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

  1. NO, only procedure is negotiate or forget about this.

    As such their are so many domain combination one can make. Try http://www.domainsbot.com – type a name, sit back and free results pop without a single click!

    Calm down and search for a new domain :) The domain guy looks more stubborn than you !

  2. Did you offer to pay him for the domain? There has been some cases in the past where domain squatters have been forced to transfer a domain name, especially when this name was protected by a copyright or a trademark…. but companies interested in getting their name back have to go through legal procedures in order to do this.

    Unfortunately, there's no other ways… at least, I don't think so.

    • Everyone has their price, I have some domains that I hope will be worth some bucks when all the dot com names are used up. Would I give them up because you cryed until I did? I don't think so!

      Give the guy a fair offer.

  3. So you want to know if there's a web version of Eminent Domain? :-) It has a better ring to it in this context than in the physical realm.

    As Shakespeare put it, "What's in a name?" With popular sites like icanhascheezburger.com that flaunts a misspelling, and the modern age of shorthand IM lingo like LOL bouncing around everywhere, you can't just change the name up a bit and run with that?

  4. So you want to know if there’s a web version of Eminent Domain? :-) It has a better ring to it in this context than in the physical realm.
    As Shakespeare put it, “What’s in a name?” With popular sites like icanhascheezburger.com that flaunts a misspelling, and the modern age of shorthand IM lingo like LOL bouncing around everywhere, you can’t just change the name up a bit and run with that?

  5. Are you serious?

    You realize that domain names can be used for more than just web pages? Since you aren't getting along anyway, why not port scan him, and if ssh, ftp, email or what-not are open, then he is in fact using the domain and not leaving it to languish.

    And I know he said he wasn't using/had no plans for the domain, but really, what he is doing with it is none of your business.

  6. Funny story about that. My friends and I had an idea for a site, but the domain we wanted was taken. No big deal, change to a .org, which is more in line with us being an org than a biz, but it turns out the site is owned by a guy I know, who lives in my town…which, in net terms is like 1 in a million. He also is not doing crap with the domain, and has apparently had it for a few years doing nothing, according to archive.org. No big deal, my plans for the site will be up and running soon, I just thought it was interesting that he had the domain I needed.

  7. Are you serious?

    You realize that domain names can be used for more than just web pages? Since you aren’t getting along anyway, why not port scan him, and if ssh, ftp, email or what-not are open, then he is in fact using the domain and not leaving it to languish.

    And I know he said he wasn’t using/had no plans for the domain, but really, what he is doing with it is none of your business.

  8. Funny story about that. My friends and I had an idea for a site, but the domain we wanted was taken. No big deal, change to a .org, which is more in line with us being an org than a biz, but it turns out the site is owned by a guy I know, who lives in my town…which, in net terms is like 1 in a million. He also is not doing crap with the domain, and has apparently had it for a few years doing nothing, according to archive.org. No big deal, my plans for the site will be up and running soon, I just thought it was interesting that he had the domain I needed.

  9. While I totally understand your frustration, I don't understand why you find another domain names. You more than anyone else must know that although important, a domain name is not everything about a website. Some boingboing.net. The shittiest domain name. The website seems to do pretty well… What I'm trying to say is that maybe you should find another domain name and go for it

    • Let's just say it comes down to two elements :

      1) the domain name is unique and I really like it.

      2) it really gets under my skin that he has sat on the site for years and has done nothing with it. That's like putting a Aston Martin car in the garage for years and not driving it!

      • I have to say, Mark, that you're coming across like some spoiled child that want's anothers toy. It's not your toy. It's his/hers. It can sit in the closet for years, but it's still his/hers. Go find another toy to play with.

        Don't want to seem harsh, but you're better then this I think.

        Peace.

        • Sure you could use something else, but I agree that holding and not using this and all the other domains like that is plain greedy and stupid. It is annoying looking for a relevant, simple and easy for family to remember domain that is not available because some greedy idiot is sitting on it. I have often tried dozens of variations with no success.

