You Want to Clean Up The Domain Industry? Start with .CM

Dec 09 2009

cameroon dot cm typosWe talk of typos, we talk of trademarks,  but the biggest farce in our industry is the .cm tld.  Created ONLY for typos, this TLD is a perfect example of why many people despise people who buy and sell domains.  According to McAfee, ” more than half of the sites tested in Cameroon’s domain space were found to be engaged in shady behavior, such as infecting visitors with password-stealing or spam-sending software” Half.  This is not a case of a few bad apples.  Half the apples are rotten.

We are a bunch of hypocrites, Google included.  We talk of no typos, no trademarks, and I see google selling top placements in ads with the word “google” in many of the domains.  One of the largest companies in the world can’t write a script that doesn’t allow links with the word Google in the domain name?  Sure they could,  but they don’t want to lose revenue.  And that’s what it comes down to money.

If the money is right we all look away.  Fortunately, the registrars of .cm were greedy when they priced their .cm domains and kept most people from registering names.  Unfortunately, that left the big time scammers as the only ones that had enough to gain to financially justify the purchase.

Don’t give me the “Cameroon has a right to a tld”  Sure, how about CMR, CRN, ROON, or anything that isn’t confusing.  To make it worse, Columbia is right behind with their sure to be typo, dot co.

I work by one simple rule. If someone has created content and you try and hijack the road to that content, you are wrong. I want people to find my domains because they were looking for my domains, or something within.  Plain and simple. I want them to type my  domain in the browser bar, follow a link, or find it within a search engine.

Am I a hypocrite? My recent purchase of best iphone apps certainly has some huge trademark issues but then I see Bing buying ads on Google for “Best iPhone Apps”.  Or RIM Blackberry buying the top ad in Google for “iPhone”.  One of the ads is also  This is not a case of me saying, everyone else is doing it, so it must be OK.  This is me saying that .CM  easily crosses the line and let’s start with the obvious and work our way down.

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Outsmarting the Dumb, Outworking the Smart

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  1. Alfredo

    cm is a cctld, no a gtld. 🙂

    About CMR, CRN, ROON. cctlds is always 2 characters and corresponding to ISO 3166-1 alpha-2.

    cm Cameroon
    ca Canada
    cn China
    cr Costa Rica
    co Colombia
    ce It’s Free
    cc Cocos Islands

    Inform yourself about the cctlds rules and don’t make up rules. 😉

  2. Ms Domainer


    You are sorely mistaken if you think EVERYONE registered .cm domains to “hijack” traffic. I registered my first name .cm, which resolves to my personal homepage, which does not set out to deceive anyone. If someone lands on my page by mistake, they will not encounter malware or V1@gr@ ads, just info about me.

    It was just an opportunity to get my first name domain. In retrospect, I realize I overpaid and to a ccTLD registrar that engages in shady practices, but that’s another issue.

    It’s the ONLY .cm I have registered, and how others choose to use .cm is not my problem. I do agree that ICANN needs to take a look at how this TLD is operated, and, perhaps, step in to cyberslap them and make them comply with good business practices.

    Before throwing stones, you should look inward at the way you conduct your own domaining business, for instance, unapologetically buying TM domains.


    1. Post author

      I absolutely am not saying everyone. I am saying Half, which is amazing. As for your homepage. You really couldn’t find a better name that people could find easier. Doe the people that you want to see your homepage really remember it’s .cm. I agree, you have to look in the mirror and I feel I conduct business in a very moral, ethical way.

  3. Chris Robbins

    While I like the post and feel it’s fine to talk about .cm owners as abusing the cctld it’s still a fact that all country codes are two characters and were designated and passed out by ICANN in 1995 without any crystal ball or tarot reading on their part as to how it would be used 10+ years later. So while I agree with your assessment mostly, remember that guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

    1. Post author

      Very well put and I agree. The only thing I’ll point out is that this a recent decision as to register it or not since they were just released.

  4. Juan

    This is a tough issue. A few comments: First, I agree with the comment by Chris.

    Second, this statement requires further consideration: “…the registrars of .cm were greedy when they priced their .cm domains and kept most people from registering names. Unfortunately, that left the big time scammers as the only ones that had enough to gain to financially justify the purchase.”

    The problem is not price. The problem is the lack of awareness that’s typically involved in the launch of a new TLD, particularly one with very little global appeal – Yes, this problem will apply to ALL new TLDs. “Most people” don’t care about registering names during a launch (they never will), so the only ones that make it to the party are domainers (white hat or not) and the scammers. Therefore, in the absence of general public “awareness” the easiest thing that a new registry can do to keep the scammers away is to start with a high price and gradually reduce it as “most people” start registering the names for real use. Netcom and the registrars may have been greedy, but that was actually the smart thing to do even if that wasn’t their intention. Launching with a low price will only make the problem worse. Lower price = more scams available for scammers to profit from the space.

    Finally, the lack of general awareness during the .CM launch was exacerbated by the lack of major distribution (with the exception of some big domainer centric outlets). That’s not Netcom’s fault, but rather the lack of general interest for the TLD. Why would a registrar support it? New TLDs should take note.

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