Re-Marketplaces Doing Anti-Domainer Work for Them
By H. Page Howe – Opinion
By dropping corona virus or Covid-19 names from marketplaces or registrars, we are arming our detractors, the TM/IP industry and those that would retroactively try to claim our names, by hinting at confirmation that you may being doing something wrong by simply owning a generic word domain name.
Mind you you haven’t done anything to warrant fraud or suspicious behavior. I don’t want a company to say I can’t list my name for sale, or accept inquiries, even though I haven’t built a website, and are just holding it for sale, or because of indecision going forward. Do we also remove measles, polio, aids….?
Also, maybe I will donate my name or partner with a solutions provider. Can I not use a marketplace to accommodate those searching for a good domain name, like they would in any other industry.
By registering the name and becoming its owner, aren’t I at least as good of a judge of what happens to the name as the marketplace? Doesn’t taking some strong names off the publicly available market, where there will always be some registrar willing to take the order, actually help thwart bad actors.
Lastly, to open the door to disallowing registrations at all, don’t we risk an ICANN process where they assume rights to decide what can be registered. Have they shown themselves at all to make decisions that serve the public, or will they just do what they want, in their own self-interest.
And who is the official source of information about the Covid19 virus? Is the internet an open source of information. We rely on decentralization to run Bitcoin and blockchains. Yet here we want to allow censorship? Is there a chance we could benefit from having more points of view? In the beginning of this outbreak, was the WHO the best source of info? Would we have shut down registering domains that would have predicted a growing pandemic?
I would rather see the market speak, these names don’t sell. Let the market ferret out the unproductive registrations. Otherwise some might see censorship as a badge of honor and actually promote registrations.
And when Covid-20 comes along, will we make the same reactionary response, or wait til the right time to try to look good. If marketplaces take on the burden of censorship, then will they be held responsible for “not taking” it with other types of domain names.
There are 80 domains with the word heroin on a major marketplace. There over 100 with Olympics and over 150 with “slavery”.
Can marketplaces and registrars thus restrict all uses of name with a word. Can they really take down any domain name about the word Corona, including a 150,000 population City in California?
I do agree any illegal or unlawful behavior should be merited out, but absent any process to determine which words can’t be registered, I think its a dangerous precedent. And I don’t want a process at all, because it can be used against us in other areas. Who decides? And, once you restrict – does the fact that it is listed somehow grant it a domain lawful status.
Since most marketplaces freely allow high probability trademarked names, removing generic word names seems misaligned. Yes I do want to have our industry put our best foot forward. Yes I do want to discourage bad actors and seemingly nonsensical registrations. But I haven’t yet seen where giving those that oppose domaining a potential step that we would accept, or the goodwill we think we gain from self-limiting has ever been reciprocated. I suspect more likely those that would want to take our names and property would use this as a leverage point to demand the same protection on their terms in the future.
Can the marketplaces simply donate their share of any sales to salve a guilty conscience rather than giving light to a potential scenario where simply offering a name for sale is owning it in bad faith. And with the millions of page views available to marketplaces and registrars, run some public service announcements like a don’t drink and drive, don’t gamble when your in too deep.