Being Threatened Again

Occasionally, I get someone who really believes that a particular domain of mine should be theirs.

Why? Because they have a “registered trading name” that exactly matches the domain name. No trademark.

Generally the approach will either be a straight out threat of “hand it over or else” – or they make a derisory offer of $20 or similar (along with the accompanying threats of what will happen if I don’t accept!).

How Do I React?

In the first instance, I always give a polite “no thanks”. Then if it escalates beyond there, I try and point them in the right direction of the auDA policies. I explain that I have a good knowledge of policy, and that I never knowingly set out to breach any of them. Particularly registering someone’s TM or brand name.

I also tell them politely not to waste their time with threats – they would be far better served making a fair and reasonable offer.

That mostly works.

But sometimes, you get a doozy like this one below – and I felt moved to share it with you all. 😉

Chronology Of A Complaint

This is a three word domain – all of which are geographic / generic. For privacy reasons, I have removed the second word and replaced it with -‘s. But it is a “descriptive” word.

The domain is outback————-tours.com.au

  • 23 July 2015 – offer of $20 via Fabulous landing page from “Fred” (name changed for privacy reasons). My response of same day is “No thanks”.
  • 6 August 2015 – email from “Fred”.

Hi,

Just wondering what $$ you would consider for this domain? 

Cheers, “Fred”

  • 6 August 2015 – my response.

It earns me approx. $X per month with parking revenue.

So I wouldn’t consider $$ – a domain like this is worth $$$$. E.g. I sold kimberleytours.com.au for a lot of money.

  • 6 August 2015 – email from “Fred”.

If you could please provide a dollar figure that would be great.

Cheers, Fred

  • 6 August 2015 – my response.

Asking price is $2000 + GST.

I’m at a domain conference in India at the moment, so I’m happy to do a better deal for a quick settlement. Need some spending money!

I’ll do $1130 + GST including transfer costs.

If that works for you, please give me your details for tax invoice – entity, ABN, address. If not, I’m happy to keep.

Regards, Ned

Then followed three months radio silence – which was broken last week.

  • 4 November 2015 – email from “Fred”.

Hi,

I can see that you still have not sold this domain and the parking revenue from this would be minimal. 

I would be willing to pay $120 AUD for this domain. 

If you do not accept this, please let me know a counter offer so we can begin negotiations.

“Fred”

  • 4 November 2015 – my response.

No thanks. If you’re not willing to even start at a minimum figure of $500, then there is really no sense in negotiating.

I’m happy with parking income.

Regards, Ned

  • 9 November – email from “Fred”. (This is the “doozy”!).

Hi Ned,

I have recently been seeking legal council (sic) as I am the owner of Outback ————- Tours and have a registered trading name associated with that.   Based on recent conversations with the .au Domain Administration (auDA) and other professionals in the area, we have come to the conclusion that your occupation of this domain could be considered Cybersquatting and therefore in breach of regulation. 

After researching yourself and your business “Domainer”, It would appear that you are well versed in domain registration regluations but never the less, I thought I would remind you of the definition of cyber squatting as defined by the domain registrar: 

“register domain names that infringe on trademarks or cause confusion in “bad faith” for the purposes of commercial gain; be it generating revenue from advertising a competing service or attempting to sell the domain name to an eligible registrant at a grossly inflated price.”

As it is clear that you have no intention of using this domain for a website in relation to outback tours, and if you did, you would be in breach of using the “Outback ————- Tours” trading name for which I have registered, I will be submitting a final offer to purchase this domain before taking adequate legal action. This final offer is based upon the low traffic numbers that the website has received – The majority of which is due to advertising printed on the side of vehicles in my possession. 

My final offer to purchase this domain is $250 AUD inc.  If you are not willing to accept this offer then I will be escalating legal proceedings and complaints with both the auDA and through the civil court structure for damages associated with loss of business/marketing expenses due to your domain occupation. 

I look forward to be hearing from you shortly. 

Many Thanks, “Fred”

  • 9 November 2015 – my response.

“Fred”,

I’m biting my tongue as I reply to you. Please either offer me a fair price – or proceed with your “threats”.

