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ICANN Allows Domain Squatting Companies?

By Fyndalf in Internet
Fri Aug 24, 2001 at 09:17:05 AM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)

I was trying to buy a domain only to find out that it was held by a domain squatter that wanted a ridiculous amount of money for it (ie. any amount over what a registration through my OpenSRS provider costs). On this domain squatter's page, there is a link to this story about it. The story is quoted as being from The Register, but that site was down at the time. The gist is that if you pay to become a domain operator you can register up to 10,000 arbitrary domains for your own use. A summary and more comments about the ICANN dispute resolution process are below.

Apparently those who purchase the right to be able to sell domain names also get to reserve a few for their own use:

Under the ICANN contract: "Registry Operator may register the domain names listed on Appendix X (PartA) for its own use in operating the registry and providing Registry Services under this Agreement, provided the total number of domain names listed on Appendix X at any time does not exceed 5000". A further 5,000 are allowed "for its own use".

Well, that's foolish. But ICANN also has provisions about domain names registered in bad faith and I see no particular reason why these thousands should be excluded. So I went to ICAN's site with hopes they have an address for reporting such 'bad faith' registrations to facilitate their removal. I found that they have a dispute resolution policy. Except, to resolve a dispute I need a dispute-resolution service provider(!?!) which costs $2000-ish US for 1-2 domains. This bars normal people from disputing some squatter's claim as most non-corporate entities do not care $2000 about a domain name they were only thinking of buying. I know I don't.

Is there a way to resolve this? Will this get resolved? Or will this always be the case? I like the Internet in general but one part of it that has always irked me are some of the companies privileged with control over (domain names, SSL certificates, etc) which allows them to arbitrarily mark up common services that cost them nearly nothing to the point that regular individuals cannot afford them. We need some sort of non-profit international organisation to ensure equality in these matters that is funded by national governments only and is not allowed to take money from people or companies. Or similar.


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Related Links
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ICANN Allows Domain Squatting Companies? | 13 comments (13 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
I hear you (4.00 / 2) (#1)
by loaf on Fri Aug 24, 2001 at 04:57:19 AM EST

I'm in a very similar bucket.

My company has developed a product. The domain <product>.com was taken by a squatting company who wanted a ludicrous sum (50 times our reasoned offer) for it. We refused. They wouldn't budge.

The domain expired a month ago .... but has it been put up for re-registration? Has it heck.

If you hasve a copyright on the name (4.50 / 2) (#2)
by wiredog on Fri Aug 24, 2001 at 08:54:18 AM EST

You can take them to court for trademark infringement. Check out the e-referee case where the US courts overruled the decision of ICANN. That's right, ICANN can be overruled by a local court.

Editorial comment: What domain are you tyring to register?

If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle

Preview is my friend... (none / 0) (#3)
by wiredog on Fri Aug 24, 2001 at 08:56:19 AM EST

Hasve. tyring. Ye Gods. Repeat after me "Preview is my friend".

If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle
[ Parent ]
Copyright Overrule... (none / 0) (#5)
by Elkor on Fri Aug 24, 2001 at 10:08:49 AM EST

In that case I would imagine that the copyright on your product would have to predate the registration of the domain name, right?

Otherwise it gets sticky when someone (in good faith) buys a site for their own use and a few years later someone creates a trademark and then goes after them.


"I won't tell you how to love God if you don't tell me how to love myself."
-Margo Eve
[ Parent ]
Copyright != Trademark (none / 0) (#11)
by finial on Fri Sep 21, 2001 at 11:17:13 AM EST

Copyrights and Trademarks are entirely different things. You can not "copyright" a title or name. Just because they are administered by the same bureaucracy does not make them interchangeable.

[ Parent ]
you do... (4.75 / 4) (#4)
by cetan on Fri Aug 24, 2001 at 09:07:30 AM EST

you do realize that GreatDomains is owned by Network Solutions right? Network Solutions was purchased by Verisign.

NetSol used to be the _only_ kid on the block for registuring domain names. When they got their monopoly taken away, they started refusing to release expired domain names. They said "Oh we'll auction them off." Of course that never happened, but Great Domains was formed instead.

Good luck in getting your domain. ICANN has always been in bed with NetSol.

===== cetan www.cetan.com =====
I've a better idea. (none / 0) (#6)
by static on Fri Aug 24, 2001 at 10:32:41 PM EST

Though it might not work for what you wanted. Abandon the TLDs.

By that I mean try for a domain in you country's TLD space. (For instance, for me that would be under .au). I'm aware this is advice is not likely to be of much use if you live in the U.S.


