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Prices, Gouging and Haggling for Internet Domains? 184

GregStevensLA asks: "I'm considering paying for a 'premium' domain name for a small web start-up I want to form. The company that currently holds the domain name is offering it for $1500, but they made it clear to me that they expect a counter-offer and are 'willing to make a deal.' I've never done this before, and I have no idea what a reasonable counter-offer is. If I say 'I can't go above $1000' am I being too easy? Should I try to push for lower than that? My understanding is that these prices are hugely inflated anyway (i.e. pure profit going to companies that probably scooped up the domains for free). In some sense, paying anything beyond a registration fee is gouging, in my opinion. I don't want to be conned... on the other hand, this is the reality of business, and I don't want to come across as amateurish. Does anyone have any advice for this new-comer to domain name purchasing?"
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Prices, Gouging and Haggling for Internet Domains?

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  • by linvir ( 970218 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @08:42PM (#15432287)
    Let's get it out of the way early, because I can feel this wave of antipathy coming...

    Please do your best to find an alternative first. Look into alternatives before succumbing and compensating these worthless parasites for their land grabbing.

    • And then offer them $9- the cost of the domain at GoDaddy for one year, and make it clear that you're also willing to haggle. I wonder if they'll accept less than $750?
      • I would definitely start by offering far less than they're asking just to see how serious they are. $750 would be a good starting point, maybe even less. The longer they've had the name the more likely they are to sell, since its probably not in high demand. Profit margins in the domain market are even more obscene than high end jewelery stores, so they'll be making money no matter how much they sell it for.
        • I would definitely start by offering far less than they're asking just to see how serious they are. $750 would be a good starting point, maybe even less. The longer they've had the name the more likely they are to sell, since its probably not in high demand. Profit margins in the domain market are even more obscene than high end jewelery stores, so they'll be making money no matter how much they sell it for.

          I mentioned the $750 because it's the natural haggle price (as opposed to the "captive market" pric
      • I got one of these dorks down from $3900 to $150... so go low.
    • I fail it (Score:2, Funny)

      by linvir ( 970218 )
      Sorry Mr. Question Asker, I tried my best to save your Ask Slashdot from mindless Slashbot mutual reassurance, but judging from the comments so far, which have almost exclusively echoed my frosty piss to the letter without being marked redundant, I have failed you. I apologise sincerely and vow to turn my brain in during the next amnesty on inadequacy.
    • Mostly I agree, but I also have some sites that I started and never went anywhere. I never turned them into spam ad sites and I mostly still own the domains because I keep forgetting to cancel the auto-charge on the domains. I don't want $1500 for these domains but enough to cover what I've spent on them would be nice. Say maybe $150 each? I don't think that's unreasonable given that I'm making no effort to sell them and still wouldn't mind making them work if I found time to make the sites I originally pla
      • I always wanted to make a Thundarr The Barbarian fan site, so I bought the domain... but I never got around to making the site. A couple of years ago, I got an offer to buy it from one of the employees of Raven Software, so I ended up selling it for $100 and a copy of Soldier Of Fortune Platinum that came on CD-R. Heh.
    • Don't offer $1000. Jesus no. In fact don't offer anything, just specify that the aount they are asking is too much and to have a nice day. I was reading a transcript of an exchange with a registrar over a domain name that started at $5000 and ended up at about $100 as he made it clear that each amount specified was too much and that he was 'sorry but as an individual he'd have to decline'.

      I wouldn't be surprised if the emails you get are nearly automated. They are just hoping for that one big score, and
    • not worth it.
      but if you will consider his opinion more throughly:

      paul graham's take on it [infogami.com].

  • Hey Greg (Score:5, Funny)

    by bluelip ( 123578 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @08:44PM (#15432296) Homepage Journal
    Hey Greg,

              We spoke eralier about you purchasing a domain name from us. In light of recent interest in the domain, we're now asking $2500.

    Your Friendly Neighborhood Domain Dealer
    • Reminds me of one of my favorite Futurama quotes, from the episode called "Put Your Head on my Shoulders." The gang is at Elzar's restaurant as bender comes up offering to sell roses to give to their dates.

      Bender: Now how about a rose for the lady? Five bucks a pop!
      Gary: I'll take one.
      Fry: Oh, yeah? Well I want one too.
      Bender: Eight bucks.
      Fry: But you just said--
      Bender: Demand suddenly skyrocketed. You all saw it!

