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Domain Resale for Fun and Profit(?) 248

Ant wrote in to send us an amusing piece running over at wired about domain name hogs selling their domains on eBay and the likes. Not a bad little piece, but its pretty amusing the read some of the domain names that people seem to think will be worth money.
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Domain Resale for Fun and Profit(?)

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  • Yes, you can't just check it out by seeing if there's a Web site at
  • I surely hope the Net will not be based on ldap, ldap although it has it's place is only a subset of X.500 a REAL directory standard which unfortunatly for many reasons never took off like it should have. You can check out this article on X.500 and LDAP [] for more detailed info. But basically IMHO everyone working on LDAP is just recreating X.500 with no real added innovations to it.
  • Well, we've already received some large offers over the last couple of years. So, I'm setting the auction a month away, and then trying to get the word out on it. I'm going to make sure that everyone who was interested knows and then some, which should be enough for my needs. This is a one shot deal anyways... If for some reason nobody buys, then I wouln't be offering again...
  • Rob didn't create the Bill of Borg image, actually. It was by some other guy who was selling t-shirts with the image on it, and I guess Microsoft was breathing down his neck over it, so he disbanded (I think).
  • Sure, there's money to be made on the Web, and $70 is definitely cheap for your own little corner of the Web. (I wouldn't give mine up for the world. But the value of having a domain name, which can range anywhere from less than $0 (me) to more than $20 billion ( is not the same thing as an intrinsic value for a specific domain name. doesn't have one, really, while something like does. And I doubt there are any Porn.coms left.

    Correct. has limited intrinsic value as a domain... maybe you could use it for a travel agency site selling eco-tours to the rain forest. Its present value derives from the fact that it's been built into a superpower brand name (at huge expense)., on the other hand, has intrinsic value because it's a word that everyone is familiar with.

    You have to spend millions and millions to get people to associate the word "Amazon" with books ... but you don't have to spend a penny to get them to associate the word "Flowers" with flowers... the English language has already done that for you.

    Million-dollar domains like are long gone, but any domain that can pay for itself within six months or less is still worth getting... and you can still find them, but it takes work and perseverance and creativity.

  • as the "king" inferred, "selling" .coms IS a misnomer.

    obviously, .comming would be MOSTLY about developing a VARIETY of COMMERCIAL web endeavors.

    however, the reasons to do so are just as varied.

    what MOST of y'all are missing, i suspect through pre-commercial web etiquette, or something, is that you're GIVING away the farm.

    which is not to say that that's a bad thing, except, there's gottis out here (you didn't know) who would take the farm.

    MANY MANY of the .coms, .orgs etc... that we have, we cannot ethically, or morally, "sell", to just anybody (although we've certainly been tempted). and MANY of our .coms, ARE NOT available for "sale". it is a huge responsibility.

    MANY of the domains we have registered/paid for, are intended to promote/protect, things far beyond the value system of the currently burgeoning IPO generation. which is not to say getting money is bad.

    I have offered FREE .com space to MANY so called promoters of the EXTREMELY valid concepts of open-source, and/or the miracle to modern technology that linux is, only to be shunned and disdained, as some bearer of subterfuge. the 1's who have have expressed interest, i find to be honest, open, and insightful (as advertised). we have also been approached/punished by some who are interested in only the greedmonger aspects of the web. it's scary.

    i wrote to mr. malda several times regarding helping to stock a few of my open-source/linux related .coms/orgs with relevant content, and to promote my non-profit site, he did not see fit to respond until i called him on taking MSmoney, by allowing MSBS banner ads on his site. that's 1 thing I will NEVER do. he NEVER addressed my efforts to volunteer, months ago, ONLY my dissention last week. by the by, my efforts to illuminate/increase awareness re: the crimewave that IS MSBlight, has caused my non-profit, good4all website, to be deleted from about 1/2 of the major search engines. not very funny to me.

    get real. pay attention. you can down a few servers, flame all you want. you NEED to promote/protect on a LARGE scale, as your naysayers/"leaders" do. you just need to be able to do it for less money. how many .coms do you think pudbillygates has? does it matter? yes!! 1 word can say A LOT. 1 of my favorites is, not that i'll ever use it. HA HA HA.

    contact us, we want to help, we need help. (and @300 other places)
  • >>If they don't put a domain name to use they should lose it.

    >Bullshit. Let's apply your logic elsewhere and see how much sense it makes:
    >If they don't put a house to use they should lose it.
    >If they don't put a car to use they should lose it.
    >Well, there go real estate investing, car lots, >and banking. You must be some >kind of pinko >Marxist opposed to private ownership of anything >to actually >believe such nonsense. If you buy it, >it's yours to do with as you fscking >please.

    That isn't exactly true. Take the case of real estate. If you own land you are required to pay a property tax based on the market value. If you fail to pay the tax then you lose the land even though the land is worth many times more than the tax.

