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Buying a Domain From a Cybersquatter

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the ask-nicely-but-bring-a-big-stick dept.

Businesses 800

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

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800 comments

Forsty Prost (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28207619)

GNAA I'm in with frosty piss

url? (-1, Redundant)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207623)

What's the domain name we're talking about?

Re:url? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28207633)

What's the domain name we're talking about?

goat.cx [goat.cx]

Unfortunate (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207637)

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

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

Re:Unfortunate (3, Insightful)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207701)

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

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

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

Re:Unfortunate (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28207739)

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

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

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

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

It would mean a lot to me ...

Re:Unfortunate (2, Funny)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207981)

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

It would mean a lot to me ...


Someone mod this guy up. He's got the right idea.

Re:Unfortunate (1, Flamebait)

Makarakalax (658810) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207843)

I agree with the anonymous coward above. Your coworker is scum.

Re:Unfortunate (3, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#28208013)

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

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

It's nothing personal; just business.

Re:Unfortunate (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28208107)

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

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

Re:Unfortunate (1)

Valtor (34080) | more than 4 years ago | (#28208011)

The company I worked for in 1998 bought interpass.com for 5000$ from a Brazilian squatter. A bit pricey, but the transaction went smoothly.

Valtor

Make an offer (5, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207647)

If they are a squatter they will have contact info on their page. If not you can find the registered owner with WHOIS. I would make them a reasonable offer and stick to it. Remember that there may be available alternatives ( .org, .net, .us, etc.)

Re:Make an offer (5, Insightful)

noundi (1044080) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207927)

There are always alternatives. The guy is however starting is business on the wrong end. My 2 cents are: register at another top domain, create a brand for yourself, if things work out fine then trademark that brand, then go ahead and seize any domain violating your trademark. Don't go worrying about the domain name to be perfect before you even have anything to showcase for, a domain is shit without content so focus on that first.

Re:Make an offer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28207949)

If the whois is good enough to tell you where they are located. Buy the plane ticket, fly over there and force him to give it to you. for 9.99 which he paid for it. This may only cost you 2-300 bucks. Depending on airfare deals.

Re:Make an offer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28207987)

do you need to rent a baseball bat?

Re:Make an offer (4, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#28208089)

do you need to rent a baseball bat?

Depending on the part of the world he is located in you may have to use a cricket bat. Don't worry, Gartner says that most hired thugs cross skill on these alternatives with a very shallow learning curve.

Re:Make an offer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28208001)

Some squatters stole a URL that was supposed to belong to us, but was registered by a web designer that bailed on our project. When I contacted them they quoted about 1500.00. We told them to enjoy holding the domain, because they weren't going to be able to sell to anyone else, and we were not going to pay that kind of money

Re:Make an offer (1)

Wireless Joe (604314) | more than 4 years ago | (#28208123)

If they are a squatter they will have contact info on their page. If not you can find the registered owner with WHOIS. I would make them a reasonable offer and stick to it. Remember that there may be available alternatives ( .org, .net, .us, etc.)

If you're going to do this, ensure you buy that alternate tld domain first; If I were a squatter and knew someone was interested enough in foo.com to make an offer, I'd be sure to register all the other foo.*** domains as well.

Financing Options Available (4, Interesting)

shoemakc (448730) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207649)

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

-Chris

Re:Financing Options Available (2, Funny)

MrMr (219533) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207725)

You married to the mob?
Could be a story in that.

Re:Financing Options Available (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 4 years ago | (#28208073)

What? Are the RIAA and MPAA now in the business of squatting domain names? Makes sense to me: after all, their previous business model is running out of steam....

Re:Financing Options Available (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28207797)

Do they also have other relatives in the waste management business? Do any of them describe themselves as "businessmen"? Do they have Italian-sounding last names?

recent (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28207653)

i recently had an experiance buying a domain name from a squatter. we promiced to pay them £100 for the domain name, and then they sent us their fasthost account details, without us paying them. we thought we would take the opertunity to simply take the domain name anyway, and transfer it to our own account without payment.

hopefully you could try and get this idiot to do something similar, ie some details to see that the domain is in the account as "good faith" before you hand over any money.

