Monday, September 21, 2020

Do some registrars automatically self-register catchy domain names that users search for?

Louis Rossmann reports on stories that GoDaddy sometimes registers some domain names (only previously unregistered) that users search for, so that it can sometimes charge more.

HackerNews (“Yourcombinator”) had reported that.

He says NameCheap doesn’t do that.

And yet, his cat is quite entertaining.  

Friday, September 04, 2020

Can registrars steeply increase the price of "potentially more valuable" domain names (with auction) before renewal? Unclear, but it doesn't seem to happen much


If you own a domain name that is based on a catchy phrase and not based on your own personal name somehow, can a registrar greatly increase the price before renewal if it believes the name has commercial potential you did not try to mine?

My own would be due Dec. 2, 2021 (about 15 months from now).

The name is registered with Network Solutions, which at one time was the only registrar (from 1993-1999) so it tends to be more expensive (Shivar story).

The company at one time automatically had reserved names searched for, thought to be a questionable tactic (Techcrunch story2008).

Bill Woodcock, from Quad9, has a Quora answer that suggests pricing of domain names depends on a “root hints” file and DNSSEC segment, which is an obscure system designed in the 1980s that is still in use today, as the Internet became much larger than ever expected in the early days.

Godaddy and Namesilo have some typical discussion of the auction and renewal process.  Original registrants are always allowed to renew, but there may be some attempts to start auctions of there is belief that the domain names should be worth a lot more.

Because of a lot of controversy over “free speech” and resentment (from those on the Left) that those with more money can publish more of their own speech without going through the social combat of “normal activism”, I suspect that registrars will start to pay more attention to how domain names are actually used (especially after the election and especially if Biden wins) than they did in the past.

“Ryan @ Web Eminence” has a video on domain pricing and talks a little about “premium domain names” based on previous volume and possibly income experience.

But I expect that this whole area will become more regulated in the 2020’s, especially with so much “nationalism” around.

I used the domain name “” (for "High Productivity Publishing", the imprint I created for my first printing of the first "Do Ask Do Tell" book) from August 1997 through July 2005, and then copied all the material from hppub (which was most of it) to doaskdotell.  Ironically that may have figured into a bizarre incident when I was substitute teaching later that fall, which I have previously discussed in many places. In early August, 2005 someone tried to offer me $50 for the hppub name but I didn't try to collect it.  It wound up being a casino site for a while. 

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Watermarks on videos may help you protect your licensing claims


Here is an article (from "Intellectual Property Headquarters") about the value of adding waternarks (based on your domain name, trademark, or wordmark) to your videos if you believe others will pirate from them without paying license fees.

They can be useful in DMCA claims, but they cam also simply drive legitimate traffic to you site.

This is Episode 23 from a series called Branding Content.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Apple starts a silly trade dress dispute with a totally unrelated health food business

Apple has gone after a company with a proposed trade dress that Apple claims looks too much like its own.  Nicholas Vega has the story in the New York Post.

The company is Super Healthy Kids with an app called Prepear, which would encourage healthful fresh plant-based foods, including pears (oh, yes, I had them in high school lunch boxes).  The logo is a chartreuse band that looks like a Mobius strip in 2D, not at all like Apple’s.

Furthermore, it’s a totally different line of business, so there is zero chance of consumer confusion.

I had a physician in 1970 treat a broken arm, in New Jersey, with a last name of Apple, which seemed unusual.

Friday, August 07, 2020

I would like my doaskdotell domain name to eventually support data tracking of policy issues

I wanted to reiterate some of my strategic thinking.

As I’ve written before, my “” domain name expires Dec. 2, 2021.
Although I think I have been effective in practice with drawing attention to many policy issues over the years with my “Web 1.0” site and blogging setup, it is dependent on “accumulated” wealth and makes very little on its own.  That is not sustainable at my age (77) forever.  I have never charged or asked for donations.

Instead, one idea is to use the domain (presumably after that date, or shortly before) for something that inherently gets much better and more transparent analytical results.  One idea would be issue tracking, by scraping information from other sites around the world and putting it into mobile friendly charts to “keep them honest”.  Right now, its coronavirus and elections that get the attention of web programmers for tracking. In time, it is likely to be other issues, especially climate change (which would functionally decompose into many smaller issues). Another might be human rights overseas.
So over the next 15 months or so, I will be interested in starting discussions with other parties about my future participation in such an idea.  So “hit me up” (comment below, monitored), or contact me  (@jboushka on Twitter – message is OK, or John.Boushka on Facebook;  my Instagram doesn’t let me add pictures right now, don’t know why.)

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Individual buys up desirable domain/trademark names for Washington "Redskins" (NFL) in order to flip one of the names for profit; why did the USPTO allow this?

The Washington NFL Franchise retired its “Redskins” name officially Monday (see July 4 post) and has not yet named a successor domain name (I like “Redtails”).  Bur now multiple media sources, such as Yahoo! report (by Liz Roscher) that a person in Virginia has registered multiple desirable names for the purpose of flipping them.

This is similar to trolling.

I would have though that the USPTO would not approve a trademark for a name where there was no intention to conduct a business with legitimate accounting (it could be a proprietorship or even grantor trust, which could hide the numbers) and real consumers or customers.

This is like domain name hogging.

Update July 24

Now the team is called "The Washington Football Club", at least temporarily.  That sounds like "The Brooklyn Baseball Club" in the movie "42".  

I have wondered this about my own (since 1999, set to expire at the end of 2021) because I have very few transactions. 

Maybe the SCOTUS ruling reported here July 6 matters.

(in the meantime, the Atlanta Braves say they will not change their team name.)

Monday, July 06, 2020

SCOTUS helps USPTO pin down what is a "generic" wordmark (in the case)

The Supreme Court, in a case “USPTO v.” holds that the addition of a TLD to a generic sounding word does not change the status of the wordmark as generic or not.

SCORUS agrees with a court and the DC Circuit that the term “” is not generic because consumers will normally assume that the website allows them to book reservations. The “.com” is irrelevant.  The important concept would be whether the domain name by itself conveys the notion of a commercial or consumer transaction.

This would not seem to apply to my, which does not by itself suggest a consumer transaction, and that’s controversial.

Picture: Provincetown, 2015