2012 Best Buyer Award – The Overpaying Buyer

I have setup my own sales landers for about 5000 of my domain names. (more on this at a forthcoming article) I did that a couple of months back when I started leaving Sedo.

At this lander I invite potential buyers to send an offer and add a message as well if they want. Yesterday I got an offer for £25 with a message saying:

If you aren’t using it I’m willing to buy it and put the domain to good use.

Of course I was impressed with this great offer for a 2001 registered domain name. Not. My reply, because I didn’t want to be rude just yet, was simply:

Is your offer £25?

I was expecting any kind of replies but I couldn’t anticipate this one:

No sorry it was £5

Believe it or not he was actually afraid of overpaying by spending £25 for an 11 year old domain. I have gotten a few inquiries to donate a domain to charity and even got a $2 offer but I have never had a buyer afraid of overpaying at this level. So I think you will all agree that he can have the Best Buyer Award for 2012.

My reply to this £5 offer was a deserving:

Is this a joke?

Did you have similar experiences in 2012? Please share them by leaving a comment below.

pack.org is now in a private Namejet auction after the winning bidder failed to pay

I just got an email from Namejet informing me that I entered a private auction for the domain name pack.org. The domain dropped on the 28th of November and it was caught by Namejet. The winning bidder didn’t pay the auction top bid that was $2,112. The auction that needed on the 1st of December had 6 bidders with a $1,000 bid or higher and 158 bids from 137 bidders. The non-paying bidder had 28 days to make payment but failed to pay.

All bidders from the previous auction for this domain have now been entered in a private auction that ends in 3 days. All bids have been set to the minimum and the original winner’s bid has been removed. The current high bidder is determined by the original bid dates.

Usually private auctions like this get less bids and the winning bid is a lot less than the original price. What do you think the winning bid will be this time around?

Helion.com gets hit with a UDRP a month after it was sold at Snapnames for $9,445 – The complaint was denied at NAF

Helion.com got a UDRP complaint at the National Arbitration Forum a month after it was sold at Snapnames for $9,445. The domain was caught by Snapnames on the 7th  of October 2012 and the auction ended on the 10th. The Panel did not make a RDNH ruling.

Complainant was EM Consulting Group, Inc. Respondent was “co Administrator”, represented by Farage Yusupov.

Complainant submitted the Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum on November 8, 2012. The National Arbitration Forum appointed a three-member Panel: Honorable Karl V. Fink (ret.) and Douglas M. Isenberg as Panelists, and Roberto A. Bianchi as Chair.

The Complainant claimed that the disputed domain name was identical or confusingly similar to the HELION service mark, in which Complainant has rights.  Complainant registered this mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) since June 12, 2012.

Respondent filed one of the best Responses I have ever read.

PANEL’S FINDINGS

Complainant is a company providing computer maintenance and other IT services to automotive dealerships in the United States.

Complainant owns a USPTO registration for the word mark HELION, Registration No. 4,157,542, Registration Date June 12, 2012, filed on October 14, 2011, covering Installation, repair and maintenance of computers and computer peripherals; Maintenance and repair of computer networking hardware; Maintenance of computer hardware systems, of International Class 37. First use/First use in commerce: February 1, 2005.

Respondent is in the business of web publishing and developing websites.

The disputed domain name appears to have been registered and used in a website by third parties since 1996, prior to Complainant’s first use of the HELION mark in 2005.

The disputed domain name was registered on October 7, 2012.  On October 12, 2012, Respondent purchased the disputed domain name in an auction held at Snapnames.com for US$ 9,445.

PANEL’S DISCUSSION

The Panel found in favor of the Complainant in the first element of the UDRP: Identical and/or Confusingly Similar. By its trademark registration with the USPTO (Principal Register), Complainant has shown that it owns rights in the HELION service mark. Since the disputed domain name, aside from the generic top-level domain (“gTLD”) “.com,” consists exclusively of the “helion” string, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is identical to Complainant’s mark.