    Therefore if you have a vacant lot in a big city you can't just leave it vacant you have to use it or develope it. If you don't then you won't have enough money to pay the tax and the government gets the land and sells it to someone who will use it. Idea is to make sure that land is always put to its most productive use.

    This is a long standing principle. In fact it dates to English common law. Most historians agree that this was an important for the economic development of the US. The crown gave Lord Balitimore all of what is now the state of Maryland. But because of this tax rule the land had to be put to use. Lord Balitimore could farm it all so he had to selling pieces of land to people who would put them to productive use. Contrast this with the Spanish colonies. When a Spanish lord was given land, he didn't have to pay taxes so he didn't need to use the land. He was perfectly free to let it sit vacant.

    There are many other examples of this principle.
  • What do the 2 have to do with one another? You can tell truth without having many domain names, and you can have many domain names and lie your ass off. If you want to HAVE domains, that's fine. I personally think it's ridiculous to buy up a bunch of domain names and then whine and bitch when everyone else doesn't scoop them up (because, in all reality, a domain name in and of itself is pretty damn worthless).
  • A friend of mine registered a Linux related .com domain name. Very shortly the .net name, as well as both .com and .net of a slight spelling variation had been registered. This is no coincidence. He expects that when he gets his trademark he can just force them to drop the names.

    I find it pretty irritating that this goes on. There has to be a better system. Not that I have any suggestions...
  • I work for three stooges in montreal, and the three guys all have the e-mail addresses

    Personally I find it mildly 31337ish of them - I mean what's the point of that.

    Then again, the opposite extreme has compuserve's old addresses, for example
    If we were all reduced to serial numbers and IP addresses would that get rid of this odd means of using domains?

    I'm an admin (one of several) at we wanted to, I bet there are several hackers that would put up cash for a name like that - but that's lame.
  • by cdlu ( 65838 )
    If I were looking for a new car of whatever brand name (try getting a new citroën from france and type it right 5 times over) the first thing I would do is go to one of the 11 dealerships in my home town (oddly, of a mere 5000 people) and test drive a couple of cars. When I liked one, then I would go on the internet - knowing how the car handles - and look for a cheaper one of the same.
  • Domain name hogging, like spamming, lying,
    or selling broken software, shouldn't even need
    to be illegal. The population should just
    notice that someone who does these things has
    no class.

    People and businesses that conduct themselves
    with honour should be rewarded. Those that
    just don't get it should be ignored, boycotted,
    censured, just like these domain hogs are right
  • by hanway ( 28844 ) on Friday July 09, 1999 @09:48AM (#1810236) Homepage
    Yeah, it's stupid, but it's easy to see why people try to sell on eBay:

    • People are both greedy and stupid. Some are dumb enough to fall for Make Money Fast chain letters. Others believe that doing everything their Amway sponsor tells them to do will make them rich.

    • There have been specific examples of lots of money being paid for domains. Unfortunately for some, it actually takes an IQ above 80 to figure out why some names have value and others don't.

    • Network Solutions' payment system with its grace period and eBay's listing policy and new user credit mean that you can put in a claim on a name and attempt to auction it without having to shell out a dime. A programmer with a little time on his hands could probably put together some scripts to automate trolling the whois database for random combinations of dictionary words, creating new eBay accounts, and posting auctions. No expenditures required, and the slight possibility that a greater fool will come along and actually buy a domain and put a few dollars in your pocket.
  • Check out []. This guy has been trying to sell his lame domain for years now. He thinks he can get $850,000 for it.


  • Posted by Mary CW:

    At present, domain names serve multiple purposes as locations, directional signage, and brands, which is confusing people as to their inherent value.

    A domain name is ultimately just a location. The exact name itself is unimportant if: people know who you are (brand) and can find you (signage).

    Brands are created, they don't happen because you have a certain word as your url.

    As search tools become more sophisticated, knowing the exact url/location becomes moot. I don't need to know a company's corporate HQ street address to do business with them -- soon the url address won't matter either. Having to know the url is actually a defect, from the customer's point of view.

  • Most (all?) of the cool, easy to remember domain names were taken long ago.

    However, what kind of ching would an e-mail address such as or fetch?

    I'll bet people would pay bucks for it. Granted, most of the cool e-mail addresses are taken as well, but I wonder if people realize their potential value.

    I secured along with a few other unique addresses to find out.

    The admins of some of the popular domain sites may have never given thought to the revenue stream something like this could generate. All they would need to do is setup a mail server and sell user accounts at inflated prices.

    You'd find people willing to pay $20.00 per month for, I'd bet.

  • Hmm, well, I know that Network Associates has been selling my name far and wise since I bought a domain name... perhaps these guys are on their mailing list. It'd be in NA's best interest to sell this info... if bozos are willing to buy up "neighboring properties" in cyberspace, NA's going to make that much more profit.

    More likely, they somehow watch the DNS service to see when new domain names come online. After all, your domain name has to make it into the DNS databases.
  • With the andover buyout and all, what about It seems some other co is using it to redirect into their site. Don't have time to do a whois so I'll leave that to someone else.

