Advice for acquiring "myname".com from a cybersquatter?
January 31, 2006 1:16 AM   Subscribe

Advice for acquiring "myname".com from a cybersquatter?

Posting this on behalf of a close friend. Her name is well known enough that the domain ( was purchased many years ago by a cybersquatter. Originally it routed to a porn site, but presently it is pointed to a link farm that makes a half-hearted attempt to look like a fansite.

She would like to acquire the name and make use of it as a media outlet, but has been unable to contact the owner. The address is somewhere in the Cayman Islands and has not responded to email or phone calls. A lawyer has advised her to make an offer via, and if that fails, file suit with the WIPO.

But money is a concern here, and the lawsuit route sounds like it may become expensive. I'm just looking for any and all advice, such as alternatives to legal proceedings, advice if she does go that route (anyone know what it is likely to cost, probable outcome, and ways to improve her position?) etc.

Some time ago I skimmed an article (no idea where) that talked about services that specialize in "sniping" domains, exploiting some timing quirk to wrest control of a domain. Anyone know more about this?

posted by Manjusri to Law & Government (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I think you were looking for Mike Davidson's article, "How to Snatch an Expiring Domain."

This is useful for acquiring a domain that is about to expire but doesn't cover how to get a domain when it is being squatted.
posted by junesix at 1:54 AM on January 31, 2006

Has she tried contacting the registrar for the domain? If she can't contact them directly, maybe the registrar can act on her behalf in contacting the owner for a domain purchase.
posted by junesix at 1:59 AM on January 31, 2006

This really all comes down to if she's willing to go to court over this. If she isn't, then her options are to attempt to purchase the domain name from them. She already has tried to contact them, and it didn't work. So try her lawyer's advice, and if that doesn't work out, then move on to other options.

She can attempt to file a UDRP with ICANN. The current owner can fight back with a lawsuit, but atleast you could then contact them and offer to settle and purchase it from them.

Or she could go to court and basically sue them for Cybersquatting with the intention of profitting from her Trademark.

Here's some good info for you, note that IANAL of course, and I'm not sure how much of this applies to an international issue where the domain name holder isn't in US, and therefore the ACPA may not apply at all.

A simple google search of cybersquatting, or the AntiCyberSquatting Consumer Protection Act will turn up tons. The above link has links to the UDRP, ICANN, and more ACPA info.
posted by Phynix at 3:10 AM on January 31, 2006


above linky here
posted by Phynix at 3:11 AM on January 31, 2006

I've had two different squatters own my name since 98...not a famous name either. First guy wanted $500...I told him to pound sand. As soon as you show interest, these guys smell a kill. If she is famous, she may have some recourse... haven't some people successfully gotten their names released?
posted by lobstah at 6:16 AM on January 31, 2006

the law-breaking answer, which you should not do, is to attempt to file a transfer through a registrar and if the domain isn't locked and the person can't be contacted in x number of days, i believe the domain will default to being controlled by you. maybe this hole got closed? i'm not sure.
posted by soma lkzx at 7:21 AM on January 31, 2006

You don't have to go to court, you have to take it to WIPO. Only really old doman name disputes (like are settled in court, new ones are settled by the UN's WIPO (world intelectual property organization), as specified when you register your domain name. I don't think it would cost that much, maybe a few $k. That guy will lose for sure.
posted by delmoi at 8:08 AM on January 31, 2006

Fee for a single panelist is between US$1300 and 1500. Fairly simple process - all written submissions and they various arbitral bodies have guides have good guides to crafting a submission.

Can't hurt to see if the person will make an offer below that amount (of course, that doesn't do much to disuade cybersquattinng...). Worse case is they ask for a large sum which can be used against them in any arbitration.
posted by magwich at 8:18 AM on January 31, 2006

National Arbitration Forum

posted by magwich at 8:19 AM on January 31, 2006

Since when is your name a Trademark?

If you register it as one, for sure. The first time I saw this was when Billy Joel did it, but I'm sure it's happened before him. I imagine that one could make a case that if you do business with your name ("John Smith Trucking") who could argue that it is being used as a trademark.
posted by solid-one-love at 8:26 AM on January 31, 2006

Find out some more domains the squatter owns and ask to buy a few random ones (which happen to include the one you really want). That way they may not suspect that you really "need" the domain. Also, finding out who advertises on the squatted page and letting them know that the legal notices will start flying may scare them off and remove whatever day-to-day profit they are making from the domain and make it less valuable to hold on to.
posted by BrandonAbell at 9:11 AM on January 31, 2006

I own, which happens to be my older brother's name. Coincidentally, it also hapens to be the name of the former CEO of Intel and current Intel president of the board. I grabbed the domain in 1999 because I knew that my brother might in the future want to use it for email or whatever. I noticed a few years ago that Intel registered the .org and .net variations of the domain and I've since been contacted by yet another Craig Barrett who has expressed interest in the domain. I told him the decision was up to my older brother whether he wanted me to keep the domain or not - who then prceeded to tell me he has no use for it and I can sell it. I countered the offer and said I'd probably not sell it for less than a few thousand dollars. What's the likelihood that Intel (or lawyers for Intel's Craig Barrett) will try to sue me to acquire the domain? I've never heard a peep from them, and have never used the domain for anything but email forwarding. Would they have a case? More importantly, can a lawyer argue that this is a form of cybersquatting even though my original intent was to hang onto the domain for a relative?
posted by camworld at 9:57 AM on January 31, 2006

Isn't there some kind of rule that if the owner does not put in correct contact information and is thus unavailable that it can be taken over by another user within 5 days?
posted by mhuckaba at 3:02 PM on January 31, 2006

Response by poster: A belated thank you. She has read this thread and found it useful.
posted by Manjusri at 2:19 AM on April 3, 2006

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