The domain business is a good business with a bad image. What can be done about it?
Earlier today I read DNJournal’s weekly sales recap. There were some good sales, including RoomDividers.com at $75,000 (congratulations, Rick). But all of the good sales were overshadowed by a couple bad sales: Mozzilla.com for $40,000 and wwwMatch.com at $11,100.
Neither of these domain names would stand a chance in UDRP challenges. Both of them are typos of famous web sites. These are the types of domain sales that make the industry look bad.
To make matters worse, Mozzilla.com was sold on DNForum, a respected domain name forum. What signal does it send that domainers are trading trademark typos on a major forum? (It’s not just DNForum, mind you.) Mozzilla.com used to make money from affiliate links for downloading the Google toolbar with Firefox. Now it has a link to download Firefox, but when you click on the link it sends you to various offers such as other toolbars and registry cleaner software.
So here’s the question: Are legitimate domainers, who find themselves under pressure with domain parking and from legal interests such as CADNA, going to sit around and watch this happen? Or are we going to help clean it up? Are we going to pressure forums to close threads that involve obvious trademarks? Are we going to ask the companies we do business with to stop auctioning off trademark typos? Or are we just going to wait until our business is stolen from beneath us?
There was a time when typosquatting was par for the course. It didn’t hurt the domain industry too much, either. But make no mistake — if you own generic domain names you are paying the price for other people and their nefarious ways. You can sit around and watch your revenue drop, or you can help move the industry to more legitimate heights.