But tenants and landlords can be challenging.
[Update: the company applied for a similar patent covering non-geo leasing.] Minneapolis company Geonetry wants to patent a way for domain owners to lease or sell subdirectories of their domain names on a geographic basis.
The company filed a U.S. patent application (pdf) for a Method and Apparatus for Registering Web Domain Sections.
Specifically, the patent refers to allowing the registration of geographic modifiers, such as yoga.com/austin and yoga.com/texas. The patent’s examples are subdirectories like these, but the patent also refers to subdomains.
Some companies already offer domain registration below a second level domains, such as something.co.com. CentralNic offers a number of these types of domains through registrars.
It seems that subdomains make more sense than subdirectories given that Google treats subdomains as unique websites and folders as part of the second level domain’s website.
The application notes that, in addition to offering URL strings, it could redirect domain visitors based on the user’s location.
There are a lot of problems with leasing a portion of a second level domain name. The application runs through some of these, such as what to do if there’s a bad tenant.
Lately, the issue has been second level domain owners pulling the plug on registrations and leaving registrants homeless.