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How I finally won my name from domain resellers after nine years of waiting (jerryalex.com)
176 points by jerryalex 73 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 123 comments



Timely. Not very relevant, but I just sold a domain I've owned for 5 years after being contacted by GoDaddy's brokerage service about an interested buyer.

It was actually cathartic for me -- not only did I realize that I may seem like the squatter to someone else in this situation, but it forced me to come to terms with the fact that I won't be working on that idea, ever.


> it forced me to come to terms with the fact that I won't be working on that idea, ever.

I think this is a feeling so many people working in the web sphere have to contend with at some point.


I had this, myself. I had a similarly named domain in the early 2000s. I think, technically, I was there first, and I had my name registered as a combo of a gaming tag + "tech" in the domain name. If I had more resources, maybe I could have secured the name, but they jad had a full company, and I wad just exploring amd didnt have anything commercial in the works.

I decided to just let it go and let my domain expire. I didnt approach the company to try and sell it, just let it expire. I wasn't squatting, amd I intended to use it, but the purpose didn't materialize, so I let it go. I never had any communication from the similarly named company; I dont even know if theyre still around. I just didnt renew when my time expired.


I settled on ds.gy after a lot of searching. At the time I was hoping for as short as possible unless you operate a domain (it's one letter off for standard, 2 if you operate a 2 letter TLD like http://ai./) since it maximizes the efficiency of DNS tunneling. I was expecting a lot of similar uses or a log of clever things/url shortners like t.co but what I found was basically every single and most every dual letter domain was being squatted. Made me a little sad until I saw one that matched my initials and decided that was good enough.


> like http://ai./

Slightly off topic, but it annoys me to no end that verisign doesn't operate a website at http://com./

I feel like people typing that in, then wondering what the heck just happened would be a great source of people understanding DNS more deeply.


out of curiosity, how does that work?


This is surprisingly hard to explain off the cuff. In DNS, zones are separated by dots, and a fully-qualified domain name ends in a dot. The zones exist because there are too many domains for just one server to handle and this way zones can be distributed and managed separately. DNS queries right to left, for “Google.com.” it would look at “.” and query the root servers asking if they know “Google.com.”, they could reply saying ask “.com.” at this IP. Then the .com. servers look up Google.com. and (eventually, there’s one more lookup for a Google server) return its IP address. Google.com. loads in your browser because an A record is returned by a Google name server. “ai.” is an A record returned by the name server for .ai, as registered in the root DNS servers. Similarly, Verisign could register an A record for .com. But they haven’t... um... Google for how DNS works for a more thorough and perhaps animated example.


> The zones exist because there are too many domains for just one server to handle and this way zones can be distributed and managed separately.

Though that's not really true in practice. Com hasn't exploded under the amount of traffic it faces, and merging in the other zones would only be about twice the load.


Com only handles the NS records and glue records for its direct descendants though. If there were no zones below com, its nameservers would melt from the update requests alone.


There's a reasonably large public company that has the name of my initials, so I never had a chance with that one. I do have two friends who were much more forward thinking and managed to get their 3 initial .com domains early enough before they were gobbled up.

I also tried to get my full name, but that was already taken too. He's a performer so it's probably in better hands but that doesn't lessen my disappointment much.


This is why you need a nice, long, uncommon, misspelled last name.

I originally rejected the thought of a 12-letter vanity domain, but it turns out that whenever I need to give someone my email, I've almost certainly already had to spell my name for them once already.


Aren't 3 letter domains worth a fairly insane amount of money? Did they sell them?


No, they both still have them. They're unusual enough that I doubt they'd be worth the kind of money you're thinking.


I got 9z.nz a few years ago. Without spending $$$, it is exceedingly difficult to find a short name. Fortunately, back then, gandi.net had a decent UI and access to many TLDs.


Wow AI. is so cool. Never knew about it.


I have way too many domain names, but I like it. I have several .uk, .no and .com for my own name, e.g. firstname.tld or firstnamelastname.tld. All redirecting to my main site.

For the first decade or two that was fine as usually the first page or two on a Google search of my name was all me. Very vain. Though I think there are many that shares my Norwegian name, most were not early internet adopters.

However in the last few years, some of the people that also share my name have started to creep up the search result, i.e. they have been covered in news articles or websites of their own. I have now started to feel guilty for hogging all the good domain names. If one of them reach out I would probably hand one of the domain names over at cost or share it somehow.

Though recently I have "reclaimed" some of the first page on Google as the search now states the infamous "Some results may have been removed under data protection law in Europe" at the bottom. Someone did not want to be infamous. Wasn't me, honest.

