In a world where nearly everything has been invented, we’re proud to claim that we created Robin-Hooding domain names. We didn’t set out to be trailblazers. It happened accidentally. We saw a catchy domain being auctioned at Godaddy and we did a Google search to see if it meant anything. It turned out that it was an online children’s clothing store with a domain that redirected to a Shopify.com page (under the covers). Usually, domains at auction don’t resolve to live sites, but for some reason, this one still pointed to the company’s Shopify page. There were two people bidding on the domain. We emailed the domains owner and explained what was happening. He hadn’t realized his name was expiring (open emails from your domain registrar, people!). He contacted Godaddy, got the name removed from auction and renewed it. He then wrote us this:
Thanks a lot! That’s my clothing brand and it would suck if I had to pay a squatter to get it back.
You win the Internet today
We’ve never won the Internet before. It felt good. Our therapist says it’s totally healthy and we should keep doing, despite the amount of trolling and not dealing with the real world Robin-Hooding domain names takes.
It’s much easier to contact a small business owner whose email address can be easily found than it is to contact a well-known person who we could only tweet at. We like Robin-Hooding, but there’s only so much time and effort we can put in trying to discreetly get in touch with a famous person. What would happen if we tweeted at U.K. pop star with 1,000,000 Twitter followers that his name was in the final hour at a domain name auction? One of his million fans might grab before he sees the tweet. So, in those cases, we decided that if we didn’t have to bid too high, we’d try to secure the name, then tweet to said famous person and arrange to transfer the name to them for free (or at the most for exact amount we paid for it, but only in cases where we spent more than $50).
Hopefully, some of these people will be grateful that we Robin-Hooded their domains for them. We’d like to “win the Internet” again for someone. Our therapist says we like validation.