As I have pointed out, Domain names are the real estate of
the 21st century. Following is a short overview of some of the
more important things to think about as you consider
Domain name ownership and a the new term, CyberSquatting.
Most Domain owners think that Domain name Registrars are
licensed by some governmental agency having oversight
responsibilities. That is certainly not accurate. Due
diligence of ICANN and the various registries in approving
registrars is virtually nonexistent. All it takes to become a
registrar is the $10,000 fee. Please never take any comfort that
seeing your name on a WhoIs listing ensures that your Domain
names is safely yours. Registrars, the keepers of your Domain
name, just like any other small
Recently some registrars have gone out of business giving
no notice to the Domain name owners, resulting in cancellation
and loss of the enrolled names. Others have encountered
security problems in which either the data queries or data
flows were intercepted by unscrupulous third parties during
availability inquiries. Result. . . . . Loss.
In many cases with your Domain names, you may never really
know who you are dealing with and are therefore at added risk.
With Domain names, there are no published due-diligence or
established minimum standards. There are no meaningful
standards of performance that would serve as an alert system
for problems with your registrar. There is no one overseeing
Your Domain name is always at risk. You may not even know
of the tragedy until it is too late. A Domain name may have
changed ownership without the rightful owner knowing until it
is too late. Resourceful Domain name thieves change the
ownership information but leave the DNS pointing to the real
owner’s site until the time is right to pull the plug and
steal and re-transfer the name. Don’t assume there is no
problem simply because you still have traffic to your site.
There have been Domain names lost where databases were
accessed legally and then filtered for incorrect e-mail
Without laws or enforceable rules, a potentially
serious problem exists. Following are some basic safeguards that you can
put into place to keep from loosing your Domain name:
- Make sure that you place your Domain names with a reputable and reliable
- Make certain that your e-mail address is correct in your
WhoIs registration records.
- Regularly check the Whois information to confirm that you
are still accurately listed as the owner and that _all_ of the
contact information is correct.
What should you do if you lose your Domain name? It is not
realistic to expect that the ICANN Uniform Domain Name
Resolution Policy (UDRP) arbitration will help. This 'policy'
is not designed to deal with stolen Domain names. If the
Domain name thief infringes on your registered or common law
Trademark, a UDRP arbitration might help. Unfortunately these
thieves are most often too smart to do that. The most common
scenario is their sitting on your Domain name until you buy it
back! The greatest number of these thieves are overseas con
men and, for all practical purposes, untouchable by
economically feasible, applicable laws.
If your Domain name is valuable to you, or potentially to
others, watch it properly.