  • by nxtw ( 866177 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @08:44PM (#15432299)
    Don't give these cybersquatting bastards money. If cybersquatting wasn't so profitable, the cybersquatters wouldn't exist.
  • Don't Buy It (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mysqlrocks ( 783488 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @08:46PM (#15432304) Homepage Journal
    I refuse to give money to domain squatters. Buy another domain name, be creative. Domain names become less and less important every day. Focus on SEO and other ways of getting people to your website. The domain name just isn't that important unless you're going to do a lot of non web-based advertising (radio, TV, print, etc.). You can pay for a lot of clicks on Google AdWords for $1000.
    • Re:Don't Buy It (Score:4, Informative)

      by patio11 ( 857072 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @09:50PM (#15432598)
      Yep. Are you intending for your web site to be a destination location? Like, someone will log on and say "I want to go to Bob's web site now, www.bobswebsite.com"? Because the vast majority of home users do NOT have usage patterns like this and I'm guessing your users won't either. Back in the olden days of the Internet, when search engines were unknown or cruddy and Internet expertise was nil, somebody who wanted to try out that whole "buying books online" thing might actually type in www.books.com just to see if it worked. Then books.com, internet.com, business.com, nameofyourbusiness.com, etc were worth a lot of money. Now, most of your first-time leads are going to be coming in from search engines and they largely don't care about your domain name (helps to have a search term in the url, of course, but you can get that just as easily by naming yourself www.bobs-pc-shop.com instead of www.bobs-pc.com). Your returning customers will either remember the domain name (rather unlikely), go to their history tab (very unlikely), go to a bookmark they made (suprisingly likely, and a convinient "bookmark this site" button works wonders), or just do it the easy way and Google your business name again.

      Heck, I'm as atypical as a user can be and I've been finding myself Googling "Amazon" recently.

      • Re:Don't Buy It (Score:2, Insightful)

        You're right.... I think I am trapped, a little bit, in an "oldschool" attitude about the transparency of domain names.

        At the same time, I can't help wondering... would www.google.com have gained as much popularity if it had been www.askmenoquestionsilltellyounolies.me.uk ?

        Would www.myspace.com be as popular if it was called www.socialnetworkingprofilesforyouandme.org.tw?

        • Re:Don't Buy It (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Glonoinha ( 587375 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @10:05PM (#15432658) Journal
          Actually Google wasn't even a word - they made it up because googol was already taken.
          Yourname.com (or whatever) is already taken, so make something else up. If it can work for Google, it can work for you.
        • Re:Don't Buy It (Score:5, Informative)

          by patio11 ( 857072 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @10:21PM (#15432729)
          Both Google and MySpace are intended to be what my father the real-estate agent would call "destination locations" -- you go out with the specific intent to patronize one or two of them, the same way you go out with the specific intent to patronize your bank. This is why a bank generally does not stress overmuch about being on a corner. You can compare this to gas stations, which are NOT destinations (nobody says "Hmm, I think I'll hop in the car and drive over to that Shell station on 67th street next to the Burger King") -- their location is critically important to them. Almost every gas station you find will be built on a corner, for maximum visiblity and accessibility.

          In the Internet, things are almost completely reversed. If you're a destination, then you might well get accessed by the address bar (Amazon, Google, eBay, MySpace) -- its very important to you to have a punchy, memorable, very unambiguous (can't be mispelled or misremembered) name. If you're not a destination, you rely on people seeing you "from the road" as it were, and in today's internet "the road" is Google. Google doesn't care whether you have a maximally-punchy minimally-long domain name or not.

          I wouldn't write a 45 letter domain name for the heck of it, but you can feel free to not treat "six to eight characters terminated with .com, and exactly equivalent to your business name" as the gospel anymore. You're the expert on your own business, so you're best qualified to determine whether your users will see you as a destination location or not.

          • Re:Don't Buy It (Score:4, Interesting)

            by fermion ( 181285 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @11:15PM (#15432902) Homepage Journal
            I think it is a bit more complicated than this. Gas stations aare wierd because people will often stop at whatever gas station is on thier way because it is not a long term stop. For example the station that is accesible directly to the off and on ramp of a freeway has an advantage to one in which the driver has to take a convoluted route. This is the same for fast food stores. OTOH, banks, stores, and the like, is often more a time commitment.

            But even banks will pay extra to build where the customers are. For instance, there are two new banks near me. Both are built on pretty recently expensive real estate, real estate that could have been had much cheaper a few miles down the road. But they built where the money was.