Panel didn’t address the second element of the UDRP. Since Complainant failed to prove bad faith pursuant to Policy paragraph 4(a)(iii) – see below – the Panel need not make a finding as to rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

The Panel found in favor of the Respondent in the third element of the UDRP:

Respondent has shown that the disputed domain name has been registered and used by other domain name holders much before Complainant began using the HELION mark – according to Complainant’s statement in its trademark application – or the “Helion” term in its trade name “Helion Automotive Technologies” in 2005.  In fact, the first result of the “Wayback Machine” at the “<www.archive.org>” website visited by the Panel on December 23, 2012, shows that The Helion Design, a web designer, used the disputed domain name from 1996 to 1998 to offer its services; that from December 1998 to 2000 the website showed a webpage under the title of “Helion Videonica;” that from 2001 to 2006 the “<www.helion.com>” website showed again the title “The Helion Design,” and that in 2007 and 2008 the website was used by Stewart Securities, a full-service NASD broker and dealer.

Complainant does not consider the priority issue in its Complaint, or contest it in its Additional Submission.  Thus, Respondent’s explanation for having registered the disputed domain name mainly for being a “generic” domain name, is plausible, not because the term “helion” is truly “generic,” i.e. a sign defining the category or type to which certain goods or services belong, but because it corresponds to various different things, or refers to different persons.  Confirming Respondent’s evidence, the Panel has done research on the Wikipedia at “<en.wikipedia.org/wiki/hellion>”, and found a disambiguation page listing the following meanings for “Helion”: Helion (chemistry), helium nucleus; Helion (meteoroid); Hélion de Villeneuve (c. 1270 – 1346), a medieval knight; Jean Hélion (1904–1987), a French painter; Helion Lodge; Helion, a character in John C. Wright’s trilogy “The Golden Age”; Helion (publisher), a Polish publisher, and Helion (magister officiorum).   The Panel notes that these meanings relate neither to Complainant, nor to its HELION mark or to Complainant’s maintenance services.

Nor did a Google search conducted by the Panel on December 23, 2012, suggest otherwise.  In fact the first ten results consist of “Helion” companies and/or websites unrelated to Complainant.  One has to read the second page of results to find Complainant’s trade name “Helion Automotive Technologies” and its website “<www.heliontechnologies.com>” for the first time, at the eleventh place.

 It is true that the disputed domain name was once marked by the parking website <Sedo.com> as being “for sale.”  However, Complainant failed to show that Respondent has “registered or […] acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant […], pursuant to Policy paragraph 4(b)(i).”  Obviously, this purpose of transferring the disputed domain name for profit requires previous knowledge of a complainant, a fact that Respondent flatly denies, and that Complainant failed to show. In its Response, Respondent contends that the first time it had heard from Complainant was when it was served with the Complaint.  In the Panel’s view, Complainant failed to prove the opposite.  It is true that Complainant had registered the HELION mark before Respondent acquired the disputed domain name, but it is equally true that the <helion.com> domain name was registered and used since as early as 1996 by other domain name holders, much prior to when Complainant began using or registered a trade name containing the “Helion” term, and before it applied for registration of the HELION service mark, in 2005.

For these reasons, the Panel finds that Complainant has not shown that Respondent registered the disputed domain name with Complainant’s mark in mind, a well-established requisite for finding domain name registration in bad faith.   See Jet Marques v. Vertical Axis, Inc., D2006-0250 (WIPO May 26, 2006) (a finding of bad faith registration requires that respondent registered the domain name with complainant’s trademark in mind).  This failure to prove registration in bad faith entails failure to prove jointly bad faith registration and  bad faith use, as it is required in Policy paragraph 4(a)(iii), which is sufficient for a panel to deny a complaint.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that Complainant failed to prove the bad faith element.

Reverse Domain Name Hijacking

Although Complainant failed to prove that Respondent acted in bad faith, the Panel did not find any element of bad faith in the Complaint, or that the Complaint was brought in an attempt at Reverse Domain Name Hijacking.

The Panel concluded that relief shall be DENIED.

