esarahpalin.com eBay auctionIt looks like at least one domain name opportunist is trying to cash in on the coverage surrounding John McCain’s presidential running mate, Sarah Palin.

The Alaskan was catapulted onto the world stage last week when she became only the second ever female US vice-presidential candidate.

We don’t normally cover US politics in great detail on this blog, but I noticed this morning that someone is offering the catchy domain name, esarahpalin.com on eBay. You can find the auction here.

Bidding starts at a bargain $10m, but if you want to be absolutely certain of securing this awesome domain name, you’ll need to fork out $21m to close the auction early using eBay’s Buy it Now feature.

Is it for real?

Let’s be honest. $10m (never mind $21m!) is an awful lot of cash for this domain. Worse, it could well turn out to be worthless if Sarah Palin disputed its ownership. And given the WHOIS record shows the domain was only registered on 8 September, she’d probably have a strong case.

This all makes me wonder if the auction is for real. Perhaps the seller is hoping to make a fast buck, unloading the domain before the McCain camp notices it and files a dispute. But if that’s the case, why ask such a ridiculous amount of money for it?

It’s not as if esarahpalin.com exactly trips off the tongue either. Still, if you don’t fancy spending $10m+, you could get in there and grab isarahpalin.com for £8.99 while it’s still available. Don’t all rush at once…

Would you pay $10m for this domain? Or indeed, for any domain? (If it makes any difference, the seller is offering free shipping on your $10m purchase. Very generous.)

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Comment

8 Responses

  • Graham

    No domain is worth $10million let alone any more but as they offered free shipping it just makes it amusing. Now if they included a few bottles of champagne and a nice big yacht I might be interested!

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    September 10, 2008 at 4:47 pm
  • Smash Masterson

    Actually, there a plenty of domains worth $10 million.

    Common search words are often typed into browsers directly, generating huge revenue based on clickthroughs to paid ads. For example, a domain like loans.com might get 5,000 – 10,000 type-in visitors a day, all looking for… you guessed it;)

    Based on today’s ad market, those visitors would probably generate six figures per month, or between $2 and $3 million per year. And that’s with a parked page, a developed site would also experience a branding effect, perhaps being able to make $5 – $10 per year MORE with the domain than without.

    Domains like mortgages.com, digitalcameras.com, cell phones, and many other commerce related terms are easily worth seven figures.

    But eSarahPalin.com? Maybe $10;)

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    September 10, 2008 at 11:13 pm
  • Dax

    Could Sarah Palin dispute ownership, and on what grounds? Surely unless a trademarked name or registered company is mentioned, you can have any URL you choose. She can’t claim copyright on her name, can she?

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    September 30, 2008 at 6:42 pm
  • John

    Hi Dax,

    I’m not a lawyer, and the rules aren’t straightforward, but there have been a number of cases where figures in the public eye have successfully disputed the ownership of domains which contain their name. For instance, Wayne Rooney and Jeffrey Archer.

    One of the key things that decides disputes seem to be whether the name was registered in ‘bad faith’. A dispute panel might point to several things which suggest this:

    - The domain was registered on 8 September, right after Palin was catapulted into the public eye, suggesting that someone was looking to capitalise on her exposure.
    - The domain is currently being used to host a parking page, containing adverts which will earn someone (possibly the domain owner) money each time they are clicked.
    - The domain is being offered for sale so soon after being registered.

    If eSarahPalin.com had been registered by someone else called Sarah Palin, or if it was being used to host a relevant website (say a fansite for Sarah Palin) then I doubt the claim could be supported so easily.

    I’ll leave this here because I think I might muddy the waters more. These links might help explain things a bit more clearly though:

    - Domain name dispute information from out-law.com
    - Domain dispute policy explained on Wikipedia

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    October 1, 2008 at 11:40 am
  • Dax

    Thanks John, very interesting stuff, which I had no idea about. I’ve always been interested in law, both civil and criminal, and this is one area I’ve never given any thought to. The Outlaw site you mentioned looks like a fascinating site, definitely one for further exploration, both for the domain stuff, and as a law site in general.

    Thanks for taking the time to answer.. much appreciated :)

    Dax

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    October 1, 2008 at 12:07 pm
  • paul walsh

    of course this is nonsense .. but also , of course , some domains are surely worth $10m more or less. Examples:

    sex.com
    p**n.com
    books.com
    tv.com
    mp3.com
    apple.com
    hp.com
    ms.com
    windows.com
    123-reg.co.uk
    and so on..

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    January 3, 2009 at 6:25 pm
  • justin

    it 3 domain name with .com, .net and .org extension worth 1 million dollar?
    I have e9u.com, e9u.net and e9u.org up for sale on ebay for 1 million dollar. do you think it is worth that much?

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    January 18, 2009 at 11:59 pm
  • John

    Hi Justin,

    Valuing domain names is notoriously difficult, and ultimately they’re simply worth whatever someone will pay for them.

    Still, you could try hunting around some of the main online marketplaces to see what similar domains have fetched previously – that might give you a rough idea.

    Thanks,

    John.

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    January 19, 2009 at 7:01 pm