I read this post on Namepros.com that really outlines many of the misconceptions in the domain name industry, the newbies, some people that thing they know what they are doing, the domain companies and the domain “professionals”!
The post is titled “How to rid myself of a trademarked domain?” and is written by someone that bought a .dev domain name in the Early Access Period (EAP) for $4,500:
I was intent on making a fan site towards a global very well known tech company and managed to buy their .dev domain during the EAP. The site would teach users how to develop applications for use on their mobile platform. Hence (company).dev being a great name.
I was intending on having ads to cover the rather large cost of the domain ($4.5k). I very stupidly bought it without thinking about the legal implications of using a trademarked domain and have now found out that not only can I not have ads on this website I likely wont even be allowed to use the domain full stop.
The nickname of the OP is IMadeABigMistake and he registered at Namepros 4 days after the registration. That is after he regretted paying $4,500 for the domain name and after he learned from the registrar (Namecheap) that a refund is not possible.
How to get rid of the domain
All this does not sound very strange especially from a newbie in domain names that the owner seems to be. The only remarkable thing was that he/she chose to pay $4,500 for the domain without doing any research.
He/she made a mistake registering the domain but thankfully he realized soon enough and is trying to correct that. Anyone and especially newbies make mistakes. The sooner you realize it the better. The owner and other can learn from this.
Now the owner is asking on Namepros how to get rid of the domain:
How can I get rid of this domain? Bonus points if the method involves me recouping some of the initial cost…
For me there are only 3 ways: either delete it today, let it expire or offer it for free to the company with the trademark.
The owner will not be getting any of that money back. Just accept that and move on.
There is no way Namecheap (the registrar) or Google (the .dev registry) is issuing a refund. And it is not their responsibility to police trademarks or newbies. And they simply can’t.
Here are my short replies to Bob Hawkes:
“Does Google bear any responsibility for allowing sale of an apparently obviously TM term to someone not the TM owner? ”
Is not them selling (through NameCheap) the same thing as an individual reselling name?
The .dev domain that costed $4,500
If you are wondering what the domain name is… Well the owner pretty much spells it out:
The domain is not a generic name but can be broken down into an english name + a verb but upon reading the domain 99% of people will read it as the brand which is so common there is a 30% chance it is in your hand right now.
It easy enough to understand what it is by what he said but I also checked the EAP day 2 domains that were registered in Namecheap (that were not that many!) and of course found it there.
(I compile EAP lists for the past 5 years for many of the New gTLDs.)
BTW the .app domain of the same company was registered in May by a third party once again. The domain was then registered in EAP day 3 at GoDaddy thus costing about $1,500 and is just sitting there.
(If you still don’t know what the domain is just read the second page on Namepros!)
My main problem here is the response the owner got from Namecheap support.
What is my best bet for ridding myself of the domain? I’ve contacted namecheap and they gave me three options
-Let it Expire
-Send it to a friend
-Sell on their marketplace
What? “Send it to a friend” is the professional solution offered to someone what wants to have a domain not registered under his/her name?
Or “Sell on their marketplace”??? Are you kidding me?
This is a disgrace of a reply and Namecheap should issue a statement about this “advice” and reevaluate their support quality and support “scripts”.
I know with legacy TLDs that you can ask your registrar to delete a domain name at any time. The domain enters the Redemption Period immediately and then deletes after 35 days. I made a mistake a few years back and used the deletion. I am 99.9% sure that this can be done with New gTLDs as well. Why wasn’t the owner offered with that option at Namecheap?
Advice on Namepros
Only hopeful thing from all this was the spot-on first reply to this post on Namepros:
There is a fourth option with Namecheap – delete the name today. If you wait for it to expire, you are still open to UDRP. If you give it to a friend, they are open to a UDRP. If you try and sell it, you could find yourself in legal trouble. If you don’t want your name tarnished, you should just delete the name with the Registrar and move on.
My opinion is that sitting on the domain is not advisable.
Some of the other replies were also helpful. (See the Joe Styler and John Berryhill)
But some other replies show that even people, that think they know what they are doing, are posting questionable and dangerous advice:
If I were you, believe me, I’ll offer it to the company for sale. Let the hell break loose!
Stay clear from these people and try to take advice from people that know what they are talking about. Is that easy? Maybe not.
Seriously anyone with this kind of money to spend, should have better sense, one of the biggest brands in the world that many people stare at their screens either in their pocket, or when watching tv all day long this person should have better sense. The register made their $, they just got some customer service rep advice, their money is gone, and a company this size will not negotiate at this point.
If reged at google on some names they warn you about TM!. As a 4th option dispute with credit card company. But really it’s the owners fault. Also the renewal fee is probably 4500 per year right? no idea. These type of names are actually going to cost owners 50k over 10 years or 100k if bought in first phase. Maybe I,m wrong but I doubt the renewal fees are 12 bucks after initial buy.
TM warnings could be about common words like “air” or “one” (that mean little if you use the domain name correctly without infringing any TMs) or could mean a lot for other trademarks.
The EAP fee is a one time fee.
The renewal is maybe $1,000 tops if it is marked as a premium domain by Google. It could be $15 per year.
Maybe there is an opportunity to develop it with the intent to better the brand, positively promote the brand, whoever that may be or selling their products or services as a an affiliate, through Amazon, or use it in a way that betters the brand and does not create some sort of situation of bad faith intent. The site could always disclaim its association to the brand the sites intend to eventually recoup only its actual registration costs. Who knows, maybe he gets lucky, they either never care of find giving the reg fee back is less costly then litigating it.. Can you imagine deleting a name just after dumping 5k on it.
So the domain was android.dev?
The fact that domain owner got the domain in order to make a fan website reveals a non-malicious use case, but if the domain is totally identical to the TM then it is a clear violation of trademark infringement.
Trademark infringement is a serious issue, especially in western countries. If the TM owner contacts the registry, the domain owner may swiftly lose domain ownership.
I am not sure how this can end well for the domain owner in question, it really is an epic fail.