UDRP complaint for EuroBaby.com denied at WIPO – John Berryhill doesn’t ask for RDNH

This could have been a Reverse Domain Name Hijacking (RDNH) case but it seems that John Berryhill didn’t ask for a RDNH finding. He might have thought that the two pending CTM applications that were filed in May 2012 would have made the Panel to dismiss a RDNH claim. Or maybe he didn’t ask for a RDNH ruling because it brings no consequences to the Complainant. But as the Panel was uncertain if the Complaint failed or not on the first element of the UDRP (Identical or Confusingly Similar) this could have been a possible RDNH case.

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center on October 1, 2012. The Complainant was Liam Sutcliffe, Eurocycles & Eurobaby and Eurotrek Group Limited of Dublin, Ireland and the Respondent was Marchex Sales, Inc – Brendhan Hight of Las Vegas, Nevada, United States of America, represented by John Berryhill. The Center appointed Andrew Brown QC, James Bridgeman and Richard G. Lyon as panelists in this matter on November 29, 2012.

The Respondent registered the disputed domain name EuroBaby.com on September 26, 2000.

Complainant owns the domain name eurocycles.com and uses it as it’s official website for selling bicycles. Eurocycle.com was registered in 1997 and is owned by a third party.

Liam Sutcliffe applied as a physical person for two (EU) Community Trade Marks (CTM): “EUROCYCLES EUROBABY” as a word trademark and “EUROBABY” as figurative trademark. The filling date is 15/05/2012 and of course the trademarks are not yet registered. The trademarks were published for opposition on 09/08/2012. There are no Irish trademarks registered for “eurobaby” or any trademarks by Liam Sutcliffe in Ireland.

The Complainants, who are all based in Dublin, Ireland, claim rights in both the registered and unregistered trademarks EUROBABY EUROCYCLES and EUROBABY in respect of, inter alia, bicycles, car seats, children’s car seats, prams, strollers (and the like) and baby clothing. The Complainants’ Eurotrek Group Limited and Eurocycles & Eurobaby claim to have been trading in Ireland since 1999/2000.

The Respondent claims to be a successor through reorganization to MDNH Inc and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Marchex Inc, a publicly-traded US corporation. It claims, without evidentiary support, to have acquired the disputed domain name as part of its acquisition of a large number of domain names from the Ultimate Search portfolio “in late 2004”. No more precise date has been provided by either party. The Panel treats this as the relevant date for the purpose of ascertaining whether the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith.

Panel’s Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

[...] As the Complaint fails under another Policy head, the Panel need not determine whether the Complainants have satisfied paragraph 4(a)(i). The Panel does note, however, that the Complainants’ evidence of the extent of their claimed unregistered trademark rights, even in 2012, lacks detail and corroboration.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Because of its finding on bad faith registration in the next section of this decision, the Panel need not consider this question.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Complainants have not made out an essential aspect of this third requirement, i.e. that as at the relevant date in late 2004 when the Respondent claims to have acquired the disputed domain name as part of a portfolio of other domain names, the Respondent registered the disputed domain name in its name in bad faith.

To establish registration in bad faith in 2004, the Complainants must demonstrate trademark rights as of that date. In order for the Panel to make a finding that the Complainants have unregistered trademark rights in EUROBABY prior to late 2004, it is incumbent on the Complainants to provide corroborative or supporting evidence showing use and advertising of the mark such that reputation and goodwill has been created. The Respondent obviously could not know of a mark that did not then exist. Although the Complainants have asserted that they have spent considerable time, effort and money advertising or promoting their goods, there is no evidence as to what sums of money have been spent, nor even a single copy of an advertisement. There is no evidence that, as at the relevant date, the Respondent (an entity based in the United States) knew of or had notice of the Complainants or any reputation or goodwill in their unregistered trademark EUROBABY.

The Complainants have not provided any evidence corroborating their bare assertion claiming use of the unregistered trademark EUROBABY in Ireland prior to late 2004 sufficient to enable the Panel to make a finding that the Complainants enjoyed a significant reputation and goodwill in EUROBABY. Further, there is no evidence that, even if the Complainants had achieved a reputation and goodwill in that unregistered trademark, that this reputation was ever likely to have come to the notice of the Respondent so as to render its acquisition and registration of the disputed domain name in late 2004 to be a registration in bad faith.

