Recently I was in a meeting with my team at TMC researching domain names and I was blown away at just how many were taken for seemingly every combination of terms we could think of. Many of the names were available mind you but from cybersquatters who were charging many thousands of dollars for the selections we wanted. Ultimately we decided on a domain name which was available but it wasn’t our first choice.
I was reminded of our journey down domain name disappointment as I read an article about cybersquatters from IBD. It is a good read and reminds us of how important it is to rush to your computer and start registering as soon as you have an idea for a new business or product name. Hopefully you won’t be forced to buy from a cybersquatter.
Here is an excerpt:
Most companies won’t say how much they pay for domain names, but some deals leak out. In 2006, Russian Standard Vodka paid $3 million for the vodka.com domain.
Snatching up domain names on spec “has become a sophisticated business,” said Scott Schwartz of Cozen O’Connor, a law firm that specializes in trademark law.
“Domain name owners aren’t just college kids trying to register funny names in their spare time, but multimillion-dollar companies that have giant portfolios of domain names,” he said. “It’s a bit like the Wild West.”
As of April 1, more than 193 million domain names were registered worldwide, up 11 million from a year earlier, says VeriSign, a domain name registrant. Most of the buying of domain names is totally legit, but a number of instances end up in court. These usually involve cybersquatters. The term refers to those who lock up domain names in hopes of selling them to brand owners for a big payday.
Things have certainly picked up in the world of cybersquatting and it seems the outlandish dotcom domain name era valuations may soon be surpassed if this trend continues.