The IPkat was not hugely pleased to receive an email from an outfit calling itself HSBF Internet but which does not appear to have a website of its own. The text reads, in relevant part:
"We are selling the domain name This is the very first time since its initial registration in 1996 that this important domain has ever been available on the open market. The domain is currently on sale for just £795 + VAT.

Savvy players such as B&Q with their, British Gas with their or Lloyds TSB with their domains have for many years reaped enormous rewards and marketing kudos from owning THE prime generic domains that define their respective industries. Nothing in the mindset of the public is more memorable than a domain that "does exactly what it says on the tin"!

Furthermore, most of our clients are now finding that prime domains such as this pay for themselves within weeks rather than months by virtue of the extra business that they drive to their websites by means of type in traffic and greatly enhanced search engine positions.

Would you like to go ahead with this?"
No, the IPKat would not like to go through with this. He thinks it's laughable to suggest that any kudos attaches to descriptive domain names - and consumers pay much less attention to them nowadays when everyone knows how to use search engines than they did ten years ago, when people used to key in 'intuitive' guesses and hope they'd come up with what they were looking for. Merpel is also curious to know about the "savvy players" stuff. What makes HSBF Internet think that Lloyds TSB or British Gas reaps "enormous rewards" from its possession of a descriptive domain name, rather than through old-fashioned saturation advertising through the conventional media?

Other people have been troubled by HSBF Internet too. See comments on here and on here.

Jumping to false conclusions, the sure-eyed IPKat spotted the 'phallo-' bit and assumed that was going to be some sort of porno-site. The good news is that it's not a porno-site at all. The bad news is that it panders to an even baser instinct - man's need for lasting fame and the undying admiration of his colleagues. Yes, it's time for the 2007 nominations for the IP Hall of Fame.

Right: "The Cat's Meow" - Famous Cats by De La Nuez, on sale from

The prime mover is IP consultant, IAM editor, journalist and personality Joff Wild, who says:
"Too often, IP is seen as something that is of benefit only to large, faceless multinational business organisations. This makes it easy to attack and misrepresent - something that is happening more frequently every year. By injecting a human element, the IP Hall of Fame helps to show that far from being of benefit to a privileged few, the development of today's IP system has had a profound and overwhelmingly positive impact on billions of lives across the world".
Whether you agree with this sentiment, as the IPKat is happy to do so, or think like Merpel that it's really a load of sententious codswallop because it's those billions of lives across the world who enrich IP coffers by buying IP-products and services, do be sure to make your nominations. Anything that heightens awareness of the need to encourage human creativity and/or make lots of money from it must be good.;; Reviewed by Jeremy on Friday, April 20, 2007 Rating: 5


  1. Darn, its a shame Joff insists on the nomination being human; otherwise I would have nominated a certain Kat.

    Does anyone remember that taxi driver who accidentally got interviewed on BBC News 24 on the finer points of an IP dispute involving Apple. I nominate him.

  2. Others may disagree about descriptive domains. and are for sale and apparently the latest bid is $US 350,000 (cash). See

  3. I agree with your displeasure at this type of unsolicited approach - particularly for such a poor name! However your analysis of the value of good generic domains is very badly wrong.

    Surprisingly perhaps, somewhere between 10-15% of web trafic comes from guessed "type ins" - while a memorable and appropriate generic domain ( for B&Q) has significant intrinsic value for marketing a site. Prices are going up, not down, for good domains.

    Beware though typosquatters for things that are not generic - they can get value from your goodwill. A bit of Russian anyone? Current going cheap, with an alleged bid of $630.

  4. If 10-15% of web traffic comes from guessed type-ins (and whose figures are these, anyway?), then 85-90% of web traffic doesn't come from guessed type-ins. My hunch is that the people who do that are those folk who learned the habit before search engines became as sophisticated as they are now, and that 10-15% - even if it is right - is probably plummeting even as I type this comment.

  5. Indeed you are right that most traffic is not from guessed domains - and many guesses are also "right". Howevr there is a heck of a lot of traffic - so a slice of 10-15% is a lot. Just look at Google or Yahoo's bottom line - for it is they who benefit most from the ads that are most often placed on these sites.

    I also agree the figures are surprising - but they generate a lot of money by PPC revenue (and other means if a "proper" site is developed) - so I think they have some substance.

    Like I said, prices are going up, not down. Perhaps not as crazy as in the era - but it is a more mature market with values based on revenues, not wild guesswork.


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