As a result of this finding, the Panel need not consider the question whether the disputed domain name is being used in bad faith.

Decision

So the complaint failed at the third element of the UDRP. The Panel didn’t decide on the other two elements. The Panel dismissed the Complaint.

Bloomberg reports website outage of NYC online grocer after domain renewal failed

Bloomberg reported today that Fresh Direct that is an online grocer that operates in New York City and surrounding areas, had a website outage after failing to renew its domain name FreshDirect.com. The domain expired on the 23rd of December and after a website outage it was finally renewed. Customers complained at the company’s Facebook page that the website was down. The website is now up and running.

The domain freshdirect.com is registered with Network Solutions. It seems that the online grocer has learned it’s lesson as the domain was renewed for the maximum of 10 years and now expires in 2022. (Bloomberg mistakenly reports that it expired in 2024)

.info Exclusive Go Daddy Auction – Update #1

Tomorrow it is 2 weeks after the auction ended at Go Daddy. Afilias ran an exclusive .info auction at Go Daddy for 106 domains that had been reserved since 2001. These .info sunrise domains had been pending reallocation since 2001 and this auction produced some great prices. (e.g. Cancer.info and Gambling.info sold for $16,005 each and Loans.info for $12,205.)

This auction ran from the 4th of December until the 14th. Since the 14th there has not been a lot of progress concerning the transfer of the domain names. I won 2 domains at this auction and I paid almost immediately. I got 2 emails about those 2 domains from Go Daddy on the 23th and on the 25th of December. The emails were from “auctions@godaddy.com” and the subject was “****.info – Action Required”. Be sure to check your spam folder if you won a .info at this auction and you still have not received an email. This email is informing the winning bidder that the funds are secured and that the domain can be transferred. It invited the winning bidder to purchase a transfer at Go Daddy and to email the seller (in this case Afilias) for the auth code. Here is the complete email message:

Domain Transfer & Change of Registrant Authorization

Dear ,

We have notified the Seller of the domain *.info, that the funds have been verified and they can allow a Transfer away. Please log in to your Go Daddy Auctions account and click the

“Purchase Transfer” button located in your “Won” section. Then click the “E-mail Seller” link to contact the seller and request the Authorization codes. Please follow the steps below.

To safely log in:

Click here to go to the “Won” tab in the Bidding List section of your Auctions account and log in if prompted.
Click the “Email Seller” link next to the domain.

I didn’t purchase the transfer at GoDaddy because I hope I can transfer the domains to my preferred registrar. I am not sure that will be possible though. I will post another update as the transfer process continues. I emailed the seller and asked for the authorization codes. I haven’t received any reply. It seems that this process is moving very slowly probably because of Afilias and Go Daddy and of course the holidays.

.eu claims an 80% increase on ADR cases because of reduced fees

The Czech Arbitration Court (CAC) and .eu registry EURid have been running a special fee reduction to make the .eu Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process more affordable. The cost of a basic proceeding has been cut by more than 50% since July 2012.

The .eu registry EURid and the Czech Arbitration Court (CAC) just announced that the fee for a basic .eu Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) procedure will continue to be cut by 50% until the end of 2013. They also claim that since the introduction of the reduced fee in July 2012, the average number of ADR cases filed per month has risen by 80% but that is not reflected on the ADR stats.

I looked at the stats from years 2011 and 2012 and there is only a slight year to year, for the first 11 months of each year, increase of ADR fillings:
# Fillings (Months 1-11 of 2011): 41
# Fillings (Months 1-11 of 2012): 48 (17% increase)

The stats since the introduction of the ADR cost cut in July 2012 show a 50% increase but the sample is very small. (And it is not 80% as claimed)
# Fillings (Months 7-11 of 2011): 16
# Fillings (Months 7-11 of 2012): 24

The small sample together with the small year to year increase of 17% doesn’t tell us if the cost cut was successful or not. I believe that such a significant cost cut should result in at least a 100% increase in ADR fillings in order to be a success. 2013 will gives us more data to judge.

