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Shawn

Domain Squatters

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Posted by Shawn on October 30, 2007
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Domain Squatting (or cyber-squatting): "Registering a domain with no intention of using it, one that would otherwise be used for a site relating to the domain in question." Domain Squatting Explained.

If you read my articles, then I introduced you guys to this back when I wrote 'I want my domain back.' Well, I pretty much have the same situation again except now with two names. Back when I made my battle game, Territory WAR, I briefly considered buying Territorywar.com to go along with it but decided against it. I released Territory WAR to the public on Newgrounds on March 23, 2006. Guess what was bought on March 27, 2006?

Four Days Later Four Days Later

I know it says that it expires this year but I think the info just needs updated, because I already tried getting the name when it 'expired.' I ended up trying out Godaddy.com's 'domain buy' service. Basically, you tell them what domain you want, they appraise it, you give a maximum and minimum bid, and they contact the current owners of the domain for negotiation. I didn't really want to pay someone for something that should be mine in the first place, that's what they want obviously, but I was curious nonetheless. Well, 'mine in the first place' isn't necessarily true, I believe anyone is entitled to any domain name as long as they use it legitimately. But territorywar.com was registered days after I released my game, and checking out the site gives us the classic result:

More like 'stole what I was looking for' More like 'stole what I was looking for'

In case you're wondering, no, a copyright doesn't entitle you to a domain name. I don't have a physical copyright (government issued) for any of my work, but the copyright exists, because that isn't necessary in the United States. Finished works are automatically copyrighted to their producer. A trademark, however, does entitle you to a domain name. Trademarking is a more involved and expensive process though.

Godaddy appraised the name at $200-$800. Kind of pricey, but domain names can be an expensive thing. The owners of territorywar.com didn't want that much though, not even one thousand. No, they wanted eight thousand dollars. $8500 to be exact, over ten times the highest appraisal. No way man. Even IF it was worth that much, it would mean giving some asshole thousands of dollars. Instead, I just opted to buy territorywaronline.com. Since the new version is indeed online, I thought it was only fitting. Even territory-war.com and territorywar.net were taken, I would have had to go with territory-war.net. Which means the owners of the aforementioned names would be receiving the false traffic they want when somebody forgets to use the hyphen or uses .com instead of .net. Well with territorywaronline.com that isn't going to happen, unless someone forgets to use the entire word 'online.' So I hope the proud owners of territorywar.com enjoy their purchase, as it rots on their list of jacked domain names.

And the other name? I wanted to buy something to maybe put my escape games on, such as escapegames.com or escape-games.com. Nope, taken of course. Escape-games.com is actually a legitmate website, so that's cool, but escapegames.com isn't. When I first checked it they had a page similar to territorywar.com, but now they just have 'Escape Games' in plain text, so I have no idea what their plan is. Regardless, I couldn't pursue this even with a trademark, so I settled for escapethisroom.com. Not quite as catchy but it gets the job done. And once again I wont be sending any false traffic to whoever owns the other names.

Overall domain squatting is just an unethical practice. Grabbing up any legitimate name in the hopes that one day you will profit from someone else's work. I hope they stick that at the top of their resume.


Posted to: Behind the Scenes, Rants

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