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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.
  • 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.)
  • 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.

  • 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 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:Unfortunate (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AvitarX (172628) <me AT brandywinehundred DOT org> on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:10AM (#28207701) Journal

    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 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).

  • 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!

  • 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 MoonBuggy (611105) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:16AM (#28207763) Journal

    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 sitting on the domain collecting a few dollars a year beyond the registration cost. Sure, $5000 is more tempting than $500, but any sensible business owner will realise quite quickly that they should take the $500 when there's no chance of them getting the $5000.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:19AM (#28207793)

    You've clearly never worked for a company with a porn site on one of the more common typos.

  • 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.
  • by smallfries (601545) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:30AM (#28207873) Homepage

    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:url? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ikkonoishi (674762) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:30AM (#28207883) Journal

    Telling the actual URL in question would be a bad idea as it may cause the current holder to up their asking price since it was linked on slashdot.

  • 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 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 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

  • by SoundGuyNoise (864550) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:40AM (#28207973) Homepage
    Anyone who uses Google when they already know what website they want to go to deserves a boot to the head.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:41AM (#28207983)

    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 joseprio (923259) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:41AM (#28207985)
    The title of this post is completely misleading. From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] cybersquatting is "registering, trafficking in, or using a domain name with bad faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else". There's no trademark, not even a business... the submitter just saw a domain name he liked and that was already taken. That domain name could have been acquired by a multitude of reasons, some of which include just keeping it for future use.

    When I've an idea for a personal project, and think of a good name for it, I check if it's available; if it is, I register it, and while I'm not using it, why not placing some domain parking page? It's gonna pay peanuts, but everything helps in crisis times. I want to clarify that I'm against mistyped domain or inadequate (popups, casinos, etc) advertising like most internet users.

    When you see a domain name you like, just make an offer or ask for a price. Those prices are usually unreasonable, so just find an alternative. Also, always keep in mind that a good product is leaps and bounds better than a good name :)
  • Re:Unfortunate (Score:3, Insightful)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:46AM (#28208013) Journal

    I don't agree. Let's suppose owned a prime piece of real estate right next to an interstate exit ramp. So far nobody's offered anything, but if an Exxon or McDonalds approached me, am I "scum" because I ask for a lot of money to sell my real estate? No it's kind opportunity cost. If they want to setup show in a highly-visible location, then they'll have to pay for it.

    Or they could put their station/restaurant someplace else (1 mile away) that's less-visible but cheaper to buy. Same applies to website real estate. You want exxon-exit100.com, then you'll have to pay for it. If you don't, buy a cheaper website like gastation163418.com - less prime but saves money.

    It's nothing personal; just business.

  • 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.

  • Re:Unfortunate (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:54AM (#28208107)

    The difference is what intent the owner had, in your case, did you buy that piece of land with the intent of selling to McDonalds for a large sum due to its location?
    If yes, you're scum.
    If no, you're a lucky bastard.

    Same for the domain owner, did they buy it to squat and ask for more money from a person who would use it legitimately or did they buy it for legitimate use themselves?
    If yes, they're scum.
    If no, they're lucky bastards.

  • 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: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:4, Insightful)

    by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:59AM (#28208189) Homepage

    The problem of course is that a domain name is not a piece of land.

    In meatspace, if a business sets up in a poor location, it affects their traffic because it is a PHYSICAL business. More importantly, no land = no business. On the internet, very few people even type URLs anymore, they google everything. All that domain registration does is place a few letters in the address bar of people's browsers. We could probably go back to publishing dotted IP addresses and the common imbecile would not notice nor care, as long as google can find it.

    For those mental midgets who require an analogy, you're not squatting a piece of land, it's more like an unlit signpost.

  • Re:Unfortunate (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 04, 2009 @09:01AM (#28208205)

    So real state speculation in a capitalist society is frowned upon now? Here's a solution: Move to Cuba or Venezuela, you'll be happier there.

  • 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:I disagree (Score:3, Insightful)

    by offrdbandit (1331649) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @09:07AM (#28208259)
    "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:I disagree (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Etylowy (1283284) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @09:07AM (#28208261)

    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).

  • 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?

  • Re:Unfortunate (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bleh-of-the-huns (17740) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @09:12AM (#28208331)

    The big difference, the cost of land is a significantly higher then the cost of a domain, registering a domain for $15 and sitting on it trying to sell it for $5000, is wrong if then intent is to register 1000's of domains and sell them for profit, especially when many of those domains are not even paid for and are just domain tasting (google it, I am not going to explain it).

    If you want to spend a few million dollars on 1000's of various physical properties, thats a different story, you put out the money, its an investment in something tangible, domains are not physically tangible and cost almost nothing.