I do know and adhere to auDA policy – and I believe I’m widely respected for that. So much so that I was invited to participate at the recent auIGF Conference in Melbourne. You may find the topic of interest.

https://domainer.com.au/youve-got-my-domain/

You know nothing of my intentions for this domain (or other tourist related domains that I have), so please don’t continue to threaten me with all sorts of action.

I don’t believe you will get past first base with auDA given that these are “generic words”. But of course you are welcome to try.

If that doesn’t work, then you have option of lodging an AUDRP claim http://www.auda.org.au/policies/2010-05/ Refer Clause 4.3 for application fees ($2000 for a single member panel). This is much cheaper; quicker and more effective than Court proceedings.

But of course, if you want to proceed with “civil court action”, that is also your right.

I know what I’d do if I was you! Offer me a fair price – I’m not an unreasonable person.

Regards, Ned

My Overview

I think “Fred” may have bought the business from someone else, but obviously the domain name didn’t come with it. I acquired it at the “expired auctions” back in March 2014 (20 months ago).

If I knew “Fred’s address, I would probably send him a copy of “How To Win Friends And Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. 😉

Threats (without foundation) are counter-productive because they just get people’s back’s up – and possibly make them dig their toes in when it comes to an acceptable price.

What do you think?

12 thoughts on “Being Threatened Again

  • November 10, 2015 at 10:06 am
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    I know Ned it’s got to be outbackhillbillytours.com.au going by this guys emails.

    I’ve had similar over the years and even had a guy abuse me over the phone.

    He TM the generic tours name after I purchased it on the drops thinking this would stop me from owning it.

    All huff and puff via email and phone and never heard from him again.

    Problem is they even use lawyers to scare you to hand over the domain thinking we will oblige.

    Silly stuff indeed.

     

    • Ned O'Meara
      November 10, 2015 at 11:33 am
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      @Don – I thought hillbillytours.com.au was yours? 😉

  • November 10, 2015 at 11:15 am
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    Hate these people just like a school yard bully you have to stand up to them and tell them to go away . I love to charge these people double when they come crawling back after looking into all avenues and then working out that the only way is to now settle on a price with me lol

    • Ned O'Meara
      November 10, 2015 at 11:35 am
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      I’m not generally a vindictive person Shane, but I do understand your pov!

      He’s certainly not going to get a further discount from me. 😉

  • November 10, 2015 at 11:27 am
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    Wow, a background check trying his luck with empty threats. Points for reading the parts of the policy that suited him though.

    Got to laugh when a low ball offer is followed up with threats of costly legal action.

    • Ned O'Meara
      November 10, 2015 at 11:38 am
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      Because auDA policy with regards domain monetisation is contained in a couple of separate places, complainants sometimes think they are on to a winner. But they need to read everything!

      Can’t see this “Fred” paying $2k for an AUDRP fee (plus legal advice). Just doesn’t make sense.

  • November 10, 2015 at 12:26 pm
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    I don’t know why you continue to steal names from hard working people out there like Fred. Why don’t you just give him his name back and let him get on with life out there in the outback where it gets very hot and dusty, you are a mean nasty man, you are always picking on people.

    • Ned O'Meara
      November 10, 2015 at 12:55 pm
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      Moi?

      By the way, my apologies. I shouldn’t have used the picture of your girlfriend for this article – but I just couldn’t help myself. 😉

    • November 10, 2015 at 1:39 pm
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      ‘Glady’ you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. If ‘Fred’ were entitled to the name ‘he’ would HAVE it. Trademark rights are well protected against cybersquatting in the .au space and this case concerns neither cybersquatting nor trademark rights as the domain in question comprises wholly descriptive, generic words that are incapable of TM protection. On an economic basis, assets go to those whom can best put them to use, so if ‘Fred’ was entitled to the name ‘he’ would grow a pair and be the one to pay the most for it.

      • Ned O'Meara
        November 10, 2015 at 1:48 pm
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        Paul, my friend Glady was being facetious (taking the piss). He has a warped sense of humour sometimes. 🙂

        But apart from your first sentence, you are so spot on with the rest of your comment. Thank you for putting it so eloquently.

  • November 11, 2015 at 1:16 pm
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    Your time is worth something.

    Every email should make the asking price go up $100 for wasting your time.

Comments are closed.