            So there is some element of "location" here, like being a .com, and bussiness routinely make decisions to pay exhorbanant fees for location. But there is a second issue here, and that is branding. If one is burger king, then building a consistant brand means that you must use something like BK.com, and, if the brand is established, then the law pretty much gives access to those domain.

            However, a new service still has to worry about presenting a consistant brand and a veneer of credibility. It may be shallow but I think twice about dealing with a so-called pro that has an address at aol.com, or ms.com, or even mac.com. I mean I would sooner conduct bussiness out of the trunk on a olds. When banks merge they spend massive amount of cash rebuilding the brand. So why is it not rational, when one is trying to build a new brand to not invest money in it?

            I am not trying to defend these creeps. I do not even like the fact that allegedly reputable registrars like godaddy have the service of stealing domains from those who forget to register, and then try to scare their clients into long term registrations based on the fact that godaddy has a service that can steal them if the client is one second late. But a cool name seems be helpful for bussiness, and a domain matching the cool name does seem to provide some added value.

            So, what is the advice to the original question that no one want to answer, but rather demean the poster and criticize the behavior that all of the money making world seems to believe, at least to some degree, is rational. Just like any other deal, figure out what it is worth. Not how much you can pay, but what it is worth to you. Just like any other product. Try to negotiate to that price. If you can live without the domain, lowball. If not try to find the current going rate and start there. It might be the 1K, it might less, or more. If you can't justify the cost, move on. Perhaps there is another name use can use. Perhaps there is another way to represent the name.

            At the end of the day it is a bussiness decision, and all this emotional crap that all these allegedly rational posters are pulling is just not useful. To get anything done we all have to deal with scum. If you can't take the scum, then stay out of the bedroom.

    • Ok, yes, we know Slashdot hates domain squatters, yes, yes, but stop posting the same damned thing over and over again! And moderators, stop moderating every single goddamned one to +5! We only need to see it once, everything after that is redundant.
      • Actually, my post was the first one to say something other than simply "screw the domain squatters" and provide some alternative suggestions. Look at the time on the comments. You'll see other comments that were posted after mine but appear before mine because they were responses to earlier comments. So, why don't you ask the moderators to mark someone else's comment redundant, eh? I've had my posts marked as "redundant" before when I was the first person to make a particular point because of the way the sl
        • Yeah. Of all the "domain squatting sucks" posts (5 on the front page, as of this count, none of them marked "redundant"), I suppose yours is above average. But god I get sick of reading the same goddamned thing over and over and over again... especially when I can tell from the question that I'll be reading them over and over and over again. It's obvious that the Slashdot moderation system doesn't work, or at least doesn't work well.

          But seriously, if people don't have anything relevant to add to the ques
  • That's nothing (Score:5, Informative)

    by El Cubano ( 631386 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @08:49PM (#15432323)

    The company that currently holds the domain name is offering it for $1500

    I recently received a solicitation for a church domain name. I am the webmaster for my church and another church in North or South Carolina (I forget where), no longer needs one of their domain names. The church I attend has the same name, but is located in another state. Basically, the guy said he wanted to offer us first dibs. When we inquired as to how much he wanted, he said that it had been "appraised" at up to $20,000. Though, he was very nice about it and said that he would give it to us for $8000. Sheesh. I recommended to our pastor that he ignore the request since we already have a well known and establishd domain.

  • .com is overrated (Score:4, Informative)

    by JanneM ( 7445 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @08:53PM (#15432341) Homepage
    For a small business, that's a serious chunk of money - too serious. You will end up in a "bidding war" with yourself as they try to suck as much cash out of you as possible. It really is overrated to have a .com adress in any case; if you like the name, look for name.us, name.org, name.net, name.whatever. A lot of countries have restrictions on their top-level domains (you need a business address in the country or similar), but there's a whole set of top-level country domains that are offered to any comers for their mnemonic value, like .tv if your business is related to broadcasting, for instance, or .nu, always popular in Scandinavia.

