Domain Squatter Redirects Back

January 2, 2008 Posted by Tyler Cruz
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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):

TylerCruz.org

Created On:08-Nov-2007 03:58:09 UTC
Registrant ID:GODA-039623188
Registrant Name:Marc Gaines
Registrant Organization:Gaines Enterprises.Com
Registrant Street1:6691 South Marion Street
Registrant Street2:
Registrant Street3:
Registrant City:Centennial
Registrant State/Province:Colorado
Registrant Postal Code:80121-2554
Registrant Country:US
Registrant Phone:+1.3037388952
Registrant Phone Ext.:
Registrant FAX:+1.5039057927
Registrant FAX Ext.:
Registrant Email:mlgaines@worldnet.att.net

TylerCruz.net

Created on…………..: Thu, Dec 07, 2006
Administrative Contact:
New West Mortgage Company
Steven Corser
1634 Victory Blvd., Unit No. 1
North Hollywood, CA 91606
US
Phone: +1.8187608200
Email: scorser@earthlink.net

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.

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Posted: January 2nd, 2008 under Miscellaneous  

34 Responses to “Domain Squatter Redirects Back”

  1. You may also look up TylerCruzSucks.com or IHateTylerCruz.com or names like that – if you want to find anti-Tyler sites.

    I have seen a few of those around trying to make a quick buck by bad mouthing celebrities.

    • Jean Costa says:

      Yeah, he will probably want to register those if he wants to protect from that.

      If someone else buys them, I am not sure if he can do anything about them. As far as I know….. there are several anti websites out there, that lawyers and big brands have tried to take down and they failed. Example, paypaysucks.com

      • Jean Costa says:

        Sorry I mistyped it, I mean paypalsucks.com

      • Tyler Cruz says:

        Yes, I forget where I read about this, but apparantly these sites are often legally hard to take down… due to freedom of speech, whereas TylerCruz.org could be mistaken for being my site. TylerCruzSucks.com would not be mistaken for my official site.

        In the same place where I read that, it went on to say that a lot of companies now purchase theircompany name + sucks.com and related names to prevent others from doing so, heh.

        I wish I remembered where I read this, as it had examples of companies that did this; their WHOIS information matched their parent companies… it was something like Kraft foods or something…

      • bylla says:

        Google and AOL own their name + sucks.com:
        googlesucks.com
        aolsucks.com

        /Andreas

    • I wouldn’t really class those as domain squatters, i’d call them tyler hater sites ;)

  2. DotDriven says:

    I don’t know if I would be as confident about being able to just “grab them back” myself. I doubt you have your “brand” trademarked at this point and depending on what they did the domains it could be fair use. Just because it is your name doesn’t seem like enough to be able to claim it when you wish…though I could be wrong as I don’t know much about sites and peoples names but I assume it is different than trademarks even if it is your “brand”.

    As freebiesonline mentioned above, if there was a tylercruzsucks.com site and it was “anti tyler” you wouldn’t be able to do anything about it. It’s the reason why sites like paypalsucks.com can be around without risk of getting taken or shut down.

    But as you said they probably are not making anything off them really so you might even be able to just ask them for them if you cover the reg fees or maybe offer them a link in exchange or something. Would be much easier and definitely cheaper than attempting to claim them “legally”.

  3. Chris M says:

    The .org guy is probably redirecting to trick people into think it’s your blog, he will then setup some form of information collecting so people sign up under the impression that it’s to do with you. I would keep an eye on it, the last thing you want is someone collecting your readers information under the false impression!

    It has happened to me before on one of my sites!

  4. DotDriven says:

    lol, meant to also add that, Tyler, you might want to grab up those couple mentioned negative domains now if available as if they are they most likely won’t as more people read this ;). Better to be safe and make it harder for “anti” people to be annoying.

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      I’m not buying those domains.. what’s the point? It would never end.. I buy TylerCruzSucks.com, somebody buys TylerCruzBlows.com… if somebody wants to make a Tyler Cruz hate site, they will (unfortunately).

      • DotDriven says:

        yeah, you have a point. And really, when it comes down to it, someone with that kind of time and effort would be better off doing a copy blog like john cow rather than a flat out hate site. But that’s reaching a bit too.

        But you should try to contact the people that reg’ed the net and org just to see if they are willing to give them up for reg fee. Otherwise they may get more hits just from this post and see some traffic/rev (at least the net guy) and then think they are worth more and try to hardball you lol.

        • Tyler Cruz says:

          To be honest, I don’t really want them. I mean, I’d take them if they offered them to me for reg fee, but otherwise I’m not paying for them. To me, TylerCruz.org and TylerCruz.net are not much different from Tyler-Cruz.com or TylerCruz.info…

          Now, if this were for another domain, like say CarForums.net, then that’s an entirely different story… but for a domain with my first and last name in it, I’m quite happy with just the .com.

  5. Kris Karkoski says:

    I am not so sure the legal case would be so clean cut. If they were to impersonate you or try to bad mouth you it could be simple but (in all likelihood) there is another person named Tyler Cruz in the world who could use the .net or .org for their own site not to mention someone could opt to use it as a pen name. I haven’t done any extensive research but I think they probably have a right to the domain.