  • The problem here is a matter of what is "fair". You say that there are loads of offers which are "too low by two-three orders of magnitude." What is a good offer for something like spoon.com? $10000? You paid about 15 bucks for it. I think the problem is the level of expectation that you should get paid two-three orders of magnitude more than what the domain is worth. The problem is that there is no value-add to what you do. It is quite literally just running up to something screaming "I was here first, pay me for this for that reason alone!" Most people resent paying more for a service that doesn't really get them anything. One of the reasons why SEO is such a scam. I might feed the domain trolls and give $100 for something like spoon.com if it was payday and I felt like being frivolous. At the same time you say that you have on it "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." So you are already drawing even if not making a profit, so (in my mind) you can just enjoy your profitable little site, and I will look for a different name.

    Oh, and as an afterthought though, props for having the balls to post this with your real UID.
  • Re:Unfortunate (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LordVader717 (888547) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @09:16AM (#28208377)

    The difference is that cybersquatters use trademarks that essentially don't belong to them and that which they have no intention of using. While real estate costs real money, registering domain names is usually a negligable fee.

  • Re:Make an offer (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LordVader717 (888547) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @09:18AM (#28208393)

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

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 04, 2009 @09:28AM (#28208503)

    Really?
    often times websites will have weird spellings of words or random dashes thrown in between words. It's also pretty hard for me to remember which tld a site is at.
    For example, I want to look visit the django book. Is it djangobook.org? djangobook.com? django-book.org? django-book.com? Should I really have to remember which of those it is?
    Isn't it easier to hit ctl+l, then type "django book", hit enter, and end up where I originally wanted?
    Things get even more complicated if you want to go to a specific sub page of a site.
    I want the java documentation. I know i can go to java.sun.com and find it, or i could just search for "java 6 doc" and end up exactly where I wanted to.
    If you think that using google to get to a website when you already know is wrong, then you're doing it wrong.

  • IP Address (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Comboman (895500) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @09:29AM (#28208517)

    We could probably go back to publishing dotted IP addresses and the common imbecile would not notice nor care, as long as google can find it.

    That's the real tricky part though. If you change your web host (and thus change IP address) all the work you've done to improve your Google ranking (not to mention links from other websites, bookmarks, etc) is gone and you'd have to start over again. Having a URL is still a necessity (though having a memorable URL is not as important as it once was).

  • Re:Unfortunate (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jsalbre (663115) <jsalbre AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday June 04, 2009 @09:43AM (#28208693) Homepage Journal
    Speculation of any sort should be frowned upon in our society. I'm all for capitalisim and making a profit, but buying something just so you can turn around and sell it to someone else for more money, without having made any improvements is just jackassery.
  • Re:I disagree (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Blakey Rat (99501) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @09:43AM (#28208697)

    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.

  • by an.echte.trilingue (1063180) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @09:49AM (#28208779) Homepage

    In meatspace, if a business sets up in a poor location, it affects their traffic because it is a PHYSICAL business. More importantly, no land = no business. On the internet, very few people even type URLs anymore, they google everything. All that domain registration does is place a few letters in the address bar of people's browsers.

    Of course, the name does enormous things for your placement in google. Just do a google search for "buy flowers": at least half the results have the search the search terms right in the domain name. This is not a coincidence. If the name describes what you do and is also your branded name, your success in google is almost guaranteed.

    Having a domain name that describes your company is tremendously important for a variety of reasons, not least of which is google ranking. Further, with modern browsers, the address bar searches your history. If you have your name or your product in the domain, this helps people find you a second time. Google Chrome is even better: search and address bar are the same. While I despise these people who park pages, their price is usually worth it if you are a company and the name is good.

    So, in the cyber-world, picking the name actually does make a big difference in the amount of traffic you get. Having "widgets.com" really is the equivalent of being off of the highway, while "example.com/widgets" is really miles down the road.

    Also, giving up domain names means completely abdicating your surfing to search engines and people who know SEO. Not a good idea.

  • Re:Unfortunate (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mabhatter654 (561290) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @09:51AM (#28208819)

    As the original question is about purchasing a name for a company he hasn't started yet. That's not technically "cybersquatting", they got his name first. I agree, this is more of a "gold rush" issue where people stake claims on a bunch of land they don't intend to work, just in case somebody else might make money off "their" domain idea. The way the government dealt with it was requiring presence and requiring taxes be paid to keep physical land based on it's value, if you can't afford the property tax, then the land gets redistributed to somebody that can make enough money from the property to pay it.... There used to be a time "real" land was just as plentiful as domain names.. and we did just fine.

    I think the solution was ICANN's idea to make the 20 cent fee non refundable, or to force registrars to actually take the money and stop "tasting" periods. Most of the professionals aren't paying, they just keep "tasting" names between shell companies. If there was a little bit of "treading water" added it would be more costly. It would still happen, but people would have to pay the $10 so they'd be "stuck" with it... for 10 or even 100 names that's not much money, but for the 10,000 these guys are running it would at least tie up their wallets.