I also feel slightly guilty for the few Irish people that have my username as their firstname. Sorry, but I am keeping those domain names.


>However in the last few years, some of the people that also share my name have started to creep up the search result, i.e. they have been covered in news articles or websites of their own. I have now started to feel guilty for hogging all the good domain names. If one of them reach out I would probably hand one of the domain names over at cost or share it somehow.

Similar for me. I have RyanMercer.net .com .co.uk and almost 18 years of blog posts there but this guy in Canada had a fashion show a couple years ago and he comes up frequently now, and another 'name brother' in Canada was a kid with cancer and articles about him come up frequently, and of course the journalist in Vermont (haha so some girl matched me on Tinder last year and goes "I used to work for a Ryan Mercer!" and it was the journalist, also for years I would occasionally get email for him, his email address has an additional character where mine does not, I once got his wired.com credentials because whoever set them up omitted the character, as well as many of his assignments from employers, I also got medical and paystub info for one in the UK for the better part of a year, one in Georgia I get hotel reservations/appointment reminders/sometimes receipts for semi-regularly too...).

I also discovered recently someone bought THEryanmercer.com.

I however feel no guilt at all about owning the domains. I owned .net first (I don't know why I got it instead of .com first) and then grabbed the .com, being an Anglophile at some point I picked up the .co.uk just because. I always try to get ryanmercer on any social media service too, sadly by the time I got to twitter someone else had and had abandoned the account early on.


I think those “data protection in Europe” messages show up on all queries that Google heuristically considers human names.


I had some luck with a .de domain of my name that was being squatted.

There are some judgements in Germany that say you have a special right to the domain with your name, and it's not just first come first serve. I don't remember what exactly I did because it happened a while ago. But it involved sending a physical letter to Denic pointing out that this was domain was my name. I never heard back, but when I checked in a while later, the domain was free for the taking and I bought it.

I assume this only worked because it was a squatter and not someone else with the same name.


Good for you! I enjoyed reading about your persistence and eventual triumph, knowing how shady the business of domain squatting is.

> Generally, these auctions will drive up the price by bidding on their own domains to get you to pay more.

This practice feels like a form of fraud, but I guess it's not against any law..?

> I had also initially setup the script to auto-purchase the domain, but that failed due to Namecheap not recognizing the domain availability in time.

Interesting to hear this, as I was curious about using their API to automate domain purchasing as part of a larger web service. I imagine they cache results and refresh periodically, which is good enough for most purposes.


Shill bidding is illegal in most places, and if not, would definitely be under the fraud umbrella, although IANAL.


Can someone explain why there isn't a rule that if you let a domain lapse then it stops working, but you have a year to renew it again before anybody else can buy it?

Even if you really didn't want it anymore and somebody else did (and didn't want to wait the year), they could always just ask/pay you for it.


I mean, there's like 40 days to renew a domain once it expires. So you want to extend 40 days to 365? [1]

The thing is, if you forgot to renew your domain, and didn't do it even 40 days after the expiry date, are you going to do it 365 days after?

I think 40 days is a lot of time to check your email and see 20 emails from your registrar screaming at you to renew...

[1] https://www.dynadot.com/community/help/question/renewal-grac...


> I think 40 days is a lot of time to check your email and see 20 emails from your registrar screaming at you to renew...

Apparently it isn't when so many people have it happen to them that there is a profitable business in registering the names right after they expire in order to sell them back to the original owners.

And there are a lot of domains, especially for personal use, that you might not notice disappear right away. The registrar has your old email that you don't check very often, the domain is for a low-traffic site you don't check very often, it takes a while for you to realize it. Meanwhile I can't see any legitimate disadvantage in it at all -- what's the big rush to assign the name to somebody else without the original owner's permission?

Also:

> Some domain extensions do not offer renewal and/or redemption periods or offer them for different lengths of time.


gandi.net gives you a month after expiry to renew at the regular price, and then another period i think longer than a month to renew at a higher price.


Some bottom feeder stole my personal domain after I let it lapse and is now literally holding it hostage for $6000 last I checked. http://sergiotapia.me/

I just bought sergio.dev, the squatter can choke on my old domain.


If you let it lapse, is "stole" a bit strong? I'd think "stole" would be getting your login/email and transferring the domain away while you had it registered?


It's more like you dropped your wallet on the street and the guy walking behind you picked it up and won't give it back unless you pay him.


No, it's more like you accidentally put something out on the street by your trash and someone came by and picked it up. Just because you got rid of it on accident doesn't mean you didn't get rid of it.

