Opportunists leverage lapsed domains

Online entrepreneurs are taking advantage of lapsed domain names formerly associated with City of Melbourne-funded small business associations.

The domain name of the former Melbourne District Central Network now points to a maternity wear e-commerce website based in NSW.

The Melbourne District Central Network was formed in 2011 but changed its name to City Precinct in 2013. 

Its domain name melbournedcn.com.au is now owned by a Michael Jenkins of Digivent Pty Ltd. CBD News research shows that, in September, 2013, the old domain was successfully redirecting to the new City Precinct site but, by the middle of last year it was linking to a weight-loss website and currently links to the maternity-wear site.

The new owner of the domain ranks the URL at 265,800 within Australia, attributes 3440 monthly page views to it and, as recently as March 31, values the web traffic at $839.29 per month.

City Precinct president Gerard Kelly said that, while this occurred before his time, the group let the domain lapse for financial reasons.

“Generally it was felt the domain name held no real value to us as we changed our name pretty quickly after going live,” he said.

“We had a transition period that we thought practical after the conversion where it did point to the new site.

We have limited funding and we endeavour to gain the most benefit and value for our members.”

The City of Melbourne funds eight precinct associations – three of which are still incorrectly linking from their website to the old Melbourne District Central Network domain name.

The Carlton Alliance, North and West Melbourne and the Docklands Chamber of Commerce all link to the maternity wear site rather than the correct City Precinct URL.

The City of Melbourne attempted to reform its precinct program in July 2011 by forming a central Melbourne Business Precincts (MBP) organisation to undertake central administration and encourage co-operation between members.

Its website of the day said: “Comprising of representatives from each recognised precinct association as well as the City of Melbourne, the MBP Inc. Board administers the precinct funding allocation granted by the City of Melbourne and raised through sponsorship.”

“This funding is designed to support member associations with marketing initiatives such as promotions and events that drive visitation to each precinct, as well as business to business activity such as membership development, networking events and business development activity.”

The City of Melbourne abandoned the exercise in 2013 and also, it would appear, the domain names associated with the MBP.

During its operation, MBP had two websites. 

The domains of both are now owned by non-related parties and point to rogue websites.

Melbourneprecincts.com.au currently points to a website selling loans. 

The page is headed: “How to Loan Money to a Friend without Ruining Your Friendship”. 

This site is currently linked from Carlton Alliance Precinct Incorporation’s website.

The domain is owned by Information Publishing.

Melbournebusinessprecincts.org.au currently points to a blog site headed “Melbournes Business” which was active between March and November last year. 

Among its stories are: “Petrol lawn mowers? Should I buy one?” and “The way of the superior man”. 

The domain is owned by NJ Rodda and JD Thomas.

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