Want answers? Always look at both sides and do it often. We talk about new gTLD's like this is something new. It ain't. Nobody is putting any fingers in a dyke. I love what is coming. I am looking forward to it. But one must know the difference between getting on a winning horse and getting run over by a stampede. We are witnessing what will be a stampede. A stampede is uncontrolled and comes in a fury and can destroy anything in its path including other horses in the stampede that get trampled to death.
I look for answers not pronouncements but the conditions indicate certain things that are completely inevitable. So 1000 horses don't mean anything but danger until things thin out. That is why so many are in a wait and see mode. Caution is key unless you have unlimited funds to put at risk and tie up indefinitely. I certainly don't.
It's not like there won't be plenty of inventory. And it will all come to strings and adaptation. Google and Search are the least important parts of the equation the way I see the universe. It means nothing if you are not a destination with content going forward.
In a stampede, the last horse is also the safest horse.
You at least have to answer the question of how many will survive the stampede? If you say all will, then I just don't think that is being realistic. How many and which ones will be woven into the fabric of the internet and how many will get trampled and have no meaning? I just don't know how an extension with maybe 1000 or less meaningful combination strings survives or gets any oxygen or traction in the scheme of things. So I look to those that could have wide adaptation.
Arguably auction.xyz is one of the very best of that extension. It sold for $310. So can it be sold for $500?Maybe. Probably. But I would first have to put the keyword "Auction" in front of all the other gtld's and at least ask myself is that the strongest and best match? I don't know the answer. Auction.Horses is actually a better choice. Auction.cars. I mean IF we go down this road. But if you correctly brand yourself as the "lands end" in xyz, it is possible. But the odds are against it because of the dollars that would have to spend to brand.
And still, when I re-read the paragraph and look at all the dots it is a bit confusing. End of sentence missing a space? May be years before the common folks even realize it is a url. But this is just in a controlled classroom discussion. It all changes when it hits the air of masses. The stampede is coming and I remember talking of other stampedes back in 1997 and 1998 when folks were deciding whether to go online or not. That was an easy stampede to predict and we are living the outcome as the world is now online. But this stampede has nothing in common other than the stampede itself.
I have been saying this for a year or two now and here it is.
Sears is closing their FLAGSHIP store in Chicago to go ONLINE!
This one I wrote just THREE DAYS AGO!!
"Retailers will have to analyze those holiday numbers and they are going to one day come to the realization that for folks like JC Penny and Sears to survive, they need to start closing every store that is not growing in sales. BOOM! Just like that. Done! Overnight. Stop the hemorrhaging and focus on what works. Take some of those employees and train them how to use Facebook and Twitter and all the rest and unleash their power of change. The game is over guys. Time to rethink the next 100 years or you won't be around to rethink it. Time is running shorter and Amazon is growing bigger."
This is what I wrote about this in August and stay tuned for my next post as JC Penny is closmg 33 stores and 2000 employees.
Here are some thoughts from 2009 about the future of Sears and Pennys and Kmart:
As my research department discovered the other day, King.com, owners of Candy Crush, the $1 Million dollar a day hottest game in the world, is trying to trademark the word "Candy". Folks think I would be upset. WHY?? If you have a trademark and don't own the .com domain that goes with it, you got ZILCH going forward!!
And of course Candy.com is a full-fledged business that will do $10 Million in sales in 2014. It is no longer a domain purchase. As I have said for years, we soon will see "Priceless". No, not on Candy.com but other domains in which you would have to buy the company to own the domain. Like any real brand starting with Apple.com. No domain will ever be separated from their brand until they sell the company.
So this is an unauthorized blog post since I have nothing to do with the daily operations of Candy.com. I am just a shareholder.
I would predict that as soon as their sales get past the $10 million mark and start heading toward $20- $25 million with the expansion that is coming, that eventually they will be acquired by the proper company based on the relationship they already have and the domain will become priceless and never be on the market ever again.
This deal is right here right now and I see the single biggest domain sale ever because should they have interest, they would throw away the candy store completely and focus on games and their other things they expect to go into.
