July 2009         DNJournal.com     The Domain Industry News Magazine

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Welcome to DN Journal Newsletter #34! This publication is sent only to subscribers who registered at DNJournal.com to receive our free monthly newsletter and email notifications when new articles are posted on our site. You may unsubscribe at any time by sending a removal request to [email protected].

Domaining is Cybersquatting? Wikipedia Throws Its Credibility Out the Window

Many domain investor/developers (often called domainers for short) were stunned and angered this month when they learned that Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that anyone can supposedly edit, started redirecting a search on the word "domaining" to their page on cybersquatting! As of this writing, the blatantly false impression left by the redirect was still in place, even though it has repeatedly been brought to Wikipedia's attention (you can read comments about this in threads at DNForum.com and NamePros.com). 

It is my understanding that two individual "moderators" at Wikipedia refused to correct this damaging mistake. In my opinion this leaves no doubt that these individuals are either overtly biased or incompetent and should be removed from their positions in either case as their actions call the entire site's credibility into question.

I'm not holding my breath on that one though. As WebAdvantage.net commented last summer (and apparently nothing has changed since then), " the collective wisdom of Wikipedia stems from only a small group of editors in a very top-down bureaucratic way, and a growing number of users and ex-Wiki editors have expressed discontent for the open content encyclopedia’s sometimes less than fair opinions and editorial methods. Additionally, Wiki editors have faced several very public credibility issues in the recent past, especially since the development of Wikiscanner, a publicly searchable database that links Wikipedia edits to the IP addresses of the business entities that create them. Some of Wikiscanner’s past revelations have left many users questioning the integrity of Wikipedia’s information.

In this case, all those Wikipedia reps needed to do is look up the word "squatting" in the dictionary (not too much ask before tarring an entire billion dollar industry and the thousands of people who work in it I would think). Squatting is the act of sitting on or occupying something that the squatter did not pay for and has no right to use (it originally applied to those who squatted on someone else's property. The "cyber" prefix just means doing it in the virtual rather than real world). 

When it comes to domaining, accuracy 
at Wikipedia is harder to find than 
the pea in a shell game.

Domain owners pay registration fees that give them the right to use the names they buy, so by definition they are not squatting. The term cybersquatter applies to only a small minority of registrants who wrongfully try to profit from the tiny fraction of the 183 million domains registered worldwide that infringe on trademark rights held by others.

Certainly there are cybersquatters within the business of domaining just as there are, for example, embezzlers within the accounting business. Would Wikipedia redirect a search for "accountants" to a page about "embezzlers"? Of course not - but that is exactly what they are doing with domaining and that is unconscionable and is so obviously unfair that I am actually embarassed for them.

One of the many people in our industry who is distressed and offended by Wikipedia's blanket condemnation of this business is Max Menius, a veteran domain investor/developer from North Carolina who registered his first domain in 1998. Menius has patiently been communicating with Wikipedia in an effort to get them to correct their mistake. He even went so far as to invest hours of his time in writing a well documented page for Wikipedia explaining what domaining is since the moderators at the online encyclopedia are clearly clueless in that regard. 

Those editors have sliced and diced his original document to such a degree that it bares little resemblance to the original, so I asked Menius for permission to print it in its entirety here so that an accurate representation of what domaining is will exist someplace online, if not at Wikipedia.

Article below courtesy of Max Menius

'Domaining''' is the business of monetizing internet domain names using a variety of approaches and strategies. These monetization strategies include full scale website development, development of minisites, hosting parked pages which display advertiser feeds (pay per click), affiliate partnerships, domain name forwarding arrangements, domain name sales & leasing, the selling of direct sales leads via customer opt-in, providing online hotel and flight booking, the inclusion of paid directory listings and other commonly accepted business approaches.

''Domaining''' and '''domainer''' are general domain name industry terms which possess no inherent negative connotation. Domaining is commonly used to refer to the varied business-oriented activities of domain enthusiasts or those 

involved in the domain name industry. The larger domain name industry and domain name community have often been categorically misrepresented as "cybersquatters" by uninformed or poorly researched writers

'''Domainer''' is used to refer to individuals who engage in domaining, similar in function to developers who engage in developing, sales people who engage in selling, or writers who engage in writing.

"Cybersquatting" is a Federal offense as defined by the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. This act prohibits registering, trafficking in, or using a domain name with bad faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else. The greater domaining industry and domainer community are against cybersquatting, do not register trademark infringing domain names, and have publicly voiced opposition to this practice via international domain conferences, published articles, participation in online discussion forums, and membership in the Internet Commerce Association (ICA) who represent domain name investors, developers, and the direct search industry.

Internet Commerce Association (ICA)

ICA Mission Statement 

The Internet Commerce Association (ICA), founded in 2006, is a non-profit trade organization representing domain name investors and developers and the direct search industry. ICA is made up of responsible businesses and individuals who have joined together to improve public confidence in internet commerce. Based

in Washington D.C., our mission is to promote and share best practices among participants in the domain name industry and to educate consumers, policy makers, law makers and the media about the value and benefits of direct navigation traffic and the domain name industry.

