Some people won’t even spend $1,500 to get their name in .COM

I’m always surprised when I read stories about people who refuse to buy a domain name because someone else owns it and wants a few thousand dollars for it. At the same time, I’m not a huge fan of people buying someone else’s first and last name .COM and trying to sell it to them for a profit, something about that just feels slimy to me.

While technically buying someone’s name isn’t cybersquatting, I feel like it’s a moral grey area and one that I’ve never had much interest of getting into. If you look at domain names as an asset class then it’s really generic domains and brandables that truly make sense as assets. Buying someone’s name when they forget to renew a domain feels less like buying an asset and more like trying to extort someone.

Still, I think everyone should own their name (first and last combined) in .COM and I do think it’s worth spending a few thousand dollars to secure it. Well, one guy didn’t think so and he decided to play the waiting game.

In 2010, Jerry Alex neglected to renew jerryalex.com, and woke up one day to find his website had turned into a squatter’s template, with a $1500 ransom. So he waited 9 years before pouncing on the drop.

(Source – BoingBoing)

Now waiting 9 years feels like a long time, especially if you could have done something useful with the domain. Still, I understand why he felt like the $1,500 fee was a ransom, at the same time, I’m sure there’s other people out there named Jerry Alex so he doesn’t really have the exclusive right to it but I get it.

At the end of the day, the guy who bought the domain ended up renewing it for nine years which means he paid about $100 to hold the domain and then finally let it drop.

Like I said above, while no laws were broken here I just don’t think it’s good form to buy someone else’s name and try to sell it to them for a profit, but maybe that’s just me. At the same time, I’m really surprised that Jerry didn’t want to spend $1,500 to secure his domain, nine years is a long time, hopefully he does something with it now to make up for the lost time!

What do you think, is it slimy to buy someone’s name or am I just being too sensitive here? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!

{ 12 comments… add one }

  • Tim August 6, 2019, 8:42 pm

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  • Snoopy August 6, 2019, 9:16 pm

    Unless Jerry had a clear business case then it is unlikely the $1,500 would have been a good spend.

    “I’m really surprised that Jerry didn’t want to spend $1,500 to secure his domain, ”

    That surprised you? I’d say you have a lot to learn Morgan. Reselling a domain is about selling with 1% odds, most won’t bite.

    Reply
  • Jon Schultz August 6, 2019, 9:27 pm

    I don’t see any difference, Morgan, between taking a domain like Shoes.com, if it were to drop, and taking a domain like JohnSmith.com. Both domains could be used by many people and thus could be sold for a decent price and both may have been owned by someone who inadvertently neglected to renew. If someone comes to you with a hard luck story that they accidentally dropped a domain then it’s up to you as to whether you want to be nice to them, but there’s no legal obligation and I personally don’t think there should be.

    Reply
  • Ethan August 6, 2019, 9:37 pm

    The man in this story is a businessman and talks about business on his website, so it’s fine that he owns his full name in .com.

    In my opinion, not everyone should own their full names in .com. For people who are not in business and just want to blog about and share their daily lives, it’s more ideal for them to use .name or .blog.

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    • Snoopy August 6, 2019, 10:06 pm

      .blog or .name will never be “ideal”. If the .com is available only a fool would use something else.

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      • Ethan August 6, 2019, 10:33 pm

        It’s up to anyone to use any TLD, but I still think using .com for casual blogging is not an appropriate use and would force business people of the same names to use other TLDs.

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      • Matt August 7, 2019, 11:20 am

        Many firstlast.com domains have long been registered so are not an option for many people.

        However, I think we’ll see a day where people care less about the .com:
        Some examples:
        Zoom.com forwards to Zoom.us (they own both but favor the .us for their brand and strategy)
        Barclays.com forwards to home.barclays (again they own both but favor building on their brand gTLD)

        Also there are cases of people registering a .nyc domain, ignoring the .com, because the local geo TLD is favorable to the less important .com.

        To each their own, but the reality is things are changing.

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        • Snoopy August 7, 2019, 5:01 pm

          You are in a strange place Matt. Good luck with your ntlds.

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  • Richard Morris August 7, 2019, 4:34 am

    As a business guy having named and operated dozens of businesses I never had a desire to own my own name, unless of course I was a celebrity or a professional athlete. If it weren’t for the fact I’m familiar with this industry, I’d never click on the name MorganLinton.com who’s neither a celebrity or an athlete.

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  • Mark Thorpe August 7, 2019, 7:45 am

    $1500 to buy your name is cheap nowadays. The price is just going to keep going up, not down.

    Reply
  • John August 7, 2019, 4:24 pm

    Morgan, how do you explain not being willing to buy the two word .com “category-killer” EMD for the business your company is in for only $2,000 though you were considering the “backwords” new gTLD version which I’ve called you out about before, but which your commenters have been so oblivious to? Are you embarrassed that I was the one who pointed it out to you while you were focusing on the new gTLD?

    Reply
  • Purely Space September 11, 2019, 3:08 am

    I can see why people wouldn’t spend that on a personal domain name in a .com. Most people either blog under a different domain name from their personal name, OR, they primarily use their LinkedIn or other social media profile as their personal “connect with me” page.

    I would never spend that kind of money on a personal domain name, myself. If I was in that guy’s situation I would at least consider the name in a .me or .space or some other extension, instead of a) paying $1500 or b) waiting 9 years. Supporting that point of view, once the new domain is developed, people searching for the name will see whatever the developed name is (.me, .online, whatever) – if the .com is not developed, it’s simply not going to rank as highly in a search for that first and last name.

    I only think Snoopy has a point if there are no plans to develop the domain being purchased. Otherwise, once you get the domain (in whatever extension) and develop it, then that’s the one that’s going to come up in search results.

    Reply

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