There were a number of comments critical of Juan Diego Calle in an article I posted this morning as well as an article posted by Rick Schwartz. Although the video Rick and I shared was primarily about LeWeb’s move from LeWeb.net to LeWeb.CO, the founder of LeWeb referred to the owner of LeWeb.com as a “squatter,” despite his having registered the domain name before LeWeb.net existed (and he successfully defended the UDRP – well, not really “defended” since it was a win without filing a response).
In response to some of the critical comments, Calle posted an article on the .CO blog entitled “How I feel about domainers.” You can read the article for yourself and post comments there, but some of the takeaways from his article include:
- Calle is a domain investor, and one of his other companies owns names like ParisHotels.com, NewYorkHotels.com, MiamiHotels.com…etc.
- Cybersquatting makes the domain industry look very bad
- There is a distinction between cybersquatting and domain investing
One issue I take with Calle’s article is the last paragraph: “if you’re a cybersquatter, or even a mass speculator, leveraging technology to register thousands of names, please do so in someone else’s backyard. ”
Some of the biggest companies in the domain investment business could be considered mass speculators. One of the most successful .CO investors stated that he uses technology to buy domain names (“we have 150,000 names many of which a machine registered“).
I am bothered by cybersquatting as much as Calle because it does make us look bad to the general public and to people in the tech space. However, there is a big difference between cybersquatting on someone’s brand and speculating on descriptive domain names. I am sure Juan would be upset if someone filed a UDRP on one of his descriptive domain names and called him a cybersquatter simply because Juan wasn’t using it in the way that a complainant thought it should be used.
I still think the news of LeWeb switching to .CO is very big for the .CO Registry because of its audience. I do think the video backfired though.
** 5/14 Update **
Juan clarified his comments on leveraging technology to register domain names.
I want to share a video I was sent with entrepreneur Loic Le Meur of LeWeb and Juan Diego Calle of the .CO Registry. In the video, Le Meur announces LeWeb’s switch to .CO and discusses why the change was made from the .net extension where it previously resided.
If you’ve never heard of LeWeb before, it’s a “European Internet event, where 2500 entrepreneurs, leaders, investors, bloggers, journalists will gather together for 2 days in Paris. LeWeb brings together the most influential audience in the Internet ecosystem. Top industry entrepreneurs, executives, investors, senior press & bloggers gather for 2 days in Paris to focus on the key issues and opportunities in the web marketplace.”
Because of its wide reach, this is a pretty big announcement. Testimonials about the conference come from heavy hitters like Eric Schmidt and Sean Parker (Schmidt was the keynote speaker in 2011). This year, LeWeb will also be expanding to London in addition to its Paris conference.
One thing of interest is Le Meur’s discussion of LeWeb.com, as the company filed a UDRP for it in 2011 and lost. It’s a bit surprising that Le Meur called the owner a “squatter” since I believe that domain name was owned prior to LeWeb’s existence. As the panelist in the UDRP opined, ” when a domain name is registered by the respondent before the complainant’s relied-upon trademark right is shown to have been first established (whether on a registered or unregistered basis), the registration of the domain name would not have been in bad faith“.
It appears that the domain market hot streak is in more of a holding pattern, at least according to Sedo’s IDNX. A report from Sedo this morning announced that the IDNX domain price index recorded a 2.1% decline in April, following growth of more than 22% during the last six months.
Sedo reported that there are a couple of factors that may have led to this decline in April:
- “Glimpse into the the wider economy suggests that people were spending less on domains during April, accounting in part for the fall in the total value of domain sales.”
- “Another factor in April’s 2.1% decline was a small decrease in the number of sales. This is likely due to sellers’ reluctance to adjust asking prices for their domain listings based on decreased demand.”
Comparatively, the NASDAQ 100 index saw a 3.1% decline and Apple stock fell 2.5% (probably because I invested in it). Coincidentally, April was the strongest month of the year for me after recording a few large sales. I operate on a very micro level though with some anomalous sales, so I wouldn’t necessarily think my performance is indicative of the overall market.
Hopefully this is just a temporary setback for the domain market.
Sedo’s full release is below: → Read More