So these are just my personal thoughts and there is no offer here, but fellas, you obviously understand the power of domain names with King.com. A domain I certainly would have liked to own but was one that I never got. If you are really that serious about trademarking the word "Candy", then it really has much less value and meaning without the domain. That is my professional opinion. It is consistent with everything I have written for 18 years.
There is an interesting moment here and I hope I don't get some folks inside Candy.com upset but...... for reasons I can't disclose publicly, it is VERY time sensitive. What I can say is the expansion that I talked about is ready to happen. Negotiations started in July. Documents may be signed as earlier as Monday. Once that happens, I will have no real influence as to whether the domain will ever be sold. Some heavy hitters are coming on board and they will not be interested in selling and instead of 2 guys making a decision to ride in the sunset a Board of Directors is about to take over and then folks will understand what priceless means. These are facts.
I never saw a $50 million domain rising like a cake in the oven. But I am looking at one right now because there is a growing and expanding company behind Candy.com and each day that domain has more value because the company has more value. And sooner than most think, it will be priceless. And then they will regret not having Candy.com just as I regret not having King.com. Obviously not going to be a trade here.
I think we all can agree that there is a need. Could even have a want. And where there is want, there is desire. Give me 5 minutes with the Founder and once the need is defined as I would, then the want and the desire can't be held back. I think that condition is already present without me saying a word.
Here is the Google search. This is huge news. The candy trademark issue is on every newscast and is being discussed far and wide be legal scholars and talking heads. I am sure candy.com is enjoying the boost in traffic at what is obviously the slow season:
All that said, I think Candy Crush will have many folks filing objections and that of course would probably include Candy.com as I doubt these guys will just sit back and say nothing. And if they can't trademark the word "Candy" then you tell me what then next best thing would be? And if they can trademark candy, how less valuable is that trademark without owning the .com? These are serious and solid business questions and issues and should be viewed as such. Things I have talked about for many years and not there is at least a very live example.
Disclaimer: Candy.com is in no way affilated with Candy Crush, King.com, Saga. However I did see some of their Candy Crush Candy on the candy.com website.
The earliest pioneers, they got .net. They mined silver not gold. Put a metal name next to each current extension as I am about to do. Did you watch Klondike last night? 3 part series about the Alaskan Gold Rush. They are replaying it. I think on Discovery? Not sure. See what was going on in 1897 with a parallel called gold mining. You are such lucky bastards to be doing this no matter what path you choose or mine or dig.
Compare those metals that have been around for billions of years with the extensions coming out. 50x more new extensions than all the metals of the world. How do they stack up? Why will folks even know they exist? Name me 10 metals. Name 10 spices. Name 10 types of bread. Fine, now name 20. The mind ain't going there. Not for the masses and not even for anyone else.
Wonder what 200th place is worth in a car race? Most of the population could care less about most of these metals except maybe Platinum, gold, silver and titanium and they need aluminum foil. Lead is more of a liability than an asset in many cases. Useful in others. Good for Superman and kryptonite. Heavy and cumbersome if you are traveling with it. The average person, me included, never heard or are not familiar with many of these metals. We may use them, but they mean nothing to us. Do they?? Billions of years in the making. Parallel to the consumer and .mobi and 1400 more? Come on, use your common sense not your ruby-red shoes.
Which metals are important to people? There are many more. There are compounded metals and alloys.
There are certain people who would have you ignore history because when you bring it up they get their panties all twisted in a knot and then have to resort to insults to defend their weak stance based solely on THEIR need not yours.
That was the case the other day and you see a pattern developing.
Now please separate the two issues. There is money to be made as a registry, as a registrar and as someone taking on ads and such. That is a given. I have said so. I said half the industry would be getting JOBS with these folks. But please put all that aside. We are talking about investing your families money. So is your family or your friends more important? It's a fair question even tho it is a tough one to ask and put out there. I am just saying whatever you do, do for the RIGHT reasons not the pressure some feel.
But that is respectfully tough. Our "friend" Shaun Le Cornu that Berkens posted his comments and then dug a deeper hole in his comments is much less than respectful. He has been insulting. When the facts don't go your way, what to do?
