A domain squatter is a web site which apparently exists solely to collect advertising revenue by pointing a popular or likely domain name at a search-engine front-end, doing minimal customization (often automatic) to make the site's contents appear at least somewhat relevant to the domain name, and surrounding the search functionality with advertising (usually a combination of graphical and text advertising). The domain name itself is also sometimes for sale at a high price; sometimes reselling the domain at a high markup (domain speculation) is the primary purpose of the site.
The term domain squatter also refers to a person or organization who owns such sites (i.e is engaged in the activity of domain squatting).
Any domain name whose registration expires is likely to be snapped up by a domain squatter, rather than simply becoming available until someone else wants it; they seem to have software which collects lists of registered domains and automatically purchases them if the registration lapses. This means that even relatively low-demand domains can be "lost" by neglecting to renew their registration in time, and can only be returned to their rightful owner by buying them back from the squatter at inflated prices.
There does not appear to be any obvious solution to this problem, as it is difficult to define an objective distinction between a "squatter" and someone who is simply holding onto a domain name until they are ready to develop. In many cases, common "squatter" templates may actually be put in place by the domain registration company rather than by the domain squatter/owner.
- Domain Resale Code of Ethics: a proposal at HypertWiki
- FilmApart.net (2005-12-28: "what you need, when you need it")
- FreshRPMs fake-out sites: .com and .org (real site is http://freshrpms.net)
- Imports Unlimited slogan was "what you need, when you need it"; on later visit, had different look and no slogan (2006-01-30: back to "what you need, when you need it")
- ips.ca (2006-01-30: "what you need, when you need it")
- NC Smartlink purports to be about traffic cameras and real-time traffic information, but the links go to pages of what seems to be entirely advertising
- ozyandmillie.com does not appear to be owned by David C. Simpson, creator of the comic Ozy and Millie (alt)
- deadbears.com: currently for sale at $688 (likely target for people looking for Grateful Dead bean-bears)
- abekabook.com: no apparent association with Christian textbook printer A Beka Book
- littledee.com: no relation to online comic Little Dee
- 2005-12-01 Masters of their Domains, CNN Money
- 2005-02-22 Search-Optimized Domain Portfolio Sells for $164 Million
- wikipedia: John Zuccarini, a notorious domain-squatter