  • Re:I disagree (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JordanL (886154) <jordan.ledoux@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Thursday June 04, 2009 @09:52AM (#28208829) Homepage
    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 be replaced by an identical substitute) and work not being performed by that resource is eternally lost. It can never be regained, and the resource is constantly losing productive value by being squatted. (Theoretically, this lost value is summed into the cost of the domain purchase from the squatter, though I would argue that almost always the productivity lost is orders of magnitude higher than the price paid to the squatter.)

    In this view, cybersquatting is the practice of stealing productivity from the economy by creating a false absence of resources, then compounding that productivity into a payment which you collect as a return on your investment. For a social economics standpoint, cybersquatters are best described as theives.
  • Re:Unfortunate (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fifedrum (611338) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @09:56AM (#28208875) Journal

    that's nonesense

    you purchase the property, you pay your taxes, you mow the lawn (if the municipality requires it), there's nothing wrong with speculating on property. Real or imaginary.

  • Re:Unfortunate (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mrchaotica (681592) * on Thursday June 04, 2009 @09:56AM (#28208877)

    Not only that, but speculation is also the root cause of every financial collapse in modern history (except those caused by war), including the one we're going through now. It's not just "jackassery," it's also harmful to society at large!

  • Re:Unfortunate (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 04, 2009 @09:57AM (#28208897)
    Buying thousands of shares of a troubled company for less than $1 each and then hoping later, when the company recovers, to sell them at a huge profit is also scumbaggy then? It seems to be the same thing.
  • Re:Unfortunate (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mh1997 (1065630) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @09:58AM (#28208909)

    Speculation of any sort should be frowned upon in our society.

    Even if you are speculating that training will provide you with the skills to get a job? How about if you are an employer and you are speculating that hiring some kid fresh out of school will bring profit or new ideas to the company?

  • by HanClinto (621615) <hanclinto.gmail@com> on Thursday June 04, 2009 @09:58AM (#28208915)

    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) factors that contributed to artificially inflated the prices of houses during the last housing bubble.

    Thankfully, it seems that this business model can only exist in the kind of market where the demand exceeds the supply, so opportunities for such parasitical non-productive business is limited.

    I'm just glad that my current business lets me avoid having to deal with unwanted middle men like yourself.

  • Re:Unfortunate (Score:1, Insightful)

    by massysett (910130) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @10:06AM (#28209001) Homepage

    Both scalpers and squatters add value.

    Scalpers add value for ticket owners. If I own a ticket, and decide I don't want to go to the event anymore, I can sell it to a scalper. Without a scalper, I'd have to sell it myself. This ready secondary market benefits the ticket holder.

    Scalpers also add value for ticket purchasers who are willing to pay the price. Assume the box office is selling tickets to an event for $35. But people are willing to pay $100 for the event. Scalpers allocate the tickets to those who are willing to pay $100 for the ticket. Then the $100 buyer need not wait in line all night and sleep in the rain to get a ticket. The scalper also benefits the person who decides to go to the event at the last minute, and is willing to pay the price. (All this of course comes at the expense of those who are willing to wait all night for the $35 ticket, but will not or cannot pay $100 for the ticket.)

    Domain squatters are similar. They help allocate the good domains to those who are willing to pay for them. Just this weekend I heard of ancestry.com. I instantly knew what it was. That great name saved the business from having to build a brand. If it had been "avalea.com" instead, I would have said "what's that?" This domain should be allocated to someone who is willing to put the capital into building a good business with it.

    Furthermore, nobody has ever suggested a good system that would eliminate squatters. You want registrars deciding who has a "legitimate" business and who is just squatting? Or do you want to just jack up the price of domains so squatting is economical--but then, registering domains becomes uneconomical for many individuals or small businesses? Besides, if you don't want to buy from a squatter, go get a made up word that nobody has registered. They are easy to find. But then you have to work harder to build a brand.

    A few hundred to a few thousand dollars is nothing to pay if a person really wants to build a business. I fully support squatters and do not understand the hatred for them.

  • Re:I disagree (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 04, 2009 @10:08AM (#28209033)
    Hmmm... I bought a couple .com domains back in the 90s. I thought I might use them but never did. Now I still have them. Never got an email offering me $$. Am I a squatter? I may still use them but I'd sell them as well.
  • Re:I disagree (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 04, 2009 @10:08AM (#28209037)

    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.

    So, a person who buys a piece of land in the real world for that same reason is a squatter?? No, thats not the case (A squatter is someone who lives illegally in a home that is not their own [Simplified]), it is investing and doesn't truly become squatting until they are being bought wholesale in large numbers without a real care for what the names are. Domains, as much as people don't like to admit it, are basically virtual real estate, and as such, there are people who treat it that way. It's not illegal, its business. Its supply and demand, quit crying because there are people who understand that better than you.

