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What is Domaining?

Updated on January 23, 2013

Understanding Domaining

Domaining is the term given to the business of buying and selling domains and of profiting from the traffic that the domains can bring in. It is the speculation in domain names. As mentioned earlier, domains are the internet equivalent of a property title and can be very valuable. Most companies register their company names and brand names even before they are ready to operationalize their websites to protect them. Most of the top flight companies have registered their company and brand names including all variations and extensions to protect their brand names. A company like Google has registered all gTLds and ccTLDs in all countries and territories effectively protecting its brand.

Domains are registered for a minimum of one year and must be renewed after the registration period is over. Failure to do so can result in someone else registering your domain.

For a number of years now there has been much litigation involving aggrieved parties suing domainers who have registered domains of existing trademarks. Most of the litigation has gone in favor of the trademark owners and in the US; this practice of registering domains of existing trademarks led the US congress to pass the AntiCybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) of 1999. Other nations have also gone ahead to create specific laws over and above the normal trademark laws to discourage and punish cybersquatting. In Wikipedia, Cybersquatting has basically been identified as “the practice of registering domains and holding onto to them with the sole intention of profiting from the goodwill of a trademark owned by someone else.”The word “Cybersquatting” originated from “squatter” which is the word used to describe someone who invades an abandoned building, home or piece of land and lives there without permission from the owner. Some well known cybersquatting litigation examples include;

· Apple Computer won a legal dispute to force CyberBritain, a company in the UK it accused of cybersquatting to hand over the domain ownership for the iTunes.co.uk web address.

· Disney succeeded in a cybersquatting action to recover the domain name “www.thelionking.com.”

Difference between Domaining & Cybersquatting

Let us get one thing right; Domaining is not cybersquatting. Cybersquatting is intentionally trying to profit from the trademark of someone else. This is illegal. Domaining differs from cybersquatting to the extent that a domainer makes a living from registering and selling good quality trademark free domains. As an example, the names of places cannot be trademarked, hence no one can sue you for trademark infringement if you register “Londonn.com” or “Singpore.com” both of which are miss-pelt versions of “london.com” and “Singapore.com”. However, a cyber squatter might register a name like “Micro-soft.com”, clearly trying to profit from the “Microsoft” trademark.

Find out how to get started domaining at this hub

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