Domain-squatting parasites not interested in haggling, apparently.

From: Jamie Zawinski <jwz@jwz.org>
To: dtripodes@gmail.com
Date: Wed, Aug 10, 2011 at 1:50 AM
Subject: dnacafe.com

How much do you want for the dnacafe.com domain?

From: "Dean Tripodes" <dean@baywalk.net>
To: "Jamie Zawinski" <jwz@jwz.org>
Subject: Re: dnacafe.com
Date: Wed, 10 Aug 2011 15:59:53 -0700
Organization: Baywalk Web Development

Hi Jamie,

All our prices are online http://www.baywalkdomains.com/prices/

$9,995 purchase with escrow through Escrow.com, or $995 / year lease by credit card.

Dean Tripodes _______________________________________________
Baywalk Web Development / Baywalk Domains
(800) 927-8841
(626) 792-9400
http://www.baywalk.net
http://www.baywalkdomains.com
http://www.deantripodes.com

Subject: Re: dnacafe.com
From: Jamie Zawinski <jwz@jwz.org>
Date: Wed, 10 Aug 2011 16:25:41 -0700
To: Dean Tripodes <dean@baywalk.net>

Hah!

How about $200 to buy it outright?

And he didn't even write back!

We're supposed to haggle! "Ten for that you must be mad! It's worth ten if it's worth a shekel!"

Oh well. I might have gone as high as $250.

Previously, previously.


Update: For the record -- and do know that every time I say "for the record" what I am really saying is, "I thought this was blindingly obvious without me having to actually say it" -- I already have a domain that is the same as the official name of my business, dnapizza.com.

I had a passing interest in getting "dnacafe.com" as well to use as a redirector, just because "that might be nice to have". It turns out that, to me, "that might be nice to have" is worth a couple hundred bucks, tops.

Rather than taking my offier, this guy would prefer to hold out hope that someone, someday, will pay him ten grand for this domain. Well, good luck to him with that. (And for the record, when I say "good luck with that" I actually mean something entirely else).

People who are in the business of buying domains in bulk in the speculative hope that some day one of those domains will sell for enough to cover the cost of all the others are vile parasites and should be ashamed of themselves. They are of the same ilk as the "SEO experts" who set up fake blogs with copies of Wikipedia and newspaper abstracts to get google juice for their ads. Yes, the market as it exists is structured such that this is a lucrative business, and it's a legal loophole to exploit. They are still rent-seeking scum who siphon pennies from the real economy while providing no value to anybody (except possibly the Google Adwords department, who doubtless love them dearly).

Tags: , , ,

101 Responses:

  1. Tor says:

    Why don't you just get dnacafe.me? It's a bit more hip than a boring .com domain..

    • pavel_lishin says:

      Or a .am! Or a .sh! Or a .xxx!

      • pavel_lishin says:

        Actually, dnapiz.za.com wouldn't be awful, except for the fact that it sort of is, and who knows how trustworthy a South African tld is.

        • Marlin Forbes says:

          All very above board - there's only 1 direct registrar, and they are or used to be a parastatal. I know the guy who runs it.

          For any commercial domains go to http://www.co.za/ and ask there. Only odd thing is that the system is all mail driven, not forms. But it is all automated.

          • pavel_lishin says:

            Just because it's government run, doesn't mean it's necessarily trustworthy - though I admit to knowing nothing about the South African government, except that they don't approve of fooking prawns, no sir.

            And http://www.co.za/ appears to be timing out - sadly, not a great testimonial :(

            • Andrew says:

              I grew up in ZA and registered a lot of domains through co.za for the company I worked for, just my 2 pence(I moved to the UK) but it was my favourite way of handling domain name purchasing. Just send a plaintext email(they give you the template) with the details you want and make the payment by credit card.

        • The South African registry is notorious for its complete lack of a sense of humor. Specifically (and highly relevantly), a good friend of mine has been attempting to register piz.za on about a yearly basis for well over a decade now. They have been resolutely uninterested.

        • Oskar P says:

          za.com is neither a TLD... nor is it South African. Take the comments of people below that aren't reading the details with a pinch of salt.

          Whois for za.com says:

          CentralNic Ltd
          35-39 Moorgate
          London EC2R 6AR
          UK

          South African domains end with .za. The registrar is fine, and reliable. I've never used za.com

  2. ChrisAM says:

    Site has already been updated...

    dnacafe.com ( ) —Science, tech, or a cool cafe! —Inquiry in 2011, did not meet asking price.

  3. fantasygoat says:

    Domains should cost more. If it was upwards of $100/year or more, they'd still be affordable for most people, but economically unsound for squatters. Instead they're $8.

  4. Ryan Finnie says:

    The datacenter I worked at ten years ago bought redundant.com from a squatter for $10,000. Today they want the same for dnacafe.com? That, and $6.50 will get you a cup of coffee.

    (The datacenter went out of business in 2003, and its various assets were sold to other companies. Another datacenter company bought the Raleigh facility and the name, including the domain name, but then did nothing with it. They let it expire, and a squatter picked it up again. The expensive circle of life is complete.)