    --Andrew Grossman
  • I find it interesting that this guy has spent $1 million on 3,000 domains. ($333.33/domain). Of course some of these domains have short names (I hope, otherwise he just through $1 mil. away) and others are descriptive for companies making fortune through the web.

    However, I find i funny that in a few month (hopefully, anyway) a few new top level domains are going to be introduced. From those .WEB and .SHOP are the BEST tld's for companies interested in doing on-line business. Don't you think that a company would rather buy them, than waste money on .COM?
  • No, it wasn't.
  • I thought someone (ICANN?) was cracking down on this? Or is this considered to be something different than grabbing and selling it?
  • Try Yahoo!'s auctions too, there's a separate category with domain names, offering over 3000 domains at this time. Some with a minimum bid of $10 mil. (yes, that's right).
  • The question is, why on earth did you initially register the .NET when the .COM was still available at the time?

    (s)he was prolly trying to use naming how it was supposed to be from the start. '.com' for companies, '.org' for organizations, etc etc.

    The REAL question is, why are you promoting otherwise??
  • I had bought having planned on using it but didn't get around to it so I posted it to eBay the otherday. Being a common term, it should be worth something to somebody in the computing industry.

    Oh well :)
  • In the case of "" there is an existing trademark and a prior legal claim on the name, but a name that has no particular connection to anything is essentially up for grabs to whomever wishes to register it. Of course, we're looking at two different flavours of cybersquatting really.

    Whether there is an obvious owner of the domain or not shouldn't change the situation, IMNSHO, but the world rarely works the way I want it to.
  • This Rick Schwartz guy "owns" a domain which happens to be the name of a company that I work for. That company uses a different address, but if people go to the name .com they get a porn site, which as far as I can tell, Schwartz is in no way associated with that porn company. He holds the domain for ransom by pointing our name to a porn site. Not good PR.

    The guy claims that he NEVER sells domains and that he will make "arrangements". It's a real mess.

    Some might say, "tough luck", since we didn't register it in time. Well, our company didn't exist a year ago and we are more commonly known by our short name rather than our full long name.

    What would you do if someone pointed your company name at a porn site?
  • I find it hard to believe that no one has seems like that would be a no
    brainer... Think I'll go register it....

    'I am he who does what one does when one is he.'
    Jacob Wentworth
  • Sorry to burst your bubble about my demise. But you just don't understand about type ins. More than 95% of the folks put in the .com webmasters and techies don't......but consumers do.

    Everyone has told me this stuff for hits just keep growing and at nearly 6 figures of daily uniques to my index pages, I hope I keep getting broker. ;-))
  • Well, duh... is still open..
  • Its different.
    They aren't buying big brand names, these are just names they bought and then turn around to try to promote and sell.

    Some of the better domains most people probably wouldn't have even realized were still available until they were bought and posted for resale. Its funny, almost every combination of words in the english languange that can be done in 1,2 or 3 words and is a common phrase is taken, but some of the most obvious still aren't because people think they are :)

  • That is exactly how I came across was like wow, no one has this? either i can make use of it or someone might be willing to shell some cash out for it someday.

  • This one used to piss me off a lot; I was going to register my last name (which is also my consulting firm's name) and found it registered by one of these companies. On further reflection, however, I don't really think this is a bad thing.

    If I registered it, it would have ended up costing me $15/month, and nobody else with my name would have been able to use it. As it is now, anyone has the capacity to use it, and it costs each of them less. While it still frustrates me (and I didn't sign up), I believe it to be a fair business rather than a shameless squatter.
  • I was okay with thinking that way about it as well, until the moron spammed me telling me why I should pay him $5 to use it.
  • would have gone for if someone had snapped it up as an investment and the Taco boy would have buy it on ebay? A million? Two? Three!

    It'd be worth every nickle!
  • You talk like somebody who registered a bunch of .com names and is trying to hock them on ebay ;P
    I grabbed [] a long time ago to guard against just such people as you :P so nyaaah!
    And it doesn't have anything to do with Windows(tm), it's just an interesting juxtaposition originally meant as a metaphor for high end audio equipment, years ago :)
  • by arthurs_sidekick ( 41708 ) on Friday July 09, 1999 @09:05AM (#1810272) Homepage
    What I can't believe is the number of people quoted who say "people don't understand how valuable this domain name is, it's worth so much!"

    Oh come on! domain names, like anything else, are worth what people are willing to pay for them. Diamonds are valuable because deBeers keeps the supply line clogged, not because they're really scarce, and if people weren't willing to accept the stupid idea that an engagement ring should be a) bought at all and b) cost you at least two months salary (!!), diamonds wouldn't be worth much (apart from their industrial applications).

    If nobody's willing to pay for them, they're worthless. These people have gotten the idea that the 'net and anything related to it is just a gold mine waiting to be tapped, and can't believe that you could do something related to it and not make a quick few million.

