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Crossroad

Labeled as advice in General Domain Discussion started by Bonsu, Jan 23, 2020.

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  1. Bonsu

    Bonsu Top Contributor VIP

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    I own a domain name which is a shorter version of my company's website in .co is it ethical to sell to it them?
     
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  2. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO Gold Account VIP

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    Sure, but hold the domain in privacy proxy and use a broker/escrow intermediary so you don't get exposed for being an opportunist. The reality is you probably did management a favor but there will be skeptics that will tag you as being exploitative. The best way to handle that is to have an intermediary contact the company. If they want it, great, but if not, so be it. Good luck!
     
  3. Ategy

    Ategy NameCult.com Gold Account VIP

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    It 100% depends on the exact domain and the exact name of the company. You could be safe .. and you could be in serious legal trouble ... it's impossible to know without knowing the exact domain and company (and even then it's hard to be 100% sure). More often than not you're probably ok, particularly if the name they actively use in day to day business is the longer version .. but if they actively use the shorter version then you would be in the wrong (although you most certainly could still get a sale depending on the company and on the price .. but you'd still be in the wrong and contributing to the bad reputation of domainers)

    That being said, if they are using a longer .com, usually they won't be interested in a shorter .co. Again .. it depends on the specifics. It's definitely possible depending on the price and how bad their .com is .. but .co's usually go to start-ups specifically because they can't find a .com they like at a price they can pay in the early stages of their business.
     
  4. Bonsu

    Bonsu Top Contributor VIP

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    The company's domain is mydomain+city.com but mine is mydomain.co

    We are a new company just 2 years old but doing very well. Mydomain.com is owned by a hospitality company I. Australia
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
  5. Ategy

    Ategy NameCult.com Gold Account VIP

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    Again .. in terms of trademarks every situation is completely different.

    Legal Side:
    If your company's website is BlueBullLondon.com, but they actively use "Blue Bull" for business purposes, then their trademark would be "Blue Bull" (yes .. even if it's not a registered trademark) and you would NOT be allowed to approach them to sell BlueBull.co. Doing so would cause you to fail the 3rd step of a UDRP action which states you acquired the domain in bad faith. However, if your company always refers to itself as "Blue Bull London" (and hopefully has a registered trademark ONLY for the longer one), then you might have some wiggle room. There are too many unknown variables .. the biggest mistake you can make is asking for advice without giving the specifics .. because without specifics we're all just guessing.

    Non-Legal Side:
    If your company only operates within the geographical scope of London and is the type of business that isn't prone to geo expansion, then I doubt they will even want the .co. If they could potentially expand then I still think the .co is a challenge if another company exists that is actively using the .com. I'd recommend a complete name change to a different and better .com for an existing company. But again .. I'm completely guessing .. NO opinion is ever going to be relevant in any way without knowing the specific details. So do not even take my or anyone advice .. lol.


    All that said .. you're probably better off not sharing the domain/company names .. that could also get you into trouble.

    Good luck either way! In the future you're probably better off not registering such domains. The better thing to do would have been to approach your management first and ask them how they feel about their domain and offer to help them find a new one.

    If the TM connection is confusingly fuzzy enough to not be a TM or UDRP issue, then I'd at least follow what Rob said about using a 3rd party/broker/friend so that at least you don't risk losing your job! ;)

    ADDED:
    At the end of the day .. if you forget the legal side of things .. what Rob said is probably the closest thing to reality. With the only real problem being whether or not management is competent and knowledgeable enough on branding and domains to even understand the favour? lol .. I've seen some very high-up executives decline even discussing the topic of domains simply because they not only don't see the value .. they don't even understand them to begin with.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
  6. MapleDots

    MapleDots Domain Properties 2002 - 2020 VIP

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    It was not ethical for you to register it in the first place.
    It is even more unethical to try and sell it at a profit to the company you work for.

    Disguising who you are (like Rob says to do) does not change that and you will have to live with your decision of deception.

    My advice would be to do the right thing and give the domain to your boss.


































