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You should return ‘unused domains’ every one to two years

Domain repossession: impossible to enforce.

Domain repossession: impossible to enforce.

An incredible thread over at DNForum bears all the characteristics of effective trolling – or is its starter just an ignoramus with a pathetic domain portfolio?

Titled “Automatic loss of domains’ ownership if never used for a site in one-two years“, the thread generated instant responses from the domain professionals of DNForum, who effectively argued about the feasibility of such a measure.

Said Italian domainer, Gaetano Marano:

“often (last time today) I seek interesting domains I want to use that are already registered but not used for a site, so … what do you think about the automatic loss of domains’ ownership if never used, not even once, for a site, in one-two years?”

Such a measure would be impossible to monitor and enforce, as by definition, the “use” of a domain isn’t necessarily for web content only.

A domain can often be used transparently for:

  • Game servers
  • FTP servers
  • Email servers
  • File sharing servers
  • DNS servers
  • Various other functions independent of port 80 that the web responds to.

But even if all these network ports were tracked and monitored, how would such a measure be enforced? One could keep a domain “unused” for the maximum allowed time, then switch to an “acceptable” use for a few days before switching back.

Chip Meade of Fresh Avails said:

“So if Google doesn’t use GoogleSucks.com for 2 years they should be able to lose it and Microsoft can grab it? What about your child’s name. You buy and hold the name for them, no site for two years, whoops, gone? What about a product with a 30 month development timeline? Why make it 2 years? Why not 2 weeks? Lets do the same with land. You don’t build anything on your land for 2 years, you should lose it. What about a car or boat? Don’t use that for more than a year, woops gone.”

The moderators ended up closing that thread, as it became a constant argument by its starter, who owns such domain “gems” as Fre.ee and GoogleWat.ch.

View original thread here.

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This post is 100% true!


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4 Responses to “You should return ‘unused domains’ every one to two years”
  1. domainnamer says:

    For a slightly watered down version, how about requiring that owner of unused domain must either accept offer or send domain to auction.
    It’s too easy to turn down perfectly reasonable offers, leaving 90% of inventory unsold, selling only to the desperate or rich buyer who’ll pay top dollar.

    The land analogy is not valid. Doesn’t matter if you hog a piece of land, buyer can probably find another that suits his needs almost as well. Domain buyer may be in a tougher spot.

  2. DomainGang says:

    domainnamer – The term “unused” cannot be defined accurately. Example: Tesla.com. It’s been like that since at least 2006. Does that page constitute use, or not?

    Regarding the land analogy, every lot of land that can be developed or sold, has to have a certificate of ownership. A potential buyer can definitely buy another lot, just as they can buy (or register) a different domain name, using different keywords, dashes or TLDs.

    The web isn’t as dynamic as some expect it to be; many domains/websites have been dormant for years, and that’s not a problem as long as the renewal fees are being paid, the same way one pays county taxes for their land.

  3. domainnamer says:

    It doesn’t constitute use in my book, let’s put tesla.com to auction.
    There are indeed certain analogies, but unless the land owner holds a ransom strip I’m not sure he has quite the same powers…

  4. Josh says:

    I think there is this fetish among certain children out there who, if they didnt get a particular name first then you must give it to them. Yea, I didnt get that corner lot with the gas station on it – now give it to me!

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