Domain Hoarding

Domain Hoarding: A Growing Threat to Internet Productivity

What's this new kind of hoarding? Is this some kind of illness? As a matter of fact, it is. It is sadly making the internet very sick for new entrepreneurs and/or those seeking to purchase a domain for their online or brick and mortar business only to find that the name they need is taken. By whom, they seriously wonder? Who else owns a business named birdfeedandseednosquirrelsallowed.com? Seriously, they ask a little bewildered.

The answer. A greedy individual or individuals but, mostly one of the two major internet registrars. They feed on list generated by anyone that logs domain name searches and quickly grab any domain that has expired and can be reassigned. They (these two types) would call it supply and demand. They consider themselves lucky that they were smart enough to predict the future and to grab a name and make someone else pay them out the nose for it. These two kinds of vampires would call you a sore loser and tell you to suck it up and if you want that name you have to pay them either hundreds or, thousands of dollars.

They feel they are smart for doing this. All they care about is (themselves and theirs). It's corporate mentality, the ideology to have a monopoly. They love money and they could care less who they have to step on to get it.

When something like this happens...it's time to make laws. You may call me a whiner. I couldn't care less. Call me what you like. The fact is, this country is in pretty bad shape because of this same mentality in so many other areas besides just here online. It's no secret politicians line their pockets, while those who work to earn their money do without critical things they need to survive. Many are very close to losing everything.

A similar thing is happening with the net. No matter what name you might be interested in looking into, more than likely it will be taken. Even more disturbing is that its more than possible to find it's nothing but a parked name taking up real estate. No one is using but it's not available. You do research to see who does own it and viola! It is owned by one of those leeching registrars. The ones that thought it was a good idea to buy up all the names and sell them back to the lowly individual who happened to be unlucky enough to need that particular name. What's one to do?

Well, you can either pay the fee, or set out to try to find a name that is not taken. In the mean time...this would have potentially been a name you were going to use to start up a real business. So now if you do decide to start this said business...what will your internet presence be like? Null, or none existent unless you break down and cough out the big bucks to buy your name back from someone who should have never been allowed to do this to start with. In today's generation it's nearly a given that you need a web presence. People don't use phone books anymore. Or not the younger generation anyway.

This unethical practice has actually crippled the success of the internet to a large degree. Most do not even realize how much, nor is it likely they care. When the WWW used to be limitless...its is now controlled by a couple of major players that are out for blood. And they don't care who's it is.

Don't let the big guys lie to you. You will hear that when a domain name expires or is not renewed that it goes back in the pot to be reused again. NOT true. The big companies hold it hostage. Think I'm wrong? Just make up a couple of names. Next, when the status of the name you are interested in comes up, whether available or taken, go type that name in the address bar. Is it a real site or is it being parked, or is it being used as a garbage can, a mass landing page to things you are not even interested in, or even related to the name? it might be registered and used to bring in traffic to redirect to a completely unrelated, irrelevant, unusable domain. It's presence is worthless, while it's name is worth a lot to you. That's what they are banking on.

I once had a pretty successful site that I decided I did not have time to continue on with. I let the domain expire. I decided to look it up the other day and see if it might be available again. It's not. Not surprising, it points to a site that sells maternity clothes...Now how do you use a real estate site to redirect to a clothing site? Wow. Talk about un-targeted traffic. If someone is interested in real estate schools...I don't think maternity clothes is an effective method for finding that information. Granted...I don't know why a maternity site would buy a real estate site to point to something that is not even close to it's target market.

This is just one way the internet is being abused.

It is in my opinion, that if you are going to reserve a domain name, you should use it. If you don't use it within a certain period of time, to build a real site, you should automatically lose it. Now I know there is not enough manpower to police this kind of thievery.

It is in the process of making its way to law makers who patrol the internet currently. Since most other things are or have restrictions and regulations, I believe the misuse and abuse of buying up internet real estate should be regulated as well. If you are going to take care of a problem, you should take care of the whole problem.

As an online entrepreneur , I am constantly plagued by the shortage of names...Of course you will also, no doubt, hear that there is no shortage of names...technically there's not, unless you are willing to pay an untold number of times more money than what you should be paying. The normal registration fee from 6 to 30 bucks instead of 600.00 to thousands of dollars, even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Many small businesses starting out cannot afford to do this. And they should not have to. Registered names should belong to those who have plans on using them. Not some huge company that made a fortune cheating people out of the right to be creative and pick a name that would best fit their business entity.

At some point, the greed has to end. Why is enough is never enough for some? When you have more than you can use...it's time to share.

Law makers feel the same way. Recently, NSI (who is a division of VeriSign) was sued by an Alabama business person on the grounds of hoarding domain names. According plaintiff, he tried to register nearly 28 domain names. All of which was being held by NSI. They were not being used and NSI refused to release them from the whois data base. The whois database is regulated by ICANN. You can read more on this from PCWorld at: http://www.pcworld.com/article/32805/nsi_faces_domain_name_hoarding_suit.html

Although the link above is to a dated article, NSI is still up to their same old tricks. It's like the MLM marketing scams in the early 90's, when they were unmasked for what they were, they didn't change what they did, they just changed their name. Before using NSI to search for your next possible domain name...do a little more research on them.

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Comments 4 comments

WM 5 years ago

I want to sue tucows for sitting on a domain they are not using. I want to sue several companies for url hoarding. Are there any attorneys in the country who have been successful at suing a company or person for domain hoarding?


AlarmingMonkey profile image

AlarmingMonkey 3 years ago from London

Your article is very true, I've tried to get a domain for over a year now and it's still parked by someone owning a business completely different to what the parked domain is about :(


jakester 3 years ago

I see this as a huge problem, and a significant hindrance to getting the US economy back on it's feet. Conngress should put an end to this. If a domain is not employed for the putting a business' presence on the web, then it should be freed up.

As it is now, I suspect racketeering conspiracy, where the large domain hoarders use sophisticated computer programs to snag one's desire domain name immediately, during the time in which a prospect is doing a search on that prospective name. They then "point" to it, from a previously registered IP address, so that when the prospect does a whois search on the domain name, they are returned bogus info showing the domain was registered years ago. Some of the few whois companies which the query is shuttled through, may be in on the conspiracy.


Mike 3 years ago

This is definitely a problem. One that should be fixed, but carefully. There is a difference between someone that owns several domains that are parked with maybe some intention of perhaps using them. I have several like that (while having many used for sites too). Compared to someone, or a company, that has bought many and place huge premium prices on them for resale. The latter should be illegal. If anyone places a disclosed premium price on a domain not being used, they should lose the domain. Companies, and subdivisions of others, are now built around hoarding these domain and advertising to the seekers often enormous and outrageous premium prices. I've seen some when curiously looking in the hundreds of thousands. Many averaging a few thousand. These companies should be considered unlawful. If anyone wants this changed, contact your congressman. Federal laws need to be drafted to protect the entrepreneurial and public openness of the web. It was never intended for leeches to hold hostage potential intellectual property of others, for profit.

On another note. One avenue that may work as an alternative to paying stupid prices OR finding another name. Trademarks. As far as I understand, ICANN has rules that do not allow anyone to own a domain that is a trademarked name (other than the trademark owner). If you can secure a trademark for a name, you contact ICANN and the domain holder must let it go. I've never tested it myself, but believe this may be a valid option. Trademarks are not free, average approximately $500 in the US. However, if your desired name has got some ridiculous price tag in the thousands+, it is a better way to look toward. Then the name is protected better in any form.

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