    • bitmage says:

      Would that be Utenzi by any chance? My office is in their old RTP datacenter, now broken up as flex space...

      • Ryan Finnie says:

        Never heard of Utenzi. I want to say the company that bought the Redundant RTP facility was Hosted Solutions, but I'm not 100% sure.

  5. Scott Louis says:

    (a Sheckle! HAHA!) I thought that domain-squatting was illegal?

  6. donnacha of WordSkill says:

    Most half-decent domains were registered back in the mid to late Nineties, at the then normal price of around $100 per year, renewal prices only came down to their current levels a few years layer. Pretty much any decent domain registered in the past ten years would have been acquired through a drop-catching service for at least $69, probably much more if more than one person wanted it and an auction ensued.

    When you come up with a great name for your business, it is natural to be disappointed when you discover that someone thought of it before you and registered the .COM.

    It is, however, a sign of stupidity to then allow your disappointment to grow into anger and decide that the owner is a squatter, to allow your anger to distort reality.

    .COM domains have always been first-come-first-served, so, by definition, a domain owner cannot be squatting a domain unless someone has a trademark that pre-dates the domain registration.

    Many .COM domains are openly offered for lower prices on any of the hundreds of online marketplaces but if a domain has NOT been listed for sale and you want that one specific domain, you want someone else to give you their property which they have been renewing for years, a low-ball offer like $250 is ridiculous.

    Think about it: most domain were originally registered, purchased or bought at auction for a lot of money because someone, much like yourself, had an idea for it. Like most ideas, it didn't happen but the owner continued paying the annual renewals, aware that the name had value. The chances are that the owner has been paying annual renewals on at least a few dozen names, because most idea guys have dozens of ideas over the years.

    Now, in mid-2011, you come along, all excited because the same idea has now occurred to you ten years later, and you say "Gee, thanks for keeping this lovely domain for me, here's a couple of hundred bucks, bye!".

    If he doesn't jump at the chance to let you cherry-pick the best of his domains for probably less than he originally paid, he's suddenly a "domain-squatting parasite"?

    Should he spend his valuable time "haggling" with some idiot who has no idea of the actual value of a good domain?

    Or should he just wait for a real business person to come along, someone who understands and is willing to invest in a good name, someone who, unlike the no-clue, cheap-ass kid, will probably be organised enough to actually complete their project and use the domain?

    If you are serious about your business and manage to find, as late as 2011, the perfect name for under ten grand, be glad that it has been kept for you by someone that is actually willing to name a price.

    • pjz says:

      You're full of crap. Cybersquatters often cull names from DBA-registration sources and preemptively register them before the owner has a chance to, if the owner hasn't already. That's not the squatter 'thinking of it' first, that's straightforward profiteering.

      • donnacha of WordSkill says:

        Firstly, your pronouncement that I am "full of crap" strengthens my argument that disappointed guys are allowing anger to distort their sense of reality.

        Secondly, any business that intends to have an online presence should nail down the .COM of their name before registering anything else - it only costs a few dollars.

        Thirdly, in the situation you outline, a simple UDRP would instantly award the domain to the person with an actual business because the timing of the domain registration - following the other person's business registration - proves bad faith.

        Fourthly, the situation you outline bears no similarity to the situation outlined in this post, where the writer denounces someone, who thought up and registered a domain several years before he did, as a "domain-squatting parasite".

        You are wrong on so many levels but please don't feel that I am attacking you as you attacked me, I am merely suggesting that it would be a net benefit to you and your future business ventures if you didn't allow disappointment and anger to distort your perception of what is actually happening in the world.

        • Don says:

          No, he's right. You're full of crap. Thinking any of us are angry about that is kinda self-important. Lots of people are full of crap, it doesn't make me angry - I just kinda hope that one day I will point that out to someone and they'll actually be smart enough to realize it. Today is not my day.

          • donnacha of WordSkill says:

            Well, repeated assertions that other people are "full of crap" or "horseshit" or any other scatalogical reference without ANY arguments that undermine the actual facts I present about HOW domain ownership operates, that does rather suggest anger as opposed to thoughtful argument.

            I never suggested the anger was about me or reflective of my importance, I clearly state that the anger is against domain owners who got there first - not one of you care about the actual people behind the domains, about how they might have come to own a particular domain years before it ever occurred to you, you merely know that you WANT their property and, if you are not given it, you throw a tantrum. It is pretty clear who is being self-entitled and self-important here.

            If the foul-mouthed abuse is not driven by short-sighted, self-serving anger, please indicate which of my contentions is inaccurate and explain why. I don't think you can because what I said, my actual assertions, are correct. All that your mis-firing brain cells will be able to come up with is more anger and more abuse.

            • pavel_lishin says:

              You're describing how domain ownership works, and implying that because something is, it is right.

              We're saying that it's blatant horseshit, and that it's a system that's been gamed, to the detriment of virtually anyone who didn't think to plow $10k into buying up random [a-z0-9]{3,10}.(com|net|org) domains.

