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Did Rancho Mission Viejo Allows Squatters to Register Sendero’s Internet Domain Name?

In a recent Facebook posting, Rancho Mission Viejo Company indicated that new information regarding the Village of Sendero was coming soon.  We assumed that Sendero would likely get its own web site as a way of separating the Sendero content from general information related to Rancho Mission Viejo Company.  We first tried “www.sendero.com” and were redirected to the web site of a wealth management company.  This wasn’t a surprise — domain names as simple as “sendero” are rarely available.  Indeed, according to a Whois search, the wealth management firm of the same name has occupied its domain since June 30, 1996.  Likewise, an internet services company has owned “www.sendero.net” since October 2, 1997 and a Puerto Rican entity has owned “www.sendero.org” since May 2, 2002.

Next we tried “www.villageofsendero.com.”  One would think that this domain might have been available, particularly if Rancho Mission Viejo had done some internet searches before selecting “Sendero” as the name for Planning Area 1.  This is what we found:

The URL “www.villageofsendero.com” is redirected to the web site of a San Clemente realtor.  What’s more, according to a Whois search, the villageofsendero.com domain was registered on March 25, 2012 — four days after we announced that Planning Area 1 was going to be called Sendero!  That means that Rancho Mission Viejo had decided to name Planning Area 1 Sendero and had publicly announced the name Sendero at a time when the domain name “villageofsendero.com” was available and yet, they didn’t bother to register it.  This strikes us as a big mistake on the part of Rancho Mission Viejo.

To be clear, there is nothing inherently illegal about registering a domain name and we aren’t suggesting that the San Clemente realtor has done anything legally wrong.  (We’re not going to identify the realtor or link to the site directly because we don’t want to drive traffic to their website.)  We have our opinion about whether cyber-squatting like this is an ethical business practice, but that’s our personal opinion.  And for sure, there are dozens of other internet domains that Rancho Mission Viejo can use (and may have already registered) for Sendero:  senderohomes.com, senderovillage.com, senderobyRMV.com, livesendero.com, and so on.  We haven’t checked any of those, yet.  Rancho Mission Viejo won’t be precluded from creating a Sendero web site, and it may always elect to use its www.ranchomissionviejo.com domain.

But regardless of what domain name Rancho Mission Viejo intends to use for Sendero, “www.villageofsendero.com” seems like an important internet address that RMV would want to lock down if possible, if for no other reason than to prevent others from leveraging your brand or tarnishing its image.  Now, this valuable internet property is in the hands of a local realtor and it will be difficult and costly for RMV to regain it, if it is even possible.

At the time this blog was published, “www.villageofsendero.net”, “www.villageofsendero.org” and “www.villageofsendero.us” are all available.  Hey Rancho Mission Viejo Company, you might want to register them quick, before someone else does!

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