark.

        Resisting urge to curse

        I've owned a domain name in .org that is my cat's name. It's been a personal domain since then. Someone registered the .net variant of it and then trademarked the name. The .com variant was parked for years by a third party. I did a backorder on the .com and got it, and registered it.

        About a year later the guy with the .net started to threaten me because he got a trademark on the name and wanted both the .org and .com. I offered to turn over the .com at no profit to myself because I didn't really need it nor was using it, but then he starts to insist I also turn over the .org variant as well.

        I stood my ground and threatened to fight him as much as it took in court if necessary and sent him numerous cases where trademark doesn't mean ownership of the corresponding domain, especially if that domain is in active use and was around before the trademark.

        He eventually dropped his demand for the .org.

        And to think I just let him have the .com at my cost as well. I should have just let it get snapped up by a squatter and he'd have spent thousands for it.

  • by shoemakc (448730) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:05AM (#28207649) Homepage

    I was at a wedding over the weekend and one of the people at our table was talking about how their son runs a fairly profitable business in providing capital specifically for the purchasing of domain names. I can't recall if the business model involved a fixed interest rate, or a percentage of income, but it's the sort thing i never thought you could finance. I wonder how long before they start packaging them and selling them as securities on Wall Street :-)

    -Chris

  • by Ihlosi (895663) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:07AM (#28207673)
    (And whatever the answer to that question is - never, ever give it to the cybersquatter).

    Don't sound too interested when talking to them, mention possible alternatives. Lower your offer if the negotiations drag out - cybersquatters are in this for the money, and not selling the name means that they're not making any.

    • by Ihlosi (895663) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:10AM (#28207703)
      mention possible alternatives.

      Clarification: Mention the existence of possible alternatives, but not what they are (or they'll be cybersquatted, too).

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by smallfries (601545)

        Actually, if you decide that you can live without and register a completely different address then tell them all of the alternative versions they've missed that you can come up with. Even if it is just a small fee per variation for them to register you are doing your bit to make the whole thing less profitable.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Ihlosi (895663)

          Actually, if you decide that you can live without and register a completely different address then tell them all of the alternative versions they've missed that you can come up with. Even if it is just a small fee per variation for them to register you are doing your bit to make the whole thing less profitable.

          "Here's a non-exhaustive list of possible alternatives we are considering: *insert half a bajillion randomly-created combinations of letters (checked for potential trademarks or alread-existing sites

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by blackbear (587044)

      I recently looked into a (cybersquatted) domain for a client. The squatter wanted $3000.00. We said, "Take a hike." Over the next few weeks I received unsolicited offers, each one for less money. Eventually the price went below 1K, then to make-an-offer.

      I was determined that my client not give these scumbags any money, so I advised against making any offers, and finally told the scumbag, "No, seriously, take hike!"

      My client went with an alternative that turned out to be a better choice because he was able t

  • no (Score:5, Insightful)

    by larry bagina (561269) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:09AM (#28207681) Journal
    You don't own the trademark and even if you registered for it, you're doing so too late. Either pay for it or find another name. If it's a low volume domain (or one they scooped up when it expired) they may not renew it, in which case you can get it that way, if you want to wait.

    If your business plan depends on owning one specific domain then your business plan sucks.

  • by gurps_npc (621217) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:09AM (#28207691) Homepage
    I would suggest finding another Domain that they own and first asking them if you could buy that one. That will give you a high end price. Tell them no thank you. Wait a day and say you also like the real one. Then offer to buy it at 1/2 the price they gave for the first one.
    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:33AM (#28207911) Homepage Journal

      I would suggest finding another Domain that they own and first asking them if you could buy that one. That will give you a high end price. Tell them no thank you. Wait a day and say you also like the real one. Then offer to buy it at 1/2 the price they gave for the first one.

      Above all else, be prepared to walk away. It's only a domain name, there are lots of others, and if the guy isn't willing to give you a decent price you can afford to pay, tell him you're not interested. It's like buying a car: there's lots of wiggle room (even more than there is with a car!). Just like in poker, you always wait until the absolute last minute to show 'em your cards.

  • by Lord Byron II (671689) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:09AM (#28207695)

    What do you think the name is worth? $100? $500? They'll want at least 10x that much. If you're willing to pay through the nose, then go ahead, but these people will do whatever is necessary to squeeze every last penny from you.

