I love antique fairs, but have you ever had this happen to you: You pick up a lovely objet d’art and consider buying it but decide you’ll think about it. The second you put it back on the table, someone swoops in from behind you and snaps it up!
Well, that’s exactly what has been happening in my Domain Registrar or choice, GoDaddy.com!
I was looking for a couple of domain names for another business of mine. They were both pretty obscure-looking and obviously derivative of websites that I already own (basically the word ‘demo’ tacked on the end of one and the word ‘biz’ prepended to the other).
The very next day, I went back to actually register them and to my extreme surprise, both had gone.
Here’s the registrar, in both cases:
Registrar: ULTRARPM INC. DBA METAPREDICT.COM
Whois Server: whois.ultrarpm.com
Referral URL: http://www.ultrarpm.com
Name Server: SK.S1.NS138.CNOMY.COM
Name Server: SK.S2.NS138.CNOMY.COM
Updated Date: 15-sep-2007
Creation Date: 15-sep-2007
Expiration Date: 15-sep-2008
The most interesting thing is that the whois listing has the following statement:
UltraRPM, Inc. (“UltraRPM”) respects the intellectual property rights of thers.
UltraRPM does not intentionally register or use any domain name that
is identical to or confusingly similar to any person’s trademark or
trademarks. While UltraRPM employs extensive technological means to avoid the
registration of any such mark, the possibility nevertheless exists for an
unintended occurrence. Accordingly, if you believe UltraRPM has registered a
domain name that incorporates your name or trademark, or a variation thereof,
please notify us immediately at email@example.com with the following
Domain Name(s) in question
Trademark Number, or evidence of use of the common law trademark in question
Your Contact Information, including your first and last name, your e-mail address, your mailing address, and your phone number.
We will respond to your inquiry within 5 business days.
Now, as is to be expected, UtlraRPM Inc are hiding ownership behind ‘domains by Proxy’ a Domain ownership privacy shield. Is it possible that GoDaddy themselves own UltraRPM?
Here’s another blog post describing an identical situation
If you want to test this out – try going to their website: http://ultrarpm.com/ and try a domain name search. Then check back a couple of days later and see if ‘your’ domain name is still available.
Now, I don’t want any lawsuits, I’m not claiming that there is anything unlawful going on here but it is definitely unethical behavior and is perilously close to cyber squatting. In fact, if you listen to the clip below, what they actually are is ‘Domainers‘.
I have spoken to legal experts and they confirm that this is happening, and that it seems to be GoDaddy (and it’s affiliates) that is the worst culprit. This story will run and run.
If you are having problems with lookalike domain names contact Traverse Legal, a law firm who specialize in that field.
with Professor Eric Goldman
of theSanta Clara University
School of Law
Ps. I asked UltraRPM about the domain name and they sent back this email:
We are in receipt of your e-mail concerning the domain name XXXXXX.COM.
After reviewing your email and investigating the situation, we have dropped
the domain so that you can purchase it in the open market, and use the
domain as you please.
Any more information on this? let me know !
Here’s a very interesting blog on the whole murky disgusting business of the domain name registrar – please wash your hands after reading!