Registrar-turned-cybersquatter Dotster is worried we’re running out of domain
Dotster Inc, which is currently trying to fight off a cybersquatting
lawsuit filed by a major US retailer, said the large number of domains being
registered worldwide points to a possible “drought” in future and, in a press
release, plugged a number of services it offers to help customers find a
“The growth rate of people registering dot-coms has just skyrocketed,”
Dotster Vice President for Marketing George DeCarlo said. “There’s definitely
a shortage of usable domain names in dot-com,” added Antony Van Couvering, a
principal in Names@Work, an Internet consulting firm in New York
Given Dotster’s alleged “domain kiting” practices, it’s tough to take their
warning as being in the public interest. Besides, they make their money
selling domain names, so if they can create some hysteria, then get ICANN to
approve a new TLD, well, that many more domains to sell or squat.
Mozart never worried about running out of musical notes, even though there’s
an even more finite number of those. Most of the obviously catchy names
are probably sucked up, but look how many new sites are being created every day
with names you never would have imagined (Flickr, Squidoo, Technorati,
Memeorandum, etc.). Names are as much creativity and marketing as they are
availability. In Pennsylvania, there can be only one The Bloomery. We have the fictitious
name registered, and no one else can use it. So new shops have to think of
another name, no matter how much they may like ours. There’s another one
in Massachusetts, and until we didn’t renew the obvious .BIZ domain name, they
were kind of screwed for their website (I think they now have it).
Established businesses, especially small businesses, are the ones who have
suffered most. My friend Cheryl found that parkwayflorist.com was taken,
so she had to register parkwayflorist-pgh.com. Not
as catchy, but if that’s what people see on your vans, or on your business cards
and delivery tags, that’s what your customers will use. If you’re a new
business, and if a website is going to be important, you might want to check
domain name availability. If you’re established, you may have to get
creative with domain names. Perhaps good variations of your business name
and location are taken, how about business type and location?
The other The Bloomery just has to deal with the fact we got the domain name
first. The real aggravation is domain squatters or domain kiters.
The problem is that a domain dispute is so time consuming, expensive and
complicated that business owners find it easier to be extorted than legally
correct, and end up shelling out $500 for a domain name, as opposed to the $1500
UDRP filing fee (just to get the ball rolling). Fix that process and some
of the problems will go away.