  • Re:Unfortunate (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mabhatter654 (561290) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @10:11AM (#28209067)

    That's like what Ticketmaster does.

    Thinking about it, the domain name problem is more like Ticket Scalping than squatting. In this case, it's not "cybersquatting" because the poster is trying to pick out a name... on the other hand the meaningful names are all taken by somebody who happened to be in line first and bought a bunch of stuff they didn't need.. like a ticket scalper does. Rules are pretty harsh against ticket scalpers, even though they generally paid their cash up front to get the tickets fair and square. The question is how to get the public to view it like scalping and not "real estate".

  • Re:Unfortunate (Score:5, Insightful)

    by El Torico (732160) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @10:15AM (#28209131)

    Not only that, but speculation using debt is also the root cause of every financial collapse in modern history (except those caused by war), including the one we're going through now. It's not just "jackassery," it's also harmful to society at large!

    There. Fixed that for you.
    Debt is indentured servitude.

  • by EgoWumpus (638704) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @10:18AM (#28209185)

    Without getting all commie, people who have a lot of money, or opportunity, or options, always whine "It's nothing personal, just business." When you have the option to buy domains and sell them for 100x-1000x the price, why wouldn't you? Legally, of course, it's totally legit. Ethically, it's totally not. And I'll tell you why.

    When you buy a piece of land, the law assumes that you are doing your bit to maintain and develop that land. In fact, most property law revolves around that idea of having to put work into it. You pay taxes on it, and you are generally expected to be doing something to maintain it's value. When a property falls into total - or dangerous - disrepair, they come to you with the fines. If your sidewalk is hazardous, you can get sued. This is all considered the price of ownership.

    With domains, there is no such cost associated. In fact, all that buying up domains does is suck money from actual wealth-generating sectors of the economy. If I start a business called AwesomeWorldChangingWidgets, I can't get that domain if you're squatting on it without first paying you way more for that domain than you did. Now, if you were society at large, and that additional value was being spread across those people who help to bring value to the domain name itself (such as the internet routers, the municipalities that maintain fiber, ICANN, or any of the host of other sectors that make the Internet viable), that would be fair. But you're just taking the money and running: you're taking the money for someone else's work.

    The only complaint anyone ever has with capitalism is the 'I got here first' problem. When you start out with resources others didn't have a fair opportunity at, and then exchange them for disproportionately large sums of money, you're playing into this. Yes, it makes your life easier, but you've only helped yourself - and at the expense of literally everyone else. That makes you unethical.

  • by OpenGLFan (56206) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @10:21AM (#28209235) Homepage

    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, but I'm not a real Internet anthropologist, just an old man.

  • Re:Unfortunate (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BrokenHalo (565198) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @10:21AM (#28209249)
    No, what you say is nonsense. If you buy up a domain name to which you have no legitimate right, just for the purpose of extorting money from or preventing use by someone who does, then you are just being an asswipe. Just because the law doesn't prevent you from doing this doesn't mean your action has any moral legitimacy.

    By your reasoning, the Mafia's protection rackets in the 1920s and '30s would have been perfectly legitimate, since there was no legal system to prevent it.
  • 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:Unfortunate (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tnk1 (899206) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @10:32AM (#28209427)

    Yes, I've always found that the analogies to real estate break down when you realize that the operative work in real estate is "real".

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @10:34AM (#28209473)

    She's not alone, this is the norm rather than the exception.

    I do a little adult education as a side job, often as a trainer for computer illiterates wanting to understand a bit more about their box. For them the simplest solution is often to have google or some other search site as their home page and typing whatever page they want into the google search bar. Trying to tell them that this is what the URL bar is for confuses them, and often results in them (rightfully) telling me that this way they often get to some other search page (=domain squatter) that confuses them. Google usually delivers what they are looking for.

    When looking for something specific from a company it's also often faster to type what you're looking for in google instead of searching it at the page. If you want drivers for for your HP 1100 printer, type "hp 1100 drivers" into google rather than going to hp.com and trying to navigate there. It's simply faster. Even if you know what you're doing.

    And certainly for someone who has no knowledge about computers.

    If you want proof that people don't care for URLs, check out the plethora of reports about successful phishing attacks that direct an unsuspecting user with a scare mail to a page the URL of which has nothing to do at all with the bank they think they went to.

  • Re:Unfortunate (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ed Avis (5917) <ed@membled.com> on Thursday June 04, 2009 @10:40AM (#28209557) Homepage

    I would also add that 'scalpers' add value for the original seller of the tickets. It can happen that speculators buy the tickets with the intention of reselling them, but end up stuck with them because nobody wants them. So some risk is transferred from the event organizer to the speculators.

  • Re:Unfortunate (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BrokenHalo (565198) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @10:47AM (#28209667)
    Ever traded stocks?