Re:recent (1)

GreenTech11 (1471589) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207697)

slightly immoral that, sure they're ruining the internet for others... but they are just trying to make some money.

Re:recent (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207729)

slightly immoral that, sure they're ruining the internet for others... but they are just trying to make some money.

I can't tell if this is supposed to be tongue-in-cheek or not... well played, sir.

Re:recent (2, Informative)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207917)

but they are just trying to make some money.

So are extortionists. Oh wait, that's what they are. The front grill of a car is the only thing good enough for these idiots.

I wish like hell someone would so something about these idiots and start charging normal prices for these idiots to park all these domains. People don't realize, in most cases, these idiots haven't even purchased the domain names. Rather, they buy them in bulk, don't pay, let them go back, and buy them again. Their tactics are in line with the mob. They are only one step above that of spammers. Scam and scum is an understatement.

How badly do you need that address? (5, Insightful)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207673)

(And whatever the answer to that question is - never, ever give it to the cybersquatter).

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

Re:How badly do you need that address? (5, Insightful)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207703)

mention possible alternatives.

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

Re:How badly do you need that address? (2, Insightful)

smallfries (601545) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207873)

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

Re:How badly do you need that address? (2, Funny)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207923)

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

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

Sounds like fun. ;)

Re:How badly do you need that address? (1)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207933)

mention possible alternatives.

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

Or even better, get a whole bunch of friends together. Over time, all of you contact the sqautter to express interest in various domains. DO mention specific alternatives. Make them register squat each and every one of those domains. Drag the "negotiations" out as long as possible, wasting their time. Repeat with new domains and new email accounts. Flood them with so many requests (which they can't afford to ignore) that it either drives them out of business or eats up a significant amount of time / resources every day.

Re:How badly do you need that address? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28208037)

would be fun to toy with them and mention names and get them to buy them and waste whatever resources they have.

Re:How badly do you need that address? (1)

arkarumba (763047) | more than 4 years ago | (#28208105)

Mention that this is your fifth choice and that the others were too expensive. Don't detail how much. Let them make an offer - counter offer low - negotiate. Be prepared to walk away. Have a real alternative ready - it helps your mindset.

Re:How badly do you need that address? (0)

paulatz (744216) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207727)

mention possible alternatives

This is sound advice! You should also remember to always mention you credit card details and your ebay password.

no (5, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207681)

You don't own the trademark and even if you registered for it, you're doing so too late. Either pay for it or find another name. If it's a low volume domain (or one they scooped up when it expired) they may not renew it, in which case you can get it that way, if you want to wait.

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

Be Crafty - negotiate well. (5, Insightful)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207691)

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

I am bookmarking this comment... (1)

postermmxvicom (1130737) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207817)

...and contacting you if I ever need business advice.

+1 Brilliant (Disclaimer: I may be easily impressed)

Re:Be Crafty - negotiate well. (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207911)

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

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

Re:Be Crafty - negotiate well. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28208055)

[...] It's only a domain name, there are lots of others, [...]

Yeah, lots of good domain names aren't yet taken by squatters. Like hedgehogtelescopebag.com and hjrooskkxgcbsifyywhflg.com, and many others.

Re:Be Crafty - negotiate well. (1, Informative)

sjwest (948274) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207921)

Do you have to negotiate ?

do a whois lookup when does it end,
do not visit the site again and not bang up any stats collection on its popularity,
if the domain is not renewed get it normally

Be wary of godaddy.com as any whois lookup made on there site then that dom name is then registered to them so choose a registrar that is not going to screw you.

Patience might pay off

Re:Be Crafty - negotiate well. (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 4 years ago | (#28208009)

Really?

Godaddy is my registrar (been there since close to the beginning and, yes, I'm just too lazy to change) and I just picked up a new domain. Checked it one week, mulled it over, then found a coupon and purchased it the next week (for about $1.40, I think). It's just three short words - long enough not to be normally squatted, but memorable for my purposes. Maybe it takes more interest for them to squat lookups?