Top 5 reasons domainers don’t want new Gtlds according to Shaun:
.Mobi for Mobile before the ipad came to market but the market was turning to things mobile. So now that .Mobile is coming to market, that will surely save the day. Right?? Are you just idiots that are resistant to change? Line up for .Mobile!! It will make you RICH!
Give me a damn break!
.Tel to hook your phone up to your website.
.xxx to keep all the porn in one place
The registries all do fine. Domainers for the most part have not done fine. These are facts. And these are extensions that did have a story. Even .co. They had typos and it was shorter than .com and maybe stands for "Company". I still have a few of each in my portfolio. A few hundred grand buried in the dirt. Maybe more.
The public and end-user is not very interested in these extensions. Are they?? Seen any TV spots? Billboards? etc? They are out there but invisible. Want to tie your money up? May as well just open a pawn shop then and get something tangible in return that at least can be sold. But hey, it's your hard-earned money and if you want to buy .mobi today, knock your socks off.
So when we get to some of the ones I see that have no compelling story, no rhyme or reason are verbs and not nouns are nouns and not extensions, are some of the most limited in terms of combinations that make any sense whatsoever and will never reach the status of .aero. what the hell am I supposed to do? Tell everyone they are the next coming when I see nothing further from reality?
If the gTLD's depended on public support and not your support, only a handful would be viable. The rest would just collapse. Sure Godaddy and 1 and 1 and many others will be promoting. But think how many they can really promote on the top list? So they are not removing .com, .net, .org, .tv, .me, .info, or even .xxx. So they have to pick the ones that are being embraced and the other 880 are where? Let's just say they are off the radar map. I mean I can't even go thru the entire list without throwing in the towel or getting nauseous. Can you?
Soon we will be called "Neanderthals" and "Flat earthers" instead of just making a strong and coherent case and take on the tough questions with actual answers and not this silly stuff that some are becoming famous for. Your words fellas. Wise up before you choke on them.
I would rather overpay for value then get a bargain on .pigeonshit. That is the lesson of history. The hierarchy on the internet has been set and it looks like this:
.com, .net, org, and country codes. Then you have the .me, .co, .tv .info, .biz, I think you can add all the others up and you have less than .mobi.
Metals of value you can list right here and the same amount and see where it all measures up to.
.web is going to try to join that group. That's the only bet in town and that is such a huge longshot.
My next post compares extensions to all the metals in the world. Stay tuned!
I will judge each gTLD on their own merits. And while there is a lot of stupid things being said, we have to know that there is more than one dance happening and for more than one audience. Domainers, Investors and the end-user. (Just kidding about the end-user) :-)
So in the case of .Club here are my thoughts:
1. They know this has nothing to do with .com or any other extension.
2. They are not saying silly and stupid things.
3. They understand the challenge they have in front of them even if their numbers may be a tad optimistic.
4. They see their place and role in the FABRIC of the Internet and domains without trying to weaken the other material. (When some others have to lower themselves and resort to "Dot com is dead" they are trying to weaken the very ship in which they sail on and look so silly and pathetic when they do so) Just tell me your benefits and that is what the .club guys do and they may not become big investment quality domains but I am certain they will establish themselves in the fabric and have a viable business.
5. I can think of many words and names to put left of the dot that actually make sense.
Compare that to .Horse. One is much more limited than the other. That is why 75% of ALL the gTLD's are not going to survive. There are simply not enough strings to make it viable after assuming the end-user is going to jump on that .Horse. Equal extensions?? I don't think so. .Horse does not get out of the gate for me. Are we not supposed to compare and weigh each of these against each other NOT .com?? That is their CRAP and it is CRAP. They have to compete against the other gTLD's and that is where they really crap out.
Now I am not blowing smoke. I told this directly to Jeff from .Club back in October and I did that several times. Want to know why?? We both asked "Where are the other guys?" .Club guys know it won't be easy. It really is a challenge. They are PREPARED for that challenge and many others are not. They can make a coherent case for why some folks would use a .club. It may or may not happen. But they know what their job is and they take it seriously. They even hired Berkens and Cahn so they understand the trail ahead is going to be a battle and are going in with their eyes wide open and I give them props for that!!