    Man, the capacity for self-deception in some people is to be marvelled at.

    My capacity for going on rants today is too ...

  • I have a 4-letter name as well, which is a very common name in any Portuguese speaking country. Needless to say, the versions of the domain were taken by the time I thought about registering it. Since the names were registered, but not being used, I decided to ask if the owners wouldn't mind selling it. The prices they were asking were more than my computer plus my car combined! Geez.

    Through my search for a good domain name, just about 2/3rds of the good names I tried were being held by cybersquatters.

    Eventually, I registered some silly name, and like you was immediately contacted by people offering to develop my site, including the site's name on their message. So yes, they do have some way to trace any new registrations coming in.

  • well, I don't own a trademark on ANYTHING, so it's wrong for me to get a domain name, according to your reasoning. I am a squatting fool for registering, because I hold no trademark -- never mind that my personal research is well described by that domain name. so if some company comes along (and nanotech is achieved :) and names some product nanoxxxxxx, then I am in the wrong, and should give my domain to them.

    hmm. well. I guess Rob should never have registered it didn't start out as a trademark, one would suppose, and so he has no claim on it.

    interesting reasoning. personally, I think I'm going to go register a domain name, so when I move around, my domain can move with me, and people who might happen to be interested can find my work. yes, my untrademarked work. and yes, maybe I'll have pictures of my dog there.

  • Domain names can be useful if they are used in conjunction with other mediums, such as print, radio, or TV ads. Since there's currently no direct way to go from one of those mediums to the web, you have to nab a memorable domain name, so it will stick in people's minds until they sit down by their PC...

    But... trying to figure out just *what* memorable URL that would make sense for an ad compaign that also doesn't infringe on a company's trademark is difficult to impossible, I think. By the time that, say, Sun's "we're the dot in .com" ad compaign becomes public, they've probably nabbed the (and variations thereof, I bet) for themselves already. It's easy to either come up with a new "catch URL" or find a minor alteration of the URL to use.

    I sorta doubt any major company is going to use "Suck my pole" as a catch phrase anytime soon...

  • The way the NSI works right now all you have to do to save yourself some money is make what ever your domain name the name of your company. Trademark it. Then complain to the NSI that that should be your name. Then they take the name from the person wishing to sell it. Whamo! You get your domain name for only $70.


  • I can buy Babe Ruth rookie cards and use 'em to soak up grease spots under the car. I can buy US flags and burn them in the fireplace. I can buy classic cars and crush them into cubes.

    I understand that, very shortly, a constitutional amendment will ban the use of Babe Ruth rookie cards for soaking up grease spots.

    Seriously though, a lot of our "rights" have been going down the dumper lately. I'd like to see a law passed that outlawed any campaign contributions from any corporation. After all, corporations can't vote. I think, if passed, the power in Washington DC might stand a chance of reverting back to We The People.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    funny... I was just browsin through the ebay domain listings and saw hehe (febuary should be february). I don't know who the poor sap is here... the dude that is trying to sell the domain or the dude that buys it.
  • by Xkill_ ( 66601 )
    i think this is one of the sillies things that i have ever heard of, (other than people selling their ultima online acct's) now how often do you type in a url randomly? come on lets be real, when i want a new car i dont go and type in i go to a search engine and type in ("used" and "cars" and "red" and "DMC" or "Delorian") People dont usually go randomly surfing unless they are really bored and have nothing to do. it is ludicrous to think that people would spend thousands of dollars on a domain name like what is up with that. i could maybe understand a company like Pepsi wanting to buy, but for real some of this is just ludicrous. after all isnt this what search engines were made for?

  • I guess the only solution to stop "cybersquatting" or however you call "rip-offs selling domain names" is that Internic puts a limit on unpaid domains.

    If not paid within the month the domain goes open again.

    I already had about 30 spammails for people wanting darkblood and the xsrv domain serie ... they are paid and they are mine .. unless somebody pays a million for it :) ok ... though still those brokers SHOULD buy them all then instead of like reserving those domains never using them.

    An example has occured to me several months ago, our company's domainname was "taken" for a joke ... it is now already a half year later and it is still standing there - open - UNPAID ! ...

    As long Internic does their business like that the domains will be rip-offs ... even 70 bucks is too much for a domain name ... what would 200k be ..

    Freaker / TuC
  • You talk like somebody who registered a bunch of .com names and is trying to hock them on ebay ;P
    I grabbed [] a long time ago to guard against just such people as you :P so nyaaah!
    (no, I did not homestead a directory on slashdot. oops :) ) And it doesn't have anything to do with Windows(tm), it's just an interesting juxtaposition originally meant as a metaphor for high end audio equipment, years ago :)
  • I can't wait until .web annd other extensions are released by ICANN, then we can deal with these same lOOzers all over again. Maybe they can reform the rules a little to prevent cybersquatting, such as a limit to the number of unused domains you can have. Starting out at even 1000 would get rid of most of them. They are the few, the dumb, the pigs.
  • >That isn't exactly true. Take the case of real >estate. If you own land you are required to pay >a property tax based on the market value. If you >fail to pay the tax then you lose the land even >though the land is worth many times more than >the tax.

