Officials of GHSU, ASU purchase potential domain names

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Before they have even picked three finalist names, officials involved with the consolidation of Georgia Health Sciences and Augusta State universities have been trying to buy themselves some cyberprotection.

When the first six recommendations from the branding committee were released, officials had already secured about 70 different iterations of the names that will end in “.com” or a similar commercial site name, said Deb Barshafsky, GHSU’s senior director of executive communications.

Otherwise, someone could buy a site name similar to the university’s Web site, which will end in “.edu”, and set up a “spoof” site or worse, she said.

“This is just a cost-effective way of protecting your brand and protecting your trademarks,” Barshafsky said.

One of the more famous examples was a man who registered peta.org and set up the Web site as “People Eating Tasty Animals.” People for the Ethical Treat­ment of Animals wasn’t pleased.

Suspicions were raised when it appeared that two domain sites – augustauniversity.com and nobleuniversity.com – were registered personally by Barshafsky well before consolidation was announced, one in 2009 and the other last July.

But someone else actually registered those domain names, and Barshafsky purchased them in May when the initial list was revealed, one for $1,495 and the other for $1,395.

The domain names were registered privately and Barshafsky purchased them through a secondary broker, so she doesn’t know who was responsible.

“Someone made a nice tidy profit off of those two domain names,” she said.

Unregistered domain names usually cost around $12.99, Barshafsky said. She used her personal credit card because she said it was easier to do that and get reimbursed.

Once a final name is picked by the Uni­versity Sys­tem of Georgia Board of Re­gents on Aug. 8, any sites not associated with the name will likely be allowed to lapse, she said.

Once a new name is picked and a reasonable domain name chosen, officials will apply to EDUCAUSE, a group that issues “.edu” names on a first come, first served basis, said Vice Pres­ident Greg Jackson. The group does not take into consideration who owns the “.com” version of the name, he said.

The decision to grab the domain name iterations is standard practice, Barshafsky said.

“It’s a way to protect your brand, and it is a way to protect your trade-offs moving into the future,” she said.

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Riverman1
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Riverman1 07/11/12 - 06:55 am
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70 Different Names?

How in the world did they even come up with 70 versions? Is that right?

twentieth century man
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twentieth century man 07/11/12 - 08:58 am
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boggles the mind

How could these domain names have been registered so far in advance of this merger, especially the extremely obscure "Noble?" Are there not some unanswered questions here?

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 07/11/12 - 09:07 am
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Noble

They wasted that $1,395 when they purchased nobleuniversity.com. The Board of Regents will never choose that.

David Parker
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David Parker 07/11/12 - 09:25 am
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I just bought

I just bought www.Riverman1.com

I figure eventually the school will be renamed and I want to be ready....just in case.

kiwiinamerica
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kiwiinamerica 07/11/12 - 10:29 am
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What in the world......??
Unpublished

OK, let me get this straight. Way back in 2009, a person or persons unknown registered one of the names augustauniversity.com and nobleuniversity.com. What an amazing ......er.........*cough*........coincidence!

And it appeared to be GHSU's Senior Director of Executive Communications (Barshavsky) but it wasn't. It was someone else. She actually purchased the names recently using her own credit card through a secondary broker because it was *cough*....."easier that way".

But wait a minute! When a new name is picked, none of that will matter anyway because "EDUCAUSE" is going to the allocate the name and it doesn't care who already owns it.

What are you trying to say, Tom?

Riverman1
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Riverman1 07/11/12 - 11:33 am
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Oh, David, Too Funny

Heh, heh, heh. I actually clicked on the "website." If anyone could ever put my 15,000 or so posts together it would fill up a website. It might be popular if I would throw up some nude pics too.

straightshooter
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straightshooter 07/11/12 - 03:21 pm
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@Riverman & Twentieth

River, Have you ever been on the internet? There's so many different ways you can portray a site name. Not trying to be a smart-aleck, just saying

@Twentieth, the person that bought Noble way in advance probably just figured there might eventually be a university called that (it's probably not even a local person). And if they ever needed the name, he/she would cash in. Guess what, it worked. There are many people that make extra cash buying "good" domain names and resell them later. Or buying domain names that people forget to renew, is a really good way to make money too. But if you don't know what you're doing, don't even try it.

bdouglas
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bdouglas 07/11/12 - 03:59 pm
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There are plenty of companies

There are plenty of companies out there who specialize in domain name speculation. They spend time buying up domains numbering in the thousands in hopes that a few of them will pay off one day. When a large enough company, celebrity or other public figure wants your domain, you can easily pocket $10K or more just by selling the name to them. Heck, if I want to buy the domain name that is my legal first and last name .com right now it would cost me over $5K, according to the people who own it.

@Riverman: 70 versions would be pretty easy given that there are 6 names to choose from already. That's 10 or 12 variations on each name tops. augustauniversity.com, auguniversity.com, augustau.com, augustauniv.com, uofaugusta.com, nobleuniversity.com, nobleu.com, nobleuniv.com...and every single one of those also has a .org, .net, .info and other possibilities as well. Not hard at all to get to 70 or more.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 07/11/12 - 06:32 pm
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Straight and BD

Yeah, I get all that, but 70 versions would be of how many basic names? Then Straight makes a good point, I could always come up with another version of almost anything being creative.

The truth is I doubt such expenditures are even necessary. I know Coca Cola simply goes after anyone legally who uses a version of their name. Other big companies, too.

It may have been this idea to buy up all the names was unwise and not something approved by attorneys. It may be an old wives' tale that entities such as colleges have to buy up all versions of their name.

bdouglas
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bdouglas 07/12/12 - 08:09 am
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@Riverman: Well just the

@Riverman: Well just the basic versions of each name (augustauniversity, nobleuniversity, etc.) in the .com, .net, .org and .info varieties would yield 24 domains alone. I'm with you on it probably not being necessary, just pointing out how it's quite easy to get to 70. Fact is, Azziz U is not Coca Cola, Apple or some other major brand that the 'cyber squatters', as they're called, would likely target. The fact remains, though, that if you have a trademark and you do not protect it you are liable to lose it at some point when it becomes a commonly used term. Qtip, Kleenex and Bandaid are good examples. Most people call each of their respective products by the brand name and not by cotton swab, facial tissue or adhesive bandage. But those brands have been aggresive in protecting their trademarks. That's the reason the new U is doing it. Whether it's necessary here or not is certainly debatable.

Techfan
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Techfan 07/19/12 - 04:29 am
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Techfan
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Techfan 07/19/12 - 04:31 am
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