  6. Funny thing is you are advertising these domains/sites which will actually increase any their traffic at a certain point in the future. I mean if I would have found this post in a month or two, as new bloggers will at some point, I would inevitably have checked the two sites to see how are they living off your work!

    • DotDriven says:

      Well he could start by unlinking the urls in the actual post heheh. But beyond that, the only people that would probably end up on those domains are people that are looking to see if they are still available to squat. I doubt Tyler has extension typos from the current readers so odds are those two domains will get more traffic while this story is on the front page of the blog than any other time.

      lol a freebies online. I wouldn’t be surprised as it worked out pretty well for his last parody attempt ;)

  7. Don’t forget TylerCruise.com, BobMeetsWorld (John Cow) is probably looking to buy it now.

  8. Arun says:

    The .org guy is redirecting to your domain is not as innocuous as it looks like. In due course of time, the .org domain will get the same Pagerank as your domain (I am quite sure). There are exceptions to this rule, but you can confirm this with some SEO expert.

  9. JoeTech.com says:

    Tyler: I think you’re viewing this discovery in the right light. They guy’s not going to make much off the .net and the .org is innocent enough for now. Keep in mind, however, that you can take a domain that uses your trade mark without going to court. ICANN has developed internal procedures for this, but they’re not cheap either (last time I checked).

    Ultimately, a strongly worded letter from a lawyer would do the trick in most cases if it’s worth it to you. JoeTech.net and JoeTech.org are parked and it hasn’t even really caught my attention until now.

  10. John says:

    Wow, how is this any different then you registering Halflife.org???

    • fumbler says:

      “Half Life” is a scientific and mathematical term – not just the name of a video game.

      From wikipedia: “The half-life of a quantity whose value decreases with time is the interval required for the quantity to decay to half of its initial value. The concept originated in the study of radioactive decay which is subject to exponential decay but applies to all phenomena including those which are described by non-exponential decays.”

      It’s also one of few concepts I actually understood in my science classes ;)

  11. Tyler what is your take on JohnCow in relation to JohnChow, what would your stance be if a ‘Tyler’ wannabe appeared?

    But yeah good post, and agreed, the two domains mentioned aren’t damaging in anyway so why let them bother you.

  12. Hi Tyler,

    Happy New Year, guy, it’s been much too long, I know, my bad.

    Interesting points youmake. i really do not know the ins and outs, but like a couple others have posted, I really wonder under what basis you are thinking you could grab those sites?

    Tyler is a not at all an uncommon name and Cruz (Cross) or especially de la Cruz (of the Cross) is a very common name world-wide … in fact here in the Philippines “Juan de la Cruz” is the name writers use as they would John Doe back in the States … a ‘made up’ name for the ‘man on the street’.

    Good topic indeed … just how much right does a person have to their own name?

  13. Bah. Who cares about .org or .net TLD? .com is the easiest and is the most often typed one out there.

  14. Mike Huang says:

    Wow! It really is amazing that the domains weren’t being used for personal stuff, but instead it redirected back here. It’s almost unheard of nowadays…

    -Mike

  15. fumbler says:

    I dont blame you for not wanting those TLDs of your name. Any publicity is good publicity, right? And if I’m not mistaken, if someone is impersonating you and profiting from it or is using it to tarnish your name, you do have a case against them.

    If the .org is redirecting in bad faith, I wonder if you can deflect it somewhere else like the rick rolled URL ;)

  16. [...] list of sites to spend quality time with before buying domains for the first time. Just be sure to play by the rules when buying domains, don’t buy too many until you feel confident that you know the game, and [...]

  17. Daniel says:

    Another possibility is that there’s another Tyler Cruz. ;)

  18. Fable says:

    I had a very similar problem when I first purchased a .com recently. Suffice to say, I regretted not buying the .net when I had the chance. I don’t really care all that much about .org domains, though.

    Steve

  19. Will says:

    This was probably asked before, but why don’t you just email the guy and ask him directly? No need to speculate when he can just tell you.

  20. I know how mad I would be if someone took my brand name for their own even just by purchasing the extra domains. Hopefully nobody here will. :P

    Anyway, there really is nothing to worry about for the .net and .org domains. The .org one is actually bringing you traffic.

    Sly from Slyvisions.com

  21. The redirect back to you on the .org is kind of strange. He’s probably just waiting to sell it back to you or do something evil.

  22. Sam Stevens says:

    Frankly, I’ve never understood it when someone complains about a domainer buying their name. If you wanted to protect the domains, you could have just dropped the $20 and bought them. Simple as that.

    The .org redirect isn’t that strange. I see this stuff done all the time. The owner isn’t making any money off your name. If you got HUGE, maybe he would but the .org is probably generating next to nil in traffic. Natural hit traffic is on the decline and has never been very good for .org’s anyway. I don’t see how the owner could monetize it piggy backing on you. He’ll get bored when he doesn’t get any bites from you and drop it. He’s probably just a wannabe domainer.

  23. Edward says:

    It isn’t a bad thing at all, at least now you are famous until people want to grab your .org domain ;P

PeerFly

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