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I'm no cybersquatter, says Ronaldo.com owner

Infogrames PR stunt backfires

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When Infogrames sent out a press release saying it had offered software developer Ronaldo Nascimento 100,000 for his legitimately owned URL www.ronaldo.com, we were confused.

The company has good reason to want it because of an upcoming computer game Ronaldo V-Football, sanctioned by world-class Brazilian football Ronaldo Nazario da Lima.

But why produce a press release to say it didn't have a URL? We asked the company. After some thought, the representative said: "So people know we haven't got it." Ah ha (?!)

We contacted Mr Nascimento to ask how much his site - which features information on Star Wars, roleplaying games and the like - was worth to him.

He was not in a good mood. "I've now been called a cybersquatter* - I take offence at that," he told us. "You can see it's got content on it, plus I use it for my programming."

But what about the 100,000 sweetener? "That's news to me. Infogames has never made an offer." He is confused and asks what this is all about. We can only suggest that Infogames is trying to pressure him to give up the URL.

Would he take the apparent 100,000 on the table? "I don't know. If they had gone about it in a proper way, I would have listened to their offers, but now..."

So, just what is Infogrames up to here? The site is worth a lot of money to it. Perhaps it figured that someone with the URL would see the opportunity, run to the press and screw them for more money. Perhaps putting the press onto him first is less risky. Even so, saying it has offered 100,000 without talking to Mr Nascimento beforehand seems incredibly stupid.

So what will he do? "Well, I'll think about it. We get legal representation here [an East Coast software company], so I'll talk to them."

For what it's worth Ronaldo, The Reg says screw them for everything you can get. Now we're off to register the christian names of every footballer we can think of.

*Mr. Nascimento is referring to a Reuters article on Ronaldo.com. This contains a general reference to cybersquatting. Although it does not accuse Nascimento personally of being a cybersquatter, the juxtaposition makes uncomfortable reading for anyone with a passing acquaintance of British libel law. ®

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