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ETHICS: Is it right to sell [[FirstNameLastName.com]]

Labeled as debate in General Domain Discussion, started by Grilled, Oct 10, 2016

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  1. Chris Hydrick

    Chris Hydrick Account Closed (Requested) VIP

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    Prior to making my first domain sale, I had taken a small monetary loss by giving BensonHenderson(.)com to the UFC fighters web development team for free.

    upload_2016-10-10_11-10-15.png

    upload_2016-10-10_11-11-28.png

    Needless to say as a new domainer, I didn't know the ethics of regging celebrities, yet alone, [FirstNameLastName] domains. After posting about registering it, NamePros was quick to inform me I was wrong. As a new domainer, I am extremely grateful for those who advised against monetary gain for these type of domains. @tomcarl really helped me put the integrity of what I was doing into perspective best:

    In fairness to my hypocrisy, I had another FirstNameLastName.com that I sold when GoDaddy buyer services contacted me with a $250 offer. I first countered at $420 (because I wasn't thinking) and hours later, rescinded the counter, and accepted the initial offer. Looking back, I wish I didn't accept the offer, and contacted the assumed buyer via social media or other measures to give it to him for free. Though it wasn't a large amount, it has since haunted my conscious.

    This morning I read The Brandable Insider: Screwing Up My First Private Deal by @Keith DeBoer. I assumed it was going to be a failed brandable sale, come to find it was a tail of "leaving money on the table for a rich person [FirstNameLastName.com]." I was quick to judge (comment) based off of my previous experience with FirstNameLastName domains. That said, if there's one thing I've learned in this industry it's not being quick to judge. Admittedly, I struggle with this, and often put my keyboard in my mouth, as there's so many angles, laws, opinions, and grey area's to be aware of; it's not always as black in white as it may seem. I'd like to open a current debate about this as there are many FirstNameLastName sales reported. See below:

    First Name + JOHNSON sales

    upload_2016-10-10_11-28-58.png

    First Name + JONES Sales:

    upload_2016-10-10_11-30-45.png

    First Name + STEVENS sales:

    upload_2016-10-10_11-31-47.png

    First Name + Nelson sales:

    upload_2016-10-10_11-34-55.png

    You get the point. Look up just about any sale ending in a popular surname, and you're sure to find several examples of successfully sold domains. That said, when considering the buyers POV, a google search of "Someone registered my full name domain" returned the following article with a transcript detailing options and legality from an attorney. HERE

    For me, this is a grey area that I now stay far away from. I have dropped all [FirstNameLastName] domains that aren't mine. ie ChrisHydrick(.)com However, I don't own my full legal name, as it was registered by somebody who wants to trade it for a dictionary domain that happens to be their last name.

    Kindly share your thoughts on the ethics of [FirstNameLastName] domain sales.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2016
    The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
  2. Omar Negron

    Omar Negron Top Contributor VIP

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    I feel if it is a common name, than it should be fair game.

    If it's a celeb/famous persons name, then you may run into an issue.

    -Omar
     
  3. Chris Hydrick

    Chris Hydrick Account Closed (Requested) VIP

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    Thanks for sharing your thoughts @Omar Negron

    I'd like to agree with you that common names are "fair game" but does that make it ethical?

    Also, what defines celeb / famous person? In the recent Heidi Powell dispute, a fitness trainer married into the surname Powell, and due to her 'celebrity' status, she tries to claim ownership of the original Heidi Powell who had held that name, and domains, long before the new "Heidi Powell" came alone. HERE

    With First name + last names being born into every day, doesn't it borderline squatting to hold these domains with reseller hopes? One could simply look up and combine X amount of popular first names, and Y amount of popular last names to find domains available to reg. What right do domainers have to buy these domains and wait for a buyer to come along?
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2016
  4. Chris Hydrick

    Chris Hydrick Account Closed (Requested) VIP

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    FWIW: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/15/8131

    15 U.S. Code § 8131 – Cyberpiracy protections for individuals
    (1) In general

    (A) Civil liability: Any person who registers a domain name that consists of the name of another living person, or a name substantially and confusingly similar thereto, without that person’s consent, with the specific intent to profit from such name by selling the domain name for financial gain to that person or any third party, shall be liable in a civil action by such person.

    (B) Exception: A person who in good faith registers a domain name consisting of the name of another living person, or a name substantially and confusingly similar thereto, shall not be liable under this paragraph if such name is used in, affiliated with, or related to a work of authorship protected under title 17, including a work made for hire as defined in section 101 of title 17, and if the person registering the domain name is the copyright owner or licensee of the work, the person intends to sell the domain name in conjunction with the lawful exploitation of the work, and such registration is not prohibited by a contract between the registrant and the named person. The exception under this subparagraph shall apply only to a civil action brought under paragraph (1) and shall in no manner limit the protections afforded under the Trademark Act of 1946 (15 U.S.C. 1051 et seq.) or other provision of Federal or State law.
     
  5. D Haynes

    D Haynes Top Contributor VIP

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    There is an argument for saying that your sales price is your fee for finding the name was dropping and picking it up for them as they couldn't be bothered to check themselves. As a massive MMA fan myself I'd have been tempted to let him have the name for a pair of tickets to a fight night but probably would have given it for free in the end. I'd say it's different for a surname .com as there is only one domain but many people with that surname, however there must be more than one Benson Henderson in the world too.
     
  6. Chris Hydrick

    Chris Hydrick Account Closed (Requested) VIP

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    I agree that's a solid argument, but if it was a hand reg for less than $10, how do you value your time appropriately given the personal nature of the domain?