On the other hand the trash talk hurts everyone except those with a big bag of smoke. I am really shocked that the tone has taken on this direction before the business even starts. I talk one on one to fellow domainers and they too are stunned and can't get over how dumb they are starting to look. Check out these thoughts and maybe you will see what I mean. Talks about domainers being "Resistant to change" and other condescending and arrogant comments aimed at professional domainers. Just DUMB!
I am all for expansion. Not a threat. Won't hurt anyone reading this. I love it. But I think there is a lot of self-doubt these days. Why? Maybe you and I asked questions they never even thought of. And maybe they have no answers for valid questions so they need smoke and other schemes to pull off what may be impossible for most to pull off. It's that simple. Emotion is driving them and reality is squarely in their way and the closer they get to that reality the more they lash out. The timing and delays has only made things worse.
A domain is only a domain until there is a destination and a business there. Winners and losers will be defined by those that do that not the other way around. Pick any extension you like and want. Knock your socks off. All I know is any company that has had any degree of success off of a non .com eventually seeks the .com because they need it to continue to grow their companies.
And each company will do what they need to grow their own company. So if the domain and extension is good for his/her company, he will embrace. If not, he won't. Most customers might say "We already have our domain name" and that is the start and the end of the conversation that no gtld operator will be involved in or privy to. They won't be there making their case. Most will dismiss out of hand and be done with it never to give it another thought in their lifetime. That's reality.
And 1000 others will compete against all existing extensions and they will have whatever importance the public gives them. Period.
And by the way, the minute they bring up search or Google as a basis and a reason, that is even weaker than .mobi's reason. Google is like an answer to everything. Bull! Buy the damn traffic!! Everyone is so geared to fake out the system to get free traffic they forgot the real way is to buy it and pay for it and make money with it and then buy more.
Is it nice to get a Google listing? Yep! Well I am telling you it is RELEVANCE on a subject that will get you there. The domain is not for Google. The domain is for the consumer. The domain is for ease of advertising. The domain is for easy word of mouth. Some folks have it so entangled they can't see straight any more.
It's so transparent. Like sitting out in front of Google yelling pick me!! pick me!!! Stop faking out search and build a site that has something of value to offer or a product to sell and ADVERTISE! Use any vehicle you want. The domain either tells a story or is a brand or is identifiable or is unique or is special in some other regard that lets you stand out. If a gTLD helps them do that, they will embrace, if not......
So fellas, not all extensions are equal. Some are more equal than others. The .club guy made his case and it held water. Now that is good for them. They will register more than enough domains to be profitable and viable as a registry. It still has the hurdle of being investment quality and that happens in time as demand grows or not. Perception. Value. The X factor. All types of variables. They don't tell me that their baby is going to be 7FT tall and break all basketball records and led the NBA in scoring for 6 straight years. I mean what these others are doing is even sillier than that.
To me there is no gTLD's. There are 1000 extensions that have no relation and we all know that .web is the only extension that is really being taken seriously by domainers as a whole for those that even think there is something over here. Why? Because it is generic, it makes sense and it could be very widespread. If this was a horse race, .web would win before most others are out of the gate. The margins of imaginary pre-registrations tell the predictable story. Just verify's what we know. .Web is the one to watch. It will either prop up .net or sweep .net into 3rd place in that 10-20 year horizon some are speaking of.
If .web were out there would be much more interest. There is little oxygen right now for all these folks. Little interest. Little quality. I will buy .web when it arrives. Maybe. Depending. But I see mass viability and acceptance. It is a NATURAL FIT and not forced. Does not mean you make money right away. Could be a sub cousin to .net or .org or could be a monster. That is the #1 threat for the new gTLD's. .Web. .Period.
I look at all the extensions and I want to hear their case. I just am sick of swallowing their bullshit. Tell me the benefits ONLY. If you have to resort to attack and BS you lose. Game over. Tell me how many strings you have with an extension. Tell me all the stuff you forgot to ask and don't even know but can preach the oceans of .Com parting for some .whatever!
