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Domain problems

Competitor uses similar domain

8:56 am on Jul 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I am sorry if it is not the right forum for my thread.

I have a domain "word1-word2.com". (word1 is not actually a word, just three letters) I am number one on google, yahoo and msn for "word1 word2", people are searching for my site using these keywords, because there are almost no other results.

But today I found, that my competitor uses a domain "word1word2.com", he sells the same items and his site design is very similar to my. He also uses the title: "word1 word2".

I really do not know what to do. If he will be in the top10 of search engines I will get much less visitors (it is not very hard, because as I said "word1 word2" - is just my site name). Also customers, who use google to find me will be lost.

The main problem is that I don't have a trademark. I know it is my mistake.

So I have two ways:
1) Try to buy his domain. I will lost money, I think not less than $1,000.
2) Move to another domain, register the trademark and send email to all my customers to say, that we are moving.

May be there is something esle I can do.

Thank you.

9:10 pm on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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If you are runing online business and making money then paying $1,000 is not that bad
The same time you could contact his host and complain that he is using similar design and title,soemtime it is enough to get him off
9:18 pm on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Don't overestimate the importance of word1 word2. If you're ranking at the top for it right now, you're doing something else right (possibly nothing more than the age of your site).

If people find your website solely through internet search engines, then I don't see much of a problem.
However, if you mention your website to people or advertise it offline, then you might be losing some people who forget to put the dash in there.

One thing is for certain, though: If you ditch your domain name and start all over again, you'll almost certainly rank below your competitor. You'll get sandboxed in the search engines, possibly get in trouble with the dupe content filter if they still have your current site in their indexes, etc.

You switching horses in mid stream would basically be his dream come true.

First thing I would do is buy up every conceivably similar domain name. Get word1word2.net, .org, word2word1.com, word2-word1.com, etc.

Then approach him (possibly incognito) and see what it's going to cost to take the name off his hands. If he's actually running a business it seems highly unlikely to me that he'll fold and turn it over to you for a measly $1000 or less.

So determine how important the name really is, and then proceed from there. Good luck.

10:12 pm on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thanks, guys

I still don't know if they are going to use the domain for business, they have some content (some text and 20 products) on the site, but when I click buy on any product page I get a message "Sorry, we are temporary closed". Contact and about pages are almost empty. There is no privacy policy and shipping information. Also there is no links to their site ("link:" is empty) May be they just want to measure the traffic they can get ot they are just cybersquatters.

P.S. They do not use USA servers, the site is hosted in China, so I don't think that one email can help me. But I will try.

6:57 pm on Aug 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Have you considered Pay per click advertising to assure that you are listed above your competition? Sounds like any traffic they're experiencing now will learn not to go to that site when it sees that it's just a skeleton of a website, but it might not hurt to budget a little for google and/or Yahoo! advertising.

Just an idea to keep in your back pocket in case he becomes a real theat.