Re:Be Crafty - negotiate well. (1)

DiceRoller (1178315) | more than 4 years ago | (#28208087)

You could also try waiting till the domain expires and they have to renew and try to register it then before they do. That takes time and cunning skills.

It's not going to happen (2, Insightful)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207695)

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

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

Re:It's not going to happen (2, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207763)

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

The amount they'll be making in advertising per domain is tiny, as far as I am aware. $500 (which is an irritation, certainly, but not a huge amount in the scheme of things) should be far more tempting than just sitting on the domain collecting a few dollars a year beyond the registration cost. Sure, $5000 is more tempting than $500, but any sensible business owner will realise quite quickly that they should take the $500 when there's no chance of them getting the $5000.

Re:It's not going to happen (1)

GreenTech11 (1471589) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207867)

Sure, $5000 is more tempting than $500, but any sensible business owner will realise quite quickly that they should take the $500 when there's no chance of them getting the $5000.

Yes, but these guys aren't sensible

Re:It's not going to happen (4, Interesting)

_Hiro_ (151911) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207945)

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

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

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

Re:It's not going to happen (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#28208003)

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

That was possibly a lie...

Re:It's not going to happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28208113)

Noooo, really? Sigh. GP doesn't seem to understand how bartering works. "A 10% premium" is insultingly low for pretty much anyone you're trying to buy a (semi-valuable) domain from.

Re:It's not going to happen (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28207793)

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

Ideas (4, Interesting)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207699)

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

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

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

Domain name not important? (1)

HetMes (1074585) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207707)

When was the last time you timed out a website address in full? Current browser technology dictates that it's easier to just google a company. And after first finding the site you are looking for, no more than a couple of typed letters uniquely identify the desired website. Even Google itself hardly needs its epynomal domain name, although users might be sceptical about surfing to www..com. So, pick any domain name, as long as it seems trustworthy. I'll leave pointing out the downsides of this approach to you...

Re:Domain name not important? (2, Insightful)

SoundGuyNoise (864550) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207973)

Anyone who uses Google when they already know what website they want to go to deserves a boot to the head.

You really need help with this? (4, Insightful)

D-Cypell (446534) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207709)

Surely the process is pretty simple,

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

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

Think of a different name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28207717)

Presumably your are talking about a .com name.

Are you going to register all the alternative endings? .co.uk .org .net etc. Because others will and if you don't then their site will be picked up when people search for your name.

Better to have a name slightly different from the one that is already registered and register the relevant alternatives.

low ball (5, Insightful)

tresstatus (260408) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207757)

within the past year, my company went around purchasing the .net, .us, .biz, etc TLDs for our domain. none of them were taken except for the .net version. we called the guy up and said we were interested and asked what his asking price was. he said $2000, to which we said that was way too high. he came back to us with, "well how much do you want to offer for it". i think that our final buying price was between $300 and $500.

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

anyway, just go into it like you are buying a car. don't seem too interested or you will pay way more than you should.

Make up another name (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28207803)

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

Maybe use a subdomain? (4, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207811)

news.google.com is just as good for google as news.com would be because browsers autocomplete from left to right. I type news, the google site comes right up.

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

Down the track you may be able to snap up the domain you originally wanted, or you may have a better idea by then.

Re:Maybe use a subdomain? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28207983)

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

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

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

Don't play by their rules. (5, Interesting)

KyroTerra (1569451) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207813)

My boss received an e-mail from a cybersquatter that sought to sell us a URL that was very similar to a URL we currently owned. My boss, being the URL hound he is asked me to purchase it. I offered the squatterâ(TM)s auto-bid website $50, which it automatically turned down and told me I had to offer a minimum of $500. I walked from the deal, only to receive an e-mail an hour later from the squatter, agreeing to my $50 bid.