    And domains are no different. You have to pay the fee every year or you lose it.
  • I agree that the system is screwed up, but I guess my point is that corporations are the people, essentially. I think that I agree with you that the only real way to end all of this nonsense is to simply either cap or do away with altogether the whole system of contributions. I mean, let's face it - they're really just legalized bribes. But to me it's an all-or-nothing proposition; either limit it for everyone (i.e. public & corps) or for noone.
  • Here I thought I was going overboard since I had registered 13 domain names (all of which have projects attached, though I really considered keeping them under one umbrella domain and probably could have if I'd not fallen into the vanity trap). Two of those I'm going to retire and let their registrations expire and I really doubt anyone will snap them up.

    The only one I'd ever even consider selling would be, but only if I fail to make a go of it myself.

    In a few years, domain names will be of secondary importance when searching the web, I suspect. Host/domain names are great for naming machines, but seem somewhat limited, ultimately, in naming an online presence.
  • Alot of money seems to be circulating these days for completely useless things.

    That most certainly is your opinion. A free market society determines the usefulness of a good/service by the amount that is paid for it. Sure for you (and me and lots of other people) it isn't worth 600 big ones, but to that persion/corporeation it was.

    Just because you think something's worthless doesn't mean that someone else does.

    Besides they have to shell out the annual fee just like everyone else.
  • Check out
    This idiot is trying to LEASE domains...

  • DeBeers merely helps regulate the price of diamonds. DeBeers does not control and will never control the diamond market. Not every diamond purchased goes through debeers hands, in fact, I dont even think debeers handles diamonds themselves. Diamonds are not rare, this is true. Gem quality diamonds are however very rare. Colorless diamonds are rarer than yellow diamonds. Flawless diamonds are rarer than included ones. Larger gem quality stones are rarer than small ones. Mining and the craftsmans time cutting diamonds are what drives market price up.

    talking windows users is where I draw the line ..
  • Thanks...I think that's the funniest thing I've seen all day.
  • This is like ticket scalping. Those prices can get out of hand as well, but there is a law in most states were you can only charge a small percent as a service charge (like ticketmaster charges).

    There should be a similar law on domain names.
  • You're right about the deBeers thing. Over in europe, there's literally millions of diamonds locked up in basements, and occasionally, they'll let 2 or 3 thousand get exported. They're certainly not a rare commodity, just rare to the general public.

    -- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

  • Did you look at the source for their 'look up a domain' page? It points to a local perl script. How much do you want to bet that they log every looked up domain name, and register the available ones before the person who used the tool has a chance? Sheesh. Bloodsuckers.

  • that would be

    Chris Richardson (SLASHDOT-DOM)
    806 Arnold Way
    Menlo Park, CA 94025
    Record last updated on 30-Mar-98.
    Record created on 17-Nov-96.
    Database last updated on 8-Jul-99 08:59:10 EDT.
  • I mostly agree...It's like people buying a plot of land and waiting for someone to buy it. But the problem here, is this 'land' is just a name, which anyone can play on. Especially companies. They can choose Net, or com, they can choose to have "co" or "ltd" or "inc" in the name or not. They can choose to have a - inbetween their words! ..This is almost like land..But just more ignorant. Oh well...People will be people.. Let them waste money..

  • No, having a lisence plate that says FORD is not the same as having One is a useless personal id, the other is a common destination that would cause confusion. The point of trademarking is to avoid "first come first serve" type tactics, and brand name confusion. Nobody can start a car company named Ford because that would cause harm to thier reputation. If you have a legal trademark (which is not just registering it, but using it), you should be entitled to some protection, and domain names should be protected in this manner.
  • Same here, thats how I discovered I saw it was available, thought about it for a few weeks, and couldn't resist so I finally snapped it up. I've had a few people that want to buy it, but they will never give me an offer price, so I tell them no.
  • ... with porn sites.

    More or less, how to get to a porn site quickly:
    Take a popular site, yahoo,, slashdot, gamefaqs, etc.
    Make a common misspelling. Eg. If the domain ends in an 's', drop the s. If the domain makes sense with an 's' (but doesn't have one), add it. ( -> If the domain is really a subdomain (as was altavista before digital/compaq bought, drop the in-between '.'. Or just do a plain misspelling.

    Boom. instant porn site that probably gets lots of traffic easily (I've made my fair share of typos). Of course, *maintaining* those visitors is another thing.

    Quick! Buy all the domains! I'm about to get a domain! [not telling which ;-)]
  • Someone wrote: "I for one don't think people should be allowed to soak up domain names for profit. If they don't put a domain name to use they should lose it."

    Hmm. That seems to have a few difficulties -- one of which is that it would be easy to use the domain name for something. Just set up some email aliases.