And to forestall arguments about that being someone's property, trash on the street is considered public property in many (most?) jurisdictions, which is why the police don't need a warrant to go through it.

Edit: and there are ways that this gets slimy too. I'm not debating the maral ramifications of this, just whether it fits the common definition of stealing. It's less theft and more more someone looking for people's small mistakes and making a living my making them very costly for those people. Morally bankrupt, but not illegal. Like the person who drives around looking for ADA compliance issues with businesses so they can sue them, not to make the situation better but just to extract money. Not illegal, but pretty despicable when done for personal gain.


In some jurisdictions, the guy behind you would actually be entitled to a finder's reward in this case. For example, here in Germany, finder's reward is between 3% or 5% of the item's value: https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/bgb/__971.html


The only reason a squatter ever registers expiring domain names is to capitalize on someone else's mistake and to see if they can extort some cash out of someone or take over a domain with existing backlinks for black hat SEO reasons. I don't think "stole" is really all that strong of a statement albeit technically incorrect.

If someone buys up an expiring domain name because they want to actually use it and not just try and immediately sell it back to the previous owner no one has an issue with that.


I think stole, while not technically correct, is appropriate. The squatter had no intention of using the domain. They jumped on a domain that had just expired and registered it in the hope that the previous owner had made a mistake and might be willing to pay them an exorbitant amount of money to get it back.


I think it's more likely they registered it in the hope that it's valuable in general. Not that the previous owner had made a mistake.


I let a previous, business, domain go a few years ago. 3-4 months later I started getting mail offering to sell it back to me for several thousand dollars from some scumsucking company. Jokes on them, I let it expire because I was done with that property. They mailed me every week or two for several months and it was definitely a "we send thousands of these a day, this is blatantly a form letter that we've copy pasted your semi-nonsensical domain into"


Lets pick a different word that can be used in the pejorative which accurately reflects our disdain

“Domain marauders swept in”?

“Swiped it”?


I am also facing similar issue. Forgot to renew my domain and now someone has bought it and asking $1000 for it.


This is exactly why I just renewed my personal domain for 10 years!


If it was 9 years, then the squatters definitely won.


No one won. The squatters lost money, the guy lost time.


I don't know about Game Theory, but is it correct to call this outcome a Nash Equilibrium?

Edit: I thought about it for a while, and it seems incorrect to say so. If the buyer's strategy is "always wait", and the seller's strategy is "always sell at an outrageous price", it should be a Nash Equilibrium, similar to a Prisoner's dilemma. But the buyer's strategy is actually "buy if the price is reasonable, wait if not", so the broker can always choose to lower the price to a reasonable level, both allowing the blogger to purchase the domain name, and profits from it. But the broker doesn't appear to be rational enough to choose this strategy, possible due to stupidity or limitations of the business model. What is the suitable term for this phenomenon?


How do you figure? Doesn't that mean the squatters paid for it for 9 years and never ended up selling it?


Don't know if one can call that "domain squatting", but it's worth buying young kids a domain after their name while it is still available. The chance that it will be useful to them one day is pretty high.


Pretty high? Even most of my nerd friends don't have their own name registered.


I was in a similiar situation where I have the same name, spelling and all as a very famous person in my country. So this person had the .com domain and I waited 7 years for it to be dropped and eventually the person switched to our country's domain instead.


I had a domain 2004-2006 for an online alias. I was in high school and it was just for fun. Not even valuable or interesting. I let it lapse intentionally, but then it was held by somebody for 10 years.

They finally dropped it in 2014 and someone else who had taken up the nickname registered it in 2016. I had mostly given up on the name anyway because I had collisions on a few services with 1 or 2 people using the same.

Seems so silly to hold a domain like that. Shit for traffic. Hosted only hobbyist/personal content (easily verifiable on archive.org). I certainly wasn't going to shell out anything even if I could find who was holding it. They did have a contact/interest form at some points during those 10 years, but I know there were times when there was nothing. I avoided contact because I expected showing interest in it would prolong their hold or just result in a stupid price. Just a dead domain.


I might be late at this discussion but does anyone know how to I can win my domain name back from Yahoo Small Business?

Back Story: In 2005, when I was new to Computing world, I searched for "Free domain" and something led to another and Yahoo at the time bought the domain (while it seemed I would have to pay later). I did not use it and tried to see it in 2012 again, turns out someone was indeed using it (had same name), fair enough but now the domain is back with yahoo and I can not contact them at all. I tried their customer care [1], no reply. Also tried their forums, no reply. Cant get them on call either.