    I would suggest either a different TLD, a different name, or a variation on the name: "MyBizInc.com" instead of "MyBiz.com".

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MoonBuggy (611105)

      Will they really force you to pay that, though? I don't doubt that they'll initially ask for thousands, but when it becomes clear that the potential buyer is completely unwilling to give them that much I wouldn't be surprised to see them willing to take a few hundred rather than nothing at all.

      The amount they'll be making in advertising per domain is tiny, as far as I am aware. $500 (which is an irritation, certainly, but not a huge amount in the scheme of things) should be far more tempting than just sitti

      • by _Hiro_ (151911) <hiromasaki@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:38AM (#28207945) Homepage Journal

        I offered to cover a squatter's registration costs, $10/month hosting costs since he purchased the domain, and a 10% premium for the domain. This worked out to $120-ish.

        He laughed at me and said he got that much profit a year out of letting the domain just sit and serve ads.

        So we went and bought .band, .info, and .net instead for less than $120.

  • Ideas (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Max Romantschuk (132276) <max@romantschuk.fi> on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:09AM (#28207699) Homepage

    One option already noted is giving a reasonable offer and sticking with it.

    Another option is simply asking for a quote, but don't for the love of god tell them you're planning a business. Rather just send an informal message in the style of "I think $domain is a cool name, yadda yadda...".

    Personally I'd opt for trying to figure out a name for the business that's not taken. Nonsense words that are easy to learn and not profanity in major languages are good bets.

  • by D-Cypell (446534) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:10AM (#28207709)

    Surely the process is pretty simple,

    Send the guy an email asking if the domain is for sale. If the owner is a *pinky to mouth* "One million dollars", kind of guy, it is unlikely that there is any approach you can take that will force him away from a ridiculous price anyway. The only advice that seems valid is, "Don't make the email sound like you are both wealthy and desperate".

    Personally, I would make it a short one line email, "Is this domain for sale? If so, please respond with your asking price", then just take it from there. I like to believe that there is nobody that is still stuck in the late 90's when it comes to cybersquat domain prices, but you never know. If the price you get back from him indicates that he is acting like a 90's squatter just email back with, "Ok, thank you". Keep it terse, and keep the ball in his court. Most of all, don't get attached to this particular domain until *your* name is on the whois!

  • by C_Kode (102755) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:11AM (#28207715) Journal

    Murder in the first. ;)

  • low ball (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tresstatus (260408) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:16AM (#28207757)
    within the past year, my company went around purchasing the .net, .us, .biz, etc TLDs for our domain. none of them were taken except for the .net version. we called the guy up and said we were interested and asked what his asking price was. he said $2000, to which we said that was way too high. he came back to us with, "well how much do you want to offer for it". i think that our final buying price was between $300 and $500.

    in that experience, i realized that some squatters are just one or two guys that sat around and registered a ton of domains for a couple of dollars a piece. they are going to use the car salesman mentality by "hit em really high... then scrape them off the ceiling so you can get the price you want to sell for". so they slap you with the $2000 as their asking price knowing that you won't pay it. they know that you won't come back with a $50 offer since their first offer was so high. if they had first said $500, then you probably wouldn't offer them as much. if you really want to play their game and you are just getting started, it might be safe to just kill your webserver while you are on the phone with them so that they can't see what type of company you are or if you has the money bags.

    anyway, just go into it like you are buying a car. don't seem too interested or you will pay way more than you should.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:21AM (#28207803)

    Many of the successful internet companies make up their own name. google, hulu, reddit, slashdot, etc. Make up a word that doesn't exist and go with it.

  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:22AM (#28207811) Homepage Journal
    news.google.com is just as good for google as news.com would be because browsers autocomplete from left to right. I type news, the google site comes right up.

    So if you want greatsite.com but thats taken then register blah.com and create a subdomain greatsite.blah.com

    Down the track you may be able to snap up the domain you originally wanted, or you may have a better idea by then.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      news.google.com is just as good for google as news.com would be because browsers autocomplete from left to right.

      No, news.google.com is good for google because the fame of the google name carries through, and because it's well linked from the google web page which is hit billions of times a day.

      If you're as famous as google, sure, you can name a page something like gzornik.com if you want and you will get traffic.