    I see your point, though, I don't know if it's ethical to do a quid pro quo trade in this situation. Sure, you can ask for tickets, but I don't think it should be contingent with the transfer. My manic mind went as far to think of posting a snippit on the site saying, Spend 30 seconds in the octagon with me, and the domain is yours. Then I realized the very real possibility of me dying, and with the help of NamePros, came to my senses and offered the domain to the rightful owner.

    Surely there is, but does that make it ethical for a Chris Hydrick, to register BensonHenderson.com with hopes of profit?
     
  7. D Haynes

    D Haynes Top Contributor VIP

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    Hmmm I think if a name was available to hand reg and had been for a while I'd already assume the prospective buyer didn't want it or wasn't bothered enough to check so probably won't pay much for it. In that situation I probably wouldn't reg it. If it was dropping though I'd assume that they want it but couldn't have it because someone already owned it and even more so when they had to put their nickname in front of it (smoothbensonhenderson). As for your original post I'm still not sure it's ethical but if we don't buy names other people want, what's the point?
     
  8. deez007

    deez007 The More I Learn The Less I "Know" VIP

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    Awesome thread @Grilled ...

    I'm with you on this....I just don't think it's the right thing to do....
     
  9. comati

    comati Established Member

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    i don't have any firstnamelastname domains (except my own) but i see no problem in selling them.
    i see a problem in using the name to impersonate someone (for profit or not).
     
  10. Chris Hydrick

    Chris Hydrick Account Closed (Requested) VIP

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    Devils advocate: Is there an argument that you can register a strong sounding [FirstNameLastName] with a brand in mind? This isn't the greatest of brand examples, as there is related history to the name, but one of the more popular scotch whiskey goes by the strong name of Johnnie Walker

    Let;s say you wanted a strong sounding [FirstNameLastName] brand but your name is difficult to spell such as Giannis Antetokounmpo, or Erisbel Arruebarrena. Can you brand on something generic sounding such as John Brown?
     
  11. Chris Hydrick

    Chris Hydrick Account Closed (Requested) VIP

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  12. Brandingtheweb.com

    Brandingtheweb.com 123Capital.com VIP

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    Source - heidipowell.com
    Another update yesterday:
    the Trustee filed a request to change the hearing date to July 12, 2017. His reasoning for requesting a continuance is his need for time to review the declarations we filed on June 7, 2017 which were filed in response to his motion to sell my domain name and contract with Godaddy.
     
  13. Omar Negron

    Omar Negron Top Contributor VIP

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    EDIT: Didn't realize I commented on this thread before! lol
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2017
  14. canswift

    canswift Top Contributor VIP Gold Account ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I see FirstName+LastName domains every day in the GD expired lists. Some are certainly distinctive but others would have multiple potential purchasers (sort of like the John Brown example above). I sometimes do a LinkedIn check and can't believe that some of these individuals (many of whom work in digital media and marketing) haven't snapped their name up ages ago.

    However, I do remember an NP thread several years back from a member who said he'd started to buy these types of more common names and marketing them to the types I reference from LinkedIn. The NP member said he was fairly stunned that almost no-one took him up on his offer to sell them, their own name, for (in most cases) mid $XXX.
     
  15. hookbox

    hookbox Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    The answer is yes and no. There are 47,647 people names James Smith in the U.S. so registering jamessmith.com isn't targeting just one person so I see nothing wrong with it. There is only 1 person named Reese Roth so registering reeseroth.com to target that one person I believe to be unethical.
     
  16. comati

    comati Established Member

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    so, basically, we should discriminate people based on their name.
     
  17. Magicpig2

    Magicpig2 Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    If you put the shoe on the other foot, how would it feel to have a domain investor email you asking $1000 for your first and last name? It's why I steer clear of other people's property like that.
     
  18. hookbox

    hookbox Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    It's not other people's property until they actually own it.
     
  19. Magicpig2

    Magicpig2 Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Sure, but I think they have a greater entitlement to their name than I ever would.
     
  20. GoKaizen

    GoKaizen Always be Learning VIP ICA Member

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  21. chickenfillet

    chickenfillet Established Member

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    Here's quite a sad yet true story:

    I saw a millionaire on YouTube in these crazy sports cars, having many villas, etc. It turns out, I saw his first name last name .com being sold on a website.

    Without hesitation, I snapped it up and tried to sell it to the millionaire who had the .tv domain of his first name last name.

    It turns out that he didn't even care about the .com, even though he used the .tv version of his name and developed it for a number of years.

    In the end, I gave him the domain name for FREE.

    Till this day, he still hasn't used the .com version, he still uses the .tv version.

    My advice is: Don't bother trying to get first name last name domain names, you'll lose more money than you paid.
     
  22. UmerK

    UmerK Established Member

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    I don't find anything unethical in it, It's just another domain you register with potential end users in mind to sell to. I don't own any but if I get one, the pricing would eventually be dependent on the usage of domain. You forgot to mention DavidJones as a big big brand which is same, my first name is same as a famous persian poet and lucky I got it for reg fee.
     
  23. hookbox

    hookbox Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    You can say that about any name really. We can agree that the best names to buy are the ones that have the biggest pool of buyers. For example, there are hundreds of potential buyers for a name like BigDog.com so to me, that would be a name I would like to own to resell. Does it make it unethical that I would be selling the name knowing that there are other companies that already own the rights to use that name? I don't think so. No different in owning JohnSmith.com to resell it to the almost 50,000 people with that exact name.
     
  24. canswift

    canswift Top Contributor VIP Gold Account ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I was mildly taken aback tonight to see EthelKennedy.com, coming up for auction in the GD expired lists. I'm not touching this one with a barge pole, but I'm still intrigued to see it available for auction.
     
  25. karmaco

    karmaco Top Contributor VIP

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    I only have my own name. Taking other people's names is not something I am interested in personally. One because most people are probably only willing/able to to pay a small amount for their own name and two I don't feel comfortable doing that.
     

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