This is a guest post by a friend of mine named Daniel (aka tetrapak) over at NP. He wrote this post this morning and I suggested we share it on my blog as his story teaches a few good lessons to domainers and developers. Daniel graciously agreed to publish his experience, enjoy:
I would like to share a short story with you, that might hopefully have some interesting bits and conclusions for you.
I’m sure most of you remember when 4 years ago the DNS Belgium decided to make .be registrations free until 2006. On the very first day people jumped on this opportunity, as if it was the landrush, and registered 17,000 domains. I was among these people, with some senseless typo and English word registrations. However, as many clever people have suggested it even at that time, if you have registered a generic domain that doesn’t bring in revenue from parking, develop it (well, actually if it has some traffic/revenue it makes even more sense to develop).
I’ve always been excited by new technologies, so one of the first minisites I created was Maglev.be. Maglev trains are basically levitating over the rails, and their potential (speed, efficiency, comfort ..) is much larger than the regular trains, only the price is the backdrop.
So here I was with this minisite that I really liked, it became Dmoz listed and SE’s have quickly picked it up. In the first year I had no problem with it, except that Freebe.be didn’t let me transfer out the domain (no option to unlock it, get the transfer code, and they haven’t replied on my emails), but the renewal was considerably cheap, hence I didn’t care much.
Next year came the trouble.. Freebe.be went out of service, and my domain was left alone without a registrar, and was about to drop. I was counting the days until the drop, however someone was quicker in registering the domain Maglev.be. I’ve immediately contacted the new owner that I would pay him a reasonable amount if he transferred it to me. The minisite was not making much in revenue, but I had emotional connection, and I wanted to get it back. The new owner was asking a ridiculous amount, even after I explained my situation. As far as I can remember he was asking $1,000.
Well, I’ve had enough of this dead-end situation, but badly wanted to have a website about maglev trains and maglev technology. I knew Maglev.com was a some kind of an official site, no chance to ever get that. I was going for the second best option. Yes, it was very pricey, but finally I had Maglev.net in my account. To cut the long story short, after so much trouble, I’ve got together a nice website that now provides frequent updates about maglev on Maglev NET – Maglev Trains & Magnetic Levitation.
Lesson 1.: Never trust a bad registrar
Lesson 2.: Never buy from irrational sellers
Lesson 3.: Always try to find alternatives
Lesson 4.: Never give up!
Lesson 5.: Development is the way to go, forget about parking & minisites, they have no future.