        • the hatter says:

          The current domain holder did not think up of the domain. I'd be 99% certain they waited for the previous registrant (see archive.org) to let it lapse/fail to renew/hosting company messed up the renewal. And then they grabbed it and sat on it entirely for the purpose of making a profit. The innovations that drive this are also generally socially dubious, often using systems designed for fair use and subverting (often antisocially) so that they may beat the others racing for the discarded crumbs. Sounds pretty parasitic to me.

    • anonymouse says:

      There's a pretty obvious definition of squatting though, and that's using a domain name for a site that is not in any way related to it or useful to anyone. For example, dnacafe.com is currently just a redirect to an ad page. And there's a word for the money that these people make: rent. They get paid just for being there first, not for adding any actual value to society.

      • The domain system was set up on a first-come-first-served basis and, therefore, the wise advice has always been to not delay when you think of a domain but to play safe and register it.

        Are you suggesting that registrants should wait until they have a proper website fully finished before they register the relevant domain?

        I am not denying that there are a lot of people registering domains with no intention of ever using them for a "proper" website (whatever YOU define as proper, bearing in mind that domains existed long before websites and that many would dispute your contention that advertising does not add any value to the economy) but, unfortunately, there is no simple online mechanism to discern a registrant's intentions - if you decide that the failure to instantly create a website = guilt, you are going to be slandering a lot of innocent people too.

        Here is a thought - if you got the real names of all the people bitching about domain "squatters", I bet that every single one of them has at least one domain that they haven't yet created a website for, and not one of them would just give it to some stranger who emailed them asking for it.

        • pavel_lishin says:

          > Here is a thought - if you got the real names of all the people bitching about domain "squatters", I bet that every single one of them has at least one domain that they haven't yet created a website for, and not one of them would just give it to some stranger who emailed them asking for it.

          I'm sitting on 16 domains that are not in use.

          The difference? At one point, I *did* intend to do something with them, *and* I'm not offering to sell them for $10k or rent them at some ludicrous monthly fee. (Which, by the way, seems like the riskiest move you can make, entrusting a blatant profiteer with your tld.)

          • donnacha of WordSkill says:

            No, I did NOT imply that the system is right, I actually think it is deeply flawed and was quite deliberately designed that way.

            What I object to is the lazy tendency of people, who find that the domain they want is already registered, to denounce the owners as squatters. It is childish, unrealistic and, in most cases, hypocritical because pretty much all of those complaining own at least one domain which they have not yet gotten around to building a site for - in some other idiot's eyes THEY are the squatter!

            What I see is that most decent non-trademark .COM names were registered or bought, often for quite a lot of money, by the previous generation of idea guys who, like all of you now, believed that they would get around to launching their ideas.

            Most people did not realise how valuable the domain itself would become and they could have lost that value at any time, but some owners continued to pay the renewals every year.

            Most of those domains will never sell at a profit, some will. In a few cases, the owner will be handsomely rewarded for having been the first to identify a great name, for putting actual money down and for having made the bet that the Internet would continue to thrive.

            That is just life. The owners are not at fault, the system is. It is lazy, wrong and hypocritical to attack the owners simply because it feels more natural to personalise attacks.

          • Oh, that last reply was meant to be in response to your comment higher up.

          • Your 16 unused domains would place you squarely in the squatter category according to the woolly definition most people are in the habit of using, regardless of whether or not you have offered to sell them.

            Sad but true.

        • You are being a bit delusional.

          When the internet was set up everybody assumed you would have some reason to have a domain name and then would register it at that time. It made no sense for anybody to do otherwise and most people on the internet were fairly educated and morally decent or at least felt compelled to act that way.

          You keep repeating your claim that it was the goal of the people who came up with the technical solution we use today to have domain names snatched up for petty commercialism. That it is the way it is "for a reason".

          That is not the way it was envisioned. Business people generally didn't know the internet existed and internet scum lords didn't exist. Everything ran beautifully until it became popular and opportunists saw there was money to be made. Domain squatting has always been abuse of the system and a huge annoyance for those who want to use the internet for its intended purpose.

          • You are wrong on the history. Domains originally cost nothing, you simply requested whatever domains you wanted, no justification was required. As you suggest, most Internet users at that time did not abuse that, but some undeniably did.

            In 1995 a private commercial vehicle was formed to take over responsibility for domain registrations, the form of which was decided by politicians but with a major input by corporate lobbyists. The resulting business was then sold by the government, for pittance, to a military contractor, SAIC, and, a few months later, they started charging.

            The system was designed to allow anyone to buy any available domain without the need to prove their entitlement to that name. This low barrier ensured maximum sales at minimum operating cost to the corporation, the responsibility and cost of trademark enforcement was simply shifted elsewhere. This low-friction model produced a massive windfall for the corporation and, in 2000 the monopoly was sold on to Verisign for $20bn.

            The majority of domains do NOT have websites and the majority of the ongoing river of profits come from annual renewal of those domains. When the major registries started selling "dropping" domains, something that was never intended when the system was created, they could have stopped it but did not, for one simple reason: they like it that someone, anyone at all, continues to pay that yearly renewal. It is all about the bottom line.