Any suggestions?

1: https://help.smallbusiness.yahoo.net/s/


Have any TLDs attempted to implement a property tax on domains according to value to reduce cyber squatting? To implement a property tax, Glen Weyl and Eric Posner have proposed using self-assessment so that users pay what they want (https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2818494 and https://www.amazon.com/Radical-Markets-Uprooting-Capitalism-...)


I don't understand how you can ever have a just society if society can deem at any point that your property is too valuable for you to hold anymore. Of course they happens in society today, but I don't see how making it easier for property to be forcibly reallocated would help create a more just society.


Property rights over scarce resources are inherently exclusionary to the rest of society: By holding onto property you deny others access to it.

The question society then need to come to terms with is to what extent it is prepared to grant that exclusionary control.

It is not clear to me how you can have a just society without curtailing property rights. Every country on the planet add substantial restrictions to what you can do with "your" property already in order to reduce the negative impact that property rights has on the rest of society, so the question is really to what extent property rights are balanced to maximize benefit.


Do you realize that the reason the squatter abandoned the domain (instead of keeping it forever) is the $8/year registry fee? My question is why should the squatter pay only $8 per year, and not, say, $50?


As a Glen Weyl-esque solution, make an owner of x domains pay x dollars for each domain they own. This way personal users get cheap domains, and we extract quite a lot of money from squatters.


Collateral damage prevention. A poor-ish hobbyist on the fence about creating a website or not would be discouraged by a higher fee.


Why should they pay $50? What are you charging for above cost of service?


When speculators hold onto domain names without using them, their right to exclude imposes a cost on the other member of society who wishes to use the property productively. So like progressive property taxes in general, a domain tax should be high enough not only to pay for the direct cost of services, but also to discourage idle speculators and encourage owners to use the domain productively.


I know that having a domain name is a fun way to get to know a lot of computer-related concepts, making that opportunity less accessible for people does not sound like a good thing to me - I want future kids to be able to play with internet the same way, don't know if you relate or not.

Not to mention if domains were more expensive we'd have more link-rot, which is already really nasty.


We can apply the same techniques used for progressive property taxes to prevent the two problems you identified: e.g., an owner-occupier exemption for a single domain name per person, and a deduction for investments in building the domain’s brand so that a domain with high pagerank or marketing investment pays a lower tax.


What are the terms by which value is measured?


In the paper by Glen Weyl linked above, the property tax should be set at about 1/normal turnover rate (e.g. 1/30 years = 3.3% per year), owners should declare their own assessed value for which they pay the tax (e.g. on the $1500 asking price in the article, the tax could be about $50/year assuming a 3.3% tax rate), and then if someone else wishes to buy the property they can purchase at the same self-assessed value.


That sounds terrible. Companies should not have to pay millions of dollars per year to keep their domain safe.

If a website-needing company pays based on how badly it would hurt them to lose that site, it would destroy their margins. If they pay a more reasonable amount, or if they're just a smaller company, they're vulnerable to competitors kicking them offline at a whim.

Land is pretty much the only area where taxing a significant percentage of value makes sense, and even then it's frustrating and awful to do it with a buyout system.


So the holder assigns their own "make me move" price? For e.g. Disney this would be "infinity," and I've taken a math class recently enough to know that 3.3% of infinity is infinity.


fyi in Weyl’s book, he says that to avoid this problem, “Possessors would be allowed to group their assets into clusters and to pull them apart, as they choose.” In other words, Disney could bundle the domain with the business (which is already listed for only $243 billion, not “infinity”) http://assets.press.princeton.edu/chapters/s11222.pdf

I think in general the business should be bundled with the domain, although I think that probably there should be some oversight preventing completely unrelated domains from being bundled together.


I don't think name as domain is important anymore since it's pretty much a numbers game - it is unlikely you'll get your name as a .com domain(the only domain that matters if you want more than a toy website) is going to either be squatted on or already occupied.

There needs to be some sort of TLD with authentication. Let's call it .name You only get .name if you do a KYC/register with the government.In case of collision you get bidding wars, however the money goes to a non profit internet charity. Instant SEO and a guarantee that you actually get to have a web presence without gatekeeping.


Of course there is actually a ".name". I co-founded the company that set it up, and the original idea was to share the second level so you'd get full control over firstname.lastname.name with e-mail forwarding from [first name]@[last name].name. This followed an e-mail service (Nameplanet) we set up when two of us were discussing how we were both basically blocking a whole [lastname].[tld] domain for ourselves.