Here is the complete announcement:

Fee reduction extended for .eu dispute proceedings

Brussels and Prague, 18 December 2012 – The fee for a basic .eu Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) procedure will continue to be cut by 50% until the end of 2013, announced the .eu registry EURid and the Czech Arbitration Court (CAC), the institution appointed to rule on .eu domain name proceedings.

Since the introduction of the reduced fee in July 2012, the average number of ADR cases filed per month has risen by 80%.

“This increase does seem to indicate that there was some sort of financial barrier that prevented some parties from claiming their rights through .eu ADR proceedings,” commented Czech Arbitration Court Board Member, Petr Hostas.

“Lowering this barrier was a good step that enabled those parties to access the ADR procedure and I sincerely hope that this trend will continue going forward.”

EURid’s General Manager Marc Van Wesemael added, “At EURid, we want anyone with a legitimate prior rights claim to be able to challenge a .eu registration. Making the .eu ADR process more affordable, and therefore accessible, is one way of doing this.”

Why ADR
People can challenge a .eu registration if they believe they have a prior right to the domain name and the current holder has registered the name for speculative or abusive purposes. Although they can do this through a European court, EURid offers the fast and convenient .eu ADR procedure through the independent CAC. No travel is required as all cases are conducted online and by email, and in 21 official EU languages. Cases take an average of four months to resolve.

EURid appointed the CAC in 2005 as its ADR provider. In order to make .eu ADR decisions, the CAC selects one or more panellists from its list of 136 accredited international experts.

In numbers
For the first three quarters of 2012, 35 .eu dispute resolution cases were filed. The Czech Arbitration Court published 25 ADR decisions, of which all were in favour of the complainant.

More information about the new .eu ADR price structure is available at eu.adr.eu.

2012 New gTLD Review

ICANN’s last “new gTLD” Weekly Update for 2012 took a look back at everything that was accomplished this year. A significant progress moving the New gTLD Program forward was achieved. In 2013 New gTLD applications will begin to make their way through Initial Evaluation and on to contracting, pre-delegation and delegation. Take a look at the 2012 achievements as described by ICANN:

  • APPLICATION WINDOW: The successful opening and closing of the new gTLD application period. Though the TAS issue caused some delay, we used the opportunity to learn and improve the process. The culmination of the application round was an exciting Reveal Day on 13 June in London where we revealed to the world the 1930 applied-for new gTLD strings.
  • APPLICANT SUPPORT PROGRAM: Though we only received three applications for this program, the Applicant Support Program still is a significant part of the New gTLD program and will continue to be. A special Thank You goes out to all of the volunteer Support Applicant Review Panelists for their hard work and dedication.
  • APPLICATION COMMENTS: We launched the Application Comment period on 13 June and scheduled it to run for 60 days. However, we were urged by many of you to extend the comment period and so we did – an additional 45 days for an eventual 105-day comment period. A total of 11,682 comments were received during this 105-day period.
  • PROGRAM FEEDBACK: The Program Feedback forum launched on 13 June. This forum remains open for the duration of the application round. Comments will be used to make improvements to the program.
  • OBJECTION PERIOD & INDEPENDENT OBJECTOR: The Objection period started on 13 June. Originally scheduled to end seven months from Reveal Day, we listened to the community and extended it to 13 March 2013. Also, as announced in May, Professor Alain Pellet was appointed as the Independent Objector for the New gTLD Program.
  • TRADEMARK CLEARINGHOUSE: We have seen two important developments relating to the Trademark Clearinghouse. In June, we announced Deloitte and IBM as providers to work with us on implementation of the Clearinghouse. In November, we posted a “Strawman Solution” for public comment.
  • INITIAL EVALUATION & CLARIFYING QUESTIONS: Initial Evaluation of all new gTLD applications began in July. We launched a Clarifying Questions (CQ) pilot in August/September to ensure clarifying questions are clear and that applicants can understand precisely what additional information they must provide to evaluators in order to get a passing score. CQs for Geographic Names applications were sent out in November and the first two Applicant Advisories have been posted to help applicants prepare for the remaining CQs scheduled to go out in January 2013.
  • UNIFORM RAPID SUSPENSION: We gathered and reviewed several proposals from potential Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) providers in response to our Request for Information (RFI). A decision regarding URS provider selection and the path forward can be expected very soon.
  • GAC ADVICE & EARLY WARNINGS: The GAC Advice Registry launched in July and GAC Early Warnings on new gTLD applications were delivered in November.
  • APPLICANT COMMUNICATIONS: In August, we began our monthly Applicant Update Webinar Series to keep you informed and provide a way for you to ask questions between major ICANN meetings. We began Weekly Updates, like this one, introduced brief Video Updates on relevant trending topics, and added an Applicants’ Corner page to the Microsite to help you find resources more easily.
  • BATCHING/METERING OF APPLICATIONS: And finally, with your help, we successfully executed the Prioritization Draw. 100% of the proceeds collected will be donated to the following three charities: Kiva Microfunds, Invenio, and Wikimedia Foundation. You can find final results of the Draw on the Current Application Status page. Thanks to all of you who attended and participated in the Draw in Los Angeles. It was yet another milestone achieved in a year filled with them.