    • I'm afraid I gotta disagree with you there, at least to a point. If your .foo domain name duplicates a .com domain name, then you're just buying trouble. If there's somebody actually there, you'll risk looking like you're surfing off their trademark, and maybe you are. Even if there isn't, people will go to the wrong web site all the time. Get popular enough that people are going to domain.foo, and the scuzzball domain squatter is going to make a ton of money off you selling to a scuzzball who puts up nothi
  • Yes! (Score:3, Funny)

    by durandal61 ( 705295 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @08:57PM (#15432359) Homepage Journal
    Hope to god they don't read Slashdot! :-)
  • Price Gouging (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Distinguished Hero ( 618385 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @09:01PM (#15432381) Homepage
    Can someone explain price gouging to me? If someone offers to sell you something at a price that you consider too high (gouging), you don't buy it. If someone offers to sell you something at a (high) price, and you agree to pay the person the money, that means that whatever you are buying is worth more to you than the money that you are offering in return (therefore not price gouging). Since (almost) all transactions are voluntary, and people engage voluntarily in transactions only if they think it is to their advantage, how can price gouging exist? Can someone clear this up for me?
    • It's very simple really.

      All domains are worth precisely $12. No more, no less.

      If someone has registered a domain, and is offering to sell it to you for more than that, they're nothing but leeching parasites, or as the PC like to call them, "cyber-squatters".

      Don't feed the parasites.
      • Re:Price Gouging (Score:4, Insightful)

        by chill ( 34294 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @09:43PM (#15432564) Journal
        It's very simple really.

        All domains are worth precisely $12. No more, no less.

        If someone has registered a domain, and is offering to sell it to you for more than that, they're nothing but leeching parasites, or as the PC like to call them, "cyber-squatters".

        Don't feed the parasites.

        Bullshit. There is such a thing as supply and demand. Domain names have features such as being easy to remember, have connotations to other items, being short, etc. This is why something like gmail.com is much more valueable than MyCantRememberTheNameForEmailButThisMightBeIt.com or asdf1324la8h_asdlkjuq7.com.

        A domain name is worth exactly what someone is willing to pay for it, no more and no less.

        You might want to review some economic theories postulated after the 17th Century. What you're espousing is called the "natural price" in Pre-Classical Thought.
        • Re:Price Gouging (Score:3, Insightful)

          by FLEB ( 312391 )
          There are practices which, in the eyes of the market and in the interest of a leveled playing field, may be considered to be "fair play", but are still repugnant, dishonorable, corrupt, anti-social, leeching, and cause damage and fallout. These states are not mutually exclusive. Domain names are a "natural resource" of the Internet. Do cybersquatters have the right to strip-mine cheap domains by the hundreds and leave behind vast tracts of ugly, pointless crapflood and inflated ransom where someone with mor
          • you know i remember when i bought my first domain name.. i think i paid 99$ to register it.. squaters didn't exist back then.. except for the big names and well they lost in court...

            then it went to 35$ a year.. a few more of the posiable populare names where being squated..

            then it went 10$ . and even less in bulk.. now we have the worst squating we have ever seen..

            I would be more than happey to pay 35-99$ a year for the domains i run because i know they are worth it to me.. and if putting the price back wh
        • I'd have no problem with this if it were treated as property.

          Subject to property tax. Squat on a thousand domains worth a thousand bucks each? (potentially)

          Pay property tax on $1,000,000. Probably around $5,000 a year, depending.

          • 'd have no problem with this if it were treated as property. Subject to property tax. Squat on a thousand domains worth a thousand bucks each? (potentially) Pay property tax on $1,000,000. Probably around $5,000 a year, depending.

            Taxed by who? Taxes are levied by governments and property tax is on tangible items that have defined boundries. Exactly which gov't agency do you propose levy a property tax on domains?

            Keep in mind, there is no such animal as a multi-national taxing agency that is recognized i
            • Well, it's just a sarcastic comment because every time it comes up people say it is just like real estate. You don't see people buying up 1000s of plots of real estate for $3/each and waiting until they get an offer of $15k because of property tax.

              Now that I think about it, I kinda like the idea though. You're taxed on real property by whoever regulates it. The ICANN or whoever would tax domain names.

              Keep in mind this is a joke suggestion, meant to annoy free-marketeers who claim it is just like real est

      • Re:Price Gouging (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dougmc ( 70836 )
        All domains are worth precisely $12. No more, no less.
        Ok then. Then I wish to buy google.com for $12. I trust that since you've set the price, you can make sure the deal goes through?

        Once I've acquired google.com, I'd also like business.com, sex.com, apple.com and microsoft.com. That's five domains -- how about 5/$50?

        • Feh, I keep seeing comments like this, but you know exactly what I and the others in this thread mean.