Unfortunately .name largely proved too hard to communicate quickly enough, and meanwhile it's clear that people for the most part don't mind weird addresses and/or don't have an issue with seeing e-mail addresses as transient. Which I find quite weird, given I've had the same e-mail address for 20 years at this point. Today .name is operated by Verisign, and second level registrations were enabled years ago, and I do occasionally see them, but the original concept really was part of a wave of people talking about "digital identities" on the net that just died off, in part I think because it seems most of the time peoples identity is much more fluid outside of very official circumstances. E.g. you don't necessarily always want your e-mail address to give away your full name, or your name at all, and in the more formal contexts (e.g. work) you often have another e-mail address anyway and/or your e-mail address is not an important element.

Incidentally, in retrospect I wonder if ".nom" or ".nym" or one of the other proposed names would have been (marginally) easier - people often hear ".name" and think it's a placeholder for a name, especially when you try to explain that your e-mail address is [your first name]@[your last name].name. I use my .com of the same format, and it seems to lead to fewer questions than when I also had/used my .name.


My email is my [first]@[last].com. I constantly have to explain to people that I am indeed saying [first]@[last].com and not [first].[last]@gmail.com. Ughh.

Still, worth it. I love my email address!


I have the same thing, and it gets really annoying when your TLD is not, say, .net/.org/.com, and you're interacting with non-tech-savvy people like in your local municipal office, etc. It's funny how so many people assume that your email will be something@gmail or something@yahoo...But then you ask them how their work email is structured, and then they respond: oh, yeah, i never thought private people would have their own email addresses!" I would expect this in the early 2000s, but now in 2019!?! It's surprising and annoying - because you have to spend extra seconds explaining stuff to people, and getting them to "believe you" that, yes, that is my personal email address.


I have $FIRSTNAME@$LASTNAME.me. Not only do I get people being like "...dot me ...dot com?" when I speak it aloud, I've actually encountered one municipal government whose email address validation _actually rejects it_. Thank goodness I also have $NICKNAME$LASTNAME.com, although that has its own problems ($LASTNAME[0] == "Y" and $NICKNAME has a common hypocoristic form ending in "y", so people sometimes misread it as ${NICKNAME}y$LASTNAME.com).


I have to say, .name always bugged me because it's dependent on ignoring all of us who share the same first+last names with others. It's like a TLD that purposefully implements [1]. At least the other TLDs are free-form, they don't purport to be some sort of registry of people.

[1] https://www.kalzumeus.com/2010/06/17/falsehoods-programmers-...


It didn't ignore it - we had lots and lots of long discussions about it, and the precursor - Nameplanet - was founded exactly because the alternative was worse; some of the most popular last names are shared by many million people, and a single person per TLD was able to make use of it. By sharing the second level, magnitudes more people would potentially be able to share it.

My last name is extremely rare, but it's still ~400-500 people that share my last name; enough to exhaust all current tlds.

When we founded Nameplanet, we did an extensive exercise to model it, and we bought ~60,000 domain names to maximize coverage of popular last names, and for very popular last names that obviously gave better coverage than .name, but in terms of first name / last name combinations it was better.

Even for people facing collisions, it still meant much simpler addresses a lot of the time.

Your objection is actually largely the opposite of the bigger problem in adoption: The number of people who want their name as their address is much smaller than we thought.


For non-US customers, what about using regional TLDs?


It's not terribly unlikely for some combination of first-name|last-name|initials|shortened-name to be available in `.com`. I've registered myself and a few friends/family for emails that way.

I had the best results were with [first initial][second initial][last name], ex:

John Smith Doe --> jsdoe.com

Then you can email with john@jsdoe.com, which makes it more clear that the js are initials.


I have solved this by cunningly being born outside of the anglosphere. I own my first name domain in my native language's script (.com) as well as in Latin (.dev, my people are too plentiful for me to have got the . com).


My first domain name was my full name (never occurred to me to look for my initials). Then maybe a year after I was able to get the full name of my brothers and mom and dad and gave this as a holiday gift. After a year they let them expire. :p

I have a few domains for projects I want to do. Unfulfilled dream squatting. But for me the thrill of buying domains was always to nab that hip domain name. Some favorites—which I never owned but wish I did: JoanieLovesChachi.com, Superbad.com. Hahah makes me laugh every time.


Curious on what experienced domain buyers would suggest in my case.

After many years of procrastination I decided to see how much would it cost to purchase myfirstname.com (about 5k people in the world have this name).

Turns out it is impossible to even enquire on purchasing this domain.

The domain is not being used.

Archive.org shows 3 hits in the last 15 years, all minimal parked pages, last hit being 2013.

