This is a rather strange story.
The other day I was checking to see if anyone had purchased the domains TylerCruz.net and TylerCruz.org since I purposely didn’t purchase them when I bought the “.com”. On most any other domain I would, but I never expected my blog to have taken off as well as it has. And I never thought that anyone would want to pay to purchase the .net or .org of my full name.
But I decided my blog was big enough now where it wouldn’t hurt for me to grab the .net and .org extensions, but they were already taken. I wasn’t too surprised, as I probably should have grabbed them earlier.
In fact, the .net was purchased over a year ago. But the .org was only purchased a couple months ago.
Here is the WHOIS information for each of the domains, courtesy of my favourite WHOIS lookup site, Whois.sc (now Whois.DomainTools.com, but I still type in whois.sc/domainname for speed):
Created On:08-Nov-2007 03:58:09 UTC
Registrant Name:Marc Gaines
Registrant Organization:Gaines Enterprises.Com
Registrant Street1:6691 South Marion Street
Registrant Postal Code:80121-2554
Registrant Phone Ext.:
Registrant FAX Ext.:
Created on…………..: Thu, Dec 07, 2006
New West Mortgage Company
1634 Victory Blvd., Unit No. 1
North Hollywood, CA 91606
Now, I can already hear some people complaining about me putting out their personal details on my blog, but this is public information. Plus, I’m not happy about people squatting my name and trying to profit from my brand and name. So if they don’t want their information made public, they should invest in another $10 or so to make their contact details private.
Anyhow, getting back to the story…. TylerCruz.net is parked at Register.com’s with the owner hoping to get traffic from people trying to find my blog who go to the .net by mistake, perhaps clicking on an ad or two, making “Steven Corser” a buck or two a month. This is to be expected.
But TylerCruz.org is different. It redirects back to my blog at TylerCruz.com. I find this very strange. The “owner” of the domain, Marc Gaines, may just be doing this until he finds an interested buyer, parks it with ads, or tries to sell it back to me, but it’s rather strange that he’d redirect it back to my blog.
Is it possible that Marc is some type of odd Robin Hood and bought the domain “for me”… to protect from squatters? For some reason I can’t quite believe that.
Am I Mad?
Well, I’m certainly not happy. But again, I’m not surprised. I myself love domains, and can totally understand others taking advantage of the opportunity. But I’m not mad for three main reasons:
1. They are not using their domains to redirect users to their own webmaster-related blog, or are pretending to be me.
2. They are not using their domains to inflict any brand-damaging or anti-Tyler sites.
3. But most importantly, I am quite confident that legally I can snatch that domain if I took them to court. Obviously it isn’t worth the obscene lawyer and court fees to do that now, but the fact that I can always take the domains back if I really wanted to is comforting.
The legalities of domains is a very new thing and the cases differ as the laws evolve to catch up to the age of the Internet, but as far as I’m aware, the one situation where the prosecution almost always wins is when the domain belongs to a well-known company name, brand, or person’s name (which can be a brand.. think Tom Cruise… no pun intended).
I therefore never, ever, purchase domains that have company names, products, or trademarked content. At least, not without doing a fair amount of legal research first (I own Starcraft2.net, but Blizzard is very welcome of fan sites and I can name dozens of Blizzard fan sites that have their name in their URL. Hell, Blizzard even links to them as recommended links). While I did own Halflife.org, it’s also a generic dictionary word. WrestleMania.org was probably the only domain I ever bought that was trademarked or copyrighted, and I flipped that within 2-3 weeks.
So, while I’m not happy, I’m not mad. Only a very small amount of people will ever go to TylerCruz.org and TylerCruz.net – probably not enough to warrant paying $9 a year for the domain, and neither site is using the domain to directly compete with me or tarnish my name. Plus, if I ever wanted to take back the domains legally, I’m quite sure it would be a very easy court case. And I’d probably get back any profits that Marc and Steven made from my name as well.