    That isn't really relevant. Sure, you might be speculating on the value of those stocks, but while you hold them you have a commitment to the future of that company. What we are talking about here is a situation where someone deliberately asserts a claim to something he has no intention of ever owning, just to extort money from legitimate enterprises.
  • by pla (258480) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @11:09AM (#28209959) Journal
    Also, giving up domain names means completely abdicating your surfing to search engines and people who know SEO. Not a good idea.

    You make a lot of good points, but I have to wonder (respectfully, not mockingly) - Have you ever watched a non-geek "go" to a specific web site?

    Fact #1 - They run Windows.
    Fact #2 - They use the default browser (MSIE).
    Fact #3 - They use the default homepage (MSN), or at best, have changed this to Google.

    Now, when you stand there and tell such a person to, for example, "go to www.slashdot.org", they will, without fail, proceed to type "www.slashdot.org" into the MSN search box.

    So while I agree with everything you said in principle (and expect it holds true for most advanced computer users), in practice, the GP had it right... The URL doesn't matter, because the vast majority of people don't even realize they can type things directly into the address bar - This really does boil down to the old Microsoft joke of "Where do we want you to go today?".
  • Re:url? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sancho (17056) * on Thursday June 04, 2009 @11:11AM (#28209977) Homepage

    Strange, then, that speculating on land is considered reasonable.

    especially since there's a lot more domain-name space than useful land.

  • by an.echte.trilingue (1063180) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @11:15AM (#28210035) Homepage

    Yet some of the most successful sites don't do that at all. Google, Yahoo and Amazon are fantastically successful, and both Slashdot and Digg are doing pretty well for themselves.

    Those are all sites that are successful because they have regular readers/frequently repeating customers. If you sell widgets, and people only buy widgets once a year, people will go to your site once a year. Nobody links to widgets on their blogs. A lot of companies sell things that you buy once or twice in your life. Unless you want to get billions of dollars of capital together to build a company that immediately dominates your sector (it is spurious to claim that you could repeat google or amazon on a startup budget today) good SEO is really the only path.

    Most of the sites that I visit that have descriptive names are using names that are descriptive of what company runs them rather than what they do (and that company name was already known/trademarked).

    This is my point. In the case of the OP, the trademarked name is already registered. This is a serious problem.

    I'm sure it helps you a little in search results, but it doesn't seem like it's that big of a deal.

    When was the last time you purchased something from a company on the fifth page of Google? A small company I worked for paid thousands of euros to an SEO get first page google ranking. Our business (which was already pretty good) doubled immediately. Our main competitor had a position called Vice President of Search Engine Optimization, that is how important this is in a sector that has real, physical products (cheap consumer goods don't count).

  • Re:Unfortunate (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Skreems (598317) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @11:15AM (#28210041) Homepage
    We've become used to the idea that the theft and privatization of the commons was justified for physical real estate. The way the same thing happened again in such a short time in this new virtual (but just as scarce) resource just drives home how fucked up some aspects of private ownership are.
  • Re:Unfortunate (Score:3, Insightful)

    by schon (31600) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @11:16AM (#28210047)

    Both scalpers and squatters add value. [...] Domain squatters are similar. They help allocate the good domains to those who are willing to pay for them.

    Care to explain the "value" that's been added? What, exactly has been created? Answer: NOTHING.

    I fully support squatters and do not understand the hatred for them.

    That's because you're a moron.

  • Re:Unfortunate (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Arathrael (742381) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @11:28AM (#28210231)

    Then the $100 buyer need not wait in line all night and sleep in the rain to get a ticket

    Personally, I avoid waiting in line all night and sleeping in the rain by buying from one of those ticket sites they have on this new-fangled internet thing you've probably heard so much about. There's also often the option of using those devices that let you talk to people from distant locations, what're they called... oh yes. Phones.

    I can't remember the last event I went to that required me to queue and buy tickets from an actual box office.

  • by Petersko (564140) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @11:33AM (#28210297)
    "blah...blah...blah...SCALPER GOOD!...blag...blah...blah"

    A ticket scalper is nothing more than another form of mugger. They don't add value by helping people who are willing to pay the higher price, they subtract value by screwing over people who just want to pay face value. If they stood at the ticket window and stole cash from the people waiting to buy tickets the same end state would be reached.

    Being half an hour too late to buy tickets to a popular concert is annoying. Finding a bunch of tickets being sold online by these jackasses ten minutes after that is more annoying.
  • Re:Unfortunate (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 04, 2009 @11:33AM (#28210299)

    Wow, thanks for that incredibly bogus arguement.

    I hope you realize that the since the scalper had a buyer that means the original seller would've had a buyer also? So they didn't add anything they just exploited a captive market.

  • Re:Unfortunate (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @11:35AM (#28210323)

    Scalpers add value for ticket owners. If I own a ticket, and decide I don't want to go to the event anymore, I can sell it to a scalper. Without a scalper, I'd have to sell it myself. This ready secondary market benefits the ticket holder.

