Earlier we posted something on LinkedIn that really got a lot of people worked up, and all sides of the spectrum. For those who haven’t read it, the post was about someone who refused an offer of $5,000 on a domain he held and was mentioning that “it did not meet his expectation.” There was an undertone of gloating about that. The post was:
I just saw a post in which someone was boasting and gloating he rejected a $5,000 dollar offer on a #domain he holds. It didn’t meet his desired price. Think this behavior is a #pathetic form of bottom feeding. Do something constructive in the #blockchain and #ICO space, rather than hold other people for #ransom. Grow up, guys!
As said, that got many people engaging in the post, which is excellent. Discussion and debate is something we need, as we are all finding our way in Blockchain land. Many times and this is no exception, there are more sides to this (crypto)coin. You can look at it from a legal point of view, a business perspective, or a moral position. Remember there was a lot of hoo-has when pizza.com was sold for one million dollars.
The biggest legal challenge faced when it comes to cybersquatting is the issue of jurisdiction. The harsh reality is that chances of seeking legal remedy and then winning are extremely low. Many legal systems do not recognize or deem these practices illegal, therefore just because you managed to bring the culprit to court, does not immediately mean that you are successful. The World Intellectual Property Organization has a (flawed) arbitration system, so it all comes down to whether or not the party in question is willing to subject themselves to and participate in the alternative dispute resolution in question.
From a business perspective, one could just say a domain is like a commodity, a property and therefore “business is business.” In that sense, selling and buying domains can be seen like an auction, where the highest bidder wins. That is a fair principle, but also means that the person who needs it most might not always be the one with the deepest pockets. In most major cities the housing market has a similar problem with the first time buyers, who are often times pushed aside by the more affluent investor.
There is also a moral side to this. In a way, one could argue a certain company or person is more or less entitled to that specific domain, simply by the service or product they are offering. But is there such a thing as moral entitlement? Think the jury is still out on that one. Also, what have you done to warrant an increased value other than “just registering” it and holding on to it? If one registers and holds a domain for say three years, that probably wouldn’t have cost more than 100 dollars. Add interest or margin on that, say you double that to 200 dollars. A nice return, but most would seek a higher yield. A rough diamond is cut, polished, set in a ring, and by that increases its value. Do domain resellers do something?
Someone has something you want, well, how bad do you want it? Say it starts to rain, and you want to go outside, and do not have an umbrella. Most people would be happy to pop into the 7-11 and buy one, probably good for only one use. They would probably even accept a higher price.
Uber has been caught increasing prices when it rains that most of us don’t even know but put up with that. Is that fair? Is the taxi ride not the same distance when it rains? Airlines and hotels know when there are certain events and put the prices up. Fair?
Well, we all look at it differently, and each person finds certain arguments more important than others. Ultimately things will be settled in a courtroom – if it comes to that at all. Most often a compromise or an alternative is found. Think the true entrepreneur would find a plan B, and make that an even better approa
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Hans Koning and David Meszaros are the founders of Vicarium.io, The authority when people talk about “the Blockchain and crypto space,” in the fields of Law, Governance, and Business Consulting. Both have been involved in the Blockchain and crypto community for a few years. They have been and are advisers to coin offerings, and often work as a team, adding value to the venture, and steering them through the challenges that are faced through the various development stages. Subsequent involvement as Board member is something that quite often results. They both understand the value of governance and legality and feel it is important not simply to comply, but moreover, take a pilot role. The analogy with the “Wild West” has been made when talking about ICO’s, and both Hans and David feel they need to, but even more so, want to explore, chart and guide. Vicarium will be the vehicle that delivers just that.