The last few years have seen a positive formalization of the domain name industry. Generic domain names have always been high demand items, and they do in fact comprise many of the internet’s best websites.
Running alongside the legitimate players in the domain name industry are an unscrupulous breed of internet criminals known as ”cybersquatters”. Cybersquatters register the trademarked names of established companies and try to make money off of the company’s well-known brand. Real domainers detest this kind of behavior, and are not part of it.
Trademark protection groups (and related legislation) are popping up as a direct result of cybersquatters continuing to register and exploit known trademarks. This activity damages a company’s brand equity as well as costing the company considerable sums tracking infringers and trying to eliminate the infringing domain names.
There is a considerable cost also to legitimate domainers and companies who exist on the right side of the domain name industry. All of these people suffer needlessly because of the abusive activity of cybersquatters.
Examples of companies that cybersquatters have tried to exploit are Verizon, Nieman Marcus, Louis Vuitton, and Microsoft. Typically, cybersquatters will register exact duplicates of such names or variations on the name including misspellings like “Verizan”.
Bottom Line: NEVER register the domain name of an established company or celebrity. That is not domain investing. It is cybersquatting. Cybersquatting is a crime and morally wrong as well. Being a wise domain investor means maintaining a clean portfolio and avoiding established trademarks.
The real opportunity in domain investing lies in quality generic domains which are coupled with full development. However, if development is not the primary goal, other monetization strategies can be implemented. Generic domains offer very good buy & hold potential due to their ability to attract eventual end user buyers looking to elevate their business through the acquisition of a Class-A premium domain name.