It is commendable when cable news networks try to include panelists on their panels that cover the spectrum of opinions and expertise on any given news topic. Lately, however, what appears to be lacking is experts in the domain name field. In the recent months a lot of news has centered around digital media. Mostly on cyber security, fake news, and foreign interference in electoral processes. It is of no surprise that domain names enter the conversation occasionally, either in direct news coverage or late night news comedy. An outstanding example came tonight (or last night, depending on your time zone). It was on CNN Tonight with Don Lemon. The news centered around the company Columbus Nova, which is a subsidiary of Renova Group, owned by a Russian oligarch and which made payments to President Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. Apparently Columbus Nova was involved in registering domain names related to the alt-right (extremist Republican political party base).
It would have served to inform the viewers best regarding these registrations if a domain expert was on the panel. But only political commentators where participating. The question posed by Don Lemon to the commentator was something to the effect, “Is it plausible that the domains could have been registered to sell for profit, as the registrant claims.” The commentator went on to respond that such things happen and even called such a person a “squatter”. How would a domain name professional answer such a question?
First of all, a domain name professional would make it clear that such activities (registering generic domains for resale) is not “squatting”, or “cyber-squatting”, but likened closest to purchasing available land (real estate) for development. “Squatting” only refers to intentionally registering copyrighted or trademarked domain names. There is a big difference there.
Second, and more directly related to the question, is that if the domains where purchased for resale the evidence would be in what was done after the initial registration. Were the domains pointed to “for sale” pages? Were they listed on the mainstream marketplaces? Was there any indication in the whois info that they were for sale? If none of these actions where taken then it is likely that the intended usage of the domains was not for resale.
It is very interesting to see the increase of domain names mentioned in the news. Hopefully we will see soon domain experts participating on panels on news networks where the news topic warrants it.