The NBA name game has turned into a guessing game for cybersquatters across the country
NBA in OKC

By Mike Baldwin Published: July 24, 2008
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Purchasing a domain name can be like buying a lottery ticket. Others simply want to start a Web site.

A study of domain names reveals many people, and companies, have tried to predict the nickname of a possible NBA team in Oklahoma City as far back as two years ago.

They're called cybersquatters, internet-savvy people who for $9.95 purchase a domain name, hoping it will some day have significant value. Most buy a domain ending in .com. Some buy a domain ending in .net.

Brian Campbell of Los Angeles purchased more than 30 domain names in late March and early April after the NBA relocation committee visited Oklahoma City.

"There can be huge money made in domain names if you happen to get the right one that someone really needs,” said Quinton Smith, a representative for godaddy.com. "It's like real estate. If you own it, it's yours. There are domain squatters who make a good profit.”

Of the 30 NBA teams, 26 have Web sites with only the nickname like bulls.com, celtics.com or lakers.com.

"Historically, we have pursued a variety of strategies for obtaining domain names, from simple acquisition to registering variations of the name,” said Mike Bass, senior vice president for NBA marketing.

That's why KOCO reported last weekend that Thunder would be Oklahoma City's nickname. KOCO reported the company the NBA uses to register domain names purchased okcthunderbasketball.com on July 10.

If Thunder is the official nickname, will someone want to negotiate a deal with the NBA and owner Clay Bennett for rights to the domain name?

Thunder.com is tied to a communications company in Silicon Valley, Calif.

Campbell owns oklahomacitythunder.com.

Bobby Mercer, of Warr Acres, owns okcthunder.net.

Someone with Oversee.Net, which buys domain names in hopes of turning a profit, purchased okcthunder.com in February.

But everyone doesn't have dreams of getting rich.

Harry Milhisler and his son, Joe, of Edmond, purchased oklahomacitythunder.

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