  10. While I totally understand your frustration, I don’t understand why you find another domain names. You more than anyone else must know that although important, a domain name is not everything about a website. Some boingboing.net. The shittiest domain name. The website seems to do pretty well… What I’m trying to say is that maybe you should find another domain name and go for it

    • Let’s just say it comes down to two elements :

      1) the domain name is unique and I really like it.
      2) it really gets under my skin that he has sat on the site for years and has done nothing with it. That’s like putting a Aston Martin car in the garage for years and not driving it!

      • I have to say, Mark, that you’re coming across like some spoiled child that want’s anothers toy. It’s not your toy. It’s his/hers. It can sit in the closet for years, but it’s still his/hers. Go find another toy to play with.

        Don’t want to seem harsh, but you’re better then this I think.

        Peace.

        • Sure you could use something else, but I agree that holding and not using this and all the other domains like that is plain greedy and stupid. It is annoying looking for a relevant, simple and easy for family to remember domain that is not available because some greedy idiot is sitting on it. I have often tried dozens of variations with no success.

  11. Are you implying that there's an evil subculture that, unable to afford classic vehicles, collect classic domain names?

    ..Probably not, but that sounds like a kinda cool past time for when I get old.

  12. Are you implying that there’s an evil subculture that, unable to afford classic vehicles, collect classic domain names?

    ..Probably not, but that sounds like a kinda cool past time for when I get old.

  13. I can relate. It is just plain ANNOYING to see someone totally wasting something you wish you had.

    Wait… isn't that – life? LOL.

    Seriously, this is a pet peeve of mine so just wanted to say thanks for bringing it to attention, for whatever it's worth. Hope it all works out for you :)

  14. I can relate. It is just plain ANNOYING to see someone totally wasting something you wish you had.

    Wait… isn’t that – life? LOL.

    Seriously, this is a pet peeve of mine so just wanted to say thanks for bringing it to attention, for whatever it’s worth. Hope it all works out for you :)

  15. "If someone has a domain and they are needlessly wasting it, is there a procedure in place to force them to relinquish it?"

    This sets up an evil precedent. Imagine I'm a large company and I have data that shows the current usage of "Geeksaresexy.net" is needlessly wasting the names potential. The data shows that I could use the name 10,000 times more effectively. Imagine if I there was then a procedure where I could take it. Should I be able to take it?

    I think "No". I should have to negotiate terms with you.

    • No, now you're misunderstanding the situation. GAS is using the GAS domain by running a blog. In my situation, the guy is doing nothing with the domain. He is not running a website, a blog, nothing. If he was running a site, a blog, email, then fine. But it's just an "under construction" sign, an empty domain. By his own admission, he's not even running email. He#s paying for nothing.

      • Exactly, He's paying. I'm not objecting that GAS couldn't do something more with the domain. I'm objecting to forced reclamation because the other guy isn't meeting expectations.

        I still think my first example was fine but here have another. Imagine you have a diamond. I nice rare cut that would be a perfect for a necklace. You keep it in a desk drawer. You never even look at it. Should I be able to get it just because you're not using it?

        Again, I think the guy should use it or give it up. But, I don't think there should be a forced reclamation even if the guy never uses it.

        • I totally with Jeffery. While it's a total bummer that you can't have a domain you want, the guy did pay for it and it's his. Enabling people to forcefully strip "unused" domain names from their owners based on a subjective opinion of proper use would set an evil precedent indeed.

      • I wish I had thought to buy the google name, I'd be rich!

        Of course, I now know what google is, to google something.

        It's now a household name and may be in websters.

        My point is, come up with somthing new, you don't need to worry about competition, he's not doing anything with it.

  16. “If someone has a domain and they are needlessly wasting it, is there a procedure in place to force them to relinquish it?”

