Scottish firm suffers eternal damnation for auction of popesfuneral.com

Marching season, already?

A Scottish start-up has angered the Church by trying to flog URL thepopesfuneral.com through its online auction site. Domain Hypermarket, a domain name auction house launched last week, has stuck a £15,000 price tag on the address on its domainhypermarket.com Web site. The Glasgow-based company is also asking £5,000 for thehousesofparliament.com, £10,000 for thepizzahut.com, and £50,000 for manunited.com – which has already attracted a bid. It has 2,300 URLs on its site, around 95 per cent of which it has registered itself, including easyautohire.com and easycars.net. The Roman Catholic Church slammed the attempt to sell thepopesfuneral.com as "callous and exploitative", the FT reports. Fr Kieran Conry of the Catholic Church of England and Wales said the Church did not want the URL and called for stricter controls of the Web. Martin Newman, founder and MD of Domain Hypermarket, said he never intended to offend anyone with any of the URLs sold on his site. "Obviously taste does come into it. But it's not any different to a newspaper having the obituary of the Pope or the Queen Mother ready and waiting," said Newman. Last month EasyGroup, owners of EasyJet and EasyRentacar, won a case against an individual trying to sell easyjet.net, and has vowed to "actively pursue" what it sees as cybersquatter "parasites" through the UN-backed World Intellectual Property Organisation. Stelios Haji-Ioannou, chairman of EasyGroup, said: "We will not tolerate anyone sitting on domain names that could be confused with EasyJet. The EasyJet name is among the company's most important assets and we will defend it rigorously against abuse." Newman said he was not a cybersquatter, having registered the easyautohire and easycars URLs in January and February this year – before EasyGroup started publicising its EasyRentacar business. "I will never buy a name and try and sell it to an organisation. I have plans to develop some of the addresses." ® Related stories Cybersquatter? Not me, says owner of greatdomainrobbery Banks.com auction kicks off with £600K bid Big bucks URL is the business(.com)

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