    This could easily be handled without having the secondary market charge a premium.

    Assume the box office is selling tickets to an event for $35. But people are willing to pay $100 for the event. Scalpers allocate the tickets to those who are willing to pay $100 for the ticket

    Yes. The raise the price to $100. Capturing more of the surplus value to the consumer is good because... you flunked Econ 101 and think that makes that market more efficent? Hint, it doesn't, at least not any more than waiting in line does.

    But, you say, the scalper also has to wait in line/be lucky on ticketmaster. The difference is scale... the scalper spreads that cost out over many people. But that cost is there to maximize the pleasure that the show/event provides, to ensure that the people who care the most get in. It does an end run around the system. If there were proxies who represented exactly one person in line, fine.

    (All this of course comes at the expense of those who are willing to wait all night for the $35 ticket, but will not or cannot pay $100 for the ticket.)

    And that's okay because?

    They help allocate the good domains to those who are willing to pay for them. Just this weekend I heard of ancestry.com. I instantly knew what it was. That great name saved the business from having to build a brand. If it had been "avalea.com" instead, I would have said "what's that?" This domain should be allocated to someone who is willing to put the capital into building a good business with it.

    As opposed to two guys in a garage who would have written the whole thing over a few years? One of the beautiful things about the infomation age is most entrepuners can trade time for money (or vice versa) to get things done. This allows far more companies to start. I fail to see why making it more expensive to introduce a new product (in this fashion) is good.

    Besides, if that's your real objection, there are clever ways to allocate resources based on investment, without needing to be explicitly paid for. Make a class of domain names require a few colocated servers with failover, for instance. It requires that people invest serious capital, without draining that capital for no purpose.

    A few hundred to a few thousand dollars is nothing to pay if a person really wants to build a business.

    Ever try to start a business? Most new businesses have razor-thin margins, and that can easily bankrupt them.

    Oh, no, you just heard about the VC backed businesses, not the 99.7% of businesses that are small and employ over half of the (non-agricultural) workforce.

  • Re:url? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RobDude (1123541) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @11:39AM (#28210369) Homepage

    Yes it is.

    It's the same idea behind buying an undervalued stock, doing nothing with the stock (except owning it) and selling it later.

    It's the same idea behind buying a house that you feel is undervalued, renting it out/doing nothing, until the price goes up, and selling it later.

    It's the same idea behind buying lots of gold because you feel it will be worth more in the years to come.

    Buy low, sell high.

     

  • Re:Unfortunate (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Bobfrankly1 (1043848) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @11:43AM (#28210447)

    No, what you say is nonsense. If you buy up a domain name to which you have no legitimate right, just for the purpose of extorting money from or preventing use by someone who does, then you are just being an asswipe. Just because the law doesn't prevent you from doing this doesn't mean your action has any moral legitimacy.

    Your arguement has no merit. First off, "having a right" to a domain name is a concept that exists in your head. As well, by your logic, a person who purchases a house without the intention of living in it is mafia scum.

    If someone has the foresight to get ahead of the market, be it investing in stocks, real estate, or domain names, you would have them strung up and hung by their necks, simply because all they did was get there with the money first.

  • Re:Unfortunate (Score:3, Insightful)

    by feepness (543479) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @11:48AM (#28210517) Homepage

    Yes, I've always found that the analogies to real estate break down when you realize that the operative work in real estate is "real".

    Does that make the internet "fake estate"?

  • by Pollardito (781263) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @11:50AM (#28210543)

    Most of the sites that I visit that have descriptive names are using names that are descriptive of what company runs them rather than what they do (and that company name was already known/trademarked).

    This is my point. In the case of the OP, the trademarked name is already registered. This is a serious problem.

    Actually in the case of the OP they don't even have a company. They have a plan for a company and an idea for a name and he says "we don't own a trademark on this name". If this guy wants too much money, than it seems like the perfect opportunity to think of another name. Technically we don't even know if the name that he wants is descriptive of the business, we're taking it on faith that he's not clammoring for some crazy made-up name.

    I'm sure it helps you a little in search results, but it doesn't seem like it's that big of a deal.

    When was the last time you purchased something from a company on the fifth page of Google? A small company I worked for paid thousands of euros to an SEO get first page google ranking. Our business (which was already pretty good) doubled immediately. Our main competitor had a position called Vice President of Search Engine Optimization, that is how important this is in a sector that has real, physical products (cheap consumer goods don't count).

    I didn't mean that search position wasn't a big deal, I meant that you can get good search position by other means than your domain name.