Re:Don't play by their rules. (2, Interesting)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207891)

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

I emailed them back saying that a) there is no website or indeed anything at all at lovesthepython.org because I've done nothing with it since I bought it, b) lovesthepython.com doesn't sound as good and c) no bloody way would I pay $1000 but if they really wanted it shifted I'd take it off their hands for $10. Alternatively, if they wanted lovesthepython.org I'd happily accept $1000 for it, or they could make me an offer. No reply, so I guess they're not fussed either way

Special slashdot offer - if anyone here wants to buy lovesthepython.org then you have it for £60, or a large chinese takeaway and some beer.

its parked (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28207829)

The proper term is 'parked' buydomains offers this type of service for 'domainers' (people who purchase bulk names). And no its not a one off and hope to get rich. Finding the perfect name is important, and you should settle with a 'branding' you will not be happy with. Domainers park names to capitaliza on the traffic, but most revenu is made from actually selling their names

~shawn dyck
Buydomains- software engineer

trade don't buy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28207839)

Find a more valuable domain name, especially one the owner would be interested in, and propose a trade.

Obvious Solution (5, Funny)

charliebear (887653) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207847)

Just wait until it expires, then swoop in and register it. /then email the squatter and ask them if they want to buy it back

Three pieces of advice (5, Informative)

salesgeek (263995) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207857)

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

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

Re:Three pieces of advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28207939)

1. Set your PayPal account to draw against a credit card, not your bank account. You have both your credit card's consumer protections as well as PayPal's this way, the difference being you can actually get someone on the phone at your credit card company. When they yank the money from PayPal, suddenly PayPal will care.

Paypal debits your account through an ACH transaction. ACH transactions from a consumer account are subject to the same protections as a credit card. This is not true for ACH transactions from a commercial account, though.

Easy (5, Funny)

Jamamala (983884) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207869)

Give us the address, we'll give his server so much traffic he'll be begging to give the domain away.

Don't look big (5, Insightful)

superdana (1211758) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207887)

We buy a lot of domains where I work--a big honkin' national enterprise--but we never use our work email addresses when we approach a squatter. That way we don't tip them off to how much money we have. So, my advice is to be aware of how you present yourself, and be careful not to give the squatter the impression that you're anything more than a casual buyer. Don't mention that you have a partner, for example, and don't reveal why you want the domain.

How it's done - info from "the other side" (5, Informative)

Etylowy (1283284) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207895)

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

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

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

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

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

Re:How it's done - info from "the other side" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28208099)

The definition of cybersquating aside, this bloody well should be illegal.

I disagree (4, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 4 years ago | (#28208111)

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

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

Just get a different domain (1)

Jarlsberg (643324) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207897)

It's not worth the hassle or your money to pay for a squatted domain. It's always possible to find a decent substitute, maybe even a better one.

Ask about multiple domain prices (3, Insightful)

lalena (1221394) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207907)

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

Cool Domain Name Search Tool -- domai.nr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28207913)

domai.nr -- A site to help you find a cool domain using 2 letter country codes and subdomains. WAY useful tool for finding alternatives.

Use a temporary email address when communicating. (1)

berbmit (1150557) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207915)

Suggest you get a temporary email address when (if) you initiate communication. Your normal email is just too useful a lead for them to google and see how much you're worth stinging for. Better yet, ignore them and find another name.

Georgi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28207929)

I'm not in the domain name business, but from time to time use to buy, sell and register some domains.

In my opinion and experience, there two kind of "sellers" out there. The one who know what to and how to sell and the quantity of money they want for specific domain name and the rest. These others just have no idea about the real value of a domain name and sell it for the price you say. Last domain I bought was 4 letters!!!! length and the price which the seller wanted was ~ $10000. In the end and after few emails telling him that "...I'm not in the domain name business and can't pay more than... bla bla bla", I got it for ~ $85 (paid in â).

So its all about a game and lies to get the desired domain :)

Hope that gives you some advice.

Web Resources (1)

muphin (842524) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207935)

Theres plenty of help out there, especially at the WIPO: http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/ [wipo.int]

For an example of people who have lost domains check out: http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/cases/index.html [wipo.int]
I actually found this an interesting read from all the responses cybersquatters have.