            I don't like the system but I see it clearly for what it is, and that is the very opposite of delusional. The delusion is when people like you react to the frustration of not being given everything you want by projecting blame upon the people who happen to have been ahead of you in the queue, who happened to have had an idea before you.

            When guys like yourself talk about "Internet scum lords" and the Internet's "intended purpose", what you really mean is that you would like one of two things:

            1. That you would like the .COM of a domain you want for a REALLY AWESOME idea you just had to be available, because it would be SO frickin' awesome and, God, the scumbag who currently owns it isn't even doing anything with it, it should be given to me! (but, funnily enough, the idea is rarely sufficiently awesome to justify offering the owner a couple of grand).

            ... OR ...

            2. That you in fact want some complicated system whereby, instead of first-come-first-served, domains are handed out to people with ideas that are judged to be worthy of the domain. Luckily, in that fantasy vision, no-one else has, in the past twenty years, put forward an idea worthy of your preferred domain, it is just sitting there, waiting for you, nervously adjusting its mini-skirt.

            So ...

            ... unless you actually have a solution to the fact that the domain system was thrown like a bone to the corporate masters of your elected representatives, have a little class and don't lash out at people who were working hard, thinking up ideas and names while you were blowing your teens on video games and porn.

            • jwz says:

              Oh, Jesus Christ.

              I gather from your incessant responding that you make your living selling domains, and feel the need to justify how it is a Reasonable and Honorable profession.

              We get it already.

              You can stop now. Seriously, knock it off. You are bringing nothing to the party.

              • Actually, I don't but, yes, I called you on your sloppy populism and, yes, I responded to the people who responded to what I wrote - the lazy confusion around domain ownership, which your post encourages, obscures the real problems and it is worth fighting that.

                Are you so insecure in your little world here that you are afraid of one little guy arguing that you are wrong?

                Is utter agreement and supplication what you want your adoring users to bring "to the party"?

                • jwz says:

                  Yes, I'm so insecure. It's not at all that your logorrheic defensive blabbermouthing is boring and repetitive.

                  Let me be clear: you're not pissing me off because your opinion differs from mine. You're pissing me off because, having already made your point five times, you still won't shut up about it.

                  There's nothing confusing about this case: this guy is a parasite, speculating on domains and making money off the churn. His business model is vile, and if you don't think so, then you too are vile. Yes, his business model works. Just because it can be done doesn't make it ethical.

                  You need not respond, because I already fully understand your position.

                  If you have more to say, do so on your own blog instead of in the comments of mine.

              • vacri says:

                A simple example of business models that work and are legal but immoral or unethical are those companies who don't properly dispose of hazardous wastes in third-world countries, screwing over the population. Is it profitable? Yes. Is it legal? Yes, often, due to not-very-mature legal systems. To simply shrug and say "hey, it's just business, and it's legal" is clearly unethical here - ethical business practices and legal business practices are not the same thing.

    • pavel_lishin says:

      > most domain were originally registered, purchased or bought at auction for a lot of money because someone, much like yourself, had an idea for it.

      Horseshit, and in this specific case, bullshit flavored horseshit.

      • Again, why can young men not see that their anger is distorting their sense of what is actually happening in the world?

        Understanding what drives other people instead of demonising them makes us much more effective in both life and business.

        • pavel_lishin says:

          I swear a lot. Move on.

          Yes, there are some domains that are sitting idle and for sale because an idea didn't work out. (Wanna buy cannedgoat.com? My idea for it didn't really pan out. If you can do better, you can have it.)

          But I truly doubt that dtripodes is just a businessman whose brilliant science-based eatery flopped, and is now trying to recoup his costs. I'm sure that his go6.biz enterprise *almost* made it, too! And all the other domains he's doing nothing with but helpfully offering to lease them out.

          I'm not saying that everyone who's offering to sell a domain is a squatter. But this guy? Yeah.

          • You are willing to categorically denounce a man you have never met and of whom you know nothing?

            Based upon how he has today listed his domain for sale, you are able to discern what his reasons and intentions were years ago when he registered it?

            Also, if you initially enter a discussion with little more to contribute other than foul language, you shouldn't be surprised if people characterise you by that, they're certainly not going to "move on" when you so helpfully sabotage your own argument.

            I swear a lot too, I'm Irish, but I am also aware of how much it detracts from the credibility of my argument online, especially when I neglect to include any actual points.

            CannedGoat.com sounds pretty cool.

            • pavel_lishin says:

              Yes I am. This is the internet - I've never met you, and you've never met me - all we see is bits rendered into ASCII. Based on the e-mail exchanges between jwz and tripodes, I'm making the judgement that he's a squatter - the type that registers domains with the sole purpose of reselling them for a markup - this is backed up by what I saw of their website.

              We're humans. We judge. It's what we do. Refusing to make a judgement is disingenuous.

              I could be wrong. If I am, I'll admit it - but I've voice my opinion, and I'm sticking by it.

