[Netherlands] I’m not sure if this qualifies as domain name squatting but the motivation is the same.
Dutch web design company Baidu Europe – not to be confused with the Chinese search engine of a similar name – has put their domain names, brand names and trademarks up for sale on eBay. The starting bid has been set at $250,000 but the company is aiming for a much bigger payout of 1.7 million dollars after the 10 day auction has ended. However, at the time of posting – day 3 – not a single bid has been received.
It was back in 2008 that Baidu Europe (baidu.eu) announced it intended on selling its brand and domain names due to the rise of Chinese search engine of Baidu Inc, which is the leading search engine in China ahead of Goolge. And while no one has bid on eBay so far – I suspect the use of the Internet auction site may well be for PR purposes rather than as a genuine sales channel – the company says that it has already been contacted by several interested parties including a Brazilian-based Internet company, a Thai search engine (which makes a lot of sense), and unsurprisingly, an adult porn search engine.
I’m no expert on the value of domain names but $1.7 million dollars is a lot of cash. We’re not talking about a single domain name here, however. 16 are included as part of the package, such as baidu.eu, baidu.tv, baidu.tel and baidu.me, along with a Baidu Twitter account (nice work). And of course those legally binding trademarks are also part of the deal. Baidu Europe won’t be splitting up the offer either, it’s all or nothing.
After the sale goes through – presuming it does – Baidu Europe will continue to operate but under a new domain name, icteurope.eu.