    I think a better idea is to simply make it so that domain names cannot be resold. The only money that should be paid for a domain name is the registration fee. Anything else should be considered extortion.

    If people cannot (legally) profit from holding domain names, then they'll give them up and let the system work the way it was meant to.
  • Exactly. To newbies, everything is .com. I work for a local non-profit professional organization, and accordingly, our website ends in .org. I can't count the times I've told people our URL,, and they say something to the effect of "Oh, you must mean, right?" Bleaach.

    Get fragged @ Lone Star Quake II
  • This is contrary to what I have read/heard. Of course not every diamond passes through DeBeers' hands, but then not every computer runs M$ Windoze, yet each clearly controls its market. From what I have heard companies prospecting diamonds have to be very stealthy, otherwise DeBeers swoops in and stakes claims all around the potential sites with its huge capital.
  • Good point. I thought about this, and figured that if there were enough restrictions on the money, not many people would run unless they were really serious. I do agree that it would be wise to have a total cap though. I'm sure we'd eventually run into problems without it.

  • I don't think the whole "direct democracy" thing would work. We've had this discussion here too many times. With that many people involved, there's no way to have a real discussion of the topic with every voter, so you end up with people voting on something they don't have all (or even most of) the facts about. That would lead to some really bad decisions. I don't like politicians much at all, but I think direct democracy would be much worse.

  • I see your point, but my point is that the corporations are some of the people. Those people already get a vote and are already allowed to contribute to campaigns. Why then should a corporation be allowed to contribute? It seems to just put more power and influence in the hands of those businesses who do it, while it detracts from the influence of individuals.

  • But only those domains, the ones that are a reasonably straightforward word or phrase followed by .com (or less often .net or .org) are so important that they're valuable in and of themselves. Even (which is presumably aimed at someone hoping to start yet another porn site) is a rather low probability for a random type-in. As many posters have pointed out, didn't have any reasonable chance of relying on type-ins; instead they built a brand.
  • I agree with you entirely. It is very hard to get a trademark, never mind win a lawsuit when you use a common word for something. Apple isn't trademarked, but Apple Computer is. You may notice that most sites are trademarking thier dot com. Amazon is not trademarked, but is since its basically a different word (though to most net-types .com is only a qualifier).
  • Now that's a domain that we can all agree has value. At least, VA Research thought so. :)

    Mind you, they also are doing a reasonably good job so far (IMHO) at respecting what the Linux Community (tm) feels should be on a website. At least, I haven't heard anyone saying " sucks!" yet -- from Slashdotters, that's high praise indeed. :)
  • To tell the truth, I feel really ambivalent about it - I love owning it and really don't want to sell. What i say on my web page is that if you want to offer an "absurd" amount of money for it, I'll consider it. But I'm not terribly eager to face the question.

    In all honesty, I think most people trying to buy domain names are pretty much bottom feeding - unless it's something desperately needed like (which was Digital's mistake in the first place for building up the brand without selling the name), people aren't buying.


  • IIRC, there's now a process to make artificial rubies to such a degree of quality that to tell the difference between them and 'real' rubies, you look at the stuff under a microscope to look for *imperfections* (and ... oh yeah, if you UV light them they glow yellow -- purposely added impurity to the man-made stuff).

    the artificial stuff costs 1/10 as much as the stuff mined out of the ground, even though the average person wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

    but still the market for rubies hasn't died.

    how much longer until a process for building good diamonds that cost 1/100 as much comes about?

  • heh, this guy [] mentions the Wired article in his auction; apparently he was interviewed.

    I suspect fraud though... note the number of bidders with a 'zero' bid history score :)
  • All those things you listed are material wealth or legal tender. A domain name is simply a registration. In essence the government owns all names and lisences the registration to NSI, who in turn passes that right to the consumer. It is similar in someways to a phone number, versus the phone.
  • by delmoi ( 26744 )
    aaaah porn, the only Real way to makemoneyfast on the internet...
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • Isn't Network Associates what became of McAfee?? What do they have to do with domains??
  • Anonymous Coward asks: is another example. WTF does "ebay" mean?

    It means "be" in pig latin ;-p
  • Oh, they've thought of this all right.

    Check out for an example of a surname domain used by MailBank specifically for reselling vanity email and web addresses.

  • Funny, after reading the article, I looked up "" and saw that it was taken. I was too late to post a comment about it since someone beat me to it. So I thought I would be smart and see if "" is taken. AND IT IS!!!

    Billing Contact:
    Kotrotsos, Marco.

    Record created on 10-Apr-99.

    Boy this guy must think he's one up from "" :)

  • A few months back, I was reading a newsgroup devoted to a singer, and somebody was offering email accounts at a few domain names with her name in it. I believe he was charging 10 bucks a month, which is pretty high for a vanity email account.. so he got a few minor flames, especially as he wasn't someone who was recognized in the newsgroup.