              And as far as repeatedly pointing out obscenity and anger, your argument comes off as nothing more than "u mad?" - a lot of your points are very valid, but it's hard to read past the pointless meta-discussion about whether I should swear or not.

              Anywho, I think we've filled up jwz's blog with enough comments. See you 'round.

              • Okay, I'll just close by noting that it wasn't just YOUR swearing, it was the amazing coincidence that ALL of the commentors responding to my original comment against the lynch mob mentality happened to swear but make no actual counter arguments.

                It is not a meta issue, it gets straight to the heart of the matter: that domain ownership is a taboo issue, that people are in denial and that anger is much easier than thinking. Again, I am not singling you out, this is a widespread problem.

  7. Chris Calfee says:

    I had a similar experience with a squatter. I offered him $150, he rebuffed with the original $5k, my offers stopped. About 8 months later the domain ended up in an auction. I was the only bidder getting it for about $80. He could have had $150 but his greed cost him.

    • the hatter says:

      Problem is, as a business, that more domains appreciate in value over time, and that holding them is profitable simply from ad revenue (they'll be minting it today with all the readers and bots taking a look today thanks to this post). Then taking an hour or two of a few people's time to make a sale, it's really doesn't make financial sense to part with them for less than several hundred dollars. I don't like it, but that's business.

      What the domain squatters/warehousers do is keep the cash moving around, chances areyour domain was one of a huge batch traded with another, a bundle of nice and less nice domains, the new owner who then jetisonned the excess to beef up their main portfolio. And 'nice' in that sense included not only the obvious (few letters, dictionary word, trend, etc) but also likelihood of litigation from people who might want it.

  8. Joe Crawford says:

    The Internet Archive is wonderful. It looks like, in 2003, dnacafe served as a place you could get paternity testing. For at least one captured page, it simply reports "The RPC Server is unavailable." Eventually it died and has been a placeholder for a long time.

    It seems to me the current custodians of dnacafe.com are pining for biotech startup money, not pizza joint money.

    Maybe add "the" to the beginning of the domain?

  9. John Weiss Zimmerman says:

    Hello.

    Thank you for this articles. I realize you do not use this site really for anything useful so I am wondering if you will sell the domain for $100? I mean I am the only person whose initials are JWZ so you can probably be reasonable about it.

    Not to mention you can use some other domain anyway like jeewiz.biz which sounds better. But all my friends have called me JWZ and I think that this is a fair offer I am making.

    John Weiss Zimmerman

  10. umad says:

    Jesus, Mary and Lady Gaga, has it never occurred to you that if it wasn't some asshole charging $10k it would be some other asshole charging $10k?

    For a bunch of so-called experts you all seem oblivious that dnacafe.com has changed admin contacts 27 times since 2001, and has been dropped out of DNS entirely 3 times.

    Snooze you lose, why u mad?

    • zompist says:

      Or maybe jwz has intelligence greater than a trilobite and isn't going to pay you or anyone else $10K for no reason.

      A quick search shows that he has in fact picked up the obvious domain for his new business (dnapizza.com). Presumably he'd like to cover some more bases. He's stated what this is worth to him (no more than $250). It's simply not the case that he has no alternative but to pay some asshole $10K.

  11. Vital says:

    it was fun seeing donnacha lay waste to all the arguments about so called cybersquatting. using the word 'arguments' loosely here of course, as all anyone could seem to muster in defense was "youre full of crap", "horseshit", "shut up" and so on .

    by the way, there's this nice piece of property where i live that I've had my eye on, right in the heart of downtown. the owner hasn't actually built anything on this property, its just an empty lot, though someone has been paying to put up a billboard full of advertising on his empty lot, can you believe that shit! Clearly he is just a no good "scumlord" who adds nothing to society. since he really isn't doing anything of value with his property, I'm going to go go down there tomorrow and offer him a few hundred dollars for it, which he should happily accept.

    • jwz says:

      You know, every now and then I post something that people interpret as "you called my baby ugly", like that time I farted in bike-church, and sometimes I feel bad about that. But when the people I've upset by calling their baby ugly have "ventures" in their email addresses, you know what, I'm totally ok with that. Go cry, rent-seeker.

    • Chris says:

      You people realize that most folks not operating parasitic businesses hate billboards in the same way that they hate domain squatters, yes? Most people cannot, in fact, believe that shit, because billboards, unlike most other forms of advertising, do not give anything back in return for views. They just sit there shitting up the landscape.

      • Vital says:

        perhaps my analogy above was delivered with a bit too much sarcasm, for that I apologize, as it seems to have put some over the edge. my issue is mainly with bandying about the term “cybersquatter” and those who grossly misapply it believing somehow that anyone who owns a domain and does not want to part with it at a price anyone can afford is some kind of criminal. (though yes, actual cybersquatting as it is actually defined (owning trademark terms) is a real problem, and a grievous one)

        I for one was glad to see that Donnacha in his comments above had so eloquently and convincingly confronted this issue. It's my observation that the rejoinders to his responses were largely lacking of the same eloquence or any real substance at all. As is usually the case whenever and wherever I see this type of debate spring up on the internet, such responses do tend to lean toward ad-hominem attacks and character assassinations, and little else.