    This sets up an evil precedent. Imagine I’m a large company and I have data that shows the current usage of “Geeksaresexy.net” is needlessly wasting the names potential. The data shows that I could use the name 10,000 times more effectively. Imagine if I there was then a procedure where I could take it. Should I be able to take it?

    I think “No”. I should have to negotiate terms with you.

    • No, now you’re misunderstanding the situation. GAS is using the GAS domain by running a blog. In my situation, the guy is doing nothing with the domain. He is not running a website, a blog, nothing. If he was running a site, a blog, email, then fine. But it’s just an “under construction” sign, an empty domain. By his own admission, he’s not even running email. He#s paying for nothing.

      • Exactly, He’s paying. I’m not objecting that GAS couldn’t do something more with the domain. I’m objecting to forced reclamation because the other guy isn’t meeting expectations.

        I still think my first example was fine but here have another. Imagine you have a diamond. I nice rare cut that would be a perfect for a necklace. You keep it in a desk drawer. You never even look at it. Should I be able to get it just because you’re not using it?

        Again, I think the guy should use it or give it up. But, I don’t think there should be a forced reclamation even if the guy never uses it.

        • I totally with Jeffery. While it’s a total bummer that you can’t have a domain you want, the guy did pay for it and it’s his. Enabling people to forcefully strip “unused” domain names from their owners based on a subjective opinion of proper use would set an evil precedent indeed.

      • I wish I had thought to buy the google name, I’d be rich!
        Of course, I now know what google is, to google something.
        It’s now a household name and may be in websters.
        My point is, come up with somthing new, you don’t need to worry about competition, he’s not doing anything with it.

  17. NO, only procedure is negotiate or forget about this.

    As such their are so many domain combination one can make. Try http://www.domainsbot.com – type a name, sit back and free results pop without a single click!

    Calm down and search for a new domain :) The domain guy looks more stubborn than you !

  18. Did you offer to pay him for the domain? There has been some cases in the past where domain squatters have been forced to transfer a domain name, especially when this name was protected by a copyright or a trademark…. but companies interested in getting their name back have to go through legal procedures in order to do this.

    Unfortunately, there’s no other ways… at least, I don’t think so.

    • Everyone has their price, I have some domains that I hope will be worth some bucks when all the dot com names are used up. Would I give them up because you cryed until I did? I don’t think so!
      Give the guy a fair offer.

  19. I know how you feel. There's a guy who has one I would like. It's not an under-construction but the page that's sat there is one-page, basically useless. It does have an e-mail contact on it that is *NOT* in the domain so it's pretty clear he's not using it for e-mail, either.

  20. I know how you feel. There’s a guy who has one I would like. It’s not an under-construction but the page that’s sat there is one-page, basically useless. It does have an e-mail contact on it that is *NOT* in the domain so it’s pretty clear he’s not using it for e-mail, either.

  21. Its not always strictly the case that a domain is being wasted. In your case it would seem that it is. He could atleast park the domain like I have with my one

  22. Its not always strictly the case that a domain is being wasted. In your case it would seem that it is. He could atleast park the domain like I have with my one

  23. I don't have a problem with people not using domains and keeping them, probably because I have a handful of my own good Web 1.0 names (you know, names that are grammatically correct) that I would like to do something with one day. I do have a problem with people buying up domain names and using them to point to link-bait pages that clutter search results and do nothing but feed the self-feeding system known as Google. I think there should be laws about how many domain names an individual or business can own in order to prevent medi from being controlled by a small number of individuals, not dissimilar to the laws preventing media companies from owning a newspaper and TV station in the same market.

  24. I don’t have a problem with people not using domains and keeping them, probably because I have a handful of my own good Web 1.0 names (you know, names that are grammatically correct) that I would like to do something with one day. I do have a problem with people buying up domain names and using them to point to link-bait pages that clutter search results and do nothing but feed the self-feeding system known as Google. I think there should be laws about how many domain names an individual or business can own in order to prevent medi from being controlled by a small number of individuals, not dissimilar to the laws preventing media companies from owning a newspaper and TV station in the same market.