There is an article at WIPO about cybersquatting, can be found at: http://www.wipo.int/pressroom/en/articles/2009/article_0005.html [wipo.int]

in my opinion, if you really want the domain and it isn't being used, and you made a proper offer for the domain (not something like $1 million dollars) and they refused, i suggest you either threaten to take it up with WIPO and get it transferred to you to lower the cost, or actually take it up with WIPO .. keeping in mind a case with WIPO can set you back $1500-$4000 USD (http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/fees/index.html)

Take another TLD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28207941)

I would suggest looking for another TLD. Sure, .com, .net, .org etc. are nice, but there is so much more. Why not try India (.in) or Russia (.ru) for a change? Your domain name will still be short and perhaps it will even attract more customers...

Your customers won't care (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207955)

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

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

Ignore the price the squatter quotes (1)

srowen (206154) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207957)

If you really want to buy a domain off a scummy squatter -- you must have it --

The squatter paid very little for the domain, $10 or so per year. He is also probably making some minimal ad revenue, which you can estimate by digging up page view stats or other similar metrics on the internet. Domain registration sites are particularly helpful in estimating domain traffic and value.

From these, you can construct what you think is his minimum acceptable value, which is low. The value of the domain to you, of course, is much higher. You need to arrive at a number somewhere in between, preferably close to the low end.

Typical negotiating tactics apply. He knows the domain is much more valuable to you. Your goal is to pretend you can't pay much of course to bring the price down. That is, if you would really pay $2000, do not start anywhere near $2000.

I would begin by emailing the owner, asking simply if he might be interested in selling the domain? He'll write back with some ridiculous value, probably ten times what he estimates it might be worth to an interested buyer. Say it's $10,000. Ignore this number. Write back saying, gosh, that's really high! And it's for a personal project, and you might be able to pay a couple hundred dollars. This will not offend the owner; after all, even a couple hundred dollars is a good price for him. He'll write back with a much 'better' offer, as much lower as possible without being comical, like $4,000. Tell him thanks, you thought hard, and can cough up maybe $350 but that's all you can afford. He'll write back with an offer like $1,500.

Then I'd kindly point out that you know the domain is probably earning him about $50 per year at best, and so your offer is really a nice win-win for both of you, and to show you're really interested in doing the deal, you'll offer $400. Tell him you're ready to finish the deal.

At that point the squatter will not walk away from $400 being held out to him -- which is, in reality, a great deal for him, and not so bad, I guess, for you. You paid $400 for what's worth $2000. Don't feel bad, the punk does not deserve the profit anyway. :) ... and yes this is about how real negotiations I have been involved in do go down!

Depends on the Seller (1)

DeanFox (729620) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207959)

Don't make the email sound like you are both wealthy and desperate

I don't know. I get requests for a few of my domains all the time. The one liners, in fact, the more plain the email... The more wealthy and desperate I assume they are. The "chatty" emails I assume are from John/Jane Doe.

The one line, try not to reveal anything emails, get the 7-8 figure quote. The "chatty" emails where he tells me it was his nickname in high school or his dogs name and he wants to setup a tribute to the dog that saved his life..., they get the better deal.

Seems to me it depends on who the seller is which method would work better. The one line email might work better on a Cybersquatter. If it's a human being, the backstory might be useful.

-[d]-

Wait! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28207967)

I waited for mine. It was owned by a company in S. Korea that eventually let it expire. Search engines have replaced the need for a good domain name. Granted having a name you want on your business materials is desired but I am sure you can figure out something else.

Trouble (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28207977)

A company I know purchased a domain name. About $5000 after some long and drawn out negotiations, threatening a lawsuit, etc.

After they got it, they immediately regretted it. Turns out that some previous owner of the domain name had been involved in shady activities, at least to the point of sending spam.

Just about every mail recipient's spam filter ended up blacklisting their e-mails. Hardly a good start for a new business.

They're still sticking with it, trying to convince the spam filterers to de-list them. Not a straitforward process.