Uh (none / 0) (#7)
by Ubiq on Sat Aug 25, 2001 at 04:37:37 PM EST

Wouldn't you get TLD squatting then?

[ Parent ]

Australian domains (none / 0) (#8)
by cam on Sun Aug 26, 2001 at 12:07:05 AM EST

>Wouldn't you get TLD squatting then?

There are restrictions associated with the com.au

and net.au domain names. From http://www.domain-names-registry.com/;

"The .com.au is the Australian commercial domain designation. It is given to Australian Businesses to establish an Internet address signifying an Australian business. Unlike the top level TLD domains there are restrictions associated with .com.au and .net.au domain names.

* Only commercial entities registered and trading in Australia will be allocated a com.au domain name.

* The domain name can only be derived from the characters contained in the commercial name.

* Only one domain name per trading entity is given.

* names, such as place names or names of goods or services, will not be licensed for use as com.au.

* Be at least two characters long. Contain only letters (a-z), numbers (0-9) and hyphens or a combination of these. Start and end with an alphanumeric character, and not a hyphen.

* The name is given to a specific business and hence not transferable.

The Registration of the .com.au domain does not assign any rights relating to the use of the name in any context."

Another website describing the restrictions on the com.au domain in greater detail;

Having a trading name other than your own[name] is pretty cheap though in Australia IIRC it is about $70 AUD a year and can be bought in several year chunks. The org.au is still handled by an individual, to get an org.au the person registering the domain name is required to be a part of a registered organisation of the same name;

From the org.au faq;

2) The registrant must be an organisation of some kind, that is, not an individual. Companies, Statutory Authorities, Partnerships, etc, are all acceptable, as is almost anything else that can reasonably be considered an organisation.

Getting an org.au domain name can take a while. Most Australian org domain names tend be TLD's for that reason. Individuals are supposed to be under the id.au domain, of which every Australian citizen has an id.au domain, free.

The faq for non- com.au domains can be found at;

Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Unlikely. (none / 0) (#9)
by static on Sun Aug 26, 2001 at 02:20:31 AM EST

As cam has already posted, you basically can't register a .com.au domain name unless the name is a derivative of your business name. .org.au have similar types of restrictions and I don't know what it takes to get .net.au but they're pretty rare so I imagine it's not easy.

Now I know Australia has an enviable model for domain names, and the first-come-first-served free-for-all in .com .org and .net is basically the other extreme, my point was that the other TLDs are probably run with policies somewhere in the middle.

Of course, what I think ought to happen to .com .net and .org is that ICANN should a) take it completely away from NSI/Verisign and b) institute the types of policies that we use Down Unda. Should sort out a lot of problems.


[ Parent ]
Well.. (none / 0) (#10)
by mindstrm on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 02:35:46 PM EST

What the hell is icann thinking?
You don't need anywhere near 5000 domains for your 'own use in operating the registry'.
Maybe 10 at the most.

Registries should, by default, NOT be allowed to sit on any domains.. that's absolutely rediculous.

The solution, of course, is to get over the notion that domain names are really important, and abandon the GTLD's altogether.

Check out your country-tld's.. that's where I'd start.

If the site is good, people will bookmark.

Why are we still doing this? (none / 0) (#12)
by blowout on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 11:09:01 AM EST

Here's an idea... Why not abandon the corporate and governmental domain naming system altogether? Many people who have to deal with DNS say it can be a major hassle. So why doesn't someone (preferably in the Open Source / Free Software movements) come up with an alternative, whereby domains are trusted based on, say, how many "trust-hops" away it is from you (loosely in the vein of PGP/GNU Privacy Guard)? It seems to me that this would provide far better security, and a widespread distribution would ensure that most companies adopt this system.

Even if the system weren't terribly secure, it would at the very least solve the problem that the absolutely *hopeless* ICANN has so far failed to solve: a fair and equitable distribution of domain naming schema.
bye bye pride
Domain Registration (none / 0) (#13)
by CompWiz85 on Tue Oct 30, 2001 at 11:10:02 PM EST

There really should be a new monitoring system put up. Since ICANN seems to be doing such a great job of monitoring the internet, and making sure that people do not abuse the idea of registering a domain. However, at this point, i can find nothing wrong with Domain Squating, no matter what my morals say. If i were to buy five pieces of prime real estate, and mark them up, people would say i was nuts, but there would be nothing wrong with it. That is what these companies do. While there really should be some system put in place, a new dot ending for people like us, or maybe a .cor for corporations. At the moment how ever there is very little we can do
ICANN Allows Domain Squatting Companies? | 13 comments (13 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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