ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Real Estate and Cyberspace

From today’s print Wall Street Journal comes this story about “drop catchers,” those who troll the internet looking for expired or lapsed website addresses. 

I thought these issues were resolved by ICANN, but apparently after a thirty day grace period, a name is fair game.  An owner could have a website address, it might expire (due to inadvertence) and that owner would have to spend a great deal in order to get the domain name back.  One of the “drop catchers,” a graduate student, says that the situation is analogous to real estate, “if you’re not paying your mortgage or taxes on it, it’s going to get taken away.”      

According to the story, approximately 20,000 names expire each day.  The most expensive expired domain name was, at $260,250, followed by, which was sold for $159,500. 

[Miriam Cherry]

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