        As to the hate-mongering, I should point out, that if you find that "you people” (the domain owners, that is, as one commenter so categorically referred to them) are so morally objectionable, then why do you offer to do business with them in the first place? Why initiate contact with this lowly breed of animal intent on supporting his business (if only at the right price)?

        That is talking out of both sides of your mouth. Decrying domain resellers on the one hand, while on the other tacitly acknowledging that the whole endeavor is really "okay by me as long as long as it doesn't hurt my wallet”. Sounds to me like you want to have your cake and eat it too.

        If you were really on some kind of moral high-ground here, you could have avoided the whole situation altogether, as you may know, simply by registering another similar domain that is available. Perhaps dnacafe.net, or dnacafe.us, or dna-cafe.com even. By not wanting to own anything other than the generic .com, you affirm that it is indeed an asset with value. What that value is, is to be decided on the free market. Perhaps the seller will never get $10k, or perhaps they will. Who knows?

        But if the price of dnacafe.com had indeed been $250, none of us would even be reading this right now, would we? So clearly the author supports personal property rights so long as he can get what he wants, for what he wants it for. So please, spare me the condescension.

        And for the record I am not upset. As to the nature of my first comment, which was a little off the cuff, I felt a more well-reasoned response to clarify my position here was called-for. Feel free to disagree, but i get the sense that you and your acolytes here would rather not deal with dissenting viewpoints, moreover than just telling me that i am "full of crap".

        • jwz says:

          As it happens, I do business with shitbags all the time. I can engage in commerce with people I despise, to mutual benefit, because my world is not black and white. (You know what I do for a living, right?)

          While I certainly enjoy a moral high ground every now and then, life isn't usually that simple.

        • vacri says:

          I've previously engaged in Donnacha's game - be super-polite, and then you have the Weight of the High Moral Ground on your side.

          If you ignore the tone and look at the content of what he says, it's just a polite form of "fuck you". The assertion that anyone that doesn't like squatting is "late to the party" and is some kind of "gee whiz" simpleton, for example.

          And there's constant reframing of what people are saying into a strawman he can attack - such as "If he doesn't jump at the chance to let you cherry-pick the best of his domains for probably less than he originally paid" - in the given example, this means that the dnacafe.com address would have originally cost more than $200 to register. Absolute horseshit. There's strawmen all through his posts.

          Perhaps also you missed that the first name-calling came from Donnacha, where he called jwz a "no-clue, cheap-ass kid" (and don't fall for the good old "Oh, I didn't directly call you that", the usual defense for the pretty direct implication above) . Scatalogical or not, Donnacha threw the first insults - and despite his protestations of innocence, he deserves the rather more plainly-put responses.

          Do not conflate "polite tone" or "eloquence" with "polite content" or "informed content".

        • some kind of criminal

          You seem to have bought into this popular American capitalist conceit that anything that isn't outright illegal is awesome.

          As it turns out, it's entirely possible to be a douchebag parasite without being a criminal.

          That's okay. Most everyone is a douchebag parasite of some degree. For the record, I own the domain suicidemilfs.com. I got it 85% as a joke. If someone offers me $200 for it I might try and talk him up a bit but I'm not going to hold out for $10K. Therefore I'm about 3% as much of a douchebag as the owner of dnacafe.com.

        • Chris says:

          I'm having trouble telling if you enjoy reading donnacha's posts or not.

  12. Matt says:

    I love how almost every domain on his list is "premium."

    Can people even make money from domains anymore? Are any of the douchebags who've revealed themselves as a domain squatters in earlier comments still reading? Care to wow me with your enormous income figures?

  13. Patrick says:

    And as someone who was responsible for helping businesses register their domain names back in '96, there was nowhere near the speculative degree of registrations that occur today. If you wanted a domain name, the odds that you could get it were pretty good unless if it was three letters long or network related. Claiming that the current speculation has always existed is revisionist as hell. Sure, there were people trying for the impossible and doing land grabs of registered trademarks before case law was fully decided, but registering random nouns with the hope of turning it around and selling it to someone? Not so much. That only started to happen when the second wave of registrations showed that there was money in them thar hills and the early bird who got sex.com stood to sell it for a profit. Squatting didn't really take off until NSI lost their exclusivity in '99 and registration got seriously cheap.

    Admittedly, at the time people were getting, like, jamiespizzeriaandcybercafe.com because they didn't know any better.

    But, more to the point, coming in to jwz's blog and claiming otherwise? Do you think Jamie just got on the internet yesterday?

  14. Chris says:

    Get the .co

    Shorter, awesomer.

      • Christopher says:

        Yes.co

        • J. says:

          .co domain names look like typos.

          • Christopher says:

            I agree that they do now...but in 2-3 years they will be ubiquitous.

