Domaining is a process of earning money through buying, selling and monetizing domain names for a profit but at the same time as E.L. James says – ‘There’s a very fine line between pleasure and pain. They are two sides of the same coin, one not existing without the other.’ Same way, you have to be very cautious as you don’t know when you will be slipping onto the other side of the coin.
On our one side is always pure Domaining and on the other side is Cyber Squatting. I remember preparing my own scripts to find the high traffic domain names way back in 2008. It used to search for high traffic .com domain names which were about to expire and then give me a list of the top ones which I will place on Back Order in bulk at various websites.
This process was pretty automated, and I would had upto hundred such domain names in my list every day. Sometimes even more than a 100 too. Then I used to check the next day which ones of my back ordered domain names, I was able to secure or which ones are put in an auction.
Once such domain name attracted my attraction and that was no other than – AirTel.com
Airtel is an Indian global telecommunications services company based in New Delhi, India. It operates in 18 countries across South Asia and Africa.
If you haven’t heard about it, ask about it from any of the 1500 million mobile phone users in India (estimated through Wikipedia), and there is hardly any Indian who uses a mobile phone or landline, and doesn’t know about AirTel.
As I remember, the time was some day of February 2010, around 7 years ago (from the date I am writing this article).
I just opened my Inbox and I found an email which said you are in an action for a domain name called AirTel.com
I simply looked over the spellings again and yes, it was AirTel! At first moment I saw it I was happy, and at the very second moment itself I became afraid that how come I or someone else can acquire a domain name of such a famous Indian company.
It was clear to me in the very second moment that I don’t want to own this domain name. I am a Domainer not a Cyber Squatter.
I had Three options:
1. Try to get out of this auction (which the site owner would not let me do, or the back ordering company will suspend my account with them forever)
2. Buy the domain and gift for free to Bharti Airtel, the parent company which owns AirTel trademarks and copyrights (they may give me some appreciation on press media, I won’t ask for any money ofcourse)
3. Wait and watch till what price this Auction ends up (I was not alone in that Auction ofcourse and I have back ordered this domain without proper checking of Trademarks, so I thought this is the best way to recover from my mistake – don’t bid at this domain name again for any further upgraded bid amount)
So like any other wise man, who wants to play clean, I selected Option 3.
The bid went on for some days, and I remember the last amount I saw was some high five figures in USD$ and the username of the person who bought was hidden and later the auction went on to become a Private Auction and I could not see the ending details of this Auction.
I researched further on AirTel.com and I saw that before 2010, when anyone would type Airtel.com, you will be directed to www.vodafone.es. Now Vodafone is another major competitor of Airtel in India.
So was Airtel.com hijacked by Vodafone.es before it became free in the open market for anyone to fetch it ? Or did Vodafone not want to hand over the domain name easily and directly to AirTel and rather opted to not renew it and let it release in open market so Airtel can get it if it wants. I found on Google that this is because Vodafone bought out Airtel’s Spain operations. Airtel had won a license to operate in Spain. I don’t know any further information but if you want to know more details, I think you can further search on Google about these details. By the mid-end of 2010 I could easily see, Airtel.com becoming the main primary website for Airtel company, earlier it was Airtel.in. So I was happy as a domainer, that the Airtel company got its own cyber asset that Only Airtel deserved and nobody else.
One thing I learnt from this Auction of AirTel.com – don’t place backorder on a domain name without researching at its legal presence globally. You can get good Stats and Figures, but the actual name itself is something the Bots are not able to annalyze, atleast for Copyrights in All the countries in the World.