    HeHe.... sorry forgot I was a domainer for a second.... all is fair in love and war :xf.laugh:
     
  7. Internet.Domains

    Internet.Domains Top Contributor VIP

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    I don't think that's fair to say without knowing all the details. The question was vague, by design, and lacking the details needed to conclude whether its ethical or not.

    Perhaps the domain is generic. Would that change your stance?
     
  8. bmugford

    bmugford www.DataCube.com PRO ICA Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

    Seriously though, without more information it is hard to really help.
    I would probably just stick a BIN on it and list it on popular venues.

    Brad
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
  9. bmugford

    bmugford www.DataCube.com PRO ICA Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    There are a lot of companies that would not see that as an upgrade.
    I think the vast majority of end users would rather have a (2) word .COM than a single word .CO.

    Brad
     
  10. MSN-Domains

    MSN-Domains Top Contributor PRO VIP

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    Simple heuristic, if you need to ask if something is ethical?

    By default you already know what your doing is unethical. All in all it's too vague to offer any clear advice
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
  11. NameDeck

    NameDeck SaveDotOrg.org VIP

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    I would seriously rethink approaching the company you work for.

    You'll have to ask yourself, is this worth losing my job over? Even if you hide yourself, chances are one day they'll find out.

    Beside it being unethical, it could have legal implications depending on your contract.
     
  12. bmugford

    bmugford www.DataCube.com PRO ICA Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I just noticed the part I put in bold. Come on man.
    I would say that certainly goes down the path of unethical.

    Brad
     
  13. Bonsu

    Bonsu Top Contributor VIP

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    They are not the type that would be looking for a domain but when they opportunity is brought to them they would buy it. 💯
     
  14. bmugford

    bmugford www.DataCube.com PRO ICA Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Do you have another job lined up? Because if my employee tried to do that they would be looking for a new job.

    I don't think the potential upside is worth the potential downside.

    Brad
     
  15. BrandAptly.com

    BrandAptly.com Established Member

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    Let's evaluate your conundrum through a slightly different psychological lens. You found a briefcase containing some very important documents that was carelessly misplaced by one of the decision makers in your company. You spend time and money transporting this briefcase back to the office. Will expecting a handsome reward for your 'kind' gesture render you an unethical opportunist? What if an employee of one of their competitors had found the documents?

    Now, do you feel better about what you're invariably about to do? :xf.smile:
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
  16. oldtimer

    oldtimer Do some good for humanity and the environment VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    If the company you work for has a geo specific domain then perhaps that's what they prefer to have in the first place. Does your boss know that you are a domainer if so maybe you can just offer the domain to him for free just to get on his good side, if your boss knows that you care so much about the company that you work for you might get more in terms of raises and promotions that might exceed what you might get for selling this domain to them. But as already mentioned most existing businesses don't change from .com to .co so unless you have a really nice .com that is a shorter version of your company's name it might not be worth it to pursue this any further, because most probably they won't want the .co and this might just cause you some unforeseen troubles with your job.

    In either case don't let greed cloud your judgment, you might be better off just selling your domain on one of the marketplaces and leave the place of your employment out of it because sometimes things can get mixed up and misunderstood and can backfire on you regardless of your good intensions.

    Although the final decision rests with you, I am just saying all the angles that I would be considering if I were in this situation.

    Your boss will probably love you if you gave him a shorter and better .com for his company for free and he might make you the VP of something, but anything else will be a little risky.

    IMO
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
  17. Internet.Domains

    Internet.Domains Top Contributor VIP

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    Let's look at another conundrum. The domain at question is registered by someone other than an employee, a domain investor. Is it ethical for a domain investor to sell the domain to a company?
     
  18. bmugford

    bmugford www.DataCube.com PRO ICA Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    It depends on major factors.

    Outside ethics, there are several practical issues here -

    1.) Is the domain generic?
    2.) Would the company even want it?
    3.) If so, would they pay a premium for it?
    4.) What would their response be to an employee trying to profit off their company?
    5.) Is the potential upside worth the downside if they take offense to this?

