What's with OpenDomain.org?

Published: Sunday, October 30, 2005

The opendomain.org site seems to have acquired nunit.net, a domain we thought about using but didn't. Now I'm sorry, since they could use it for pretty much any purpose.

The info on their site says that they acquire domains to protect them from squatters. As far as I'm concerned, they are squatters. Presumably, we could request and be "permitted" to use the nunit.net domain to point to either of our sites, but only by putting links to their program - and thereby appearing to endorse what seems like a questionable effort.

Maybe I'm over-reacting, but I've been burned by folks who speculatively snap up domains before. Our local (Seattle) XP user group lost use of seattlexp.com when one of the members forgot to renew it. It was in the hands of one of these "investors" shortly after and we haven't been able to get it back. These guys look like the same sort of outfit, with the extra wrinkle of trying to gain support by "giving back" the domains - at least as long as they feel like letting you use them.

In searching for opendomain.org, I found that they are in a dispute with the creators of WordPress, coincidentally the very software I'm using to blog this. I don't know anything about the facts of this case, but my sympathies go with the folks who contribute their efforts to creating this great open source program.

Since opendomain.org doesn't give you any way to contact them - except to "apply" for a domain name - I'm blogging this in the hope that someone will tell me who they are.


Stay as far away from him as possible, he's taken advantage of dozens of projects like this. I removed his link because I don't want anyone else to get caught in the program. If you can and you have any sort of trademark or prior use on the name, I would recommend consulting a lawyer.

Matt, Saturday, October 29, 2005

Hey Charlie, Visual Studio 2005 rtm'ed on the weekend - any chance of a version of the NUnit installer that supports it (and it's associated .NET 2.0 runtime version) out of the box?

Thanks, John

John, Sunday, October 30, 2005


This isn't really on topic, but:

  1. NUnit 2.2, 2.2.1 and 2.2.2 have all been run successfully on Beta 1, Beta 2 and the latest community releases. Since RTM is an internal phase of Microsoft development, we won't be able to support it until/unless we see a copy. As I posted elsewhere, we aren't exactly on Microsoft's Christmas card list.

  2. See the latest post here for a bit about the next NUnit release: http://nunit.com/blogs/?p=12

Let's not continue this topic on this post, please.

Charlie, Sunday, November 6, 2005

Hey, we are the good guys!

Please feel free to contact me directly, and I can explain my side of the story. The story is, I spent a lot of money to aquire WordPress.Com from a real squatter, Matt promised publicly to put up a link, and then once he obtained the domain, he broke his word. Unfortunately, I will have to spend more to work with a lawyer to take the domain back, and this will only hurt the WordPress community. I guess Matt does not really care about them.

If you want other people that have used OpenDomain, you might ask someone that REALLY represents the Open Community, like St Peter (Xmpp.Org).

Ric, Monday, November 7, 2005

I've noticed that most people feel they are the good guys, and take it hard when others don't see it the same way. I don't know what the deal was with Wordpress.com, but my money is on the wordpress community to figure it out.

Here's what I've been able to see, with regard to nunit.net and your overall program as described on your site. You are offering people something they could have for themselves, usually at a minor cost, except for the fact that you have it already. You're offering to sell it back, except instead of cash you want some sort of endorsement. Unless I missed something, that sounds pretty much like what the squatters do.

In the case of nunit.net, you acquired it just as anyone else could have acquired it. It was available and we passed it up. We definitely left the door open for any squatter to acquire it, and you did. If there's something here that distinguishes it from other folks who acquire sites as a part of their business model, please explain.

I have no problem with someone making money out of internet domains - well, it's not my favorite thing, but it's a perfectly legal activity anyway. But when someone tries to pretend that they aren't working a business model, but are actually out there "doing good" it annoys me.

I wrote your company - actually the whois contact for nunit.net - way back, when I discovered it had been squatted. I said essentially this:

I can't do anything about your acquisition of nunit.net. If you make any use of it that violates any copyright, trademark or other protection, I can and will take action.

That remains true. If you truly see yourself as "doing good" in the community, I suggest that you take a second look. If a lot of smart people are suspicious of your intentions, then at best, you aren't doing a good job of presenting your story. At worst, you're one of the bad guys, whether you like it or not.

Charlie, Thursday, November 17, 2005