          Google has a legitimate business use for their domain. They registered it, and yes, if they ever choose to relinquish it, then that name would sell for millions or more.

          That is NOT what we're discussing. We're discussing names that aren't being used for any practical purpose, but merely squatted to try to make a buck off of someone else that really does want to use it.

          Leeching parasites.
    • Price gouging is a term that I guess is more apt with monopolistic services. This may not be the best use of the term, but it can sort of be applied.

      Basically what price gouging means is one of two things. Either one company has a monopoly on something (like MS Windows) and charges higher than normal rates (at least I think so) for the product, but you can't get it from another vendor. The other way to price gouge is for all vendors of a specific product to agree on a basic pricing strategy (as people are s
      • What you describe is price fixing which is a form of (illegal in the US) rent seeking. Someone has a monopoly on a good (whether it be an almost complete monopoly with no high-penetration substitutes like Windows or a specific good with lots of substitutes like a specific CD or a set of CDs from a certain record label). A domain name is more like the latter, there are lots of domain names out there but the squatters have a perfect monopoly on the ones they hold. If they arent using them, the domains are
    • Rarity (Score:3, Insightful)

      If a good is significantly rare, or the need for that good is significantly high, then the transaction cannot be described as voluntary. If the transaction is not voluntary, your reasoning falls apart.

      The question is in this case- do you change the name of your business, or run the risk of your competitor being willing to pay the $1500 to grab this domain and then slander your business or direct business to their site in your name. The risk is great enough that this is not a voluntary transaction- and wh
      • If a good is significantly rare, or the need for that good is significantly high, then the transaction cannot be described as voluntary. If the transaction is not voluntary, your reasoning falls apart.

        Gimme a break. I've had my eye on an original Van Gough [vangoghgallery.com] for years now. It is significantly rare, so by your definition my attempt to purchase it is not voluntary. After all, the cost of canvas and paint should make it less than $100. Anything more is gouging! Maybe if I stamp my feet and picket the gallery,
        • Gimme a break. I've had my eye on an original Van Gough [vangoghgallery.com] for years now. It is significantly rare, so by your definition my attempt to purchase it is not voluntary.

          That's correct- you don't have the choice to go to another person for the same painting, at least legally (saw a man on "Globe Trekker" on PBS who MIGHT be able to serve you for the $100 you're willing to pay- if you're willing to go to Hong Kong), thus this is NOT a free market by definition.

          After all, the cost of canvas a
    • Re:Price Gouging (Score:3, Informative)

      by linvir ( 970218 )
      Get a decent browser [konqueror.org], and you'll be able to type "wp: price gouging" in the address bar and find these things out for yourself instead of starting a long, boring Slashdot discussion. From the resulting article [wikipedia.org]:

      Price gouging is a frequently pejorative reference to a seller's asking a price that is much higher than what is seen as 'fair' under the circumstances. In precise, legal usage, it is the name of a felony that obtains in some of the United States only during civil emergencies. In less precise usage, i

  • From A Seller (Score:3, Interesting)

    by paulthomas ( 685756 ) * on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @09:06PM (#15432398) Journal
    I know there are people with a lot of disdain for cybersquaters here on slashdot.

    I recently put two domain names that I own up for sale. They point to an austere page that says essentially: "Welcome. I do not need this domain anymore and if you would like it, I am willing to sell it for $50. Contact me ..."

    There is certainly a difference in amount, but my domain names are fairly obscure and (likely) won't be of much interest to anyone. I'm not going to renew them, and my thought is that if anyone would like to have them sooner than the expiration then they can pay me a small amount for that. Hell, a couple of the big registrars still charge around that much for one year.

    Maybe this person isn't a cybersquater per se, perhaps he once used this domain and thinks it is worth something. So far as I know, there isn't even a way to relinquish a domain name that is registered some time out into the future back into the commons. Determine what you will pay for the privilege to use the name now rather than later (or instead of another name), and make an offer. Be upfront -- "This is what it is worth to me, this is what I will pay, final offer, let me know." Depending on your project, maybe it is even worth what he is asking.

