An E-Commerce Journal Part 1

By Joe Burns

We found the owner of StreetArt.com and shot him an email. We got on the phone together and he pretty much put an end to the quest right away. He had a site he liked, he felt it was helping him, and the name was not for sale, period. We weren't too concerned because the name wasn't being used for the same idea we had, so we went to our second choice.

StreetArtist.com was owned by Peter Jones, a street artist who lived in Denmark. We got in touch with him and he was a little more receptive to the idea. We talked about why we wanted the site and how we enjoyed street art and would like to make it available to a much wider audience. Street Artists are very talented people and maybe this site could both provide an income for us and a method of promotion for the artists.

Peter thought about it and said he would get back to us. The next day he did. Yes, he would sell us the domain name for a fee. Now, you may know the stories behind some of the very, very large fees paid for domain names. I was a little concerned at what he would ask. Then it came:

Make a $250 donation to the American Red Cross.

Deal. My wife and I got in the car and drove to the Pennsylvania Red Cross and made the donation. We scanned the receipt and emailed it to Peter. He accepted and we started the process of changing the domain name from his name to our name.

The process was fairly easy but a little time consuming. We felt sorry for Peter too. Because he was the owner, he had to do the vast majority of the paperwork. He went to the Network Solutions site and downloaded the Domain Name Registration Agreement. Once that was filled out, he sent it back to the hostmaster at Network Solutions. A return email from them provided a tracking number. Once we had that number we were in business.

He re-filled out the agreement stating that he wished to give the domain name over to my wife. That document was then witnessed in Denmark. That, and a copy of Peter's passport, was mailed to Network Solutions. Round about three weeks later, the paperwork was filed, the transfer had taken place, and the domain name was ours.

Our site would be called StreetArtist.com.

Cybersquat?

In order to protect our name from others who might want to take a name close to StreetArtist.com and use it for other than well-intentioned purposes, we decided to buy up as many names as we could. We bought:

StreetArtists.com
Street-Artists.com
Street-Artist.com
Street-Artist.com
and StreetArtist.net

...plus a few others that will allow us to expand into other countries and right here in the U.S. We felt fairly confident that we had covered ourselves at least in terms of the name we had just purchased.

Now we had an idea and a name. We still didn't know what all of this would cost us. The thousand-plus dollars we just spent for all of the domain names was heavy enough. What if the server space, advertising, and product were just too expensive? We just didn't know.




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