Domain registration is private. My whois-fu is rather weak.

So what can I do to contact the owner?

Some big name reseller is just sitting on this name for 10+ years and waiting for who knows what.


You can either contact them through the privatized email in their whois info, or use a domain name broker who will attempt to purchase it on your behalf. I have never used one myself, but have had them email me about buying my domains.


Still waiting to get mine. I registered my first domain name from my national provider, and always wanted to move the domain aboard to the U.S. or a European registrar, however, the bureaucratic process of initializing a transfer is ridiculous. It's not an important domain name, so I decided to take the risk and allow the domain to expire, so I could re-register it. Unfortunately, the dropped domain was instantly caught by a broker.

Waiting mode...


Good for you Jerry! I hope I never forget my renewal myself! Luckily I use Gandi as a registrar and they're good about reminders to their clients!


A couple of years ago, I renewed the three domains I care most about (a three-letter one, my name, and a domain I've had since they were free from hostmaster) for as long as their respective gTLD registries would permit. I figure that plus a script I have that checks them for shenanigans[0] should keep them in good order.

0 - Checks every 30 minutes for changed nameservers, domain contacts, and if the renewal date is less than six months in the future. Texts me immediately if it there's a difference or once a week if no changes noted (so I know the script ran).


Thank you! I don't remember which registrar I used back then, but I wish I had used something like Gandi. I'm using Google domains now


I have Google Domains autorenew my domain for me. Does Gandi have something similar?


I think auto-renewal is quite universal nowadays; the problem is keeping the payment method up to date!


I use Gandi - yes they offer auto-renewal of domains, configurable on a per-domain basis.


Yes


I have a recurring notice every 3 months to remind me to check expirations. Takes a few minutes each season and hasn’t failed till now.


I would like to get nathanbroadbent.com one day. The only problem is that the current owner is also named Nathan Broadbent, and they're also a software developer and startup founder. (This has caused some confusion a few times, such as identity verification for a bank, and during an interview with US immigration.)

ndbroadbent.com will do for now!


My domain name was mentioned in a bunch of publications associated with a very famous national treason case. I’ve tried to get them to edit the articles to remove it as there’s no real journalistic value in it and just hurts me.

Sucks to have a domain I’ve used for over 10 years for email and stuff to be rendered unusable by bad press.


This is great and all unless your domain drops and it is caught by something like dropcatch.com or competitors.


It was caught by dropcatch actually. I didn't bid in the auction though. Eventually it was released.


sounds like you didn't want the domain?


This is addressed in the article. He wanted the domain, but didn't want to pay more than necessary for it. This includes avoiding an auction that could unnecessarily inflate the price.


Took me a while to get mine. Glad more people can avoid the John Malkovich problem:

https://youtu.be/vNInrUkctc4

https://youtu.be/YjzYaLxplbw


There is a big difference between domain squatting and domain investing. Or simply buying domains that drop.

I don’t understand how you can say that it’s “domain squatting” on “your” name if you don’t own a trademark on the word or on your name. As others have pointed out, there may be other people who have the same name as you. How is it your name versus their name? My definition of domain squatting is buying a domain name that already has a trademark on it. The “rule” states that even if a word has a trademark, if someone bought the domain before the tm holder applied for the tm, then the domain owner still can own the domain. As long as it was not registered in bad faith.

The key here is “bad faith”.

Python scripts are no longer necessary to grab expired domains, that’s what backorder services are for. I recommend backordering the names of all your current sites just in case you fail to renew the name. Backorder it on multiple services, as it truly is a race to see which service gets it.


I remember in the early-mid 1990's, we print (yes print) the entire list of register domains and laugh at the big company names NOT in the list.


Would you mind sharing how much they actually wanted for it?

Are we talking 9 years of waiting, vs $500, or 9 years of waiting, vs $10,000?

Regardless, congrats on getting it back.


Says $1500 in the post.


Sorry, I missed that -- cheers!


I think a lot of people don't know what "domain squatting" is.

If there's a domain you want, but someone else has it but is not using it, that's not squatting. If you let your personal name domain expire, and someone else registers it, that's not squatting.

In order for it to be squatting, they have to be trying to profit off a trademark. I assume Jerry Alex is not a trademark.

"Cybersquatting (also known as domain squatting), according to the United States federal law known as the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, is registering, trafficking in, or using an Internet domain name with bad faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else. The cybersquatter then offers to sell the domain to the person or company who owns a trademark contained within the name at an inflated price. " https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cybersquatting


People know full well what they're talking about: holding domains for profit, not any crime, not domain underuse, not domain snatching. That may not be the legal definition of "domain squatting", but neither are the common and legal definitions the same for "brief", "motion", or "harassment". US law narrowing a term doesn't make common use wrong.


