Internet Business and Internet Marketing, it all sounds so interesting and easy…
Get an idea, buy a domain name, build a website and the money flows…
If the idea is right, the research is sound, the website is optimized and the effort is complete. Building an Internet business is no less difficult than starting a traditional brick and mortar retail or wholesale business.
Don’t let anyone tell you different!
Lets look at the second step most people take when entering the Internet business world – Buying a Domain Name.
Domain Names – How Much Are They Worth?
There is a large market revolving around the simple Internet domain name. A commodity usually purchased from a domain name registrar like Godaddy or Register.com for about $9.99 can, if the name is valuable, be resold for hundreds or even millions of dollars.
The following excerpt is from Wikipedia: In an excellent article describing Domain Names:
Domain aftermarket prices and trends
Domain name sales occurring in the aftermarket are frequently submitted to the DN journal. The sales are listed weekly and include the top aftermarket resellers which include but are not limited to Sedo, Traffic (auctions), Afternic, NameJet, Moniker and private sales.
To date, and according to Guinness World Records and MSNBC, the most expensive domain name sales on record as of 2004 were:
- Business.com for $7.5 million in December 1999
- AsSeenOnTv.com for $5.1 million in January 2000
- Altavista.com for $3.3 million in August 1998
- Wine.com for $2.9 million in September 1999
- CreditCards.com for $2.75 million in July 2004
- Autos.com for $2.2 million in December 1999
The week ending January 27, 2008, DNJournal reported that CNN, a cable news channel purchased iReport.com for $750,000. The high price for iReport.com, as in “I Report,” was because it was branded by CNN as CNN’s news crowdsourcing prior to the purchase of the domain name. Likewise, AltaVista was branded as a search engine prior to the high purchase price of the domain name.
Big Dollars = Big Opportunity – for some…
These factual reports of actual domain resales has opened an opportunity for less than scrupulous domain name aftermarket brokers. These individuals promote the resale of domains which may appear to be quite valuable to uninformed or new Internet business entrepreneurs. The following information is an example of just one of those offers that could have lead an unsuspecting budding Internet entrepreneur astray.
The following is an actual unsolicited email I recently received offering me an amazing opportunity to purchase a domain name.
(details of the sender (spammer) have been omitted)
Hello, (My Name inserted here)
I recently found your site online and thought I would contact you. I am a Domain Broker and am currently offering the domain ebayBoatAuction.com for sale. The price for this domain is $400 and if you have an interest in acquiring it please let me know. I can be reached at this email address or at xxx 822-xxxx.
My Reply to this Domain Broker may have been a bit more involved than he expected.
I approached the response in a manner that assumed this person had just made an honest mistake and that he was uninformed or ignorant of the laws he had already broken or proposed breaking…
Since any domain that has the word “ebay” in it will eventually receive a cease and desist order from eBay, Inc. if it is used as an active URL, I would not be interested in your offer to sell a domain with the word eBay within. Please note the following information taken directly from the eBay website: http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/everyone-ebayipuse.html
While it has become very popular to register, use and sell domain names (including on eBay), it generally is not permissible to own, sell or use a domain name, which contains a trademark owned by another person or company. Visit the Use of eBay Names, Logos, Screenshots or Domain Names page for more information about registering domain names similar to the eBay name.
Certain uses of domain names may also subject the owner to additional penalties. Congress passed a statute called the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act of 1999, which provides for penalties of up to $100,000 against persons who in bad faith and without authorization, use, sell, or offer for sale a domain name that infringes another’s trademark. Click here for more information on trademark law.
I suggest that if you have multiple domains with the word eBay or ebay anywhere within, that you stop any attempts at brokering them for a profit of any kind. You could be exposing yourself to litigation or worse, if you sell these domains. Only eBay inc can register and/or use domains with their trademark and they are notoriously happy to pursue even the smallest cases with vigor.
Good Luck in your brokering business, I also suggest that you peruse the Cann Spam act to determine if the emails you are sending out with commercial offers to parties that have never done business with you in the past are in fact legal. This too could be an exposure you are not advised to accept.
CEO iBusinessLogic Corporation
USA Support – MerchantRun-GlobalLink
12525 Walsingham Rd
Largo, Florida 33774
Beach-Host is a division of iBusinessLogic Corporation http://beach-host.com Get Your Site Now!
Do I really think this individual had no idea that he was offering a domain name that could never be legally used?
Well, I would like to think so, but in this world we can almost always be sure that people will take advantage of the unsuspecting. I am pretty confident that if I had spent $400 of my hard earned cash, hoping to make a business out of eBayBoatAuction.com, I would have been sorely disappointed. I honestly doubt this Domain Broker would have gladly refunded my money. I mean, that is a pretty good profit on a $9.99 investment, if even if selling a trademarked name is illegal, right?
Buyer beware indeed…
There are millions of opportunities in what is still the infancy of Internet business, so many in fact that short cuts are not necessary. Hard work, ingenuity, previous experience, research, drive and skill will bring you to the top.
Please do not fall for unscrupulous offers or get rich quick schemes that do not allow your own inner passion to become a success to blossom. You will be a success only if you make it so, no one can do it for you.
While mentors and consultants or developers like myself can make the process less painful and save untold steps along the way… It is the entrepreneur who drives the ship and makes the business a success, not some quick scheme, offer or box of DVD’s or seemingly can’t miss domain name.
This one would have missed before it had ever gotten started, or worse… Imagine investing in a website, building it on a trademarked domain, investing hundreds of hours and possibly thousands of dollars, only to find eBay knocking on your door with a cease and decist order, or the justice department with a subpoena?
I am so lucky…
We are downsizing and would like to sell some of our assets, namely a suite of domain names. As we are looking at a 6 figure price tag minimum, I am searching for an experienced brokerage who knows the industry. Can you make some recommendations?