Can someone be forced to hand over a domain they are wasting?

By Mark O’Neill

Now here’s the situation. There’s a domain I’ve had my eye on for the past several years but the current owner has had an “under construction” sign on it for as long as I can remember. About two years back, I started emailing him, asking him if he ever planned to use the domain, and if not, would he release it back into the public arena so I can take it? I have some big plans for it if I ever get my hands on it.

At first he ignored me, but I can be a pretty persistent stubborn kind of guy when I want to be (just ask my former journalism professors). Eventually he emailed me back and told me rather irritably that he had no intention of doing anything with the domain but he planned to keep it nonetheless – now get lost.

Now to me this is inexplicable. Why keep a website domain if you don’t plan to use it? Why waste it? Why not release it back into the public arena so it can be claimed by someone else? But he wasn’t willing to explain his reasons and I suppose he doesn’t have to. If he wants to act weird, I guess that’s his perogative.

Now before anyone asks, I’m not going to name the domain. The domain owner and I are not getting along and naming the domain would just inflame things between me and him. But what I started thinking today is ‘can someone be forced into giving up a domain? If someone has a domain and they are needlessly wasting it, is there a procedure in place to force them to relinquish it? If so, what is that procedure? If not, why the hell is there not a procedure?’

If there is such a procedure, has anyone here been through such a procedure and what was the outcome?

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