How Did RetailMeNot Get 849 .Codes Domains In Sunrise Without Any Trademarks?

RetailMeNot, Inc. registered 849 .codes domain names in Sunrise without owning any of the corresponding trademarks. The domains were all registered at the 101Domain registrar.

The list includes many keyword domains as well as trademark domains of many other companies. How this was done is a mystery to me or maybe not judging from some other activities I have discovered with New gTLDs.

RetailMeNot may own a couple couple of trademarks such as “RetailMeNot” but it certainly does not own 849 trademarks.

RetailMeNot has registered in sunrise period generic domains such as pizza.codes, find.codes, paris.codes, usa.codes, mobile.codes, security.codes, english.codes and hundreds of other.

Many of these domains were purchased at premium prices such as sale.codes, live.codes, alaska.codes, hot.codes, college.codes and newyork.codes.

The list also includes domains that include trademarks of other companies: mac.codes, nascar.codes and jetblue.codes.

It makes me wonder if RetailMeNot is really behind these registrations. If it really is then this problem is much bigger than it seems.

These 849 domains together with the 60 sunrise registrations made by other companies during sunrise period make .codes New gTLD the most successful New gTLD in terms of sunrise domain name registrations. That is highly irregular especially because sunrise domains account for about a 3rd of the total .codes domain registrations.

I don’t think that Donuts has shown any interest in this situation because they got the sunrise fees and they are also getting paid for all premium domains that are in the list.

The .Codes New gTLD entered the Early Access Program (EAP) on the 16th of April 2014 at 16.00 CET. A few hours before that coupon giant RetailMeNot, Inc. registered 849 domain names in sunrise. New gTLD sunrise registrations require that the registrant has a registered trademark and that the trademark is registered with the Trademark Clearinghouse. It is apparent that RetailMeNot, Inc. does NOT have 849 registered trademarks.

.Codes has 3,042 domain registrations today so the RetailMeNot, Inc. registrations account for about a 3rd of the .codes total domain registrations.

Click here to see the complete list of the 849 domains.

On the same day I found another 25 sunrise registrations that were also registered at 101Domain and are currently behind whois privacy. The list includes domains such as blackfriday.codes and coupons.codes (that is a premium domain):

blackfriday2017.codes
blackfriday2019.codes
blackfriday2016.codes
blackfriday2020.codes
blackfriday2018.codes
blackfriday2015.codes
blackfriday2014.codes
blackfriday.codes
promocode.codes
promocodes.codes
in-store.codes
instore.codes
couponcode.codes
coupons.codes
cybermonday2020.codes
disocuntcodes.codes
cybermonday2019.codes
discountcode.codes
cybermonday.codes
cybermonday2014.codes
cybermonday2015.codes
cybermonday2016.codes
vouchercodes.codes
cybermonday2018.codes
cybermonday2017.codes
Sold.Domains

About Konstantinos Zournas

Konstantinos studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London and lives in Athens, Greece. He works on domain names, websites and software development. Has been online since 1995 & domaining since 2002.

13 comments

  1. They got e.codes as long as donuts and icann are getting paid, nobody cares to ask any questions. I saw this as well when .codes was being released but I did not see the TM ones, good article, to bad this industry has become infested with greedy pigs who have no SEC watching their actions.

  2. I think it’s fine to use them that way. Unlike generic extensions like .Com, .Co.Uk, etc which fundamentally identify many company identities, many of the TLDs form a phrase which are somewhat more conversational.

    For example, if somebody created a TLD called .Fans, and then registered every popular Trademark, such as “StartTrek.Fans”, I would have to consider them all to be fair use, because they don’t confuse a visitor in regards to ownership.

    So, if I am searching for Walmart codes, and found WalmartCodes.Com, or Walmart.Codes, I am not detracting from Walmart or their Trademark, nor am I giving the visitor the impression that they are on a Walmart owned site.

    In this particular case, RetailMeNot is already providing coupon codes for those brands on their site. Using the same phrase as a domain is completely justified.

    Personally, even though I’ve got over 200 coupon domains, I only registered one .Codes. In my case, I went completely generic… CouponCodes.Codes.

    • I think you missed the problem.
      I don’t really care about the trademark domains even though they are part of the problem.
      I care about the hundreds of generic domains that they got before general availability and without owning any trademarks.

      • I think the whole Sunrise concept was just a money grab. It has nothing to do with giving first crack to Trademark owners, because they do nothing to screen applicants.

        These early fees are literally off the wall. I recently saw a domain I want with an $18,000 Sunrise fee if I choose to “be the first in line”, as GoDaddy says it.

        If Sunrise was supposed to be a benefit of Trademark owners, why is charging $18,000 to get first crack at it helping them?

        I’m more of a “Act now… fix it later” kind of guy. They should just open the registration to everyone at once, and if somebody registers your Trademark before you had a chance, then fix it later.

        With 1500 new TLDs coming out, there is no reason for every company to buy every combination of their brand, nor is it necessary to block people from buying TLDs containing them.

