Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

Have you heard of "URL Squatting" before? And what does it mean to "buy" a URL?

Asked by Dutchess_III (42444points) January 31st, 2017

I guess it’s a pretty common practices among business to snatch up (“buy”) web domains that are insulting to them, to shut them down. As of Oct 2016 trump had taken 3,600. Hillary, 30.

Also, what does it mean to “buy” a URL? I’m not sure. I’ve always been under the impression that we simply rent our business URLs through GoDaddy, or a subset of GoDaddy. We get to design it and name it whatever we want, but we don’t actually OWN it. We just rent it.

Education please?

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7 Answers

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

If you register it nobody can do anything with it. It’s yours.

Zaku's avatar

Yes. Buy is imprecise language for registering it for your own use.

Domain names (not URLs exactly – just the domain name part, e.g. “”) are registered with a domain name registrar responsible for running servers that translate such names into numbered IP addresses.

Registration generally involves an ongoing fee.

But some people register bunches of them that they don’t use, either to prevent others from doing so (e.g.,, or in anticipation of someone wanting a name badly enough to pay more than they did to get it from them. (e.g.,

Those selling would agree to let someone else register it for a price that the seller gets to set since it’s an outside agreement to do something they can’t be forced to do.

Mariah's avatar and are two other examples.

Zaku's avatar

There are also companies that buy up addresses that used to be used. Following old links takes you to a site that either crazily attempts look something like a site about the domain name, or attempts to sell you registration for that site. (You can get and for under $1200 each… yay.)

Dutchess_III's avatar

Excellent you guys.

Lightlyseared's avatar

In the 90’s it was a big thing. People would register domains with the names of big companies that hadn’t noticed the internet yet. When they finally did they’d have to pay a fortune to get a website with their name. I think it was bout 1999 maybe 2000 when laws were put in place to prevent it.

gorillapaws's avatar isn’t really the web address. It’s actually There is an international body that registers domain names and associates them with those numbers (called an IP address). When you type in into your browser window, your machine will ask Verizon, Comcast or whoever your ISP is (for most people) to convert it into the IP address for you. If it doesn’t know then it passes you further along the chain until the domain is reached (that’s a bit of an oversimplification, but you get the general idea). All of those servers are constantly processing millions of requests. That’s why you can’t outright buy an address. When you register a domain name, you contract a registrar to handle those transactions for you on your behalf usually for 1+ years before renewing.

BTW Godaddy sucks. They have a terrible site that tries to trick you into buying extra services you don’t really need. I recommend They’re a nice company that doesn’t try to screw their customers. Also, their CEO doesn’t shoot elephants for sport.

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