Mike Berkens on the Biggest Threat to the Domain Industry

Mike Berkens, owner of one of the most valuable private domain portfolios, touched on it in my interview with him, but he expounds on what he believes is the biggest threat to the domain industry on TheDomains.com blog. Mike feels that as an industry, we need to police ourselves or a governmental agency will step in and potentially impact more than just the trademark domain issue.

Here are a few suggestions that Mike makes in his post regarding what we can do:

1. Do NOT register, backorder, or participate in any auction containing these types of domains.
2. The drop services have to stop taking backorders for these obvious trademark infringing names.
3. Stop domain tasting.
4. Join the Internet Commerce Association (ICA)

Check out TheDomains.com to read more about this important subject.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the DomainInvesting.com 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. Hi EJS,

    I can see all the trouble issues except ‘domain tasting’ – what’s the harm in that?

    Most all businesses – even REAL real estate and Mortgage Agents, Retailers etc. – give you at least a three day window to change your mind and cancel the transaction.

    I’m just not buying the inflexibility inherent within this proposal. The Domain Industry is not yet NASDAQ.

    What am I missing here?



    I believe much of the tasting that is done involves trademarked names. The essence of tasting is to see if a name has traffic or not, and most names that receive traffic that are unregistered probably fall into the trademark area or possible grey area.

    I will be the first person to admit that I did tasting, but it wasn’t to test traffic. Up until a little over a year ago, I didn’t even know what PPC was. The reason I did tasting a while ago (sadly), was that I would buy names for $8.95 at Godaddy and try to resell them for $20-50 within the 5 days. I since learned that while the ROI was pretty good, there were smarter ways to invest in the business.

    I am sure there are people who taste names for this purpose, but I would bet that most tasted names have trademarks in them. If closing the loophole shows good faith by domain owners, then I am for it.

  2. Excuse my ignorance, but what exactly is the point of domain tasting? Why is it allowed? Are the millions upon millions of domains tasted every month not considered an abuse of the process?

  3. Domain tasting may actually hurt the taster; I have a few domains that got blah traffic for about a month and then suddenly picked up.

    I don’t know if there’s a lag in traffic reporting or what.

    I have been posting all over the place about TM domains, only to be slammed by others who say that registrars aren’t responsible for selling these names and that they can’t possibly police all the domains that pass through.

    Yeah, right.

    I agree with Mike Berkens 100%.


  4. If you are registering your own compiled lists of commerce terms, generic product names, or search strings, I don’t see a huge problem. But if you are registering names from expired or dropped lists, go through them with a fine tooth comb before you press the submit button.

    I encounter many TM domains on expired lists every day, some obvious, and some that look innocent. However, a little digging usually reveals an existing business (with a Trademark) that would not appreciate the competition, and may have legal recourse to back up their threats.

    Also, the comment about reporting delays and DNS servers seems increasingly true. I have domains that see traffic spikes months after they are registered.

    If it’s a good name, with search volume and is truly generic, just register it. It will definitely be worth more than the $10 you paid.



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