Expired dot-ca names come up for grabs

If you’ve always had a hankering to set up an Ashley Judd fan site, now’s your chance.

Ashleyjudd.ca is just one of thousands of dot-ca domain names that have expired and are about to become available. Dot-ca registrar Internic.ca now offers a back order service for Canadian domains, so once

a site has expired and is re-issued, you can be first in line to claim it.

On Dec. 27, 2001, Ottawa-based Internic.ca began publishing a daily tally of expired domains. The 145 that expired on Thursday range from the professional (itspecialists.ca), to the juvenile (ihateschool.ca) to the downright weird (deadbodies.ca). The back order fee is $75 and Internic.ca president and CEO Rob Hall says he’s already received more than a thousand orders.

You don’t even have to wait until the name has expired to put a back order on it, says Hall. “”If the (current owner) does indeed not renew it, we can apply for it the second it becomes available on your behalf.””

Before now, expired dot-ca names just floated off into the ether. On Jan. 17, dot-ca governing body CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority) will make the first batch of these (approximately 25,000) available for registration.

Ashleyjudd.ca is just one of the celebrity names that will shortly become available. In August 2000, Madonna made some waves to reclaim over her namesake site Madonna.com, which at one time was under the ownership of a N.J. pornographer.

CIRA spokesperson Gabriel Ahad doesn’t foresee any similar imbroglios with Canadian sites.

CIRA came into existence to manage dot-ca domains on Dec. 1, 2000. “”Since that date, we have seen practically no disputes relating to the rightful ownership of a dot-ca registration,”” says Ahad. “”In my opinion, in the dot-ca world, we are not going to see that level of contentious disputes with respect to the names of celebrities. . . . If it was going to happen, it would have happened already.””

There has always been stiff competition for dot-coms, but dot-ca domains have the benefit of being the purview of Canadians. Ahad estimates there are approximately 30 million registered dot-com names in existence, compared to about 260,000 dot-cas. “”If you want to start a company or whatever, and you want (to register that name under dot-ca), it may well be available,”” he says.

But just because you put your name down for an expired dot-ca with Internic.ca, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get it. There are 90 other CIRA certified dot-ca registrars and any of them can register any dot-ca name once it becomes available.

“”When a domain name expires, and it’s released, it’s as if it was never registered in the first place. . . . The industry works on a level playing field. They are available to the first registrar who wants to register them,”” says Ahad.

Hall acknowledges that his service isn’t foolproof. He says that other services that offer pre-booking for dot-coms, like Internic.ca partner Snapnames.com, have about a 70 per cent success rate. But if your first pick isn’t successful, he says, you can always move onto another one, or try pre-booking as many as you want.

Maybe you’d better hold off on compiling that Ashley Judd picture gallery after all.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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