Report: Canadian Starts Company After Settlement

There was a report in today’s Calgary Herald that I found interesting and somewhat surprising, and I want to share it with you.

According to the article, a 17 year old Canadian high school student named  Abdul Traya registered the domain name in 1998. It was just before Apple launched its new computer line, and apparently the company wanted the domain name but didn’t register it.

After a legal letter from Apple, Traya was able to settle with the company for a significant amount of money.  Traya reported that he received an “undisclosed sum – an amount, he admitted, that was almost enough to retire on.”

Perhaps Traya’s age worked in his favor, and Apple didn’t want to spend time filing legal papers, especially since Traya was a minor. Also, perhaps the company felt it was important to use the domain name ASAP and thought it was worth the money to settle immediately rather than using the court system. The quicker UDRP system didn’t come into existence until December of 1999.

Whatever the case, I think Traya got somewhat lucky because there are hefty penalties in the US for cybersquatting (up to $100,000 per domain name), and the UDRP system isn’t expensive and doesn’t take very long. It was nice to see that he used the settlement to help start his company though.

Aside from this interesting information, I take issue with one part of the article:

“Still, there are those who do set out to make money from domains, said University of Calgary professor Tom Keenan.

“It’s called ‘cybersquatting,’ ” said Keenan.”

Of course that is only true when you consider trademark infringing domain names. There is a multi-billion dollar, completely legal, domain investment business built on descriptive/generic domain names that cannot be trademarked.

There aren’t a whole lot of people and companies that legally make money from domain names, but I believe publicly traded companies like Marchex, Tucows, and Demand Media (to name a few) would disagree with the definition of cybersquatting as making money from domains.

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. That kind of thing happened quite often in the mid to late 90’s, when there were no rules and it was the Wild West. I think a lot of people regged names like that back then, because it was first come, first served, and people were hoping for a quick cash-out when the company came calling (like what happened here). Times have changed though.

  2. He was 16 when he registered the domain in 1998, so really it was a first come first serve system. Apple was just too ashamed that they didnt register the domain. Whatever the outcome was, great story.

  3. Elliot, great point, but I emailed Abdul and he replied that he was misquoted and he started WestNet before the apple thing, so your article this title is wrong . I suggest you contact him for better clarity. He said the opportunities he had before were enough to make him retire and what happened afterwards after the publicity helped him but still was paid an undisclosed sum.

  4. @ S. Uev

    My article title comes from this section of the article I read:

    “He dropped out of Crescent Heights High School and then, bankrolled in part by the cash from the settlement, founded one of Canada’s first wireless Internet services.”

    In any case, I updated the title of my article.

  5. “Whatever the case, I think Traya got somewhat lucky because there are hefty penalties in the US for cybersquatting (up to $100,000 per domain name), ”

    Yes Apple may have “international trademarks” however;

    Hefty penalties in the US for cybersquatting (up to $100,000 per domain name), ”

    Mr. Abdul Traya was in 1998, a resident of Calgary, AB (in Canada) at the age of 16 when he registered the domain. If you read other sources you will read that Mr. Traya registered thousands of domain names for his portfolio. He had no clue he even owned it until he got the letter, just like other domain firms. Not so much an attempt of cyber squatting.

    Good work on your entry non the less, it seems to have more comments than the Herald Article. LOL

  6. All i can Say is Mr Abdul Traya you have big balls for taking on companies they way you did and still do 🙂

    Abdul You can shake my peaches any day. !!

    • He’s my cousin, owns west net digital in downtown Calgary. Genius mind almost acts crazy, drives a old supra but he’s loaded


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