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  • California Toyota dealer guilty of reverse domain name hijacking

    1. BY - Apr 17, 2012
    2. Policy & Law
    3. 20 Comments

    Hooman Toyota of Long Beach chastised by National Arbitration Forum.

    A California Toyota dealer has been found guilty of reverse domain name hijacking by a National Arbitration Forum panel.

    Hooman Toyota of Long Beach, also known as HTL Automotive, Inc, filed a dispute against the owner of Hooman.com.

    Not only is the domain name registered to a guy named Hooman, but he also registered the domain four years prior to HTL using the name in commerce, according to the arbitration panel.

    Just one of those facts is grounds for a panel finding reverse domain name hijacking. Add them together and it should be a sure thing.

    Panelist Paul M DeCicco noted that HTL Automotive should have known that “the Complaint could not succeed on its merit, even if Respondent did not respond.”

    Despite being represented by counsel, HTL didn’t cite a single UDRP complaint to back up its conclusions. Instead if “offers little but sparsely supported conclusions.”

    DeCicco opines that, since Hooman Toyota should have known it had no chance with the UDRP, its only purpose could have been to harass or otherwise inconvenience the domain owner.

    There are, of course, two other possibilities: incompetent counselor playing UDRP roulette.

20 Comments
  • Domainsville.com says:

    April 17, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    As more companies are doing this, the term “Reverse Domain Name Hijacking” should be added to the dictionary.

  • Hooman Toyota should have to pay the Respondents UDRP fee. How shameless!!!

    It sounds like if you do business with Hooman Toyota they play dirty ball and act like thieves.

  • How on Earth will they ever recover from the Severe Penalties and Huge Fines for reverse domain name hijacking?

  • i’m going to cop a beating for this but i will speak the truth here…

    everyone seems to bag hooman for legally trying to take a domain away from someone (yes it is legal albeit dirty, although i haven’t seen how the dom is being used) yet some of these same people legally SQUAT on domain names with no legitimate interest apart from wanting extort big $ from someone who wants to USE the domain (again, legal but dirty). (yes i know, there’s many “justifications” for holding domains, eg: parking revenue, selling advertising space, “investing”, etc.)

    what i’m saying is: look at the howls of injustice when the shoe is on the other foot!

    domains can be a dirty game, whichever way you look at it.

  • Hopefully as time goes by the stupidity of all this forces a change for the better !

  • Pardon me while I say, MORON.

    I once wanted this great parcel of land that was never used in 200 years. But I couldn’t take it and build a big city where everything was free and people would live in heaven forever.
    But I failed because someone else owned it and was squating on it and refused to sell it to me for under 10 million.

  • @ Rob

    There are people in this world who need food, there are people in this world that have more food than they need, it is evolution, I want a 1 acre lot in malibu, the guy who owns it lives overseas and doesn’t even do anything with it, should I be able to take it from it.

    Maybe if you go on Vacation for a month, and leave your house empty, can I move in?

    The internet was never a sure thing, these people invested money into a hoop dream, this money allowed the internet to become what it is today. It was not delivered on a silver platter, it took many years of investment, now that it works, is it fair to come steal the pioneers hard work, and investment, all the while you put your money in safety, why shouldn’t the person who took a gamble with their money, be rewarded now?

    I don’t think you lend your money out for free, or maybe you do…

  • like i said, the “justifications” are plenty. comparing domains to real estate is but one of them.

    real estate and domains are two entirely different areas. your average home might be $200k to $1 mil depending where you live. can you buy one for yourself, and maybe up to a few more for rental? yes. sure, buy one for yourself to use and a few more to make money and accomodate those that can’t afford. how many domains can you buy for that same money? tens/hundreds of thousands! are you wanting to “accomodate” all those “homeless” people? no, it’s to extort $! pure and simple.

    ask yourself this one question: if real estate was far cheaper, or if a handful of people were obscenely wealthy, would you tolerate these few people buying up most of the land in the world and then extorting whatever they wanted? hmmmnnnn? didn’t think so.

    i own a few domains too, so it’s not all one sided from me, but i was just making a BALANCED comment: the shoe was on the other foot in that case and i heard loud cries of injustice. business is business – you extort and they try to steal. “it is evolution” as someone said. i’m simply providing a view from the other side.

    i’ll offer a solution too: domain registration prices should go up, way up. of course those with a vested interest will not like that. (imagine if those few property investors could buy house and/or land for only a few dollars each and buy up the world… well that’s what’s happening with domains.) higher registration prices would make hoarding unviable FOR EVERYONE. that way only the top domains would get their fair price (no complaints there, reasonable people don’t want to steal your good domains) while the bulk of the hoarded domains which are average (long shot) at best are freed up for legitimate use if needed.

  • I am very busy right now with… that launch very soon but it’s on my TODO list to make something so each of these “assholes” will be hugely exposed for their abusive action. So next ones should think twice before do the same.

  • @ Rob said:

    the bulk of the hoarded domains which are average (long shot) at best are freed up for legitimate use if needed.

    This has transpired, as Google revenue is down, and Verisign keeps increasing prices, small players shave their portfolios to leave their favorite domains.]

