debate ETHICS: Is it right to sell []

Spaceship Spaceship

Chris Hydrick

.Top Member
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.



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:

That's kind of like watching someone drop wallet, not say anything right way, only so you can pick it up and call them later about it hoping to get a reward.

You say you're protecting the name from people who have ill intentions, but that can be done by emailing the celebrity and letting them know "Hey,, is about to expire, just thought I would let you know so you have the opportunity to acquire it." -- You could also get a 'reward' that way.

In fairness to my hypocrisy, I had another 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 I first countered at $420 (because I wasn't thinking) and hours later, rescinded the counter, and accepted the initial offer.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 []." 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


First Name + JONES Sales:


First Name + STEVENS sales:


First Name + Nelson sales:


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:
The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
Last I checked my name was for sale for $4,800...sigh..
@LeapNames at least it's for sale.. mine is an insurance company :/
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?

Yes, it's ethical, unless your infringing on a trademark, even a common law trademark.

For me, it comes down to intent. Are you planning to make money from someones brand, trademark or just buying a common name b/c you know there will be demand for it.

Joe Johnson was a great boxer, does that give his estate permanent rights to a domain? I don't think so but hope they were able to purchase it.

It's great to see people who can admit mistakes b/c we can relate to similar situations. As always, let your conscience guide you.

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?
Maybe fair game, it's not something I would risk. I would only buy my name or JohnDoes' if they were available.
  • The sidebar remains visible by scrolling at a speed relative to the page’s height.