I’ve said it a million times, I can’t stand cybersquatters, IMO they are scum just like any other scammer on the planet. Don’t know what a cybersquatter is, here’s a pretty clear definition:
Cybersquatting refers to illegal domain name registration or use. Cybersquatting can have a few different variations, but its primary purpose is to steal or misspell a domain name in order to profit from an increase in website visits, which otherwise would not be possible. Trademark or copyright holders may neglect to reregister their domain names, and by forgetting this important update, cybersquatters can easily steal domain names. Cybersquatting also includes advertisers who mimic domain names that are similar to popular, highly trafficked websites. Cybersquatting is one of several types of cybercrimes.(Source – Technopedia)
As the last sentence here makes clear, cybersquatting is a crime and there’s a process called UDRP that can help people get domains back from these criminals.
Now let’s talk about domain name investing.
Domain Investing is not cybersquatting, and in fact, some of the most successful people and companies you know, invest in domain names. Prominent angel investor Jason Calacanis has invested in and sold domain names like 20.com for $1.75M.
There are also plenty of huge well-known companies that buy domains, sit on them, and potentially never use them. Companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Loreal, and many many more companies have domain names that sit vacant and if you did want to buy them, trust me, the price would be a lot more than what they paid.
Just like it’s okay for you to buy vacant land and not build a house on it, you can do the same with vacant real estate on the Internet. The strange thing is, if your grandparents bought land 80 years ago and have done nothing with it and that land is now worth millions, they’re considered smart investors. Yet you buy a domain name ten years ago and have done nothing with it, that domain is now worth millions of dollars, and you’re considered a cybersquatter by many…what gives?
Well, the core of the issue really is just a lack of information about domain name prices. Let’s face it, the concept of buying, selling and investing in physical land has been around for a LOT longer. Most people have no idea that a few weeks ago Voice.com sold for $30M or that just before that Nursing.com sold for $950,000 (Source – DNJournal).
So my question for our still very nascent industry is – do you think we’ll ever shake the “cybersquatter” confusion? My guess is that in the very early days of land ownership people probably got frustrated with land owners that staked their claim early and ended up with huge plots of land that became incredibly valuable, how long did it take for that to change?
These are still the early days of Domain Investing, so early, that most people don’t even realize there’s a whole industry full of Domain Investors, conferences around the world, blogs, podcasts and video series, and it’s continuing to grow with more and more people shifting investment dollars from traditional investments like stocks and real estate to domains.
So when do we get to shake this whole confusion between Domain Investing, a completely legal and great way to invest in digital real estate, with cybersquatting, an illegal act done by scammers?