I get that people misuse words sometimes, and occasionally the definition of those words changes to match the common use.

But still, squatting is not "someone bought a domain that used to be mine. And when I asked to buy it back, the price was not what I was willing to pay." It's not.


> If there's a domain you want, but someone else has it but is not using it, that's not squatting. If you let your personal name domain expire, and someone else registers it, that's not squatting.

But these aren't mutually exclusive with your description of the legal definition of squatting, right? If someone just happens to have the same name as you, and buys your expired personal domain name to use as their personal website, of course that's not cybersquatting. But isn't it cybersquatting if they purchase the domain with the intention of selling it to you at an above-average price?

The US legal definition you posted seems to imply that, with the phrase "trafficking in." I think simply offering the domain for sale with the knowledge that it is probably more valuable than the average domain because of its association to some well-known name or trademark absolutely qualifies as cybersquatting. But I could absolutely be mistaken. That's just my relatively hasty reading of the US law.


If you buy faaaaacebook.com, that's probably a violation of trademark law but that's not squatting.

If you buy facebook.co and try to sell it to Facebook for $1 million, that's squatting.


Also 'I had forgotten to renew it and it was immediately snatched up' means they didn't notice renewal emails, didn't notice the website stopped working, if it truly expired, it takes months go through that process without them noticing.


Yes, this. People complaining about failed renewals always leave this out. On top of not noticing renewal notices, there’s a 45 day renewal grace period where you can renew the domain after it expires. And even if you miss that, there’s another 30 redemption grace period, where you can pay a fee and have the name restored anyway.

So you’re usually talking at least 2-3 months of not noticing or caring.

Registrars are also required to email domain holders and ask them to update their contact information and email yearly. So you’ve really got no excuse if you lose a domain via expiration.


It happens sometimes. I once owned a domain via MediaTemple registered to an account that no longer existed. I tried but MT wouldn't let me renew the domain even with proof that I was the owner other account (whois contact info, cc purchase history).

Only way to get that domain back was to let it expire and hope no one took it.


What do you mean by “the account no longer existed” Do you mean you no longer had access to the email? If you either have the email account or you know the password to your domain account you should be able to get in and change things/renew. Otherwise you’d have to lose both your email account and your password.


The email account no longer existed because our company shutdown and all email addresses were deleted. The MT account too was deleted using the dashboard.

After the storm settled and I got control of all remaining assets, I decided I wanted to keep the domain for sentimental value which is when I discovered that it was all gone.


Reminds me of the hacking/cracking argument.

The commonly accepted definition of squatting is registering and sitting on a domain with no intention of using it other than to sell it at a profit. How a US-only law defines it isn't really irrelevant.


> I assume Jerry Alex is not a trademark.

I'd say it is. He markets himself under that mark, including offering a newsletter with a business focus. Remember that trademarks don't have to be registered; but he could even do that, if he gains enough visibility - see the registered trademark "Sarah Palin", for example.


People like to think that generic domain names are somehow common property or something, and anyone holding that property for profit is somehow evil.

It’s as if someone bought the lot across from your house, and then sold it for a profit and you say “Hey! That’s next door to me... they are evil to hold or sell it.. what if my friends/parents, etc want to live there!?”

Why do people think generic names shouldn’t be priced at what the market demands. And with name domains... who says you get that name when there are probably tons of other people sharing your exact name. Should you get a house on Smith Dr, just because you share that last name?

Stop treating generic domains like no one should own them... they’re valuable internet real estate, and they deserve to be priced accordingly.


> People like to think that generic domain names are somehow common property or something, and anyone holding that property for profit is somehow evil.

Buying property anywhere and then sitting on it without developing it is a negative for everyone in that community, so of course its "evil" and frowned upon.

> It’s as if someone bought the lot across from your house, and then sold it for a profit and you say “Hey! That’s next door to me... they are evil to hold or sell it.. what if my friends/parents, etc want to live there!?”

If that person bought the lot with no intention of ever building on it... you're exactly right! That's terrible, and most developments strongly discourage this sort of situation by requiring the buyer to build a house to a certain standard within a certain period of time, all to avoid empty lots all over the place.

> And with name domains... who says you get that name when there are probably tons of other people sharing your exact name.

Nobody. Nobody says that. What people say is that the first person with an intention of building something on it should get it, and not just the richest person with that name. Squatters prevent anyone using the domain until someone with a lot of money to spend shows up.