  25. Are all those here, who think the guy should hand over the domain, communists? Have you no respect for personal property? We have laws to protect that right in the U.S. It's part of our bill of rights.

    This is the same, exactly the same, as if you are my neighbor and you notice that my bike is just sitting there and I never ride it, so you ask if you can have it and I say no. Then you somehow think that you I must give you my bike, since I'm not using it at the moment. What if it's a car sitting in my drive way, or what if I own a second home, you think you can just take that too?

    I've got domains I'm not using at the moment. I hope you don't want any of them.

    Furthermore, you're like stalking the guy. You have a relationship with him. He doesn't have one with you. He doesn't want to have anything to do with you. He doesn't want to sell you the domain. Buy one with a different dot suffix, or stick a dash in the name, or get over it.

    The whole debate is kinda creepy.

  26. Are all those here, who think the guy should hand over the domain, communists? Have you no respect for personal property? We have laws to protect that right in the U.S. It’s part of our bill of rights.

    This is the same, exactly the same, as if you are my neighbor and you notice that my bike is just sitting there and I never ride it, so you ask if you can have it and I say no. Then you somehow think that you I must give you my bike, since I’m not using it at the moment. What if it’s a car sitting in my drive way, or what if I own a second home, you think you can just take that too?

    I’ve got domains I’m not using at the moment. I hope you don’t want any of them.

    Furthermore, you’re like stalking the guy. You have a relationship with him. He doesn’t have one with you. He doesn’t want to have anything to do with you. He doesn’t want to sell you the domain. Buy one with a different dot suffix, or stick a dash in the name, or get over it.

    The whole debate is kinda creepy.

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

    No. What's more, now that you've expressed an interest you've made it a confirmed investment commodity.

  28. “Can someone be forced to hand over a domain they are wasting?”

    No. What’s more, now that you’ve expressed an interest you’ve made it a confirmed investment commodity.

  29. It's his domain, get over it. And if you can, get over yourself as well.

    "The world owes you nothing. It was here first."

  30. It’s his domain, get over it. And if you can, get over yourself as well.

    “The world owes you nothing. It was here first.”

  31. If the guy doesn't want give up the domain name, who are you to force him to? If he paid for it then it belongs to him. The man that lives across the street from me has a cherry red 68 Chevy SS…. In the five years I have lived here I have never seen him drive it. In fact it never leaves the garage. I would love to have the car. Does that mean I have the right to force him to hand it over to me? Of course not. Same thing just on a different level.

    No, you should NOT be able to force the issue…….accept the fact and move on.

    By the way I have several domains for sale…….lol

    Eric

  32. If the guy doesn’t want give up the domain name, who are you to force him to? If he paid for it then it belongs to him. The man that lives across the street from me has a cherry red 68 Chevy SS…. In the five years I have lived here I have never seen him drive it. In fact it never leaves the garage. I would love to have the car. Does that mean I have the right to force him to hand it over to me? Of course not. Same thing just on a different level.

    No, you should NOT be able to force the issue…….accept the fact and move on.

    By the way I have several domains for sale…….lol

    Eric

  33. Register a business name that reflects the URI.

    Then trademark your business name.

    The existing owner of the domain name will be in violation of a trademark act and you could commence a proceeding.

    And since no other business name is already registered that reflects the domain name in the URI, your case is as good as gold.

  34. Register a business name that reflects the URI.

    Then trademark your business name.

    The existing owner of the domain name will be in violation of a trademark act and you could commence a proceeding.

    And since no other business name is already registered that reflects the domain name in the URI, your case is as good as gold.

  35. There is no way for you to know WHAT the guy may or may not be doing with his domain. He might be using it as a mail-only domain. He might be doing top-secret stuff with it that only those in-the-know can see, while everyone else sees the under-construction page. Regardless, I agree with most people that it's wrong to try and take it from him.

