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Username: LegalEagle
Date/Time: Sun, January 6, 2002 at 12:47 AM GMT
Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer V5.5 using Windows NT 5.0
Subject: How to enforce this?


Thanks for that Moler. I suppose a better question might be:

"Can you successfully challenge a registrant of Group I (and current registered) domains solely based on this non-resale restriction?"

My guess is that .biz names will have additional .biz-specific criteria in an UDRP case, which can be actioned with Neulevel-sanctioned arbitrators (as with the STOP process). But that leads to another question, would you have to have a registered trademark to win such a case? I'd bet that you would, which means that many domains may not go challenged even though their owners are flouting the rules. If you didn't need a trademark to challenge a .biz rule violator, then that might open the floodgates and bring about an Afilias-esque domain name grab.

My bet is that most .biz registrants are not even aware of these restrictions (even I only vaguley knew about them!) so many specualtors will continue to treat the domains they have now registered as lease/resale-only investments. However the key words in Neulevel's terms are "solely for the purpose" and smarter speculators might attempt to portray their site as having a legitimate business (even having information on the site deems it in accordance with the rules), whilst really wanting to just sell or lease the domain.

Personally, I don't think such a restriction on open resale was a smart move by Neulevel. To do so would limit the trade and undermine the effectiveness of the TLD; it would be bad for Neulevel's business if the deepest pocketed companies weren't aware of .biz domains for sale (because nobody is advertising them for fear of being seen as being "noncommercial", almost a contradiction in terms when you think about it: the aftermarket is a very commercial-oriented industry).

This would result in many good generic .biz names never being bought and developed properly, and thus prevening other net users from perceiving .biz domains as valuable domain alternatives.

Speculators of generic names actually do have a considerable market effect on domains: they have traditionally been the ones that take the risks and buy them even though they have no business plans to develop them, ultimately driving the prices of domains up. But they're also the ones that advertise them and make deals with bigger companies who are interested in developing them.

However, if speculators are not allowed to speculate on .biz, then it may be possible that initially the best names are rubbish (maybe small Mom & Pop) sites and early on the .biz domain will get a poor reputation by not having big business sites using it; it won't be taken seriously. Demand for 1st and 2nd tier names will then drop accordingly.

Of course, this is just a theory and and possibly a worst case scenario. I think in practice Neulevel will not be policing and enforcing the domains for commercial use (the policy is so open to interpretation that one might even argue that a non-resolving domain could mean non commercial use). Such use (or non-use) of the domain will probably only come up in disputes with legitimate trademark holders, as it always has in past URDP cases.

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