We’ve all heard of people registering potentially popular domain names in the early ages of the internet, one in particular that comes to mind is Rogers Video, whose “dot com” was a place where you could see videos alright, but they were completely unrelated to the actual video rental chain… and not suitable for children. Then there’s Vancouver’s own Kevin Ham, who bought up domains that ended in “.cm” that would cover those inevitable typos.
However, when it comes to valuable cyber space real estate in Vancouver the Parks Board is not after someone who is using a domain for clicks and giggles, their target is StanleyPark.com as it is not currently in their possession:
Vancouver entrepreneur Gerry O’Neil owns something the Vancouver park board wants badly — the domain name www.stanleypark.com.
He bought it for a couple of hundred dollars in 1997, and two and a half years ago, the board sent him a letter asking him to turn it over. But he refused. [TheVancouverSun]
O’Neil (who also owns www.stanleyparktours.com) doesn’t seem to want to part with the domain any time soon, and who could blame him. I know I’ve scooped up some domains (albeit far less valuable) just for the sake of having them in case there was ever a need to build a site. What he has there is pretty much a gold mine in terms of tourism in this town and unfortunately it seems as though the Parks Board wants it so much, they’re willing to throw their weight around – according to the Vancouver Sun article:
Conflict over the domain name kicked into high gear in November 2005 when the park board sent O’Neil a letter asking him to relinquish control of www.stanleypark.com. The letter also noted his lease was up for renewal in 2008.
“This [domain-name issue] is consistent with our policy of registering all key domain names that specifically identify an important park site within the park board system,” the letter states.
“We are aware that your current licence agreement with the board expires on April 30, 2008, and that you will likely wish to negotiate a renewal term in the near future.” [TheVancouverSun]
What gets me is that I’ve done ten “WHOIS” lookups on popular and random park names in Vancouver and so far all I can see is that someone @vancouver.ca has grabbed www.queenelizabethpark.com. That’s 1 out of 10, for those playing along at home, and 30% of them were not owned by anyone. Also, in the Sun article it states someone else owns StanleyPark.ca, and to their knowledge the Parks Board is not currently pursuing the owner of that web space.
Over the last few years I’ve had my problems with the Parks Board, from the lack of restoration in Stanley Park, to the preposterous idea of giant mechanized dinosaurs roaming the woods.
As a Vancouverite who enjoys all the Park has to offer and can see the benefit in horse-drawn tours (even over the exhaust-pumping trolleys) I sincerely hope they will renew this company’s lease. I can fully understand the appeal for the domain name, but I don’t blame O’Neil one bit for hanging on to it for dear life.