Should There Be Regulation on Domain Squatting?

July 21, 2012 by  Filed under: Domain 

The sharp decline of available quality domains brings up the question of whether something should be done about domain squatting. Domain squatting refers to a person who buys a domain name knowing they are not going to use it, that would otherwise be used for a site that relates to the domain. There is a difference between domain squatting and domain parking. When you register a domain with the hopes to use it in the future you have parked your domain. If the only reason you bought up the domain is to sell it later, then you are domain squatting.

One of the biggest companies that have done this is domain registrar Network Solutions. When users search for a domain name through their site and did not buy the domain they searched for, Network Solutions would buy it. Why would Network Solutions buy that domain? To make sure that if you want that domain name in the future, you will have to buy it through them.

Recently I searched for one for a business I wanted to start, but the one I wanted was already taken. When I went to the domain, all that was there were some ads and a message saying that this domain name was for sale. I emailed the owner of the domain name if he would sell it to me, and the price he sent back nearly knocked me out of my chair. I asked if he had plans to use it for an actual website, and he said no. This got me thinking, should there be any regulation on people that are just squatting on them and have no plans to use them? If so, who would regulate it?

Having regulation I feel would be a bad idea. With the potential of making millions off these, I think there is potential for a lot of abuse and would be impossible to manage. For instance, how would anyone be able to differentiate the difference between when someone is just parking a domain name or are actually domain squatting. Also, if someone buys up a domain name of value, why should they not make some money off of it? They were the first to think of the domain name and put their own money down, so why not turn a profit?

When it comes down to it, even though the system we have in place now makes it difficult for people to register quality domains, there are no feasible solutions to fix this. You either have to pony up some extra cash to buy a domain from someone who already owns a domain, or figure out different variations that are available to buy from a registrar.

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