Is investing in FirstNameLastName.com’s illegal?

Jane Doe

Here’s a question I’ve seen come up in conversation quite a bit – is buying and selling firstnamelastname.com domain names illegal? The answer is a bit complicated and could be summed up – sometimes. The reality is that most people won’t go after you, but a famous celebrity is more than likely to take you to court…

Well, it turns out that cybersquatting in the United States is illegal. You cannot own, acquire, or register a domain name of someone else’s name or brand and then try to sell it to them. According to the United States Federal law, the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, cybersquatting is “registering, trafficking in, or using a domain name confusingly similar to, or dilutive of, a trademark or personal name”. (Source – Bill Hartzer)

There are a number of cases where celebrities have fought to get their domains back and Sedo has an interesting article highlighting five of them. At the same time, there are common first and last name combinations like JohnSmith.com, what about those? Well, that’s a grey area. Given that there isn’t a really famous well known guy named John Smith, you might be okay as long as you’re not out there trying to sell it directly to John Smith.

Now I know some people might argue with me at this point. They might say, hey – John Smith is such a common name, whoever owns it should be able to approach whoever they want with the name, it’s not specific enough. My response to that is, maybe, but is it really worth the risk?

We live in a star crazed world, people around the world are infatuated with all kinds of celebrities. They are both big business and big interest. In domaining some delve into these domains and others stay far away.

Its like flipping a coin, heads you win and make a sale, tails you lose and its a UDRP. (Source – TLDInvestors.com)

All this being said, firstname .COMs and lastname .COMs are pretty much fair game. It’s going to be hard for someone to take John.com from you or Linton.com (yup my last name is taken), so you’re relatively safe with those FWIW. The only edge-case is with someone like Madonna because, well, it’s Madonna.

Do you own any firstnamelastname.com’s? I want to hear from you – comment and let your voice be heard!

{ 12 comments… add one }

  • Brad Mugford August 24, 2018, 11:05 pm

    If it is a popular name, why not? It is hard to claim exclusive rights to a popular name shared by thousands of people.

    If it is targeting one specific end user that is another story.

    Brad

    Reply
    • Gary Williams September 12, 2018, 9:17 pm

      This coming from the man who owns my name .com and has had it parked and for sale for a long time. Who would say I have a “popular name”? This man KNOWS I want my name!

      Reply
  • .ventures August 25, 2018, 4:13 am

    FirstNameLastName squatting is not an investing

    Reply
    • Gary Williams September 12, 2018, 9:19 pm

      Quite right! I’ve had to make do with an alternative. It would be nice to get my name back, but it really isn’t worth spending thousands on it!

      Reply
  • Jose August 25, 2018, 4:56 am

    I now look for keywords converted to domain names and be free to register four (.com) at the end of this comment give one of them.

    I remember that at the time of knowing you and being my Mentor for domainer, I asked you questions about domains and trademarks, giving your email the name lawyer in New York, your partner calling by phone to my house where I lived when I learned the Spanish language and in a term of 15 to 20 minutes give the reasons why I would be interested to know and it was very interesting due to my questions and their legal answers.

    I have registered adwordscpc.com and I must let expire because in Godaddy.com give Adwords as trademark and fulladwords.com is not trademark, understandable yes and no, since the International Marketing Agency in its bylaws from 1995 to 2005 was described as no marketing can be a patent, or a software etc, Adwords is an advertising software with PPC and not CPC, leaving aside this only the powerful can register what is allowed and the rest. Do not! allow it.

    Finally, many keywords of two and three letters of trademarks, still to be registered with many gTLD extensions and never infringe the trademark. Since $ 150 you get the trademark clearinghouse, although the rules are that all trademarks must buy extensions For no problems, strong investors get everything and not be afraid since there is a secondary market for sale and buy the best bidder.

    Friend Morgan,

    Register lintonmorgan.com is free there are many names and surnames, in reverse

    Good weekend.

    Reply
  • Mace August 25, 2018, 9:58 am

    I own 15 FirstNameLastName.com’s.
    All priced at $888. Cheaper than filing a UDRP.
    Sold one last week through Afternic/GoDaddy.
    Mike Mann owns hundreds of FirstNameLastName.com’s.
    Huge Domains owns hundreds of FirstNameLastName.com’s.
    I recently let SaharaLin.com and MilanMorris.com drop and Huge Domains snagged them and has them price at $2,195 and $1,295.

    Reply
    • Mace August 25, 2018, 11:12 am

      Huge Domains also picked up my recently dropped ZannaVanDijk.com and has it priced at $1,895.

      Reply
      • Mace August 26, 2018, 8:07 pm

        My FirstNameLastName.com’s :

        AdrienneBankert.com
        AmyRobach.com
        BeauJocque.com
        BlacYoungsta.com
        BryceFox.com
        ChloeAyling.com
        FlynnMcGarry.com
        JaynaBrown.com
        JessicaLundy.com
        KendisGibson.com
        MakaylaPhillips.com
        MarciGonzalez.com
        NalaPrice.com
        RobinTigerWilliams.com
        StarleyHope.com
        TahaniAnderson.com
        TigerWilliams.com
        TyraPatterson.com

        Reply
        • Gary Williams September 12, 2018, 9:25 pm

          I’d like to see some of those characters buy their domains from you! Waste of money!

          Reply
      • Gary Williams September 12, 2018, 9:27 pm

        Good.

        Reply
  • Reggie August 26, 2018, 9:28 am

    what you don’t do is give CaitlynJenner .com to Someone who just made up the name out of nowhere. there were Caitlyn Jenner’s before that man wanted to be called that. just ridiculous. should have had to pay up.

    Reply
    • Mace August 26, 2018, 8:11 pm

      I agree!
      To give Caitlyn Jenner.com to Bruce Jenner was a dumbass move!
      Would have made HIM pay big bucks for it!

      Reply

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