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N.C. Lottery hunts for online identity

Oct 18, 2005, 8:37 pm

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North Carolina LotteryNorth Carolina Lottery: N.C. Lottery hunts for online identity

Internet-savvy speculators have bought all the logical Web addresses for North Carolina's lottery, leaving the state in a bind as it looks for a smooth, easy way to get out information on the games.

Dan Gerlach, an adviser to Gov. Mike Easley, said state officials have looked for an easy-to-remember name for the lottery's online home, but they're all gone. "All the permutations we could think of," he told the lottery commissioners at their inaugural meeting this month.

Charles Hayworth of Winston-Salem is one of the name holders, and he might have the best odds of cashing in -- he locked up www.nclottery.com in 1998.

"I'd sure like to chat with them," said Hayworth, who is 60 and owns a Web hosting business. "I'm open. I'm not out to high-pressure anybody, but I'll make them an offer, or they can come to me and make me an offer."

Registering a Web domain is easy. Anyone can visit one of dozens of registrars on the Internet, plug in a name and, if it's available, buy it for as little as $6.95 a year. These days, though, most common names are long gone.

Even the domain that matches the name of the state's new lottery -- nceducationlottery.com -- is taken, owned by Shane Sigmon of Greenville, S.C. He could not be reached.

Also locked up are nclotto.com, northcarolinalottery.com, tarheellottery.com, nclottery.net, nclottery.org, and many others. Some of those sites already have information posted.

Players won't be able to buy tickets through the state's Web site, but it will be a prime source for checking the correct numbers and getting other details on the games.

State lottery commissioners indicated in their first meeting last week that they want an easy-to-use name.

In the meantime, the state has set up a site, at least temporarily, at a more cumbersome address: www.lottery.nc.gov.

A few states, including Missouri and Minnesota, use a similar, more bulky type of government-version address for their lottos.

A quick check shows that nclottery.gov is apparently not taken.

Still, most states opt for a smoother name ending in the much-used '.com' suffix, such as ohiolottery.com or Indiana's hoosierlottery.com. Most lottery sites in the United States use the state's abbreviation followed by the word "lottery."

It's not clear how much North Carolina would have to pay to get a common Web site, but officials have said they'd prefer to have one once the games begin within a year.

Prices on the Web domain market vary widely, with domains selling for as little as $10 or as much as $750,000. Last month, livelobsters.com sold for $5,000, for example, and cheaptickets.com went for $10,000.

No cyber-squatting

Federal law gives companies and other parties, such as states, leverage to prevent "cyber-squatters" from buying sites and holding them hostage to make a quick buck.

The law is aimed at people who have "a bad faith intent to profit" from a trademark or similar title, and the remedy is to transfer the domain to its rightful owner.

Two businessmen in Tennessee, for example, owned www.tnlottery.com and asked $25,000 for it as officials started a lottery. But a Tennessee lottery spokeswoman said the state, which had started out with a longer domain name, secured the common one in legal arbitration without paying the men anything.

South Carolina ended up in court with a Texas college student who held several common domain versions and was demanding a six-figure settlement not to pepper the sites with pornography. In the end, the state bought and uses a domain the student didn't own: sceducationlottery.com.

Some North Carolina domain holders might keep their sites and try to attract traffic from unwitting searchers.

Hayworth said Tuesday that's what he'll do if the state settles on an address other than nclottery.com.

He said his site is getting plenty of visits, and ads there are bringing in several hundred dollars a month.

But he also acknowledged headaches. Thirty to 50 people a day e-mail him looking for information about the lottery, he said.

"For the most part," Hayworth said, "they want me to give them a lottery job, or it's a retailer looking for me to set them up to sell tickets. Of course, I can't do that."

Brita Penttila, 47, of Holly Springs saw that the lottery was headed toward approval this year and went hunting for domains.

She snagged thenclottery.com and has put information on it in just the past week.

Penttila, an Internet technology instructor at Wake Technical Community College, said she might make money off ads.

And if the state comes calling?

"Oh, I'll most likely listen," she said. "It'll all depend on the price."

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8 comments. Last comment 15 years ago by CASH Only.
Page 1 of 1
JAP69's avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
South Carolina
United States
Member #6
November 4, 2001
8872 Posts

There will be a law passed at some point where no one can take an internet name unless they are actively engaged in the buisness of the site name they wish to purchase.

Looks like a bunch of armchair speculators to me. Buy something for $9.99 and want to sell it for thousands.

Numbers are where you find them.

[0*1*2*3*4] [5*6*7*8*9]


    Littleoldlady's avatar - basket
    United States
    Member #487
    July 15, 2002
    17638 Posts

    That is called capitalism in action...ROFL

    If you know your number is going to hit, have patience and then KILL IT!

    You never know when you will get another hit.

      BaristaExpress's avatar - BaristaExpressMX zpsfb0d8b5d.png
      Magnolia, Delaware
      United States
      Member #18794
      July 20, 2005
      789 Posts

      No, it's called Capitalism at it's BEST!

      Keep dreaming the impossible dream, it just may come true! Thumbs Up

        Bradly_60's avatar - disney37
        Atlantic Mine, Michigan
        United States
        Member #416
        June 23, 2002
        1614 Posts

        I don't understand why they wouldn't just us the .gov domain.  Only government agencies are allowed to register those domains.  They won't have to pay for it and the state itself can run it for them.  All you have to do is higher a webmaster.  Take Michigan's for instance.....really easy......michigan.gov/lottery.....not that hard to remember and i am sure they didn't have to pay anything for it (like purchasing it from a capitalist).


          Fantasy Land
          United States
          Member #7297
          September 29, 2004
          80 Posts

          Domain speculators should all be hunted down and killed. The ones that take common misspellings of sites and fill them with porn should be tortured, then killed.

            powerplayer's avatar - Lottery-022.jpg

            United States
            Member #17833
            June 28, 2005
            2087 Posts

            I live in CT. We have www.ctlottery.org.

            Why don't they just get the .org domain?



            Good luck to everyone!!!

              othertrucker's avatar - rage
              Washington North Carolina
              United States
              Member #14173
              April 22, 2005
              22 Posts

              Its just another mountain we have to climb to be able to play the lottery. The name they have is perfect. Why search further and spend money you don't have?

                United States
                Member #379
                June 5, 2002
                11296 Posts

                Oklahoma's lottery website has .gov. Not too many lotteries seem to use .gov.