ICANN creates a New gTLD Funds Investment Policy for the US$355 million of application fees

ICANN has collected approximately US$355 million of application fees from applicants for generic top-level domains (gTLDs) in the New gTLD Program (net from pre-reveal withdrawals). The purpose of these application fees is to cover the costs of implementing the GNSO‘s Policy on new gTLDs through the New gTLD Program. Because of this specific usage of the funds, as well as the specific timeframe associated with such usage, a specific investment policy is called for to support the adequate investment of such funds for the time they will be held.

ICANN selected Bridgebay Investment Consultant Services to assist in the design of a specific investment policy for management the funds held for the New gTLD Program. The New gTLD Fund Investment Policy has been designed to enabling safeguarding, liquidity, and a reasonable return on investment during the period of time the funds are invested.

ICANN selects the Swedish (.se) registry operator for new gTLD testing

ICANN announced that it selected the Swedish registry operator Stiftelsen för Internetinfrastruktur (.SE) as the provider of Pre-Delegation Testing services for the new gTLD Program. Testing is done to verify that the new gTLD applicant has met its commitment to establish registry operations (DNS server infrastructure and registry system operations) in accordance with the technical and operational criteria described in the gTLD Applicant Guidebook (AGB).

Here is the complete announcement:

ICANN is pleased to announce that it has selected Stiftelsen för Internetinfrastruktur (.SE) as the provider of Pre-Delegation Testing services for the new gTLD Program. The provider is the registry operator for the .se ccTLD (Sweden) with a long and proven track of technical capability, operations excellence, and significant experience in the industry.

The purpose of the Pre-Delegation Testing is to verify that the applicant has met its commitment to establish registry operations in accordance with the technical and operational criteria described in the gTLD Applicant Guidebook (AGB). Each applicant will be required to complete Pre-Delegation Testing as a prerequisite to delegation into the root zone.

The test elements cover both DNS server infrastructure and registry system operations. The Pre-Delegation Testing process is described in the gTLD Applicant Guidebook [PDF, 5.88 MB], Section 5.2.

About Stiftelsen för Internetinfrastruktur (.SE): The Internet Infrastructure Foundation (.SE) is an independent organization for the benefit of the public that acts to promote the positive development of the Internet in Sweden. .SE is responsible for the Internet’s Swedish top-level domain, .se, encompassing domain name registration, and the administration and technical operation of the national domain name registry. Proceeds from domain name registrations are used to finance initiatives that promote the development of the Internet in Sweden, through proprietary operations and the financing of independent projects.

The service provider was selected out of a process of consideration in accordance with the Request for Proposals issued on 30 October 2012. Requirements for candidate service providers included: a demonstrated understanding of the critical registry functions (i.e., DNS, DNSSEC, EPP, Whois, Data escrow), operational experience necessary to deliver the testing services, ability to scale up on request, and experience designing, building, and operating robust and secure systems. ICANN received competitive proposals from several qualified firms, and is pleased to select .SE as the Pre-Delegation Testing provider for the new gTLD program.