  • by KyroTerra (1569451) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:22AM (#28207813)
    My boss received an e-mail from a cybersquatter that sought to sell us a URL that was very similar to a URL we currently owned. My boss, being the URL hound he is asked me to purchase it. I offered the squatterâ(TM)s auto-bid website $50, which it automatically turned down and told me I had to offer a minimum of $500. I walked from the deal, only to receive an e-mail an hour later from the squatter, agreeing to my $50 bid.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Gordonjcp (186804)

      I had something pretty similar a couple of weeks back. I got an email from someone squatting on the domain "lovesthepython.com", basically along the lines of "You need to buy lovesthepython.com because you have lovesthepython.org and your website is missing out on traffic because it needs to be .com or people won't think it's a legitimate website" kind of pish. They were asking IIRC $1000 for it.

      I emailed them back saying that a) there is no website or indeed anything at all at lovesthepython.org because

  • by charliebear (887653) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:26AM (#28207847)
    Just wait until it expires, then swoop in and register it. /then email the squatter and ask them if they want to buy it back
  • by salesgeek (263995) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:27AM (#28207857) Homepage

    Here's a quick warning: there's a lot of scamming in the domain marktplace. It's easy for scammers to get you to buy, then never transfer the domain.

    1. Set your PayPal account to draw against a credit card, not your bank account. You have both your credit card's consumer protections as well as PayPal's this way, the difference being you can actually get someone on the phone at your credit card company. When they yank the money from PayPal, suddenly PayPal will care.
    2. Use an escrow service. Buyer puts the money in, you transfer the domain, and then you get paid. Most scams happen when people do direct purchases. Lots of domainers use escrow.com. It works.
    3. Make sure you are dealing with a legitimate business or a real person. A little due diligence goes a long way.

  • Easy (Score:5, Funny)

    by Jamamala (983884) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:28AM (#28207869)
    Give us the address, we'll give his server so much traffic he'll be begging to give the domain away.
  • Don't look big (Score:5, Insightful)

    by superdana (1211758) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:30AM (#28207887)
    We buy a lot of domains where I work--a big honkin' national enterprise--but we never use our work email addresses when we approach a squatter. That way we don't tip them off to how much money we have. So, my advice is to be aware of how you present yourself, and be careful not to give the squatter the impression that you're anything more than a casual buyer. Don't mention that you have a partner, for example, and don't reveal why you want the domain.
  • by Etylowy (1283284) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:30AM (#28207895)

    First of all what you are describing is not cybersquating - it's no trademark, not a domain typo - there is no bad faith. The domain has been registered by a domainer - a domain trader that buys premium domains treating them as an investment.
    When you type in the domain name you will see a domain parking page - a website filled with some adds in order to earn some money to finance the cost of domain renewal plus sometimes a few bucks extra. The domain is not indexed by google - it's a mutual agreement between large domain parkings and google - not in index, yet with google ads.

    As the domain is not registered as a clear example of cybersquating (and so is not getting a lot of traffic) you can be pretty sure it's for sale - that's where we earn money.

    The domain value is based on (in no particular order):
    1. domain length - the shorter the more expensive.
    2. tld - .com is the most expensive
    3. the acctual domain name - if it is just a bunch of unpronaucable letters it will be cheap, if it's a word it will cost ya, especially if it means something. some random examples ghdn.com < geen.com < geek.com

    If you want to buy the domain make an offer, but a fair one or you will be added to ignore list after the first message. We get loads of offers which are too low by two-three orders of magnitude and reading all off them is not really an option.

    Once you agree on the price do use one of the domain markets that offers escrow - sorry I can't really point you to a speciffic site, as I deal exlusively in eastern european tlds and we have some local markets.

    • I disagree (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Overzeetop (214511) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:54AM (#28208111) Journal

      If you buy domain names on speculation, you're a cybersquatter - someone who reserves space for no reason other than to occupy the space a resell it. There is no legitimate reason to hoard domains, except to capitalize on the scarcity.

      Now, since you appear to be a cybersquatter, I can see how you are a bit touchy and are looking to legitimize your business plan. That's fine. That's why houses are called "resales" and not "used." A "Domainer" (aside from sounding like something out of Waterworld) is just a nicer name for a cybersquatter - but you do the exact same thing.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by offrdbandit (1331649)
        "There is no legitimate reason to hoard domains, except to capitalize on the scarcity." There is no legitimate reason to hoard diamonds, either, except to capitalize on the scarcity.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Etylowy (1283284)

        While I don't agree with your definition of cybersquatting (and therefore I don't consider myself a cybersquatter) I certainly see why you don't like what I do. Any business that makes you pay more for a services or goods that are served on first comes first served basis will make people angry. It's exactly the same with gold phone numers, except that there is no central control of the market (like the phone company).

