We purchased a .co.uk domain for a new business which we started up in October 2012. Exactly 22 days later, the .com TLD of this domain was purchased by this company (according to WhoIs):
Association, OnNowTV.com @cox.net
4101 NW 143 STREET
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK 73134
They have simply put up a DomainSponsor-powered page.
The domain isn't exactly one which should be 'snapped up' as it consists of three words which are hardly popular keywords and totalling 17 characters. This is the name of our business, but it is not a trademark.
We had every intention of purchasing the .com domain, and to be fair I'm not sure why we didn't do it at the time of purchasing the .co.uk variant.
Now, where do we stand on getting the .com domain into our own hands. Are we at the mercy of paying an extortionate fee for it? Or do we have any legal standing in that this company have purchased the domain very soon after we did purely to profit out of it?
Unless you filed legal corporate documents for your business, I don't think you're going to have much luck forcing them to give it up. You can either let the .com domain go and hope they let it lapse, or you can contact them to see what it would take to purchase it.
As annoying as cyber-squatting is, it's legal, and unless your business is irreparably damaged, there aren't many legal actions you can take....
Bugger, I thought that may be the case :(. So,
a) What are the chances they will decide to let the domain expire?
b) Based on that Whois, who do we approach to purchase the domain?
c) How much should we expect to pay?
a) No clue. Some squatters sit on them for years, or reserve a name for a future project they want to do. There are a number of reasons why they are holding it, and not all deal with trying to grab money for nothing
b) Well, there's a phone number there. You could start there. Or go to OnNowTV.com and see if the contact information is there. Last case, send them an email.
c) Depends on why they have the domain name. If they want to do something with it, they probably won't sell. Or the price could vary based on how much money they think you have or how bad they think you want it....
You do face a dilemma here. If you approach them to try to buy it, and fail to agree a price, that might indicate to them that there is a demand for the name, and encourage them to hang on to it for longer than they would. But if you don't approach them, you could wait indefinitely for them to renounce it.
I wish I could give you a better answer.
If you are concerned about this issue you should always buy the most popular tlds for a domain straight off the bat.
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