    What the OP needs to do is not marry himself to the name he's picked. Make the guy an offer that seems reasonable, deal with him respectfully, and if the reasonable offer is not accepted than he needs to find some way to fight it or else find another name

  • Re:url? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Thursday June 04, 2009 @12:17PM (#28210973) Journal

    Unlike the above, squatters also clog up my search results, and pretend to be some sort of resource in their own right, feigning relevance to whatever search I did. That's more difficult to make an analogy, but I'll try...

    It's like buying thousands of houses that you guess a few might be undervalued, putting a sign outside that says "Bed & Breakfast" or "Ye Olde Antique Shop", and when people come in looking for something entirely different, you either refer them to someone down the block who paid you for it, or you try to sell them the house.

    It is generally quite dishonest.

    Now, there may indeed be some cybersquatter rule that I can use to hurt them, but either way, I absolutely refuse to support their business model. If it's some kid who bought a personal domain and isn't doing much with it, fine -- but if it's yet another "What you need, when you need it" bullshit site, they can rot.

  • Re:Unfortunate (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rbarreira (836272) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @12:18PM (#28210979) Homepage

    Car robbers add value.

    Car robbers add value for car owners. If I own a car, don't care about money and decide I don't want it anymore, I can wait for a robber to take the car. Without a car robber, I'd have to sell it myself.

    Car robber also add value for car purchasers who want to pay a smaller price. Assume the car shop is selling used cars for $50,000. But people are willing to pay $10,000. Car robbers allocate the cars to those who are willing to pay $2,000 for the car.

    I fully support car robbers and do not understand the hatred for them.

  • Re:Unfortunate (Score:1, Insightful)

    by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @12:22PM (#28211023) Journal
    Yes, you're a sleaze. The fact that someone defaults on payment to you doesn't mean you go do shitty things to other people and justify it by the loss you took. You are one of the people who belongs in the back of the van.
  • Re:Unfortunate (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 04, 2009 @12:23PM (#28211045)

    You're either a total fucking idiot, or a scalper. Not that there's a lot of difference.

    "Scalpers add value for ticket owners. If I own a ticket, and decide I don't want to go to the event anymore, I can sell it to a scalper. Without a scalper, I'd have to sell it myself. This ready secondary market benefits the ticket holder.

    Except you casually ignore the fact that scalpers buy tickets by the grundle as much as they can, using programs to spam buy tickets from websites, sending teams to ticket boots to buy group lots, etc. So what this does is make it harder for legitimate ticker purchasers to buy tickets at face-value. I have had this happen to me at least twice in the last year where a concert goes on sale, and an hour later all of the GA tickets are gone. Yet sure as hell , there are plenty available on craigslist IMMEDIATELY afterwards for over twice face-value. Scalpers don't add value by allowing you to sell a ticket you don't want anymore - that's what craigslist is for. Your example of them being these benevolent middlemen just trying to help the consumer is bullshit. If you can't sell a ticket yourself over the INTERNET, you're a fucking moron. PAYING someone to sell it for you just proves that point tenfold.

    Scalpers also add value for ticket purchasers who are willing to pay the price. Assume the box office is selling tickets to an event for $35. But people are willing to pay $100 for the event. Scalpers allocate the tickets to those who are willing to pay $100 for the ticket. Then the $100 buyer need not wait in line all night and sleep in the rain to get a ticket. The scalper also benefits the person who decides to go to the event at the last minute, and is willing to pay the price. (All this of course comes at the expense of those who are willing to wait all night for the $35 ticket, but will not or cannot pay $100 for the ticket.)

    I fail to see where these people who WANT to pay 3x the price of a ticket are coming from. If you ask all these people "willing" to pay $100 for a ticket if they would choose having one for them available at $35 because no one is scalping them, or $100 for the convenience of someone else buying them first, which do you think they will pick? Do you know many people who LIKE being overcharged? No? Then I have news for you buddy -- jacking up the price of an item because you got it first doesn't 'value add' anything.

    Scalpers are scumbags who take advantage of the fact that people have jobs, lives, etc. It would be nice if the fairy-tale world you lived in where scalpers were providing a legitimate service abounded, but that's not the case. Sure, in some cases it's nice to be able to get those last minute tickets to a sold out show. That's a far cry different than not being able to attend your favorite show in GA because some jackass bought 2000 tickets to scalp an hour before you get off work. And that's the reality of scalpers - they cheat the system to abuse the loyalty of fans so they can pocket some cash for themselves.

    Domain squatters are similar. They help allocate the good domains to those who are willing to pay for them.

    Domain Squatters are pretty much the same in my opinion. These are scumbags and jerkoffs who see a chance to maybe make some quick cash for a little initial investment. They're not interested in preserving the integrity of your domain name, or selling it to someone who will really 'build a business' . They're in it for themselves, only themselves, and they will generally fuck you until you're blind if it means making an extra dime.