        • Re:I disagree (Score:4, Insightful)

          by z80kid (711852) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @10:27AM (#28209341)
          You don't offer anyone anything of value. You offer non-interference in an otherwise working system for a fee.

          The only benefit you offer anyone is your absence.

          That should be your eulogy. "All he had to offer us was his absence. We gather today to celebrate his only significant achievement."

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Blakey Rat (99501)

        There is no legitimate reason to hoard domains, except to capitalize on the scarcity.

        That's true of real estate, precious gems, and oil/natural gas as well. Why is domaining "wrong" and those other speculative businesses "right?"

        If you're griping just because you didn't buy up domains when expensive ones were cheap-- well, I wasn't able to buy up land around Lake Washington when it was cheap either. Sometimes you just have to cope.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by JordanL (886154)
          There is effort, a physical scaricity and uniqueness in all of those things. In domains, the scarcity, the creation and the economic value are all artificial until it performs work, which it is not doing when it is being squatted.

          In a very real sense, domain squatting is a very negative economic investment for everyone except the squatter. When you hoard a resource, that resource does not lose any of its value or utility, but with an artificial resource like a domain (which unlike oil or diamonds cannot
    • by SQLGuru (980662) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @09:04AM (#28208247) Journal

      If you want to buy the domain make an offer, but a fair one or you will be added to ignore list after the first message. We get loads of offers which are too low by two-three orders of magnitude and reading all off them is not really an option.

      I think this is the key sticking point. What is "too low"? We all know that your costs are $10 per year (probably less due to bulk, but let's just go with that number) plus some administrative $$$'s. We know that the domains do generate some income from ads. This isn't a case of having registered McDonalds.com because that was your name and you can sell it to the company for 1 bazillion dollars. It's a speculation. I'm ok with some level of "profit" or reward for that but there is no brand associated with the domain already (*you* aren't marketing it), so what constitutes reasonable? I think that $500 is on the high end of what an undeveloped domain name is worth, but when I see $5,000, that just floors me. The key being that the domain is undeveloped. Marketing is the key to whether a domain is successful or not and speculative registration does nothing for that.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HanClinto (621615)

      What benefits are you providing to the customer?

      As far as I can tell, you seem to be similar to a real estate housing "flipper", who shops around for low-priced houses, and immediately sells it for more, without providing the buyer any services other than a higher price.

      In a word, you are not generating anything of value.

      Is this illegal? No, by no means, and I don't think it should be. It's just a parasitical business model that is bad for the community overall. Real estate flipping is one of the (many)

    • First of all what you are describing is not cybersquating (sp)
      Ok...
      The domain has been registered by a domainer - a domain trader that buys premium domains treating them as an investment.
      That's the definition of a cybersquatter. Domainer is what cybersquatters call themselves -- it's like how mobsters call themselves "legitimate businessmen".
      it's no trademark, not a domain typo - there is no bad faith.
      That's just a subset of cybersquatter. I think we used to use the word "domain scalper" for these guys, b

  • by lalena (1221394) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:32AM (#28207907) Homepage
    First lookup the owner of that domain. Then, there are many sites out there that will tell you which domains that person owns. The way you handle this will be very different if he owns 10 vs 10 thousand domains.
    Do a search with some of the "Buy this Premium Domain" sites to see if he has listed any of his sites to see how reasonable he is. Those prices are usually 1-2x's a real max bid starting point.
    When you do ask for a price, ask him for the price of several of his domains at once. Act like you are not specifically interested in just of those domains and any would work for you. Maybe pretend to be another reseller interested in building your portfolio.
    Some of the other advice above is also good. Don't be desparate, and the first email should be very short.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:38AM (#28207955)

    They will not type in your company name in the URL bar and add .com. They will type your company name into google and click on the result. If they're recurring customers, they will bookmark your page.

    URLs are no longer really important. I know people who have no idea what that funny bar on top of their browser is for that displays some funky random characters whenever they click on a link and a page loads.