Yesterday we debated .link. The debate is still going. Point, counterpoint. Let's pick the subject apart and then each will decide. I said I thought it was the strongest gTLD I know about of his. There were a wide range of views. I like hearing all the arguments and those scared to argue have to spew.
I want to thank Frank for having that lively debate yesterday over here. We are all looking for answers. We all want to make money. But the first rule of making money, is not losing money and that is for each to explain. Why their investments are safe and why they will grow. That burden is not on any domainer. It is on each registry to make a coherent case. We will accept or reject based on what we see and business basics. Let's see what is listed on DNJournal in 2014 and 2015. We know from history that at the 1 and 2 year anniversay and renewal cycles there are massive amounts of domains that can be had for $20 and $30. Wheel barrel filled with keywords with no value and no demand.
Did anyone pick up my .mobi drops? My .co drops? Does anyone care?
What Was, What Is, What Will Be and What If? Sounds pretty encompassing to me.
How long do you have to think and ponder on something before you find an answer? Well it can easily be a split second or a lifetime or a never. Pondering, thinking and digging very deep. See most folks only barely scratch the surface of life. I think most treasures are hidden below ground. Not all. Opportunity for example is above ground. You just have to know how to see the invisible. No digging required. In business asking the hard questions is Job #1. It's actually a continuous job. One we do unconsciously or for some very consciously.
However one of two things generally happen. One will either not bother to dig or one will dig so deep that it becomes too deep. Too deep can present perils. Always a happy medium.
The domain game is changing and I see it mostly at the drop auctions. Plenty of end users are now in the mix and to be quite honest, hard to compete with an end-user as a domain investment. The numbers many times go too high and I don't see the upside in tying up that much money for an untold amount of time. So to spend $30,000 on a $50,000 name or even a $100,000 name no longer fits in my formula.
So you kinda have to go "Off Grid" to find investment quality domain names that will go up anywhere from 10x-100x in value. When you have domains like that you can rest assured you can liquidate if need be.
Quality is liquid. My top 1000 domains could be sold very quickly if I had to. When a domain has obvious value it has liquidity. If I list them I would get multiple offers quite quickly. I won't get a desirable price, but I could get liquid and that is what we all need to aim for.
Quality = Liquidity if you don't overpay.
In domaining quality is defined much like real estate. In fact, it is the almost the perfect parallel. Anyone dismissing that is throwing away the foundation of not only domaining but real estate principles a thousand years old and proven worldwide. Location is the driver of value and worth and all the rest.
So when you use that parallel it is pretty hard to get lost. What was, still is and will be. We can use the "What if" variable all day long but you only need to do that when you ignore the parallels we all share.
And in this business we have multiple parallels that run on separate tracks and don't intersect. They may cross paths, but they don't intersect. Not only do we have parallels in real things, but we have parallels in time and expansion and so many other things.
The future and all the new things coming are what makes domaining so dynamic. Why a SHARP person could come into this business TODAY and makes his millions. Real Estate is MUCH harder! Takes MUCH more time and effort and running around and wasting time. That is what makes domains so attractive and why I was always so mystified why Realtors were not the ones to figure this puzzle out first? They should have been over this like white on rice!
The world is full of so many parallels and since folks just dismiss the thought they have to pave their own highways that have already been laid for them. That wastes time, costs money and you lose because everyone else is in the fast lane and they know when to dig and when not to dig. Balance is key.
How many new products came out today? New sectors? New inventions? New needs for new things. accessories for what already is. Filling a void as mountains appear and valley's can thrive.
I truly believe there is more opportunity right now, today, then any other moment in history. It is the main reason 3rd world countries are now leading the world. Same world, same opportunities. It's a mindset. It is how you look and view things. It's about unleashing what is inside each of us. I always say we each have a gift and our job is figuring it out and don't let anyone minimize or do anything but help nurture it.
What Was, What Is, What Will Be and What If, is just about thinking and not being lazy about it. You have to follow each path in your mind to the end. To the answer. Left or right, up or down. And if there are pitfalls along the way each has to be defined. Some pitfalls are deal breakers and you are done. Tho some will continue on a dead-end.