You’re talking about housing developments where the owner of the land requires builders to build certain numbers of houses. That’s because they are in the process of developing it already and want it to be appealing to home buyers.

Prior to that the land was owned, probably for a long period of time, before the area was deemed worthy of development.

Do you really think there are just empty tracks of land waiting for the first buyer... that are held by whom???

No... someone took a risk and bought the land speculating that eventually the land would be wanted by someone to develop something on it. Same as purchasing a domain, paying the yearly fees... and hoping eventually some one will want to develop on it.

And if it’s beach front property... the equivalent of a nice domain name... it’s gonna go for a lot more.

Again, there’s no public trust or anything to hold property just in case someone wants to develop on it, because who decides who gets to use it?

Instead there are private investors taking a risk to carry the property, possibly for a loss.

> Nobody. Nobody says that. What people say is that the first person with an intention of building something on it should get it, and not just the richest person with that name. Squatters prevent anyone using the domain until someone with a lot of money to spend shows up.

That’s some utopia!! Who decides if what you’re building is valid or useful? What if I just display “hello” on the page? How about relevant ads related to the domain? What if I want to display my favorite music... what if my son just wants to post pictures of his LEGO’s? Who defines the line?? You’re gonna say “hello” or “ads” doesn’t count but pictures of Legos do? Why? You or some cabal get to dictate what speech is relevant? Your method of handing domains to the first person with “intention” quickly falls into abuse, corruption, censorship, etc.

I’d rather have a free market, thanks.


Free market is how you've gotten cities where natives can't afford to buy property since non-natives(mostly chinese investors) own all the property and refuse to sell or rent at reasonable rates. I think the free market concept has fundamentally failed for non-renewable/expandable resources and should be recognized as such.


I personally think that some engineers should just help create some dockerized name servers that can be deployed and do away with ICANN altogether, that way you can have your own TLD without paying $15,000+ dollars a year.


It kind of amazes me that we cannot resolve arbitrary strings as TLD's. Yeah let the .com's and country codes get locked down by the regs, but there's an almost-nowhere-dense space of strings.

I guess the hard part is in resolving contention over particularly desirable strings.


After reading this I thought what the heck let’s see if I can grab my name. For 15$ I now own my name at a .ca domain. I know I need to find a host I think but literally have no website experience or idea what I need to do next lol.


> have no website experience or idea what I need to do next

Here are some ideas:

- Often the company where you bought the domain will also offer email and website hosting. That would be the simplest way to start using the new domain. Otherwise, find a company that provides those two services together.

- Create a file called index.html with the text "hi!". Depending on the web host, it may be possible to do that with a web interface. Otherwise, learn how to edit files on your site using FTP, file transfer protocol.

- Learn HTML and CSS by playing around with that one file. If you find that you enjoy it, well, you'll never stop learning - and who knows where the road might go!


You could always start with Github pages


A .com is more valuable than .ca


I disagree. If the person is Canadian and the domain isn't for a "generic brand," then no, I'd actually say that .ca is more valuable than .com. It makes the name more personal to the individual and, in an industry where a lot of us have our own domains, uniqueness can be more valuable.


Op's comment says the .com is for 3500 USD so the market thinks a .com is more valuable.


Theses prices are arbitrary. When I was able to get a credit card, the first thing I tried was to buy my username domain name, obviously, the .com was my priority. At the time it was 8k CAD, the .net was a bit better at 1.6k CAD.

Both were renewed at first but the second time .net didn't get renewed, unlike OP it didn't get into an auction (I don't think it was usual in 2011) and I just had to wait until the expiration delay was up and I got it.

Now the .com is worth 38 618,96$ CAD. There's no reason for an inflation that high for the past 8 years. No one needs that domain. I never received any request for mine. Except the fact that it contains "wild" inside, it's pretty much useless for much.

It's not at all related to any market, it's arbitrary.


I am Canadian. I have no direction for a website, pondered a few ideas over the years, but no exact need for a website at this point in time. But now that I own my domain perhaps I will slap something together and see what comes if it. But like I mention I know very little about how to do any of this. But I do like reading HN so information is something I find interesting. I hope I can find some obscure way to use my domain.


The default is simply to use it for a personal email address. Then redirect HTTP requests to whatever page you'd want someone to see, like a github profile or whatever.


I would love to pick up the .com as well however it is up for about $3500usd. That’s a lot of money since I literally just grabbed my .ca domain with no website or business in mind. But I will try have fun with it. Thanks




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