Domain as Leverage in Negotiating Tactic

Shame on Vancouver’s Stanley Park board of directors for trying to use a local entrepreneur’s domain name as a negotiation tactic in a license renegotiation. According to an article in the Vancouver Sun, the Stanley Park board of directors seems to be using carriage entrepreneur Gerry O’Neil’s domain name as a leverage in their negotiations. O’Neil’s carriage company calls Vancouver’s famous Stanley Park it’s home, and they offer carriage rides in the park, as they’ve done since 1985.
An excerpt from a 2005 letter sent to O’Neil asking him to relinquish his domain name reveals the underlying negotiation tactic:

“We are aware that your current licence [sp] agreement with the board expires on April 30, 2008, and that you will likely wish to negotiate a renewal term in the near future.”

To me, this looks like they are trying to tell O’Neil that they will not look favorably upon his renewal application should he not turn over the domain name to them. Not only does O’Neil have every right to his domain name, he is also an advocate for the park. In fact, in his current license renegotiation, he has indicated that he is willing to pay $200,000 towards improvements in the park over 10 years, while the park only wants a 5 year deal with $100,000 in improvements.
If the Stanley Park board of directors wants the domain name badly enough, they should pay him a fair price. Perhaps they should commit to the $200,000 in park improvements in exchange for the domain name to save O’Neil’s company a considerable amount of money. Had they had the foresight to register the domain name before O’Neil, they wouldn’t be in this predicament.
It’s a shame that another group believes they have the right to a privately held domain name owned by someone else. They are lucky that a park supporter such as O’Neil owns the domain name rather than someone else who could use it for other purposes that might not be in the park’s interest.
Special thanks to for spotting this.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn
  1. I saw this first hand when I worked for a company that owned a country domain name. The owner wasn’t a citizen of the country but resided there and had a business license. They held things over his head all the time in an attempt to squeeze the domain from him. Didn’t ever work out for them.

  2. It doesn’t sound like they are trying to kick him out over this, they just want a 5 year lease and he wants a 10 year lease. The domain issue was only brought out by him to try to get some leverage on the issue.

  3. As predicted by Rick Schwartz, and ignored by so many, the day that these stories are becoming more than daily occurances has arrived.
    More establishments are becoming emblazoned to openly try to steal domains from us as they FINALLY recognize their value. If we do not get a handle on this situation immediately every one of us stands to lose their investment.
    You might look at your portfolio of domains and THINK that you are in the clear because you are sure that you have never intentionally violated a trademark etc…
    However, as you are beginning to see, these organizations believe that they have the rights to whatever they want to have the rights to. Lufthansa thinks it has the rights to Google LH and you will see there are 36 million results. Within those results are thousands of companies and products, a stock ticker symbol, a blood test, people’s initials, a hormone, schools etc….. What makes Lufthansa think it deserves Just deep pockets, a firm of highly paid attorneys, and rhetoric.
    So take a look at your portfolio of domains for a minute…is my safe? Wasn’t there a report out that Fox will be starting a new show called Virtuality this year? Gee, what if they want to start a blog about the show? Should I just hand over my domain now and get it over with?
    What about my domain It is getting a lot of traffic… think the Center for Disease Control might decide that they need it? (in the Nations interest of course…)
    Again, I urge everyone to contribute a percentage of your domain sales at the TRAFFIC show to the ICA. I have pledged 15% of my sales proceeds on any sales forum and I ask everyone to meet or beat my challenge.

  4. I think the domain IS part of this issue, why else did they include reference to his lease in their letter requesting his domain? Why don’t they just offer him a price for it and negotiate, like any other piece of property? Obviously the park board feels they have a right to this generic domain, when in fact they don’t. That’s the problem lately with other reports of big entities trying to pull generic domains away from their rightful holders.

  5. Their letter regarding the domain was from 3 years ago, there isn’t any mention of any recent domain-related talk since then. Sure it is an issue in some way, but if it was the main issue they wouldn’t have offered him any lease at all – they’d threaten to kick him out.
    All the article says is that one side wants a 5 year lease and the other side wants a 10 year lease.

  6. Scott, I hope that you sell a ton of domains for a whole lot of money. The ICA needs our support and I applaud your pledge! I hope many other domainers will give voice to a pledge. Any pledge – how about 5% of ppc revenues for the next 6 months? How about the price of three new reg. fees if that is all you can afford. Whatever it is, give it. Let’s get creative and do something to save this industry.

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