  • Squatter (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mseeger (40923) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:48AM (#28208023)

    Hi,

    I had to solve such a problem once for a customer of us. A domain expired by accident and fell into the hands of a domainsquatter. The poor ex-owner had already advertisement material printed with his domain name on it. Damages would have ranged at about 10K$.

    The problem: If a german company tries to purchase the domain, the prices tend to skyrocket (probably the same for US companies). So we created a fake russian student (not very rich) who wanted to use the domain for his private web site. He had a russian email address, had a small home page with his russian ISP etc. This way with a little negotiation, we managed to purchase the domain at a very reasonable price.

    You have to be careful to become the owner of the domain. At first they tried to "lease" the domain to us by just setting the records. But it was completely in accordance with our virtual pesonality to display some paranoia and insist on a complete domain transfer.

    Sincerely yours, Martin

  • by Tiber (613512) <josh.knarr@gmail.com> on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:48AM (#28208025) Homepage

    It doesn't matter if it's bad faith or not, ICANN wants the domain to have a useful purpose. That's why people put the "search engines" up. However, the likelyhood of them showing up to defend their useful purpose is slim to none. The problem you have is that in order to file with ICANN for ownership of a domain, you need about $3000.

    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=icann+domain+dispute&l=1 [lmgtfy.com]

    Last time I had to do it, it took about a month. This was last year. We filled out the paperwork, then our "dispute agency" (ICANN itself delegates to an agency) contacted us for MORE paperwork, then the other guy didn't reply because he had used an "anonymous registrar" so we won by default.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Tony Hoyle (11698)

      It doesn't cost $3000. It happened to a series of domains a company I worked for owned.. a squatter registered a bunch of similar sounding domains and started trying to get us to pay him money. Unluckily for him our CEO was an ex lawyer... ICANN awarded us every domain without question in about 3 weeks and as far as I know it didn't cost us a penny (in fact we started legal action against the squatter at the same time and it cost him a hell of a lot instead).

  • Suggestions (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sherriw (794536) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:51AM (#28208069)

    First, decide on a price you are willing to pay and then vow not to go any higher. Don't look at the asking price, just decide what it's worth to you. Offer the squatter half that and if he haggles with you, be tough and then walk away if he wants higher than your top price. In fact, stop at about 3/4 of your top price then walk away for a few weeks. See if he calls you.

    If you can't get it for the price you want, start looking into other variations on the domain. A domain is only as 'valuable' as the marketing you put behind it. So the domain itself won't make or break your business. You'd be better off investing that money into a good marketing campaign or branding/logo designer etc.

    As for the actual transaction- don't buy it unless he is listing it through a legit registrar's after-market domain auctioning/selling system. Don't take the "send me the cash and I'll unlock it for transfer" line.

    Protect yourself and get a lawyer to do the actual transaction.

  • Abuse (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gbjbaanb (229885) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:53AM (#28208097)

    Cybersquatting is considered an abusive registration [icann.org], and therefore subject to 'expedited administrative proceedings' with an ICANN representative. Its likely to cost you a fair bit to go through the dispute resolution, but if their site is obviously a 'for-sale' site, then you're pretty much guaranteed to win - para 4, section b [icann.org] refers almost entirely to cybersquatting.

    It might be worth going this route if a) the scumbag has registered several domains you want (eg .com, .net) , and b) also wants loads of cash for them. The cost for the NAF panel is $1300 (nice work if you can get it :) )

    I do think the dispute-resolution process is pretty poor for the most obvious forms of abuse, and should be opened up to more, quicker and cheaper forms of arbitration, with anything other than the most obvious cases requiring a higher panel,but ICANN is run as an international body, so I don't expect anything to happen, ever.

  • by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Thursday June 04, 2009 @09:10AM (#28208289)

    Offering these scumbags money just teaches them that they're on the right track. If you've got money to burn, why not throw a little at some of the many groups that are trying to outlaw this practice?

  • Barter (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Demonantis (1340557) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @02:17PM (#28212623)
    The cybersquatter doesn't want the domain. He wants your money. Contact him and ask how much the site is going to cost. Don't be surprised if it is ridiculous then send an email back telling him your not interested at anything close to that price. I wouldn't be surprised if that price decreases rapidly to something quite more realistic. The guy is looking to make money and as long as its above cost he would be willing to sell. I don't get why people don't barter here as much as they do in Europe. Its a good skill to have.

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