    Just this weekend I heard of ancestry.com. I instantly knew what it was. That great name saved the business from having to build a brand. If it had been "avalea.com" instead, I would have said "what's that?" This domain should be allocated to someone who is willing to put the capital into building a good busin

  • Re:Unfortunate (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mariushm (1022195) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @12:25PM (#28211085)

    The easiest solution would be to have the price of the domain NOT refundable and more expensive. Something like 30$ for the first year, 15$ for each year that comes, and keep the values in tune with the dollar value.

    The guys that keep tons of domains do it by buying and dropping it within the allowed time limit so they only lose a few pennies and the instant they drop the domain another company that's owned by the same person (or group, whatever) buys the domain back.

    Sure, companies will have to work harder and check the credit card better to prevent fraud and so on, but I'm sure they'll also get a better commission out of it.

  • Re:Make an offer (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @12:35PM (#28211219) Homepage

    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.

    What the hell? What about people who are legitimately using the domain for their own business.

    You're talking about potentially seizing domain from people who also have a right to them. People have a habit of thinking they can extend their trademark into areas of business in which they don't actually conduct business.

    Now, if you're talking about people who could only be registering domain names because they are close to an actual company, fine. But, blatantly saying "go ahead, get yourself started and trademarked, and then seize from anyone who was there first", I call bullshit.

    Trademark isn't a magic wand.

    Cheers

  • Re:Unfortunate (Score:4, Insightful)

    by feepcreature (623518) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @01:11PM (#28211747) Homepage

    But, it doesn't stop me from memorizing things like youtube, last.fm, etc. And I get even more annoyed at everyone's insistence on putting 'www' in front of everything. I still see people type http://www.foo.com.../ [www.foo.com]

    It's nearly as annoying as the people who set up their site on www.example.com (or whatever) and don't bother making example.com point to the same place. Half-wits!

  • Re:low ball (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tgrigsby (164308) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @01:59PM (#28212399) Homepage Journal

    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".

    That's exactly what they're doing. And just like when you go to buy a car, do your research, figure out what it's worth to you and what you can afford to pay *before* you start the negotiation. Low ball them, then scrape them off the floor so you can get the price you're comfortable with.

  • 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.
  • Re:Unfortunate (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cayenne8 (626475) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @02:23PM (#28212731) Homepage Journal
    "Speculation of any sort should be frowned upon in our society. I'm all for capitalisim and making a profit, but buying something just so you can turn around and sell it to someone else for more money, without having made any improvements is just jackassery."

    Wow!!

    I have honestly never heard this point of view before..?!?!

    Goodness, isn't one of the main reasons for buying anything for business, to sell it for a profit? That's why people buy gold, etc....to resell it later for profit.

    How long have you held this point of view? Why exactly do you think it is bad? I just can't fathom what is wrong with investing in things for profit in the future.

  • Re:url? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by el americano (799629) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @03:53PM (#28214119) Homepage

    Not again! It seems like this is a popular answer lately to tell people to not ask Slashdot, as if Ask Slashdot feedback isn't useful. Why read this section then? Personally I would value intelligent advice over a lawyer's advice if it wasn't intelligent. Neither source is flawless - no, a law degree does not mean you always know what to do. In fact, in this case, it's not primarily a legal question, but a question of business strategy. Will you now tell him to get off Slashdot and hire a business consultant??

    It almost goes without saying that you can always pay a professional to get answers to your questions. Hearing the experiences of others for free is still a great value - and clever and unorthodox tactics from from a group like Slashdot is priceless.

  • by Zancarius (414244) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @04:04PM (#28214259) Homepage Journal

    When looking for something specific from a company it's also often faster to type what you're looking for in google instead of searching it at the page. If you want drivers for for your HP 1100 printer, type "hp 1100 drivers" into google rather than going to hp.com and trying to navigate there. It's simply faster. Even if you know what you're doing.

    You hit the nail on the head with this one.

    Today would've been a great day to have mod points. *sigh*

    This is exactly what I do. Say I read something on a specific site I enjoyed (maybe one of O'Reilly's various write-ups or CodeProject): I'm not going to go to the site and search. That's far too annoying, and most built-in site search forms lack the power of Google. It's easier to ask Google and then go to the results I want.

    As a side note, I've always enjoyed your posts.

  • Re:Unfortunate (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BarefootClown (267581) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @05:48PM (#28215467) Homepage

    Yes...because taking something from its rightful owner is completely analogous to buying unused property on the open market. Good analogy.

  • by grahamsz (150076) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @08:19PM (#28217009) Homepage Journal

    This is a perfect example of a situation where the first person to throw out a number loses.

    In our cases the client had their .co.uk and needed their com too. This was back in 96 so even though they were a publicly-traded company with trademarks in multiple countries it wasn't clear that it could be enforced. The board of directors got together and established something like a $15k budget to get the name back.

    I emailed the guy and he threw out $350. I literally ran to the bank and did an international wire transfer from my personal funds.

    Worked out well for us, but what a fucking idiot :)

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