    If you have a firm value in your mind and do not pay more than that value, you'll win -- regardless of whether you get the domain.
  • Don't do it! (Score:2, Informative)

    by jericho4.0 ( 565125 )
    This is not the reality of business, this is cybersquatting. Please don't give them a dime for their scam.
  • If you want to appear professional, the correct response is, "no, thank you, but I have no interest whatsoever in paying more than a standard domain registration fee." This is unfortunate, because the most appropriate response is far less polite! :)
  • by wowbagger ( 69688 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @09:23PM (#15432478) Homepage Journal
    I fear that your business is not long for this world. My reasoning is this: You are considering spending a large chunk of change for a domain name from a cybersquatter, rather than striking out to find an unused name you can register for a percent of the money. Given that ALL small businesses starting out are cash-strapped, the fact that you are willing to waste your limited money in this fashion makes me doubt you will spend your other money wisely. The fact that you then turned to Slashdot for advice on this would tend to confirm the hypothesis that you are not really thinking coldly and rationally enough to found a successful business.

    I don't want to sound harsh, but I do think you really need to step back and reconsider your plans - perhaps you can locate a local college where you might get a dispassionate third party to help fix you a nice big bowl of Reality Checks.

    I've watched too many businesses fail because the founders, while having the best of intentions, made bad decisions because they were not willing to face the harsh, unpleasant facts.

    Please - do prove me wrong. Be successful, and when you are successful, feel free to email me and say "Boooya! In your FACE Wowbagger!" If you can be successful you will have earned the right to do so, and I will congratulate you.

    But if you keep doing things like seriously considering spending $1500, or even $100 on a domain name when you are just starting out - I don't expect that email.
    • Ah, but you see, you overlooked the wisdom and insight of one business move:
      • I asked Slashdot.

      (in all seriousness, though: your point is well taken)

    • It's unfortunate that someone decided to call you a troll. Had I any moderator points I would have marked you insightful.

      Your post is both polite and logical, if just a little cold. Unfortunatly, cold is warrented in this case.

      So to the idiot who thinks it's wrong to tell someone when they're being stupid, well you just need life to teach you a few lessons.

      To wowbagger, better luck on your next post.

      • I didn't regard that post as a troll whatsoever. Heck, with the money he saves buying a generic domain name, he can afford to buy himself a nice Herman Miller Aeron chair.

        As far as squatting goes, you can't maintain an empty ecological niche that has proven this profitable. Blaming the squatters is hugely misguided. It's like blaming teenagers for having sex. When a giant new chunk of realestate becomes available (e.g. wild west) you tend to end up with one of two models: land grab, or public auction.
      • I'd given up on /.'s moderation system a long time ago - if you look over my posting history you'd notice a reduction in the number of posts per unit time, precisely because of things like this. With the metamoderation system rewarding poor moderation and punishing good moderation, the moderator "pool" looks rather like the "pool" at the end of my neighbor's septic line.

        Oh well - my goal of communicating my opinion to the submitter of the story was achieved (and thanks for the response, BTW).
    • My reasoning is ... Given that ALL small businesses starting out are cash-strapped

      Yeah, um. Most aren't, actually. See, Slashdot has a very strange perspective on business, because a tremendous (by comparison to the typical world) percentage of developers, especially web developers. Back in the real world, you can't start a business on two guys, a good idea and two months of secret hard work. Sure, it works on the web. It doesn't work for any business with a brick and mortar presence. It doesn't work
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @09:24PM (#15432482) Journal
    It may have some value if it is an obvious name that some people might enter directly into their browser. Just ask yourselve how often you do this?

    A lesser value might exist if the name is easy to associate. weather.com for instance is easier to remember as a weather site then sfgsjkdhgfksdfk.com It don't matter to find the site via google but in ads or just remembering the site from previous visits weather.com is just a bit easier.

    The last case is if you already got a real world brand name and now want to have that same name on the web. Just recently I wanted to visit the vanguard page. It wasn't the first result on google (a game not coming as the first result for its name is pretty rare) and I actually had to scroll down to see vangaurdsoh.com

    Does it matter? Well not much as you can see BUT I have in the past just typed in vanguard and gotten the wrong site.

    So the question to you is, does the above apply to you? Is that name really worth 1000 dollars? It sounds like it is a lot of money for you. So most likely not. Try finding another name or one from a different domain like say .net .us or whatever.

    Most people will either use a search engine to find your site OR find it by being given the URL in some other form. Focus on something that is simple to remember and doesn't cost a 1000 dollars and do some advertising.

