Categorized | Random Rants

Fortunately, Martin Zwilling from Business Insider Does NOT Think We’re All “Squatters”

Posted on 08 April 2011 by Andrei

UPDATE: 30 minutes after this post was published, Martin edited his article and wrote a very reasonable/professional comment on DomainingTips.com. Thank you Martin, the Internet would be a far better place if everyone were as open minded as you have proven to be!

Ron Jackson, who covered the Business Insider article I’ll be dissecting today, is one of the most polite online journalists out there and we’re fortunate to have him as an industry leader IMO. On the other hand, I’m not as polite and for this reason, am writing an open letter to Martin Zwilling (as a gesture of respect, I will also email him a link to this post) in order to explain that even though his article is decent, one remark is just plain insulting.

First of all, click HERE if you’d like to read the entire article. As you can see, it’s not bad at all and unlike a lot of other mainstream writers, he at least acknowledges the fact that mastering the domain game is a must if you’re a business owner.

There is however one statement I have a problem with and I’m always disappointed when I see writers who should know better write something like:

Snagging an unclaimed great one is almost impossible these days because domain “squatters” gobbled up a lot of the catchy real estate several years ago.

I want to clarify the following two aspects:

1) the term “squatter” (now I understand that Marin Zwilling added the “” but it doesn’t change the fact that this sentence can and will confuse readers) has a negative connotation and is out of place in this sentence, the correct term should be “domain investor”

2) there is absolutely nothing wrong with owning “catchy *online* real estate” (just like there’s nothing wrong with investing in land, art or anything else) but by using the term “squatter” (a term, as previously mentioned, with a negative connotation), the author is making it seem that buying catchy domains is somehow unethical

Now if he would have said something along the lines of “squatters gobbled up a lot of trademark infringing domains” then sure, his sentence would make sense because that’s exactly what a squatter is, a person who buys trademark infringing domains.

That’s it and at the end of the day, it all boils down to this:

  • squatter -> trademark infringing domains -> unethical
  • domain investor -> non infringing domains -> ethical

My final message to Martin Zwilling is that in order to make his article reflect the true nature of our industry, he would have to replace this sentence:

Snagging an unclaimed great one is almost impossible these days because domain “squatters” gobbled up a lot of the catchy real estate several years ago.

with this one:

Snagging an unclaimed great one is almost impossible these days because domain investors gobbled up a lot of the catchy real estate several years ago.

9 Comments For This Post

  1. monudo Says:

    frustrating when you try to be honest then get labeled just like a common criminal even tho you did nothing illegal

  2. Martin Zwilling Says:

    Andrei, your point is a good one, so I have made the correction you suggested where the article was originally published on my blog http://blog.startupprofessionals.com/2011/04/when-to-pay-premium-for-your-company.html . Unfortunately, I don’t have direct access to the syndicated Business Insider site, but I will add a comment there.
    My intent with the quotes, as you noted, was to indicate that squatting is not the correct technical term, but simply a colloquilism that I often hear associated with the process that represents frustration on the part of many entrepreneurs.

  3. Shaun Says:

    “a colloquilism that I often hear associated with the process that represents frustration on the part of many entrepreneurs.”

    Frustration is an understatement.

  4. Andrei Says:

    @Martin: you made it clear that you’re one of the few reasonable mainstream writers out there, thank you. I’ve edited my post accordingly and have published a new one a few moments ago.

  5. Anders Says:

    He should get it right wherever it´s published. Credibility: none. “Mainstream writer”. Hrumpf.

  6. Tom Says:

    And with your simple edit, all of a sudden it becomes an article I would have sent to my family and friends to explain what it is I do in my basement! 🙂

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  8. Verona Santore Says:

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  9. Martin Zwilling Says:

    If you are asking me for my blog platform, I am using Blogger by Google, with one of their standard templates. I have no problem with Blogger, but I believe the most common platform used is WordPress. There are several others as you mention.