Domain parking != cybersquatting (2, Insightful)

joseprio (923259) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207985)

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

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

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

Prepare for identity theft (1)

Kostya (1146) | more than 4 years ago | (#28207989)

A business partner did this, and a month later he had $6k of bogus charges on his credit card. So be aware that these people are probably not above reselling your info and then throwing up their hands and saying, "Oh my, how'd that happen?"

They're not "cybersquatters" (1)

GeorgeK (642310) | more than 4 years ago | (#28208021)

They're not "cybersquatters" but you're giving them that label because you are upset that they own something that you want for cheap. They registered and paid for the domain name (they're not getting something for free), before your business even started. Since you have no relevant trademarks with priority rights (i.e. created and used before the domain name, and in the same class of goods/services) that they're violating, they can do anything they want with their domain name. Just because you feel you might be better able to use a domain name then they can doesn't mean you are entitled to anything. There are lots of empty pieces of land in most places that do not have skyscrapers on them. It doesn't mean that I can compel the owners of the land to sell them to me at below market value.

Microsoft owns the domain name juice.com, for example, and currently redirects it to a search page on bing.com (visit www.juice.com [juice.com] and you'll see). Similarly, CNET has owned Kids.com for years, and it is currently a parked page. Microsoft acquired bing.com years ago, before they launched their new site. Smart companies plan ahead, and register domain names well before their product launches. Your company was not smart enough to do the same.

Your company has choices. It can coin a new term ("google" wasn't a dictionary term, but was a typo, when the Stanford boys registered Google.com). Or, it can get real funding, and acquire a domain name that is within its financial means.

Squatter (4, Interesting)

mseeger (40923) | more than 4 years ago | (#28208023)

Hi,

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

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

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

Sincerely yours, Martin

I ended up filing a case (3, Informative)

Tiber (613512) | more than 4 years ago | (#28208025)

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

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

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

Suggestions (2, Interesting)

sherriw (794536) | more than 4 years ago | (#28208069)

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

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

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

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

DON'T (1)

j0nb0y (107699) | more than 4 years ago | (#28208085)

Don't buy names from squatters. It only encourages the business model, and we don't want to do that.

Abuse (2, Insightful)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 4 years ago | (#28208097)

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

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

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

How do you approach the contact? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28208117)

Think about how you contact the person and how that comes across to them, especially if you're interested in a domain that might appeal to other people. You're probably not the first person to ask.

I have one domain that I've had since 1992 that I've probably had over 100 offers on, some as high as $16k, but all of the offers come from some random free email account. Almost all of them come across as some sort of scammer, so I don't even consider them real offers. I'm not sure if there are scams out there involving offerring to buy domain names, but it's not enough money for me to waste my time finding out. I'm also not in a rush to sell a 4 character domain name that I've had forever and give as my email address for contracting work I do.

A lot of people assume the domain isn't being used because I don't have much of a home page. Sending me an email stating that I'm not using the domain is a good way to end up in the bit bucket. Asking how much I want to sell it for when I've never offered it for sale is also a recurring theme. If you want to make an offer, make it. If you seem like you're on the level, I'll be courteous enough to tell you I'm not interested. I have countless people expecting me to engage in a conversation back and forth about their interest in my domain. Since I have nothing to gain from the vast majority of these discussions, I don't respond to any of them.

I've suggested that if someone just wanted the name for a web site, I can direct the traffic to anywhere, but nobody has been interested in this option. It seems like it wouldn't be completely unreasonable for a legitimate business to make an arrangement for something they feel will benefit them. I even had one company threaten to sue me unless I handed over the domain name to them, claiming I was infringing on their copyright of a common English word. The funny thing is that if a human being, instead of a lawyer, had approached me as if I were a vaguely intelligent human being, I probably could be convinced to point the home page to their site with some very agreeable terms to both parties.

On the other hand, if they're really just a cybersquatter, those people are only interested in money, so decide whether or not you want to pay their price.

Here's a twist on the question (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#28208121)

How do you go about aquiring domains that are simply held by squatters that don't want to sell because they're convinced they're making enough ad revenue from the sites to make it worth it (even though on the domain you tried, there's no way in hell they really will be) like this company here:

http://www.nameadministration.com/ [nameadministration.com]

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