            • Christopher says:

              It also wouldn't hurt to get the .co as a defensive registration. If they do take off (and they seem much preferable to .biz according to reg numbers) then you would want to have it as well for consolidation of your brand. When I've searched for domains I've often seen the .com and .co taken but not the .biz or .org. If you live in a country that uses .co as part of the domain i.e. .co.za and .co.uk then it makes a lot of sense to get the .co as well. British Speedway and ALL of their teams have started using .co for their official site and there are quite a few other business that use the .com to redirect to the .co instead of the other way around. Faustbrewing.com is one example. (not mine!)

  15. One annoying variant I've encountered rather frequently is the "sell your domain name in a different top level domain", usually leading in with the claim that somebody else has asked to register the domain, and blocking the attempt will cost $N where N is anywhere from about 250 and up.

    I've had a few of those episodes, netting me a few domains I really had no intention of getting, but then again there's that priceless feeling of completing the domain registration (total cost usually around $10 for a year) while still on the phone with the scammers, ending the call with "how come you're trying to sell me a domain I already own?".

    I blogged about one such episode recently over at http://bsdly.blogspot.com/2011/07/sek-1995-for-six-months-worth-of.html, unfortunately they're not the only outfit operating that particular scam.

  16. Chris says:

    Hardly a serious offer when he says $9995 and you offer $200; you're not really surprised that he didn't reply did you?

    Then you go own to state "with copies of Wikipedia and newspaper abstracts to get google juice for their ads." How does plagiarizing a well know website get "Google Juice". It doesn't.

    The only thing vile here is your arrogance and lack of knowledge.

  17. Gene says:

    I wanted to buy a domain from one of these squatters. I determined how long he had it, multiplied that by the average cost of a 1 year purchase then multiplied that by 2. In effect offering him 100% profit. (I think it was $50). He wanted some outrageous amount of money. I said he was insane. He told me it was a Uniqe item that couldn't be duplicated anywhere. I told him it was a trinket made by a child! He didn't respond.

    • pavel_lishin says:

      Well, he's got a point. The domain name you wanted *is* unique - otherwise, this would be a non-issue.

      • antabakaYT says:

        To rehash the previous posters: A trinket made by a small child is also unique.

        To drive the point home more bluntly: Uniqueness does not equal worth.

  18. Lewis says:

    Wow the pro-domain-squatters lobby is out in force. If you buy a domain with intent to sell that domain for profit you are a squatter, just like if you buy tickets just to turn around and mark them up you are a scalper. You are adding cost and not adding value, that's pretty much the definition of a parasite.
    Also attempting to compare TLDs to real physical property is just a dishonest argument. The "property" that is the TLD literally doesn't exist until it is registered. It can also cease to exist since it is not matter but a definition in a database.

    • Christopher says:

      That's ridiculous. You are only a squatter if you are sitting on a brand or a trademark domain. What about generics? Was the person who first got sex.com or business.com or loans.com a squatter? Should they just give it away to huge corporations because they aren't doing what you think is 'adding value'?

      Domains are worth money, people. Get over it already.

      • jwz says:

        I don't care what you call it. If your business is speculation on domains, you're a shitbag. Do you prefer the term "shitbag" to "squatter"? Because that works for me.

      • Jens Knutson says:

        Are you seriously implying that they are, in fact, adding value somehow?

        If not, how are squatters not parasites?

      • Lewis says:

        You clearly arguing in bad faith since you are not addressing any actual points laid out. Did you buy sex.com so you could setup a server with sex.com pointing to it so you could run some sort of a service on that server? If so, no one is talking to you. If however you bought sex.com for the sole purpose of selling it or renting it out then yes, you are a dirt bag and we are talking about you. You are selling a product (sex.com) that you bought from someone else, you are marking it up and not adding value. It is the exact same product I could have gotten from the domain registrar. TLDs are utility commodities that should only be exchanged and purchased thru the root domain registrars.

        • Christopher says:

          Arguing in bad faith? I didn't realize this was a legal proceeding. Sex.com was available in the early days but nobody cared...someone thought it had value and today it's worth ~10m.
          People are pissed because they missed the boat...the same way people are pissed about real estate prices. I'm pissed that real estate here in Vancouver is astronomical. If I had the foresight and the money to buy 20 years ago I would have. I'm not saying that real estate is the same as domains but other than a free market, what other method would you think is just? What if two people want the same domain and they both plan to 'add value'? who gets it?
          Generic domains are valuable because they match search terms and they get type-in traffic. They have a justifiable value and are constantly churned in the domain marketplace.
          The argument I'm hearing from you lot is that if you think you can 'add value' in a better way to poker.com then you should just have it given to you because the guy who owns it isn't doing what you think he should. You think he should just give you that domain that can easily pull in millions of dollars per year because you want it and he won't take your $200. You cry 'NOT FAIR!!!' like little babies.
          Please feel free to move to a communist dictatorship because I think your views would be most welcome there. The state could redistribute the domains arbitrarily according to the whim of the despot. I'm sure y'all could qualify for whinybitches.org. You could give domainers shitbags.org and you would all be happy.