    I am going to assume the domain is not some amazing generic. Practically speaking you are probably better off just offering it to them and getting credit for looking out for the company.

    That will probably get you further than some potential small amount of money from selling it.

    Brad
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
  19. Internet.Domains

    Internet.Domains Top Contributor VIP

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    Right. This whole scenario is lacking factors. By labeling this scenario as unethical, without the factors, it can be argued domain investors are unethical. I see a set up question here. Any answer, without details, can be represented to make all legitimate domain investors look unethical. Tread with caution.
     
  20. Ategy

    Ategy NameCult.com Gold Account VIP

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    The answer could be yes, no, neither or both! Seriously .. everyone's opinions here are really just guesses without any facts. Based on the little information that's there I've given some potential legal equivalents to help come to an answer for anyone who knows the exact specific details .. but otherwise no absolute opinion here is good, accurate or relevant in any way .. including my own.


     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
  21. bmugford

    bmugford www.DataCube.com PRO ICA Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    People can argue anything they want.

    Maybe the OP can answer this -

    Did you only register this domain because of the company you work for?

    If the answer is yes, well then that is targeting one company.
    If the answer is no, then it should be generic with other end users that don't come with the potential headache.

    Brad
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
  22. BrandAptly.com

    BrandAptly.com Established Member

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    You guys seem to be missing the subtext. I think MSN-Domain alluded to OPs current state of mind. At the time that he purchased the domain name, he had already decided what he was going to do with it. He is inadvertently asking for two things now:

    1) Make him feel better about his decision.
    2) Show him how to effectively execute it.

    It's ok by me. :xf.grin:
     
  23. bmugford

    bmugford www.DataCube.com PRO ICA Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I do agree with the point that people don't generally ask if something is ethical unless they feel it might not be.

    At the end of the day the OP is free to do what he wants, and so is the company.
    He will have to take ownership of the outcome.

    If you think the upside of selling this domain outweighs the downside of a negative reaction from the company then good luck.

    I don't think the company is going to view this as an upgrade, or needed domain.
    From a practical standpoint, if you value your job it seems like a silly thing to do IMO.

    Brad
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
  24. ExploitOdds

    ExploitOdds Established Member

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    Im just waiting for the hardliners to start debating and arguing about a scenario that lacks clarity.

    Would it be fair to say that you did not sign a nondisclosure agreement upon being hired? I think that if you did, tread lightly.
     
  25. Ategy

    Ategy NameCult.com Gold Account VIP

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    The problem is that *IF* he targeted and acquired the domain with the intent to resell it at a profit (even a $0.01 profit) to a specific company(ies), then that is quite simply not legal. PERIOD. That much is VERY clear in the eyes of the rules and trademark law. Specifically the 3rd part of a UDRP action. It's what's known as "bad faith registration".

    It's already something not allowed BY LAW (nothing to do with anyone's personal opinion).. but if he's an employee then that makes his guilt is pretty much automatic since he can't claim not to be aware of the existing trademark (again .. that's only *IF* the domain in question actually does infringe on the company's actual trademark(s) .. there's ZERO way of knowing either way if it does or doesn't without knowing the EXACT marks/names/domains in question).


    The other (non-legal) issue at play is we don't know the company. the boss or the employee/company relationship. If everything is casual and it's a small friendly business, then everything could be fine. If the company executives don't have a clue about trademark laws then again there's no problem (if you're ok with ignoring TM rules/law). On the other hand, if it's a big company where HR enforces rules, then it could be asking for trouble .. but that's separate from any trademark issues.

    BUT .. without knowing the specifics .. it's safe to say that in most situations this would likely both be wrong and illegal under trademark rules and laws. BUT #2 .. it could be fine .. any statement stating absolutely either way that he's in the right or in the wrong is simply a blind ignorant guess.

    The bottom line is that he needs to analyse the EXACT domains and EXACT trademarks and how they relate to each other and ACTUAL laws.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020

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