    So after this, he said something to the extent of "Fine! You people don't know what this costs me, you're all ungrateful, and I'm selling the domains on Amazon, via auction!" I checked into it, and it turns out that this guy didn't even own the domain names to start with! I sent a message to the abuse department at the auctions service at Amazon, and posted a message to the newsgroup saying that he didn't even own this domains, and explained that anyone could buy these without going through his auction.

    Nobody did buy them, although I believed he registered them midway through the auction. Turns out he did the same thing with another female singer (Who mostly has fans not old enough to use a credit card...), and I would assume that if I kept following his progress he does the same thing fairly frequently.

    Unloading a domain name you don't use is fine. Gobbling up domains and auctioning them off is lame. Trying to sell things that you don't even own - or don't have a guarantee of owning - is criminal.

    Adam J
    TSS Productions []

  • I have to disagree with you there. Why shouldn't a corporation be allowed to make political contributions? They pay taxes, do they not? Now, if you want to stop forcing them to contribute to the gov't's coffers, then maybe I'll support you depriving them of their voice, but until then, no.

    Why is it that people are largely of the opinion that corporations are these big faceless entities? A corporation is nothing more than a group of people.

    Now what I *would* support is a cap on spending in political races, as well as getting rid of "warchests".
  • I'm not that familiar with Ebay, however couldn't you just register several identities and bid on your own item to create the illusion of a large bidding scheme (something I believe was alluded to by the original poster).
  • restricting webspace based on narrow opinions implanted by "old" thinking, would be similar to restricting each author to writing just 1 book.

    "well ernest, if you can't make a go of it with that fishing book, you may as well forget this whole author thing"

  • Maybe I'm just stating the obvious here, but there just isn't a huge intrinsic value to a single domain. Anything that is likely to attract traffic from its name alone (as opposed to a huge marketing effort) has long been registered. Sure, a lot of people probably go to see what's at [] every day, but you think there are a lot of names like that left? You think people are randomly going to check out [] when looking for Three Stooges information? [] is a great example. It has a market cap [] of more than $20 billion, but do you think that's because of the name? Do you think that it would be a good idea to go back in time and snap it up cheap? Jeff Bezos would have picked something else equally euphonous, and we'd be buying our books from [] instead.
  • Now this one actually makes sense. Common typos are a pretty common way of making money. Got Slap up an ad or two plus a link to, and you've got money for nothing.

    Unfortunately, is held by a squatter too, so its typos are unlikely to ever be worth anything.
  • A domain name is simply a registration. In essence the government owns all names and lisences the registration to NSI, who in turn passes that right to the consumer.

    Which, IMHO, goes to show another ungovernment-related item of "our world today" that the government controls. My theory of why the government controls it is that we're all assuming that by putting the government in control of the domains, we're ensuring that the process of selling/distributing domain names is carried out in a fair manner (ha!).

    Well, what I find amusing is that, if the domains are supposed to be worth so much money now, why are the owners of them selling them now? Why not sell the domains when they're worth the most? Otherwise, they're not getting all the great money out of it. Some people make me wonder.....

  • I know the guy who registered in 1995 (I think it was). It was during a small window in time (I am told) when Internic was allowing one-letter domain names.

    He sold it a few months ago for $600,000. No kidding.

    What is this world coming to? I certainly don't know. In my mind the aggregate wealth of our society only grows when money is exchanged for useful services. Alot of money seems to be circulating these days for completely useless things. The result is that some random person who happened to have done something of no value, or questionable value (such as registering winds up with a windfall. Someone else who would have done something useful that would have benefitted our economy for that 600 grand never got the chance.

    I think it's a big lose for everyone.
  • Try, sometime, doing up a whois on "The Linux Group" - I just wish I knew how to get WHOIS to not abort the search after a certain number of entries get found. I also wonder where they get the cash to hold onto all these names, since I don't see them marketing these domains to sell them.

    Anyone in the NYC area want to go pay them a house call and find out who they really are?

    Among the things they're sitting on:

    and, apparently just for fun:
  • Well, it doesn't cause consumer confusion if you are the Ford Bread company (I made that one up), the Ford Advertising Agency (I think this is real), or if your name happens to be Ford Prefect :) In the non-Internet world, you can have the same name as long as you aren't in the same market. I don't have any problem with corporations suing over domains that are deliberately intended to cause consumer confusion - for example, if I happened to get and put up a realistic car sales site which happened to sell my cheap Ford lookalikes. But I don't agree with companies that bring suits against sites which are clearly not causing any consumer confusion -,, and so on. In that case there is no consumer confusion - you can tell immediately that this isn't the site you wanted, and you retype the name and leave.

  • I just e-mailed him an offer of $849,999.99..

    Let's see what he says :)

  • Simple.. Cyber-Squatters are on the wrong side of case-law. If any big corporation whats their domain name that corporation only has to:

    1. Create a product with that name or catch phrase.
    2. Market it.
    3. Trademark the phrase
    4. Tell NSI to shut-down the offending name
    5. Go to court to and nail the cyber-squatter.

