The business of domain names July 12, 2007
Finding a good domain to register and kick-start your business with was never easy. Things have however become much worse recently. There are many reasons for this.
If we are going to start naming and shaming we have to start with ICANN. These are the people that control the rules around domain registration and them being an American company they seem heavily preoccupied in protecting the rich and the wicked. The rules around domain registration and ownership are not just difficult to understand but also extremely vague and impossible to reinforce. In this way a company that goes after a domain registered by one of ICANN’s approved resellers has no chance in winning in court. This is simply because they can easily prove that the parked domain was registered in ‘good faith’ and it is being withheld until the company decides to spend too much money (A link of their mambo jumbo can be found here).
Second culprit is Google offering AdSense ads. Their failure to police AdSense use on the web has resulted in tons of SPAM. To make things worse Google launched AdSense for parked domains giving the dodgy domain registration companies a bonus. Nice one Google.
Third in the line are domain registration companies and more so, parked domain pimps. These guys are not the worst as they use ICANN’s bad rules, the US courts support and Google’s AdSense to make money.
So when trying to book a decent domain here is what you are faced with:
- The domain is not in use (However the owner won’t give it up, god knows why)
- The domain is parked (The owner is the parked domain mafia, asking for stupid amounts of money or cannot be found)
- AdSense or similar contextual crappy site (Google and other dodgy PPC vendors are feeding the affiliates that run these)
- The domain redirects to an irrelevant domain (The owner will not give it up)
- The website is not working (Temporarily the last 3 years)
What to do?
Just to be constructive here are some ideas on what to do to improve things and free the web:
- In many countries if you don’t have a very valid reason to use a domain you are not allowed to. The business owner should need to prove why the want the domain and how they are going to use it. That would stop many people registering domains.
- If a domain is inactive for a period of time the owner should have to give it up. Use it or lose it.
- Send the parked domain pimps to jail and make these domains easy to purchase.
- Stop AdSense for parked domains. Make it illegal to offer advertising on these domains.
In a nutshell the internet has grown up. ICANN needs to re-adjust and modernise. The courts should show some sympathy to the business owner and rule against the brand/keyword/domain hijackers. All common sense.