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Looking for a Desirable Web Address? Don’t Miss the Boat!

There is a thriving market in desirable Internet domain names and it operates on a first come, first served basis with no regard for national boundaries. One Englishman found that out the hard way when his surname was snapped up as a web address by an entrepreneur in New Zealand.

The entrepreneur, who ran an entirely legitimate business trading in generic domain names for profit, had offered to sell the address to the man for £1,300. He refused that offer, however, and accused the entrepreneur of extortion and ‘squatting’ on the .uk address. He claimed to have a priority right to the domain name as a UK resident and because it was identical to his surname.

He complained to UK Internet watchdog Nominet, in an attempt to have the domain name transferred to him. However, in dismissing his arguments as misconceived, a Nominet expert found no evidence that the entrepreneur had him specifically in mind as a potential source of profit when he registered the domain name. There was no basis for the man’s assertion that his UK residence gave him a greater entitlement to the web address and the entrepreneur had simply got there first.