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Some of the court documents have been posted on the web and make for very interesting reading. The chances are that now that Dell has gone after the domain tasters and industrial scale cybersquatters, other large companies will follow.
It looks like things just got interesting.
Personal computer giant Dell Inc. is pursuing a major "cybersquatting" lawsuit against several companies that buy and sell Web site addresses, alleging that the entities earned millions of dollars from Internet traffic intended for Dell and dozens of other Fortune 500 companies.
In a case quietly filed with the U.S. District Court for Southern Florida in October and unsealed last Wednesday, Dell took aim at a stable of registrars -- companies that are licensed to register and sell new domain names to the public -- allegding that they are responsible for registering and profiting off of nearly 1,100 domains that were "confusingly similar" to Dell's various trademarks.
Dell Targets Cybersquatters In Court [washingtonpost.com]
[edited by: engine at 11:21 am (utc) on Nov. 29, 2007]
[edit reason] added quote [/edit]
The UK has the distance selling regulations but domain names are probably covered under the exemption "personalised goods or goods made to a consumer's specification" or "goods that cannot, by their nature, be returned" although at the moment domain names probably fall under "betting, gaming or lottery services".
I bet they were bragging about their great idea...till now. I think this could end domain tasting and automated registration. With so many trademarks it maybe impossible to avoid registering one, and a mistake can cost you everything.
Dell claims in their suit:
"Defendants have registered and used over sixty-four million (64,000,000) unique domain names" ...
They note that the 3 registrars involved acted together as one, and were both the registrar and registrant.
One source determined that those 3 registrars tasted 185,650,068 domains in the past six months! -- more than 70% of all domains tasted during that time period.
The problem I have is how to "show" that the registrars purposely went after Dell and other companies to benefit off their "status".
Because bell.com is similar to dell.com that is grounds for a lawsuit? No, don't think so. Counterfeiting? Get real.
If anything, Dell.com should institute a program to benefit the general public so people can learn how to type and spell their company name. I'm not a great typist so I usually hit one of these 'cell.com,' 'sell.com,' 'xell.com,' 'rell.com,' 'eell.com,' 'fell.com' -- holy, it's Dell.com. I got it!
Notice the pattern? The first letters all revolve around the letter "D".
Is it worthy of a lawsuit to target a company that got smart and realized people generally can't spell nor type? No, it isn't.
Maybe my opinion might change after I read this article a bit closer, but it looks as if Dell.com has to be put back in its place.
I think its likely they will win. If they can get it changed the way they want it changed then it will be an end to the practice.
Nice to see Dell taking the challenge, it can only come from a company the size of Dell to finance this - it would be out of the reach of most companies that would love to take the stance that Dell are.
Also the problem has only recently got blown up to this level. When a company has 1100 domains registered on the back of their trading name by various domain sqatters something has to give - Its got out of hand and Dell need to take this action now imo.
In the long term it will be for the good of the internet
[edited by: RichTC at 12:12 am (utc) on Nov. 30, 2007]
(also from article)
"Adelman said 55 million domains were registered in October by registrars involved in tasting, and all but roughly 2 million of them were dropped after the five-day grace period."
That's 53 million names IN ONE MONTH that propagated through DNS root servers and used the bandwidth, disk and processing power, (and electricity to power same), to add and then delete the info... looks like other parties besides DELL, (e.g. VeriSign, Cogent, etc), could join the suit.
looks like other parties besides DELL, (e.g. VeriSign, Cogent, etc), could join the suit
Verisign must have earned good money from 2 million domains that were actually retained by tasters out of the 55 million as is mentioned in the article. I think Dell should add Verisign to the list of defendants because they are also making money from the practice of domain tasting.
It will be interesting to see how they figure out how many clicks ONLY happened because someone like me was curious about the mis-spelling only and already knew the site wasn't the real deal before I even visited.
Widgets vs Wigets ... visitors aren't "that" dumb.
Widgets vs Wigets ... visitors aren't "that" dumb.
I don't think they're "dumb" -- but I can tell you when my 70 year old mother or my 12 year old kid hit a typosquatter site, they are confused and will sometimes click a link on that page, (earning PPC money for the squatter and taking themselves deeper into the error).
My opinion: either eliminate the 5 day "tasting" grace period completely or reduce it to 24 hours or so -- the 24 hour timeframe should allow anyone who truly "made a mistake" and registered a domain (e.g. webhamptserworld.tld instead of webhampsterworld.tld), they would have time to undo it -- but not enough time to setup a PPC landing page, earn a few bucks and decide if it's a good typo or a bad typo.
I am not sure how the law is exactly, but money earned might not matter as much. If you copy a Fendi bag, that act alone might be enough for a huge fine, even if the sales don't amount to much.
So, ironically, Dell may well be financing the Cybersquatters themselves.
Take away the 5 day grace period and slap a tax on bulk domain registrations and the problem will be hugely reduced.
Take away the 5 day grace period and slap a tax on bulk domain registrations and the problem will be hugely reduced.That would massively reduce the problem of domain tasting. (It has had quite an effect on domain tasting in .org.) But the problem of these cybersquatting operations still exists. Perhaps ICANN could be encouraged to deal with the problem by making them an offer they can't refuse - their signatures on the revised registrar contract or no more ICANN.