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Ethics question

Discussion in 'General Board' started by zingzilla, Oct 22, 2012.

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  1. zingzilla United Kingdom

    zingzilla Member

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    I have over the years acquired quite a few personal name domains eg, bobsmith.co.uk (I dont actually own that one but you get the idea)
    I have sold quite a few but stopped because I was fearful I was crossing the line in terms of ethics.
    My question is if you own bobsmith.co.uk and you're not actually called bob smith is their anything wrong legally or morally in selling it to someone called bob smith for a profit?
    Advice gratefully received.
     
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    Acorn Domains Elite Member

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  3. sdsinc Iceland

    sdsinc Active Member

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    Well in my view, it might be a problem if that person is famous. It could be argued you are profiting off their 'trade' name.
    Also, it's more difficult to justify ownership of a domain like that when you are not called Bob Smith or do not trade under that name...

    Not legal advice of course.

    More to the point, since you are saying you sold quite a few such domains, who were the buyers ? Individuals or companies ?
     
  4. zingzilla United Kingdom

    zingzilla Member

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    Hi, thanks for the response.
    No, the names I sold were of or to no one famous. Just everyday British personal domain names.
     
  5. tifosi United Kingdom

    tifosi Well-Known Member

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    forenames yes
    surnames yes
    forname+surname no

    many forenames & surnames have multiple generic qualities & uses. e.g. smith, bob. Put them together and you have a specific instance: bobsmith. Crosses a line imo...
     
  6. figleaf007 United Kingdom

    figleaf007 Active Member Exclusive Member

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    Out of interest, what line do you think it crosses? I've a few of these and think selling Bob Smith to Bob smith is no different to selling blue widgets to someone who sells blue widgets, no?
     
  7. tifosi United Kingdom

    tifosi Well-Known Member

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    Abusive registration. I don't consider full names as descriptive or generic - even though they may apply to more than one person, alive or dead. Unless you have the full intent - and have shown this - to develop the domain as an homorific site to a particular person I consider it a line crossed.

    Others may not. Just my ethical boundaries.
     
  8. Philnorris Germany

    Philnorris Active Member

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    In most European countries, the named person has the right to claim their name.

    IN the UK this is not the case, however owning a domain of Simon Cowell would certainly have his lawyers come after you.

    If you regged a domain knowing that the owner was a Simon Cowell then this will not be a fair registration.

    I have sold dozens of first name last name domains, usually for xxx, on a couple of occasions x,xxx.

    I am presently challenging a German company who use the domain Noris dot de for their business, yet they also own Norris. Which is my name, I as a brit cannot challenge them, but my wife can (I live in Germany and she is German).

    I actually think this practice is fairer than our own.
     
  9. Blossom

    Blossom Well-Known Member

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    I think it depends on intended use. If the person uses Bob Smith to host their family photos or use it for a blog or hobby site in some way, then it seems to cross a line to sell them a domain for a significant sum if they won't ever be making any money from it. On the other hand, if Bob Smith wants to use it for personal branding as he is a consultant, or sell his photos on it, he'll likely get the money back and I think that would be ok.

    Just my opinion, obviously it would be almost impossible to work this out and sell domains accordingly, so I'm not saying it's a practical solution in any way.
     
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