Dan.com Prohibits Coronavirus Domain Names

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According to research from DomainTools, reported this morning by Domain Incite, “[M]ore than 68,000 coronavirus-related domain names have been registered so far in 2020.” I would imagine this is a mix of speculative registrations, corporate registrations (like Target buying coronavirus testing domain names), and people registering domain names to build informational websites. Quite a few domain names that were bought speculatively have been listed for sale via Dan.com and other marketplaces.

Dan.com is one of the largest independent domain name marketplaces with an inventory of more than 5 million domain names currently listed for sale. In a pair of tweets this morning, Dan.com announced that the platform will no longer allow sellers to sell coronavirus related domain names:

Dan.com will be actively removing domain names related to the coronavirus. I was told over 1,000 coronavirus related domain names have already been removed from Dan.com or blocked from being listed on the platform.

I reached out to Dan.com CEO and founder Reza Sardeha, and he told me the platform will be blocking keywords such as “corona,” “coronavirus,” “COVID,” and other domain names specifically related to the coronavirus pandemic. Reza told me, “We believe that it’s morally unacceptable and this type of behavior from just a few makes domain investors look bad in general.”

Generic health or medical domain names will not be removed from the platform.

In the second tweet, Dan.com suggested that sellers donate coronavirus domain names to various organizations working to defeat the pandemic or helping people recover from illness. The company offered to facilitate the transfer of these types of domain names at no cost to either party. In my opinion, unless someone has a high traffic domain name, I don’t think domain registrants should spend time reaching out to various organizations to offer to donate domain names. I think that could be a distraction to the people who are working hard at these organizations, and for most newly registered domain names, there is simply no value – financial or otherwise.

If someone registered a coronavirus domain name and wants to do something benevolent with it, I would recommend to simply set up forwarding on the domain name to an organization that is helping fight the pandemic. This would not take any time away from the organization, but it would ensure any traffic ends up on a reputable website.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Hypocritical witch hunt motivated by a desire not to be criticized, imo. If they’re so moral, why don’t they donate their assets to people who aren’t able to procure basic necessities through no fault of their own? There’s a lot of tragedy due to poverty, oligarchic exploitation and imperialism in this world quite apart from the current pandemic, but very few care until they’re in danger of being criticized.

    • P.S. GoDaddy appears to have done the same, even though they own numerous bird-flu domains which are for sale at NameFind (including AvianFlu.com, which has a minimum $32,500 bid at GoDaddy Auctions). You can argue that bird flu is a not-all-that-serious poultry industry problem, but it’s obvious the real value of the domains is in the event of a bird-flu pandemic.

      If they want to be fair they should take down all bird-flu listings, plus those related to cancer, heart disease, depression, etc. – but I doubt they will do that as I don’t think they care about being fair, only in making sure they are not criticized. That’s fine, as far as I’m concerned, I’m not saying they should be fair, but I hope they won’t issue a sanctimonious statement like Reza Sardeha’s, I’m already nauseous today.

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