Another week goes by, and here’s another example of a jealous company-manager who is living in the stone-ages. I’m speaking in terms of his thought process on why he should own a domain name above and beyond an existing owner who managed to secure the domain name first.
And I’m not talking about “cybersquatting” or “trademark infringing” or “squatting” here. I’m talking about business people and Domainers or legitimate Domain Investors owning a generic, geographic, initial or acronym domain name, being bullied and harassed (via the administration and legal systems) into handing over their digital asset FOR FREE. Or, if not for free, for much less than it’s worth to them and/or to the current market.
It’s just not right.
And more and more businesses and companies are waking up to this fact.
The fact being…
If you want a GREAT domain name, you have to PAY for it.
In the same way that if you want a piece of real estate to build your dream home, you can’t just look at empty blocks of land near the beach and TAKE IT from the current owner!
Seriously, some of these confused dinosaur-thinking company-leaders… who somehow believe it’s OKAY to pay a few thousand dollars to their lawyer and/or an auDRP Panelist to STEAL a domain name from someone worth $5000, $10k, $20k or higher!
It’s NOT OKAY to steal a domain name!
In fact, there’s a name for it: Reverse Domain Name Hijacking!
It’s not only businesses or companies that own domain names, Domain Investors are also allowed to own Australian domain names.
Let’s not forget here, auDA (Australian Domain Administration) recognise Domain Investors as a legitimate entity and an important voice on all things .com.au related. This is why they regularly meet and listen to the Domain Investor Working Group.
More and more companies are understanding you must invest time and money into proactively protecting your online brand.
As a domain broker, I’ve bought all kinds of domain names for companies who understand proper process for acquiring great domain names.
I’ve bought “credit card” domain names for my banking clients.
I’ve bought “hotel” and “accommodation” domain names for hotel chains.
I’ve bought great domain names for insurance companies. It’s publicly known I purchased PD.com.au for $42,500 last year from a seller who’d owned it for many years, when I represented Progressive Direct Insurance.
Like I said, a lot of companies are “getting it”.
It’s just very frustrating when some guy at some big company feels like they can just bully someone into handing over a generic domain name that they’ve owned for years… for next to nothing. Most probably all in the name of impressing their boss.
I’m currently being harassed by a massive worldwide golf company that exists in multiple countries around the world. They literally and factually make hundreds of millions of dollars revenue every year.
For some reason, they want my generic four-letter domain name FOR NEXT TO NOTHING.
What did I do wrong to have this company try to practically-steal my domain name?
Well, glad you asked!
Q. Did I register their trademarked business name?
A. No. I wouldn’t do that of course.
Q. Did I register a generic four-letter acronym that could be used for dozens and dozens of purposes on a “first come, first served basis” on the public drop catching platforms a few months ago?
Q. Did I register the four-letter domain name as initials that contain a close and substantial connection to one of my core businesses?
I never contacted this golf company at all. In fact I had never even heard of them (sorry, I don’t play golf) until they initiated contact with me.
I guess I need to be clear at this point, that maybe the golf company doesn’t even know this is how their “Marketing Manager” goes about “acquiring” (stealing) all their domain names.
He just threatens to SUE PEOPLE until they hand them over!
As I’ve done for many other domain name owners in the past (I’m currently trying to help the owner of Australia.net.au and LoansConsolidation.com.au get their domain names back!), I’m not going to let this guy get away with this sort of behaviour.
Apart from buying the domain name because it contains initials for one of my CORE businesses, and shortens my email address for that business, the domain name is also legitimately parked according to auDA “monetisation” policy. The content on my website was never and will never be, in any way, related to their product (that I never knew existed, until they contacted me!).
I’m still not sure when I’m going to implement it for my core business, so I’ve parked it in the meantime.
You see, it turns out, we’re not even talking about their company name being a part of this domain name… We’re talking about a single product that this domain name relates to, that their company just happens to sell. That’s right! Somehow, this arrogant “Marketing Manager” believes he is entitled to own each and every product-related domain name that roughly resembles one of his companies’ brands, above and beyond the current existing owners of each domain name!
So, instead of offering me a reasonable amount of money as payment for my domain name, perhaps in a bid to coax me into selling it (I wasn’t considering selling it at all until he initiated contact with me), this Marketing Manager came at me ALL GUNS BLAZING!
I was so busy with my other various domain-name-related businesses last week, that I briefly considered accepting his $1500 “final-offer” for my domain name. The “marketing manager” threatened auDRP action and was aggressive (textually) without making a single realistic and reasonable offer to buy my domain name.
This was my thought process at the time….
“If this guy is so desperate and angry for the domain, and I don’t know how long it’s going to take me to develop properly for one of my core businesses, and I’m not sure when I’m going to get around to developing it, and I’m so busy with other stuff at the moment, maybe I’ll let him have it and not waste too much time on this angry dude (who doesn’t seem to understand the concept and value of a digital asset being owned by someone else first), and perhaps I’ll look for another domain name to replace it”.
I raised an invoice, clearly indicated that I wasn’t in the wrong and stated that I wouldn’t admit any “negative” use of the domain name, and indicated to him that if he was “okay with this” he should quickly pay the invoice.
He had his Accounts Department pay the invoice the next day, so I emailed him the domain AUTH CODE and wished him the best of luck.
A part of me felt glad I wouldn’t have to waste too much time on this issue and I went about skipping along the path of my awesome life.
… and don’t forget here, at this point I had sent him the domain name AUTH CODE …
The next day he RAMMED a five-page contract down my throat and told me to sign it (in the middle of the transaction!) which stated:
YOU RECOGNIZE that our brands are FAMOUS and ENFORCEABLE and YOU AGREE to NEVER OBJECT TO or CONTEST or OPPOSE or CHALLENGE anything we ever do or say or think or breathe in relation to OUR MARKS!!!!!
And this is what I did before I even got to the end of reading it…
He had clearly paid the invoice in BAD FAITH and AGAINST MY TERMS!
I promptly changed the domain name AUTH CODE to HALT the deal, informed him the DEAL WAS OFF and gave his entire payment to Australia Post and they sent it back to him via Registered Mail in the form of a REFUND Money Order.
This is NOT the sort of disrespect and bad faith you show a legitimate domain name owner, Domainer, Domain Broker or legitimate Domain Name Investor.
We’re all sick of being treated in this way!
And this is where we’re at.
He has his refund.
I still have my domain name.
And the sun keeps on shining.
I’ll be sure to let you all know if this guy continues to try to attempt to steal my “close and substantial connection” and generic-acronym domain name from me.
His conduct really has me wondering though…
I wonder if his company knows this is how he acquires domain names for their brand?
I’ll leave you with these great words from the Domain Investor legend that is Mike Mann (From Nov 2018) when the multi-billion dollar corporation Round Up tried to steal his domain name:
We won the UDRP domain name dispute for GroundUp.com of course. Price quadrupling now. Bastards. Any lawyer and client who goes after me is entering dangerous territory.
Well said, Mr Mann!
This article is a great segway for my next article, which is going to be about how the auDRP Domain Name Dispute Resolution process is CLEARLY BROKEN. I’m going to give you some outrageous recent examples and name and shame some auDRP Panelists who clearly couldn’t have cared less about the domain name owner and are blatantly bias against legitimate domain investors.
I raised this issue last week at the auDA AGM, and I was told by the board that they were indeed looking into this topic.