    I for one don't think people should be allowed to soak up domain names for profit. If they don't put a domain name to use they should lose it.
    And only $65K per domain. Why hasn't anyone bought these? Any takers?
  • Is it surprising that because a few made a killing on net related stuff others think that? After all, how often do you hear about gambles that failed? (Well, unless they blow up in some spectacular and ratingsworthy way.)

    Similarly, how many people went broke solely because they underestimated the intelligence of the people? (Is it even possible to underestimate the intelligence of the general public?) Besides, isn't the whole of North American society based on self-deception?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 09, 1999 @09:15AM (#1810393)
    It's the branding. Look, if you could time travel back to 19xx and buy up the domain would it be worth millions today? No. In fact "amazon" has nothing to do with books that I can tell. It's memorable, and it makes people think of a certain company because they have built the brand. Now is another matter. It's something you'd be likely to try, like how you just type www.[whatever].com and see if what you think comes up. But you don't need to be to sell books. Now if you already have an established name that people will be looking for online ( then it is important to get that name. by any other name would still be news for nerds. If it was named then would be a worthless domain name. is another example. WTF does "ebay" mean? (That's a rhetorical question.)
  • by alkali ( 28338 ) on Friday July 09, 1999 @09:18AM (#1810397)
    I have an unpronounceable and uncommon four-letter last name of Slavic origin -- call it "xxxx" -- and recently registered the domain for use as my personal site. Only weeks later someone had registered and offered it for sale for $3000. I strongly suspect that they won't find any takers unless I decide for some reason that I really need it. (On the other hand, I have heard that almost all four letter dot-com domains which are plausibly words have been registered, so perhaps it will have some value to someone who really feels they need a short domain name.)

    Assuming -- and this is kind of a big "if" -- the holders were motivated to register the name based on my registration of, does anyone have any idea how they found out about my registering I didn't put up any content for some time after registering the site, so they clearly didn't find it by accident -- they must have (had?) some systematic way of searching such things out.

  • It seems to me that these are people too lazy or unimaginative to make money by actually being productive/innovative/providing useful goods and services.

    Think about it this way: cyber-squatting is like trying to own names of businesses that don't even exist yet! This would never be tolerated under trademark law, according to which you can't own a name without having a legitimate product or service associated with it...

    A few choice quotes from the leeches:

    >"The mainstream hasn't figured out the power of >the domain yet."

    So, we're missing out on something? Sounds like desperate words from a desperate salesman...

    >Many sellers blame the lack of bidders on the >ignorance of the buyers. "Most people don't know
    >what these things are worth,"

    Or, just maybe, the lack of bidders can be attributed to the worthlessness of the product in the first place! Another poster accurately observed that any legitimate business could oust cyber-squatters by legal means. The squatters are simply playing a numbers game, trying to guess the names of successful businesses and then cash in by selling off a name which they appropriated but to which they have little real claim.

    >"Most people don't recognize the value of those >names because they don't share the vision that >you have in the first place," added Provost. >"That's why we're not getting a lot of bites."

    Here's another way of looking at it: you're making up names, buying them, and then complaining that no one else is going out and starting a successful business by that name, making you rich with *their* vision and hard work!?

    Methinks the gravy-trainers doth protest too much, and should go do something useful for a change..

    My 2 cents...
    Chief Justice
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The company I work for (hence AC) decided they wanted a certain dommain name so we approached the "owner" with a six figure offer. They responded that they had a new offer that raised our bid. After going back and fourth several times we ended up getting the name for about five times what we initially offered. Turns out another branch office in our firm thought they were the ones responsible for getting the domain. Moral - make sure you don't raise your own bid.
  • No, it's nowhere near the same. Let's not forget that internet realestate doesn't really exist. It's just a concept.

    If someone buys land, then they have something they can use. If someone invests in a company, then they have a part of the company and a say in the workings of that company.

    The only reason cyber-squatters buy up domain names is to make a quick buck off of the people that could actually use them. (There are exceptions, like failed bussinesses selling their domains).

    There are people who just buy land and sell it for a profit to someone who needs it more. They're called middlemen and they make things more expensive. At least where middlemen are involved, the previous owner is compensated and there's always some other land that can be bought.

    I say, if you don't use a domain for 6 months, you lose it.

    P.S. Don't say there's always another domain that can be bought.,, & most permutations of those were already taken last time I looked. Not only that, but I couldn't even use the domain as I wanted. They would give me the priveledge of having an e-mail address with my own family name in the domain for only $5 dollars a month.
  • Ofcourse domain name is important.
    I'll give you a good example: c-net.
    they have and
    Newbies have no idea what a "domain" is, and just type a word and .com,
    so if they are looking for news they will try, if they are looking to downlaod something they will go to

    I think the best domain for this kind of things is :-)

    The day Microsoft makes something that doesn't suck,

    What a bunch of guff.

"I don't believe in sweeping social change being manifested by one person, unless he has an atomic weapon." -- Howard Chaykin