I registered a domain for a non-profit organization some time ago. They decided to let the site go, and so the domain was left open. It’s a very specific domain, of no interest to anyone other than the original organization.
Received the following email from Ken Palm at securethatdomain.com. Now, there is plenty of sleaze in the domain business: I get “renewal notices” via mail for some of my domains from people looking to charge ridiculous sums, who assume that someone will just pay the bill thinking it is legitimate, for example. But it was hard to read the following email as anything short of the extortion it is. It’s difficult to read “Please understand, I’m not saying that this WILL happen if you don’t buy the domain,” without the stereotyped voice of a mafia enforcer. “You know, sometimes accidents happen. These old shops just go up in flames. Maybe you should buy some insurance…”
In case you are wondering, his “acquisition costs and modest profit” he is hoping to be reimbursed for total $257. The joke of it is, he only needs to hit one of these jackpots from someone who doesn’t want their organization to be associated with a porn site to make up for the thousand that ignore him.
Don’t get me wrong, although I don’t think it’s good, I can understand why a market for trading desirable names has come about, and if you want to buy a “future” in a name like rutabaga.com, that seems reasonable. If, on the other hand, you are looking for easy marks and (hint, hint, nudge, nudge) suggestion that someone might put up a pornographic site that would confuse your visitors, this is another ballgame. Along with things like Site Finder, it represents real bottom-feeding. If this company is enabling typosquatters, particularly for .org or .edu domains, it seems like something the FTC should be interested in. I’m not saying they WILL be interested in it…
Recently, [expurgated].com expired and went into a domain name auction. We acquired it and, since you own the .org version of this domain name, we wanted to provide you with the opportunity to own the preferred .com version. Our company specializes in recovering preferred expiring domains and either selling them to individuals such as yourself or building out our own web presence on those valuable domains.
Why would an Organization or Non-profit want the .com version of a domain?
* .Com is the strongest brand on the internet. When people think of a website, they intuitively think “.com”. Odds are people trying to get to your website are inadvertently going to [expurgated].com because they assume that’s where they can find you.
* Owning the .com can help you protect your organization’s reputation….
It may sound far fetched at first, but only a few years ago the domain name WhiteHouse.com was a site littered with pornography. Imagine users surprise when they wanted to find out about White House tours and end up seeing the offensive material there. (Since then, someone else bought the site and took down the offensive material)
The last thing you’d want to happen is for someone to build a website at [expurgated].com which contains negative or even offensive content.
Please understand, I’m not saying that this WILL happen if you don’t buy the domain. Odd are that it will NOT happen. But, if you’re interested in securing your reputation I strongly encourage you to consider buying the .com today.
If you’d like to own you can buy it now by covering our acquisition costs and a modest profit.
If you have any interest I encourage you to act quickly because this domain name will only be offered for sale for a limited time.
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iTime Marketing, Inc
322 N. Main Street
Davenport, IA 52801