    But good names get held by Registrars for auction, rather than released back to the public. Your balance should be to reproach Registrars rather than individual small investors.

  • Ron, you are an idiot. Your even contradict yourself in the comments.

  • Yeah and while we are at it, maybe we redistribute wealth. So many people with money in their savings account and doing nothing with it. Why not give it to the people with debts. Or take patents away from big companies and let others use it without license fee.
    Have more than one car ? Let anyone without a car use it.

  • Interesting isn’t it…..we villify the domain investor who risks capital in the hope of selling an asset to a profitable business who purchases it in the hope of making more profit, and glorify the real estate investor who purchases an asset with the same profit goals in mind,but hopes to sell it to a family who needs it for shelter….Iv’e been both,but trust me, at the pearly gates I plan not mention the real estate!

  • John Berryhill says:

    April 18, 2012 at 9:09 am

    “incompetent counselor playing UDRP roulette”

    That is the most usual problem.

    While there are situations where the complainant itself may be at fault, it is their attorney who should be the one to pour cold water on taking frivolous action.

    There are, unfortunately, some attorneys who take a “do whatever the client wants” sort of approach, and there are clients who believe their attorney is supposed to do anything they want. Some attorneys are in the business of telling their clients what they want to hear.

    But, really, if you want someone to tell you what you want to hear in all instances, you can save a lot of money by playing a recording of your own voice back to yourself. But when you are paying an attorney, then do understand that it is at those times when you don’t like what you are hearing that you are getting value for your money.

  • looks like i’ve stirred up a hornets nest. more discussion required.

    how many domains are registered, total? about 140 million as at 17 apr (source: domaintools)

    are these all premium domains? no! i believe this comment has been made on the forums here too (maybe even by andrew) that most domains are simply junk. worthless. not even worth the reg fee. many are being held waiting for the “right” buyer which may never come for decades if ever. now don’t make the mistake of thinking that only “amateur” domainers do that – if you have ever regged a domain and then let it go coz you couldn’t sell it then basically you squatted on a domain. sorry. all domainers have done that.

    but every domain can be valuable, given the right buyer, right? and what’s a “premium” domain? there MAY be an ideal buyer some time in the future, so should i hold it and price it high? take a look at sedo, afternic, godaddy etc and tell me your thoughts on average domain prices there. you must concede that many are insane.

    i’ll give a real example IMO of an overpriced domain. miniatureelephants.com. a friend of mine a long time ago told me that she collects them and i thought I’d take a look and see if the domain was available to display her collection. not for profit, just fun, education & to meet other collectors. i’ve been watching it for years, held by a well known large domain “investor”. priced at $450. never made an offer. realistically i don’t think it will ever be sold. but it’s being held waiting for the “right” buyer. who is going to look for or buy a mini elephant? be it a statue collector or wildlife conservationist or zookeeper, who needs to buy this domain and for that price? but that’s dirt cheap compared to some others. keep in mind that this domain is considered “premium” since it is a generic 2 word name. premium my ar$e. i lost contact with that person so no more interest, but i keep watching the reg fee wasted every year, and then i’ll watch it get deleted and someone else pick it up to try to make a quick buck.

    i have no problem with domains of REAL value being held and sold for what they’re worth. but this hoarding of useless, long shot domains and extorting high prices really damages the domain industry. lots more sales could be made if the prices were more realistic and not inflated to pay for renewal of thousands of long shots.

    @louise: “small players shave their portfolios”, the example above shows that big players need to also. “good names get held by registrars”, 1, how good are they if they were allowed to expire?, and 2, the market will then pay what its worth and not an extortion price.

    @steve, domianerschoice: don’t take it personally. (steve, insults is not the way to get your point across.) nobody ever said anything about taking anything away from you, getting freebies or redistributing wealth. well priced domains get sold for good money, crap domains do not, normally. maybe your skills at picking domains are good, then good for you, but statistics show that most are crap and overpriced. and controlling the market through manipulation (eg hoarding, creating a shortage and then extorting) is supposedly illegal.

  • @ Rob

    Yeah, don’t ya just hate it when people hoard “useless” things!

    How does the hoarding of something with no practical use or value damage the industry?

    with respect to your comments
    1)how good are they if they were allowed to expire?

    May be very good. Names expire for many reasons. The owner died, forgot to renew, decided to move on and maybe even failed to get a renewal notice because the registar decided not to send renewal reminders on premium domains in the hoe they might end up owning the names themselves????? Good names do expire! The proof lies in your complaint.
    I mean if they didn’t you wouldnt have much to write about!

    2)the market will then pay what its worth and not an extortion price.

    Rob, guess what….tha market always pays what its worth. Whether someone pays x or xxx,xxx the payment itself is confirmation that the product purchases what “worth it” to them.

    eg hoarding, creating a shortage and then extorting) is supposedly illegal

    the domain market is like other markets in that the laws of supply and demand dictate price. Why is a home in NYC worth 3000000 when the same home in compton is worth 300000? cause someone hoarded the land in NYC and is extorting? No there are lots of reasons why guys want manhatten over compton and those reasons add desireability which adds to the price. I think your points are somewhat overly simplified. Guys would much rather own cars.com than Ihaveanoldcarthatsforsale.com and as such the former is more valuable. How is that for simple.

