I won an auction at GoDaddy Auctions a little over a week ago. After the domain name was pushed to my GoDaddy account, I asked my Account Manager to change the nameservers on the domain name and I noticed something a bit problematic when I visited the landing page to see if it had been changed. When visiting the landing page on my mobile phone, I saw a large graphic “XXX” header and the keywords were adult related. The domain name isn’t adult related, although I could see why it would be classified as such because of one of the keywords.
Having an adult lander isn’t a big deal for me or my company. I don’t generally buy adult domain names, but I don’t have any issues with adult domain names or parking. Some people might have issues, but that isn’t why I found it troublesome. The issue I thought about and wanted to share with you is that a former owner might take exception to this and make a big deal about it. No, the former owner shouldn’t have any say in what happens with a domain name that expired, but some can make a big deal anyway.
I have read quite a few news articles about people who complain that their domain name was “hijacked” or something along those lines and the landing page was changed to porn. They likely view this as some sort of extortion attempt to get them to buy back “their” domain name or face some sort of embarrassment. In most cases, they are usually wrong about what happened to the domain name, but that doesn’t matter when it comes to a juicy article in a local newspaper. Good luck explaining what happened when the local Gazette emails you asking why the domain name of someone from their town is now showing adult links!
In cases like this, the domain name owner is doing nothing wrong. However, most people don’t understand the intricacies of the domain name business and domain name parking. When a reporter takes a former domain registrant for their word and sees adult keywords on the landing page, they might take it at face value and publish an article that makes the domain owner look bad.
This might seem a bit far-fetched, but I have seen articles that seem to imply a domain owner is using a domain name in a manner that embarasses a former owner. When I saw that adult landing page on the domain name I won at auction, my first thought was to change the keywords ASAP to avoid a situation like this. The risk is minor, but it is something to consider.