Buying the $15 Million mansion next to the town dump may not be the best bet. In fact, that would be an obvious deal breaker. It really does not matter how wonderful the Pool is or how large the Family Room is. The point is moot. So when you get to MOOT, a dead-end, your trip down that path is done and over. Dismiss it! Many may go beyond that point and that is at their own peril. Once I see "Moot", game over.
It's difficult to draw a picture of an intangible. But in my mind it is completely tangible because I am able to create a clear image in my mind and follow the path. I either get to moot and look for the next thing to focus on or I find an interesting answer and see how I can plug it in to the universe.
I realize many things that you can't really say out loud. The society in the USA now strives for mediocrity. And while many can't see it, I can because I remember when it was not like that. When we strived for excellence. Makes me want to puke. Know why? I was mediocre for two thirds of my life. I still only run at about 33% of my capacity. But at least I know the difference. Can see the difference. Understand the difference. Most importantly, the result is different. Excellence leads you to prosperity. Leads you to dreams. Excellence is the path to any great success. I guess I was about 40 when I began figuring it out. But it is crystal clear now.
When the iPad first came out I wrote about all the companies that would not only utilize it but how many new companies would spring up to make things for it. Cases, plugs, keyboards and you name it. An entire CITY of products came to market just because of the iPad.
It was all forseeable. Once the seed is planted for a tree you can begin to figure things out. How tall will it grow? How much shade will it provide? How much area will it take over? You MUST ask these things and see these things BEFORE it grows into a tree or you may have branches going thru your windows and roots in your foundation. So their problem did not happen when the tree grew, it happened when they planted the seed and never asked the right questions at the right time and then got surprised by the result. DUH!
What Was, What Is, What Will Be and What If? And that is just for starters. Digging for answers takes time and does not involve emotion. The key is following the answer even when you don't like. Even when it leads to an opposite place of where you thought you would be. Just hop on the nearest parallel and you will be on path.
I swear to you that the entry bar to the domain industry is only in your mind. A good mind can come into this industry TODAY and set up shop and within a few years, make his/her fortune. How? Well actually there are many ways.
It takes some hard work to start, but most of that hard work comes in the way of thinking. Many folks just "Do". I say "Think". Then do. Then think again and either do or undo but don't just keep going and going and going. Each step needs to be traced and retraced. That is the path to ensure you get it right. Get it right without getting lost or off on the wrong path.
I hope to share a small journey with you in the coming days. One that I hope will show you a tried and true path to fortunes still to be made here in domaining. I think I can prove that there are still veins to be minded and plenty of gold left for those that can see the future from here and how things may unfold in time when we look those 5-10 years or more down the road.
Find what works and just repeat, repeat, repeat.
Buy what you can afford to lose no matter what business you are in.
No money to start? Get in the middle of a deal. That takes no money. Just takes thinking. Takes recognizing an opportunity and then acting on it.
Want the "Easy Button"? Get the foundational things right and you will own an "Easy Button". But until then, if you are not willing to put in 14-16 hour days, you get what you get.
2014 will be a very exciting year for the domain industry and well beyond. The topic will be domains and websites and web strategies and everything web and internet related. Everyone knows their very survival orbits around the Internet from here on out. The focus and money will come in like a tidal wave. Probably 2nd and 3rd quarters of this year. But all year there will be big moves made by many. Facebook is on a buying spree and they should be. Why sit on billions of dollars that lose buying power each and every day when you can grow that money instead by buying and integrating profitable businesses?
Retailers will have to analyze those holiday numbers and they are going to one day come to the realization that for folks like JC Penny and Sears to survive, they need to start closing every store that is not growing in sales. BOOM! Just like that. Done! Overnight. Stop the hemorrhaging and focus on what works. Take some of those employees and train them how to use Facebook and Twitter and all the rest and unleash their power of change. The game is over guys. Time to rethink the next 100 years or you won't be around to rethink it. Time is running shorter and Amazon is growing bigger.
I don't think opportunity in domaining is solely dependent on the size of your wallet. Yes, sometimes it does, but most of the time it does not. Has more to do with your timeline and strategy. I really do see 6 figure domains that I would not consider buying and I see $1000 domains with 6 figure values. Our eyes all see different things based on our life experience. Some things work over and over again and some things fail over and over again.