          • Lewis says:

            God damn you are an ignorant fuck, seriously if we ripped off your head and replaced it with a squirrel impaled in a stick it could make a better argument.
            You buy domain, your use of domain is only to sell domain, domain remains the same as when you bought it, no value is added yet you expect to sell if for more than you bought it. You stupid fuck.
            You buy domain to have it point to your shit blog, because that why you bought it, to use it. Then. . . nothing. Then you are a proper end user. No one, NO ONE (except pro-domain-squating ass holes who are setting up straw men) is arguing that your content for needs to "add value" or any other random bullshit. No one is claiming they have more right to a TLD because they will generate better content.
            There is some suggestion that any one who will create some content may have a better claim over those who generate no content, but that argument is in the minority.
            TLDs are a commodity that cost $x. If you buy a domain for $x and you want to later sell it, then you sell it for $x. The problem is you want to buy it for $x then turn around and sell it for $(100x). The TLD hasn't changed, it hasn't become better, or faster, you have not added any value to it. It still is just an entry in a DNS database that points sex.com at an IP address. It does the exact same thing as if I went direct to the registrar.
            No one is arguing that you should be forced to sell any domain ever. We are arguing that no one should ever pay your asking price of more than it's worth which is set by the registrar.

            • Christopher says:

              Oh, Lewis...you are a sad, angry, bitter little man. I hope things get better for you.

            • Christopher says:

              According to your feeble, clueless argument all the best domains would be owned by the first person to get them...in perpetuity because no one would ever get rid of them since by keeping them they would make enormous amounts of cash. You really don't understand domains and search, do you? I don't know why I waste my time with this idiotic, angry crowd. What is this blog anyway...I came here from Hacker News...this must be some cowardly spoiled baby retard support group.

              • Oh, I think everyone understands the legality of the practice. We just don't think much of the geniuses who put their mighty IQs to the pursuit of grabbing domain names and then holding them to auction.

                Also, you're a jerk, Christopher. A real knee-biter.

  19. Christopher says:

    even though this is asinine, I'll bite...okay then, genius, what's a better market for domain distribution?

    If you have a trademark on your pizzacafe or whatever it is you can file a UDRP with WIPO and get your domain given to you. If you don't have trademark or a common use mark then tough shit...buy the domain or find something else. Do you think everyone should give you shit that's not yours because you whine about it and they aren't using it the way you want them to?

  20. Christopher says:

    Btw I'm not saying they add value...I'm saying they don't have to. It's called property rights.

    • Jens Knutson says:

      So we are in agreement: bulk domain resellers are useless, parasitic dirtbags who are acting well within the bounds of their legal right to be useless, parasitic dirtbags. Glad we got that cleared up.

    • Lewis says:

      Property rights? You seem to be confusing real estate with table entries in a database.

  21. Actually domain investors are market makers and no different from any other investor.

    Now lets say you started buying gold coins 10 years ago around $350 per.

    Now the price of gold is $1,850

    so if you happend to buy the gold coin 10 years ago are you going to sell it today for $700?

    Why not you doubled your money.

    Ok how about selling it to me for $1,400 that means you made 4X your money, if you sell it for more you are just a gold sucking scum

    right?

    No i'm pretty sure if you sell one of your gold coins you're going to want to get Fair Market Value for it that means $1,850 not a penny less.

    Many of the posters here appearently want to know why did you buy the gold coin 10 years ago anyway before determining whether your entitled to sell it

    • Lewis says:

      Domain investors are idiots because it's a stupid idea investing in a table entry in a DB. You want to think of TLDs as a commodity like gold? Fine, ten years ago gold cost $y and now it costs $(4y), great I will pay you $(4y) for that gold, not $(100y).
      Mind you unlike gold if you don't pay a yearly upkeep fee you can lose a TLD, and then anyone can buy it. So it's a bad comparison.

      • Christopher says:

        First of all, Clewless, a TLD is not a domain name, it is a top level domain such as .com,.net,.org, and so on. You don't understand this I guess. People don't sell TLD's, they sell domain names. You should go back to making comments on YouTube.

  22. Stephan Meyers says:

    Just curious, Jamie... Your domain is clearly as important to you as mine is to me. It's my primary identity.

    How much would you take for it?

    I've never been offered more than a couple of thousand for mine. It would hurt to turn down 6 figures... but somewhere over 7 figures I'd bite. I figure I might be using it for hundreds or thousands of years, and I'd feel pretty stupid later if I traded it for a trifle.

  23. Toe Mac says:

    Am I the first person to make note of this guy's website? Seriously, has anyone else actually looked at this thing ? I haven't seen a web site with shopping cart buttons since '98.

  24. shandrew says:

    Companies tend to use individuals to purchase domains, to avoid the "wow, you're a billion dollar company, so i'll sell you this for a mere million" price discrimination. Perhaps since you have a wikipedia page where your name is mostly spelled correctly this squatter is trying to take advantage of this. Try sending the mail as "Jimmy.Zoidberg@mcom.com" and see if you get a better result?