  • by dereference ( 875531 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @09:38PM (#15432544)
    It costs less than half of that to register yourself a unique service mark or trademark in a couple relevant classes. It's just as intangible, and you do need to do some research up front, but it keeps its value far better than any domain name. It can take months to complete the process, but if you've done your research the process itself is painless and can be done almost entirely online. As an added bonus, if your registration is successful you can petition ICANN to transfer any (new) infringing domain names to you, as the rightful owner of the mark (you can't necessarily grab existing infringing domains as far as I know, but then again you're going to look for a better name anyway, right? Yes, I thought so).

    Buying a Nolo [nolo.com] book on legal protection is definitely well worth the $30-$50 investment, and the knowledge gained will carry over to any new businesses you might decide to start. Don't even consider paying a huge chunk of hard-earned money for a domain name without at least understanding the basics of legal rights that do (and don't) convey with it.

  • Before you try to decide whether to pay it or not, figure out what the domain name is worth to you. Will that $1500 be a good return on the investment? Isn't there something more worthwhile you can be spending your capital on? If your business model requires you to have this and no other domain name, then you'll have to suck it up and soend the money. Start out with a sub-1000 counteroffer. This is business - if you're going in feeling afraid of looking foolish, then you're going to lose your money. Go in w
  • I hate to say this, but you're lucky to be getting it for $1500. There are TOTALLY UNUSED domains that people are unwilling to sell me for even as high as $5000.

    I'd say be creative, though: offer $1000 and a case of beer delivered to their office this coming Friday afternoon.
    • There are TOTALLY UNUSED domains that people are unwilling to sell me for even as high as $5000.

      A fried of mine has a domain. It's a five letter common dictionary word dot com. He gets occasional offers to buy it -- people have even offered as much as $15,000 for it.

      We don't use it for a business, but we have our mail and web stuff and such on it, so it's certainly not unused, and it would be a big drag to replace it. So he's not going to sell it for some small amount of change. But $15k? Sure,

      • And when you pick a name, buy it immediately, as the registrars are known to watch the queries for domain names, and if they see a good one, they'll grab the domain themselves and then offer to sell for a lot more. So today you find reallygooddomainname.com and it's available, but tomorrow it might not be -- tomorrow they want $1000 for it.

        Certain registrars and resellers are notorious for selling "recent inquiry lists" to domain kings. I actually lost a domain name this way a few years back, after chec

  • Really, you cannot trust anyone who spouts about counter offers. Offer them $150, a good offensive play.

    Someone squatted on centurix.com and I asked them how much. $5000 was the reply, so I said $100 is my best offer, if that's not enough then have fun with the domain. They accepted, I had the domain for 2 years and just let it lapse, the same company bought it again after I had it. Good luck to them, my current domain suits us much better.
  • ... how much is it worth to you?

    As some other post hove mentioned would a .us or a .net be just as good considering they are about $10? If you really want to the .com but can get the others then buy them and tell the seller that you don't really need the .com because you already have the .net and .us you're only willing to pay $100 to $200 to get it as well.

    You can do the same thing with online.com, int.com, home.com etc.

    That eing said I wouldn't make an offer much under $100 as I expect they'd probably rej
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @09:56PM (#15432620) Homepage
    One of the more useful things to do in domain disputes is to get a trademark. If you do business or have a product named "Zowie", get a trademark on "Zowie". It's not that hard, it costs a few hundred dollars, and the process is entirely on line. Doesn't matter what category of product the trademark is under, or even if it's on the principal register. You can almost always get registration on the supplemental register, which means you can't keep others from using the name, but they can't keep you from using it either.

    Once you have a trademark on the domain that describes your stuff, you can make a cybersquatting complaint. If the domain owner is just parking the domain, under the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy [icann.org] that's considered "use in bad faith". Then you send a letter to the domain owner, threatening a UDRP proceeding.

    (If it's a "private registration", the registrar will now "uncloak" the domain so fast your head will spin, because they don't want to be the party to a UDRP proceeding or lawsuit.)

    At this point, either the other side will offer to sell you the domain for less than a UDRP costs ($1000), or you go forward to a mandatory UDRP proceeding, which is an instant win when you have the trademark.

    • Well, no. (Score:3, Informative)

      by Animats ( 122034 )
      I've been looking at some UDRP decisions. [wipo.int] First, registration on the supplemental register is not considered to confer rights meaningful in a UDRP proceeding. You have to get on to the principal register.

      Second, priority is an issue. You need to have some rights in the name predating the acquisition of the domain by the current owner. Registering a trademark helps, but the history of its use may matter.

      Sorry about that.