The future we share is very bright and many fortunes can still be made. Discovering a path that works is perhaps one of the hardest and most sought after intangibles in the world. But intangibles are what makes opportunity. Thinking how to use intangibles in different forms is the roadmap that fortunes are made.
If you are not finding the success you deserve, I always say stop, take a day off. Relax. Enjoy. And then spend another day just thinking and crystallizing those thoughts. Go deep my friends. Your futures depend on it and deserve it.
And another one bites the dust! Rarely do we see a one member panel have a finding of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking. But we do today for the domain name rpglife.com. RPG Life Sciences Ltd. Represented by Anand & Anand, India has been found GUILTY of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking. (RDNH)
Congrats guys. More about you to come. This post is just starting. You guys are already GUILTY OF REVERSE DOMAIN NAME HIJACKING HERE!! You are a SERIAL Reverse Domain Name Hijacker. I think this is number Two or THREE??? Still researching. Lots of this CRAP coming from Mumbai. Seems Mumbai, India and Brazil are the leading countries these days for those being convicted of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking. Quite an honor.
In the present case, the Panel considers that the Complainant’s professional representative should have appreciated, even on a rudimentary examination of the Policy and its application in this area, that the Complaint could not succeed where the Respondent’s Disputed Domain Name is a widely recognized acronym and is being used to promote goods and services available for purchase in that field, as it had no reasonable hope of meeting the conjunctive requirement of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
Accordingly, the Panel accepts the Respondent’s allegation that the Complaint was filed in willful disregard of the requirements of the Policy. It is clear to the Panel that the Complainant knew or ought to have known that the Respondent’s registration and use of the Disputed Domain Name could not, under any fair interpretation of the reasonably available facts, have constituted registration and use in bad faith. The Panel therefore finds that the Complaint was brought in bad faith and constitutes an abuse of the administrative proceeding. (See Futureworld Consultancy (Pty) Limited v. Online Advice, WIPO Case No. D2003-0297; Kur- und Verkehrsverein St. Moritz v. Domain Finance Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2004-0158).
The Complaint speculates that “such strategies of creating domain names incorporating well known trademarks is a strategy typically used by cybersquatters so that they can force the Complainant to buy the impugned domain name at an exorbitant price and the Respondent may, in the future, offer to sell the domain name at an unreasonable price to the Complainant”. Initiating domain name dispute resolution proceedings necessarily involves putting the parties to a considerable expenditure of time and in many cases cost and the Policy must not be used unless the complainant has a reasonable and credible belief it is entitled to succeed. In particular, proceedings must not be commenced in an unjustifiable attempt to pressure a domain name owner into releasing a legitimately held domain name predating any trademark rights held by the complainant, see Sustainable Forestry Management Limited v. SFM.com and James M. van Johns “Infa dot Net” Web Services, WIPO Case No. D2002-0535.
Further, the Complaint has misconceived the nature of UDRP proceedings in citing other domain names registered by the Complainant that contain the words “rpg life” including the following domains , , , and as evidence that “clearly shows that our client has exclusive rights in domain names contained in the mark RPG LIFE”. UDRP proceedings are concerned with abusive registration of domain names and are not a test of who has the better rights to a disputed domain name nor who holds the most similar domain names.
Finally, it should also be said that it was the Complainant who, on no evidence at all, accused the Respondent of acting in bad faith and that there was “no plausible explanation” as to the Respondent’s use (and presumably choice) of the Disputed Domain Name. That, itself, is an act of bad faith and is part of the reason why the Panel has made the finding of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking. Such allegations should not be made lightly or without cogent evidence to support them and certainly not where, after obtaining instructions, it must have been apparent to the Complainant that no such allegation could properly be made against the Respondent. Indeed, in a curious inversion of the roles of the Complainant and the Respondent, it was the Complainant who tendered evidence that the Respondent’s website was ostensibly concerned with Role Playing Games and activities associated with it and hence entirely legitimate and in good faith.
The Panel therefore makes a finding of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking.
Date: December 30, 2013
Maintained by Rodan Media