ICA Member Code of Conduct

The Internet Commerce Association’s (ICA) Member Code of Conduct expresses the ICA’s recognition of the responsibilities of its members to the intellectual property, domain name, and at large Internet communities and will guide members in conducting their domain name investment and development activities with professionalism, respect and integrity.

All members of ICA are committed to addressing the issues facing the evolving domain name industry, which include:

Protection of Intellectual Property Rights: A registrant shall follow accepted trademark law and respect the brands and trademarks of others. Members will not intentionally and in bad faith register and use a domain name that is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark. Registrants shall respond promptly to legitimate disputes relating to alleged infringement of intellectual property rights.

"Domaining" and "Domainer(s)" are common terms referenced millions of times in video and written publications across the internet (a current Yahoo search of "Domaining" produces 6,960,000 indexed web pages, and a YouTube search produces 39,200 results for the term). Periodicals and domain news aggregators devoted to domaining include: ModernDomainer.com, DomainersMagazine.com, Domaining.com, DNHeadlines.com, and Namebee.com.

Numerous online news and blog sites are dedicated to covering domaining news & events including: DNJournal.com, DomainNameWire.com, TheDomains.com, ElliotsBlog.com, and RicksBlog.com. As of this writing, the DNJournal Daily Lowdown contains twenty-five separate references to domaining, domainer, or domainers illustrating how common these terms have become. Not one of the twenty-five references is mentioned in relation to the illegal act of cybersquatting.

As a credible domain industry news source, DNJournal.com has been referenced in The Wall Street Journal, ABC News, BBC News, Forbes, Newsweek, USA Today, New York Times, CNN/Money, Investors Business Daily, MSNBC, Boston Herald, and the Montreal Gazette

Domaining is well represented by popular industry discussion forums at: DNForum.com (78,336 members), Namepros.com (156,999 members), ccTLD's.com (1473 members), Mobility.mobi (4013 members), and DomainState.com (who provide a "Domainer Orientation Glossary" for new domaining enthusiasts).

Major domain sales, leasing, auction and drop-catch sites include: Sedo, AfternicDLS, BuyDomains, LeaseThis, NameJet, Rick Latona, Snapnames, 4Domains, Pool, GoDaddy, and Moniker who also provide domainer asset management services. This does not represent a complete list.

Examples of domain industry trade shows (past and present) include, but are not limited to: TRAFFIC, Domain Roundtable, Domain Convergence, Domainer Mardi Gras, and Domainer Paris 2008.

Domainer portfolio management software is available at DomainerScript.com as well as a Domainer Accreditation Program for establishing one's own registry status at LogicBoxes Registry Solutions.

Many well known domainers are not only domain investors, but have allocated considerable resources to full scale web development projects, and they operate some of the most popular sites on the world wide web. Examples are brothers David and Michael Castello (PalmSprings.com, Nashville.com, DayCare.com), Skip Hoagland (Atlanta.com, Honolulu.com, MyrtleBeach.com), Boulevards New Media (Houston.com, Seattle.com, LosAngeles.com), Elliot Silver (Burbank.com, TropicalBirds.com, Lowell.com), InternetRealEstate.com (Software.com, Phone.com, Chocolate.com), Rob Grant (Adirondacks.com, RobGrantRealEstate.com), Sahar Sarid (Bido.com, FuneralHomes.com), Rick Latona (aeiou.com, RickLatona.com), Ron Jackson (DNJournal.com), Andrew Alleman (DomainNameWire.com), and Michael Berkens (TheDomains.com).

The domain name industry is a multi-million dollar enterprise and is growing steadily year after year. Sedo is a single online marketplace whose 2008 reported sales were $77,413,370 alone. Sedo's 2006 domain sales were $45,076,536, and 2004 sales were $11,148,922 showing a significant rise in domain name sales over time. Sedo provides periodic news and articles on domain name investing. "A Time To Buy: A Domainer's Guide" provides a brief overview of parking and selling domain names for novices entering the field.

Further clarification on domaining vs. cybersquatting is contained in "Cybersquatting is Not Domaining" (January 10, 2009). 

Live domain auction in New York City

This page is the first authoritative draft on domaining submitted for inclusion to Wikipedia.org. Its author aims to dispell the mischaracterization of domain name investors as cybersquatters, and to provide a useful starting point for Wikipedia users who are interested in learning more about domaining and the domain name industry. The author owns a portfolio of 850 domain names of which 17 are fully developed websites, approximately 10 are under construction, and the remainder are utilized for targeted search and monetized through PPC advertising. The author does not engage in cybersquatting, and has never received a UDRP or been accused of trademark infringement. The author has been actively domaining since year 2000, and registered his first domain name in 1998 (which was his first and last name in .com). The author is a member of the Internet Commerce Association. The author works full-time in a field totally unrelated to domain names and internet technology. 


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The DN Journal Newsletter is produced by DN Journal - The Domain Industry News Magazine located at www.DNJournal.com. Contents may not be reproduced or redistributed without expressed written consent from Internet Edge, Inc. (Copyright 2009)

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