It has always amazed me that domainers take such umbrage to the UDRP, ACPA and other cybersquatting provisions, while doing nothing to provide disincentives for these laws to exist. I don’t know what the actual percentages are, but the number of domains registered which are clearly cybersquatting someone else’s famous trademark must be extremely high. We have clients who have literally hundreds of blatant cybersquatters sitting on typos of their various domain names. Virtually any company with significant traffic has typosquatters diverting traffic for their own PPC revenue. The cybersquatting problem continues to grow while, at the same time, legitimate domainers work hard to legitimize domain monetization practices.
We are all familar with the stat; in 85 percent of cases decided by the WIPO the panels transferred the disputed domain names to the complainant. I took a hard look at some recent cases in light of LH.com and this famous statistic. Certainly having this 85% figure out there is the pink elephant in the room. It hurts the perpection of domaining. It makes it sound to the layman that 85% of domains are just one complant away from being taken.
Here’s the problem.
Loser cases... Losers are not hard to spot... All of these add to the 85% figure we have hanging over our heads....
Here is the fact hidden in the 85% figure. The vast majority of cases that go against the domain holder are horrible cases that you or I would vote for the trademark holder. They involve domains containing a famous marks, typo’s of famous marks. Many cases involve domain holders which own mulitple domains containing typo’s mispells of famous trademarks.
If you are in the domain business at any level here are some rules for you. Do not register domains that infringe on famous marks. If you own any such names and get a C & D letter give the domain back. If you receive a UDRP complaint and have such a name give the domain up. You have a loser. You aren’t going to keep the domain.
You are not only going to hurt your reputation, but the domain industry, other domainers, parking companies, PPC companies.
It does not help you or the industry to take losers to a decision.
If you instist on allowing these types of losers going to a decision, then you clearly have no regard for your reputation, you clearly don’t care about the industry, the parking companies you do business with and maybe those in the industry should stop doing business with you.If the loser cases were not allowed to go to deicision the 85% number would drop dramtically, maybe to 50% at that point we would get the monky off our back and start with an even playing field.
Yes there are very bad decisions where generic names are taken away and given to the complaint (LH.com). There are many domains that are on the bubble. Domains whose trademark claim is actually in dispute. Those you fight. Those you fight not only for yourself but for the industry, for your fellow domainer.
Remember each case you take to a decision will have an effect on all other domain disputes down the line.
You don’t live in a bubble.
You are part of an industry.
Your actions effect us all.
Don’t push your losers on us.
The author, who I understand is a domainer and lawyer, could not be more correct. Until domainers themselves remove the black hats from their community, and work cooperatively with the trademark community to extinguish the obvious cybersquatters, the entire industry will in fact suffer. While the Internet Commerce Association (ICA) is a wonderful start in separating legitimate domainers from domainers whose business model is cybersquatting, more needs to be done in the future. There needs to be proactive programs put in place which offer potential to reduce the overall number of sites engaged in cybersquatting. Only then will “domaining” carry position, rather than negative, connotations in the regular world.