        The system for fixing abuse, although flawed, still gives them a chance to dispute real abusers, when and if they find real abuse.

      • I agree with the sunrise money grab but this is how sunrise was setup and everybody must follow the rules.
        They are supposed to screen applicants through the Trademark Clearinghouse.

        I have never seen a $18,000 price tag. Sunrise fees are at about $100-$150 plus the registration/renewal fee.
        But sunrise domains can be premium. Can you share the domain or at least the New gTLD?

      • .deals domains

        There is about a $13,000 spread between day 1 and day 5 registrations.

        On day 1, it’s $18,999.99
        On day 5, it’s $5649.99
        The regular pre-registration and renewal (premium) price is $1499.99

        I don’t think it’s worth it. I understand the excuse they use to hide their greed, weeding out squatters with $9 to spend, but it’s not going to guarantee somebody with $19,000 will not guarantee that only big players are in the game.

      • At the rates I am seeing here the registration/renewal price should be $5500 and not $1500.
        EAP day 5 fee is $150 at godaddy.

      • I just re-checked… the $1499 I quoted before was a mistake. The renewal on those $18999.99 domains is $1049.99.

        I am only interested in 3 very specific .deals domains.

        Coupon.Deals
        Coupons.Deals
        Local.Deals

        All three are $18,999.99 for the 1st day, and $5649.99 for 5th day.

        In the one I wanted most (local.deals), the renewal prices were $3849.99 per year, the rest were $1049.99 for renewals.

        To me, the high price makes it a total failure. What makes coupon.deals or coupons.deals any better than any one of my 200+ .com coupon domains?

        What is the justification for $18,999 to get the first chance to buy those domains? Is that what Sunrise is supposed to be? Wasn’t it supposed to be a week for companies to claim their rights to their branded domains? To me it’s just a game of chicken. A dutch auction for the registries and registrars to see who has the balls to pay the big numbers on day 5, and decrease the numbers until you hit the trigger before anyone with less balls can afford to buy it?

        What about the renewals. I pay $8.47 to renew 99.9% of my domains, why should local.deals cost $3849.99 per year?

        I’m sure the nTLDs fanboys think that Coupon.Deals is better than most .coms because it’s a TLD just for deals, is that any better than these?

        Coupon.Bargains
        Coupons.Bargains

      • Coupon.Deals: Your registration fee for this domain is $5,499.99. After the initial registration, this domain will renew at $5,499.99/yr.
        Coupons.Deals: Your registration fee for this domain is $1,499.99. After the initial registration, this domain will renew at $1,499.99/yr.
        Local.Deals: Your registration fee for this domain is $5,499.99. After the initial registration, this domain will renew at $5,499.99/yr.

        BTW this is not sunrise. Sunrise is only for trademarks. What you are seeing is after sunrise prices at the Early Access Program (EAP).

      • Because of the way the sleazebags at GoDaddy strategically blended their FAQ about early registration options with their description about Trademarks, they gave me the impression that those 5 early phases ARE the priority phases, because they offer no other option when ordering. This is just one more reason I hate GoDaddy.

        http://support.godaddy.com/help/article/8894/gtld-pre-registration-faqs/

        After doing some homework, you are correct, the prices I quoted are when you click the Priority Pre-Registration dropdown, which is where they have 5 different prices in a game of chicken. If you pay the highest price, your application is virtually guaranteed because it is theoretically submitted the moment they go on sale…. and at a price very few are willing to pay.

        The lower prices are the remaining 4 days. By then, your competition may be able to afford to hit the trigger before you can afford it.

        After doing some additional research, it seems GoDaddy is taking advantage of a loophole in the ICANN regulations to not only charge anything they want for these early stages ($18,999.99 is just plain crazy), but to also raise the renewal fees.

        I wonder what the renewal would be if somebody buy local.deals from GoDaddy for the $18,999.99 option, which they claim renews at $3849, then sells it to somebody at another registrar. If this loophole allows them to charge higher renewals for anyone who paid extra for their early access option, then I wonder if a transfer out can lower it… or if the second buyer is stuck with the increase. If they aren’t, I would love to lower the renewals on a few of mine.

        I spent several hundred extra for “Priority” registering Coupon.Bargains and Coupons.Bargains for example… two domains that are just the same as Coupon.Deals and Coupons.Deals. I can’t imagine somebody paying $18,999.99 for any of the three .deals domains I mentioned. It’s just plain wrong.

  3. Are we still pretending that the newgtlds are anything but a major cash grab?

    • Greed will only slow the adoption of these TLDs.

      1. Most of the nTLDs are already charging much more than .Coms. Are they trying to say that a .something is better than .com? If not sell them at a lower price, it’s foolish to cost more.

      2. Holding back and overpricing the most desirable names is also a bad idea.

      3. As history has proven over the years, a free and open marketplace is the best way to motivate people to participate.

      By excluding people who are not willing to pay extra, many innovative people will ignore the whole mess… at best, but slander and mock it… at worst.

      This is why this subject continues to generate heated debate.

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