  • So, the friend gets the “mini elephant” domain for 10 bucks.

    They use it for: (“not for profit, just fun, education & to meet other collectors”).

    Will everyone consider that to be a valid or best use of the domian, when someone else Could be using it for commerce?

    A company suddenly becomes successful in breeding “miniature elephants” that are about the size of the mini pot belly pigs that people keep in their homes as pets, just like do small dogs.

    This new industry will create thousands of jobs, feed thousands of families, and bring love and companionship to people who have these pets.

    So, obviously, your friend should give the company that domain for the 10 bucks she paid for it?

    I suspect they would develop a whole new understanding of investing.

    If reg prices went sky high (they used to be 70 bucks a pop in the late 90’s), all that would do is put them in the hands of people with a LOT more money. Big money investors only. Small guys not allowed. Aftermarket domains would be even higher, then.

    The concept of “who ever puts the domain to the best or any use” is flawed. Best Use will constantly change. Who gets to decide?

    I could put that brand new car to a lot better use than the guy who mostly keeps it parked in his garage. But, that ain’t how it works.

  • Hooman is a VERY common persian/iranian first name. I think out of 20 iranians, one is named Hooman. One of my cousins name is Hooman.

    CLEAR reverse domain hijacking attempt. Because the owner of Hooman Toyota is also a persian dude and he knows exactly how common this name is

    Regards,
    Arash (another common iranian name ;)

  • @bobby

    “how does hoarding damage the industry?” not so much the hoarding in itself, it’s more the overpricing that comes with it. people are much more willing to buy if the prices are reasonable. they would also trust and respect domainers more.

    as a side note i myself would buy a few domains (personal use) if they were max a few hundred dollars each (still high though), but for the thousands they want i let them keep it. as per the miniatureelephants example these are not premium domains or have a huge selling potential. i’ve been watching dozens of domains for up to 12 years and they still sit there. some are good, some worthless.

    yes i know, good domains do expire for various reasons. good luck to whoever picks them up and may they get what it’s worth. but most of the time though they are allowed to expire coz they’re crap.

    yes, the market DOES pay what domains are worth in many cases. especially when they expire and are auctioned. but in most cases they sit there for a decade because the market does NOT pay what the seller thinks it’s worth. THAT”S MY WHOLE POINT WHICH PEOPLE ARE NOT UNDERSTANDING. millions of domains are sitting but not selling. sure, hold out for the right price on GOOD domains but, again, most are crap. i have no problem with $XXXk or $Xm for cars.com, but i do have a problem with $1,288 for mystickercollection.com (i just made that up. quick someone run off and reg it now. easy money!)

    “laws of supply and demand”. the supply part of the equation does not hold up. most of the stock sits on the shelves waiting to be sold at inflated prices, including thousands of low/no value domains.

    @SF

    i never mentioned anything about best use. first in best dressed. i’m talking about the OVERPRICING of domains considering NO use, LOW current value, and LIMITED future potential. your example of a future mini elephant breeding company is perfect!!! wow, creating 1000s of jobs and feeding 1000s of families! are you sure $450 is enough then? that domain should be priced at $10k+ for its future potential. now multiply that same silliness millions of times and you get a picture of the part of the domain reseller market. if a commercial enterprise can make use of it let them have it. it is there at a bargain price. any takers? i’m all for gambling on an industry and hoping for a good ROI but it has gone to an absurd level. many domains are priced for a good “business” sale but realistically most will never achieve that.

    “if prices went sky high it would put them in the hands of people with more money”. no. if you’ve got VALUABLE domains you’d keep them. someone with 1000s of domains would have to think real carefully about which ones are held for the lotto jackpot type of sale.

    “aftermarket domains would be even higher then”. yes and no. yes, short term, because the fair priced domains need to pay for the yearly renewal of all those mediocre domains for those who keep them. but at the same time the higher prices will mean reduced sales. then no, because the end user doesn’t give a damn about your costs and will only pay what it is worth to them JUST LIKE THEY DO NOW.

    anyhow, that’s enough from me. just one final word, even the biggest/smartest domainers get it wrong sometimes. most domains are being held on to with the mistaken belief that they are gold or will be one day. dream on.

  • @andrew

    this afternoon i came up with an interesting idea… maybe for another article or even a special survey on DNW.

    pick a series of “premium” .coms for sale at sedo, afternic, godaddy, etc. also include some which have been sold in the past. let’s say 20-50 total. then get readers to value each of them (a reasonable price an end user would pay) and maybe provide other multiple choice data such as sales potential HIGH/MH/MED/ML/LOW, type of customer (business/private), etc. at the end, reveal the asking or sale price of them.

    i think it would be better to choose all long shots or hopefuls like miniatureelephants rather than good domains eg hammers.com just to see if the lower end of the domain market is priced high, low or spot on.

    of course, tell everyone not to cheat and look them up coz it would defeat the purpose of the survey.

    i think the results would be interesting, whichever way it went.

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