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What is in a Cybersquatted and Real name? Part 1

March 13th, 2009 1 comment

I purchased my domain name quangly.com back in June of 2008 and it was quite an ordeal.  Here’s the story.

Part 1 – Cybersquatted
I have been wanting quangly.com for the past 15 years and every now and then I would check it to see if it was available. It was due to expire April 15, 2008 at midnight. That night a few minutes after it was available, I went to purchase it right away. But it turns out, a bot already took it immediately. I was sooooooo pissed! These bots look up in domain directories like Network Solutions to see what are popular queried domain names for purchase and availability through Search and WhoIs.

The next day, I receive an email from Ken Palm <ken@lbcdomaininsight.com> (obviously a fake name) offering to sell my name back to me.  He was able to look me up and find my email address because I left a digital foot print when searching for quangly.com but end up buying a different domain name like quanglyxxxx.com. The offer was a ridiculous $750 for my own name that they snatched up. I then Googled Ken Palm and found a bunch of other people going through the same issue and how they were able to get their domain back. A week later I received another email from Ken but now the offer was $450. This kept going on for a few weeks until Mr. Palm finally said to give him my best offer. Keep in mind that the phone numbers listed were unavailable. The transactions would have to be done on an unauthorized website.

Through out this ordeal, I had one goal in mind which is to get my domain. After all, it is my full name. At one point, I was going to hire a lawyer to find out who runs these controversial and possibly illegal automated domain name systems.

My domain finally went into what appears to be a legitimate auction. I Googled the auction on other sites and it appeared that other people were able to obtain their domain names. So I put in a bid of $75. A few weeks later, I received an email from SnapNames (where it was auctioned) stating “Congratulations, you have acquired quangly.com‏”. I said take that Ken Palm!

But wait, was Ken Palm actually doing me a favor?
I spoke to a representative of Network Solutions and he mentioned that the company used to deal with these auction houses but had a falling out. Network Solutions was also sued several times for similar types of operations so they outsourced it to other companies. Google Network Solutions lawsuits and you’ll see what I mean. According to the rep, these automated domain auctions actually prevent cybersquatting by keeping it out of the hands of hackers that snatch up domains without ever planning to use them. By putting it into an auction, the person who wins is usually the person it should really belong to. This begs the question, what if you should really own the domain name but can’t afford the price of the auction? I would recommend you contact a lawyer at this point because you would be SOL. Yeah, this whole domain name business is shady.