Recently I pointed out that the international hit social networking site Facebook didn’t own its South African domain, facebook.co.za. I thought this was strange considering South Africa is purportedly the sixth biggest country on Facebook by registered user numbers. The owner of the facebook.co.za domain is a South African, from Cape Town.

And I also noticed that the local site that was facebook.co.za was nothing but a solitary and illegal block of Google Adsense, cynically placed (See here) to make money out of unwitting users looking for the real Facebook. After my July 3 blog criticising this and discussing the implications of cybersquatting and illegal Google Adsense use I had email contact with the domain owner and it looks like he commented on my previous blog post.

The site was then hurriedly transformed into a gushy fan blog called “Facebook Rocks: We love Facebook” about two days later (by July 5). This was its payoffline: “We are Facebook.com ADDICTS so we have set up this blog to rave about Facebook.com ALL DAY LONG.” This sudden turnaround is unconvincing.

One can appreciate the entrepreneurial spirit in which all of this was done and perhaps the facebook.co.za owner should be congratulated for spotting a gap, but my advice to the domain owner is to do the right thing: Engage Facebook and offer to sell the domain to them at a reasonable price. That’s assuming they want it.

UPDATE: Paul Jacobson in a “A case of cybersquatting and Facebook” has also commented more on the domain rights issue.

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8 Responses to “Facebook.co.za: From Google ads to gushy fan blog”
  1. haiiiiiiiiiii

  2. Black Hat SEO…

    Black Hat SEO…

  3. Hay, Dude !

  4. Hold up a second.

    Why does this guy have to yield his domain to facebook.com?

    Why are people so in awe of Americans and their brand names?

    Is facebook.com even represented in South Africa?

    You know .de (German) domains may only be registered if the domain registrant has a physical address in Germany. And it can’t be fictitious – it must exist and belong to the registrant.

    If facebook.com has not already registered a company in SA, I say they have no claim to facebook.co.za.

    We are not the 51st state of the United States. We don’t owe them a thing.

    They don’t afford our names any special rights. IN 1995 an American company registered Rooibos and Red Bush as trademarks in the US so they could control the entire Rooibos tea market in the US. A settlement was reached with the American woman in 2005. We had to pay to get our name back.

    http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?art_id=qw111900726299B261

    southafrica.com is owned by an American with an address in Virginia. He wanted millions of dollars for the domain. He didn’t get it.

    Facebook.com didn’t bother registering facebook.co.za because South Africa is of no interest to Americans.

    It’s time you realised that.

  5. The really ironic thing is that the sham facebook gushy fan cynical marketing ploy whatever it is is presently at the heady position of number 23 on the esteemed Amatomu. Which is all slightly bonkers but a good lesson in how the strange viral whirlings can whirl.
    J

  6. Hehe. I was wondering what that site was all about. I saw it on the “new blogs” list, and couldn’t figure out why they weren’t raving, well, on facebook for example.

    Anyone know if there’s anything in the new domain name dispute resolution procedures that might rob this loser of his potential lucre?

  7. Paul, .co.za domain cost is now R50.00, that is fair, but give him credit for his vision to see the gap FB left for him.

  8. I see the reasonable price being the R100 it cost him to register the domain in the first place.

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