    I also think it's wrong for corporations to bully people out of domains that they registered for their own purposes, under the pretext that they could cause copyright confusion and dilute their brand. I've been bullied out of a domain in the past that had very little to do with the company's brand name, just because I didn't think it was worth paying lawyers to defend.

  36. There is no way for you to know WHAT the guy may or may not be doing with his domain. He might be using it as a mail-only domain. He might be doing top-secret stuff with it that only those in-the-know can see, while everyone else sees the under-construction page. Regardless, I agree with most people that it’s wrong to try and take it from him.

    I also think it’s wrong for corporations to bully people out of domains that they registered for their own purposes, under the pretext that they could cause copyright confusion and dilute their brand. I’ve been bullied out of a domain in the past that had very little to do with the company’s brand name, just because I didn’t think it was worth paying lawyers to defend.

  37. Hi

    my daughter is a singing artist and I tried to register a domain for her earlier on and both the .com and .uk with her name in front has been taken, when I checked to see who by it is registered to a musician who offered her work recently (that could have made his music big in the industry) but she declined as she writes her own music anyhow.. so to spite us he has purchased both main url's I would have used.. is there anything I can do about it? apart from find another name of course but this is just spiteful and 'weird'

    thankyou..

  38. Hi
    my daughter is a singing artist and I tried to register a domain for her earlier on and both the .com and .uk with her name in front has been taken, when I checked to see who by it is registered to a musician who offered her work recently (that could have made his music big in the industry) but she declined as she writes her own music anyhow.. so to spite us he has purchased both main url’s I would have used.. is there anything I can do about it? apart from find another name of course but this is just spiteful and ‘weird’

    thankyou..

  39. Very strange that you think having an under construction image up is not using the domain – it's your perspective being pushed here. I don't think what the owner wants to or is doing with the site is anyones business but his/hers. You really need to just offer them some cash and hope they accept.

    In saying that is you have a registered company with the same name and can prove that usage of the domain name is causing your goodwill harm you can take them to court and have a forced change of ownership. I should know it's happening to me right now :(

  40. Very strange that you think having an under construction image up is not using the domain – it’s your perspective being pushed here. I don’t think what the owner wants to or is doing with the site is anyones business but his/hers. You really need to just offer them some cash and hope they accept.
    In saying that is you have a registered company with the same name and can prove that usage of the domain name is causing your goodwill harm you can take them to court and have a forced change of ownership. I should know it’s happening to me right now :(

  41. Very strange that you think having an under construction image up is not using the domain – it’s your perspective being pushed here. I don’t think what the owner wants to or is doing with the site is anyones business but his/hers. You really need to just offer them some cash and hope they accept.
    In saying that is you have a registered company with the same name and can prove that usage of the domain name is causing your goodwill harm you can take them to court and have a forced change of ownership. I should know it’s happening to me right now :(

  42. Check out on the internet when it expires, once it comes to the day it expires, register it immediately. That’s my suggestion.

  43. Check out on the internet when it expires, once it comes to the day it expires, register it immediately. That's my suggestion.

  44. Imagine this: Tomorrow morning you decide you need to get some food. You go down to the local grocery store and find that there is no more food. Where is all the food, you ask? Some rich guy moved into town and purchased all the food for himself. Why? He’s not eating it or using it in some other way. He just wants to own all the food so he can sell it to you at double or triple the price of the grocery store.

    That’s why this guy wants to force him to give up his domain.

    Anyway, I think if you can find some false information on his WHOIS record he can get his domain revoked. Not sure though. Check it out.

  45. Imagine this: Tomorrow morning you decide you need to get some food. You go down to the local grocery store and find that there is no more food. Where is all the food, you ask? Some rich guy moved into town and purchased all the food for himself. Why? He's not eating it or using it in some other way. He just wants to own all the food so he can sell it to you at double or triple the price of the grocery store.

    That's why this guy wants to force him to give up his domain.

    Anyway, I think if you can find some false information on his WHOIS record he can get his domain revoked. Not sure though. Check it out.

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