    • 1) If your trademark application post-dates their domain registration, you will absolutely lose.

      2) Even with the cheapest arbitrators, a UDRP filing costs $1300 [arb-forum.com]. Why would you pay that when a few hundred more guarantees you get the domain? Remember, filer pays.

      3) Trademark applications (in the US and most of civilization) require proof of use to register. You won't even have the registration to throw around unless you're already using the name. Obviously, from the article, the submitter
    • I object to your using my login name in your post.

      --Dr. Zowie(TM)
  • This is easy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hotspotbloc ( 767418 ) on Tuesday May 30, 2006 @10:10PM (#15432686) Homepage Journal
    We're talking about small change here (less than $1k USD), not "business.com" money. If you're serious about wanting the domain then just buy it. This isn't a "red vs. blue pill" issue, there is no rabbit hole, it's a business decision. Make it and move on to building great software.
  • This isn't exactly an answer to the question, but it could be interesting while we're on the topic.

    One of my domains hosts a site that really was just something a friend and I put together back around 1999 or so. It was just a little project that we figured we would play with. We mostly neglected the site, as anyone who has ever visited it can tell you.

    We had considered just giving up on it all but over the years people kept offering us money for the name. The highest offer we ever had was for over $4000
  • cybersquatting is using someones elses good name to make money.

    Its a different issue if you thought of a cool domain name and got it before
    anyone else...or even if you found a name that several people might want
    "sex.com" its still not cybersquatting.

  • by menace3society ( 768451 ) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @12:36AM (#15433104)
    Off them $25 and a bus ticket. If they don't go for it, hack into their servers, download child porn, and report them to the FBI.
  • Sorry but most of this discussion is terribly naive. Internet domain investing is very real and very large with billions of dollars in investment capital. Did you know Internet ad revenues have now passed those of local newspapers? If you want to buy Trump Tower you either buy it or not. But you're not going to jawbone Trump into selling for the price he originally paid for raw land and bricks. If don't buy, find something else that suits your budget. Or buy land and build your own. When there are man
    • The fact that there are plenty of suckers willing to pay some parasite thousands of dollars for a domain name doesn't change the essentially worthless nature of a domain name, and doesn't change the fact that the people who squat on domains they aren't using in order to try and extort money are lowlifes.

      My rule is: Don't feed the parasites. Think of a new name. Remember that none of the biggest most successful Internet companies paid off cybersquatters for "prime virtual real estate" like search.com or book
  • Is there a holding page there now? If so, what google pagerank does it have? If it has a pagerank of 0, and does not show up in google searches for text that's on the page, don't go near it: if it's in what Google calls a "bad neighbourhood", they won't list it or let you use AdSense ads on it until you've demonstrated in some way to them that it has changed. E.g. perhaps if it had porn ads on it, or used to be part of a "black-hat SEO link rink".

    On the other hand, if it has pagerank of, say, 5 or more,
  • Don't bother paying a premium for a domain name. If you have a good service or website, people will find it. Did a wierd name or unusual spelling hurt google or flickr or deliscious (however it is spelled)? Remember you are asking this question on a site that is probably one of the hardest to say and get people who haven't heard of it to understand what you are saying "slash dot dot org" but people seem to find the site ok. Getting people to your site is the hardest part no matter what the domain name is
  • I won't comment on the business issue (if it's worth it for you to have that name, the price is actually fairly reasonable), but make sure you document the deal properly. Sign an agreement for the sale that requires the seller to go through the appropriate registrar's process, and make sure you don't pay until the process is moving along. Make sure the seller says it has the rights to the name, and that it will cover your costs (i.e. indemnify you) if someone comes to sue you because the seller was actual
  • I am not sure what document it comes from, but:

    Paragraph 4(c), which the "respondant" can use to defend the domain name, seems pretty easy to satisfy:

    (i) before any notice to you of the dispute, your use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the domain name or a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or

    (ii) you (as an individual, business or other organization) have been commonly known by the domain name, even if you have acquired no
  • No easy answers, just some things to consider:

    • Are you dead set on this name? Would you be OK with another name, or a variation on this one?
    • Does it have to be .com? Would a .net or .<country> domain work as well? (But avoid .biz or .info if you're going to us it in email. It seems like 90% of these domains in use are run by spammers, so your mail will look suspicious.)
    • Do you think getting this exact domain will gain you the discoverability, memorability, etc. to make up for that $1500?
    • If you

Recent investments will yield a slight profit.