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A person who registers a domain name for monetary gain.
The cybersquatter has no intention of using the domain name, but intends to hold it hostage in order to sell it for a profit to someone who actually wants to use it.
Cybersquatters search for domain names they feel may be desired in the future, or that have names similar to existing domains. If someone wishes to purchase the domain, they will contact the holder and offer to purchase it for more than the cybersquatter paid. Depending on demand, some domains only go for a small markup, while others can go for thousands or even millions of dollars.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I purchase a domain from a cybersquatter?
If you are interested in a domain that is already registered, first visit the site and make sure it is simply a parked domain, and not actively in use. If the site is blank, or just a page with a list of links or ads, you may be in luck. Scan the page and see if there is any information about the page being for sale. Many cybersquatters will post a for sale notice on their page with contact information. If such a notice exists, follow the instructions provided. If not, check if the owner’s information is available at Whois.net. If so, send the owner an email or snail mail inquiring asking if the domain is for sale.
What if I can’t reach the domain owner?
If you can’t get in touch with the owner, check when the domain is set to expire. After a domain expires, the current owner has a short grace period, during which time the site is shut down but he or she can still renew it, usually for 30-40 days. After that, it may take another month before the domain becomes available to the public. You can either wait and try to purchase the domain once it’s available, or sign up for a wait-list service to be the first in line if the domain goes on sale. Several companies offer this type of service for a non-refundable commission. Of course, if the domain owner renews, you’ll be out your commission fee.
If the domain never sells, doesn’t the cybersquatter lose money?
If a domain never sells, the cybersquatter may lose money, but most domains cost somewhere between $10 and $20 a year, so the loss won’t be substantial. If the domain holder can sell even one domain a year for a small markup, say $200, that pays for at least 10 .com domain registrations. Cybersquatters are hoping at least one of their domains become a high-domain property. In order to further minimize their risk, many cybersquatters put ads on their parked domains, which can curb the cost of holding the domain. For high-interest domains, these ads can be extremely profitable, and the cybersquatter may be willing to hold on to the domain until a sizable offer is made.