October 22, 2009 | DomainInvesting.com

Does Microsoft Need to Watch Out for AOL?

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I missed the article in TechCrunch on Tuesday until just now, but AOL’s Sphere, the self-dubbed “next phase in the evolution of AOL News,” is undergoing a rebranding effort. The new name of the brand will be Surphace, and the company will use Surphace.com as its domain name.

Of course, when people tell their buddies to check out “Surphace.com,” many of their friends will inevitably head to Surface.com instead, which happens to be a domain name owned by Microsoft, which redirects to the Microsoft website.

With AOL currently embroiled in a lawsuit against Advertise.com for trademark infringement, one can amusingly ask if AOL will believe that they deserve the Surface.com domain name to go along with their renamed brand. It surely would be a head scratcher, but I wouldn’t exactly be shocked. I wonder what Microsoft thinks of this.

On another note, I still don’t understand why some companies – especially large companies – still create brand names that are difficult to spell. This can only lead to brand confusion, lost traffic, and potentially even litigation. One would think they could find another brand name and buy the .com if they think it’s worthwhile.


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See WIPO UDRP Cases as They Are Filed

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Although I generally learn about UDRP cases after the decisions are made, I occasionally look through all of the WIPO UDRP cases that have been filed. The World Intellectual Property Organization, which oversees UDRP cases, lists all of the cases filed by year, and it provides a status update next to each case – from pending through decided and everything in between. This is in addition to being able to search for cases by domain name, complainant, and respondent.

One reason I monitor filings is to stay ahead to see if there are certain companies that are aggressively and/or over aggressively protecting their brands. I particularly pay attention to geodomain names, acronym domain names (2 and 3 letters and 2 and 3 numbers), and other generic domain names. Whether or not a majority of these cases are awarded to the complainant doesn’t really impact my reasoning for monitoring. I watch them to proactively protect my domain names and be mindful of certain companies when making future acquisitions, because a UDRP defense can be expensive and can only negatively impact the value of a domain name.

Below are recent UDRP filings for seemingly generic domain names:

Hostess.com – filed by Interstate Bakeries Corporation

QUE.com – filed by Plastic Logic, Inc.

ENX.com – filed by ENX (European Network Exchange) Association

WiFiParis.com – filed by Ville de Paris

MID.org – filed by The Royal National Institute for Deaf People


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WhyPark Charity Auction

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WhyParkI received an email from Craig Rowe, President of WhyPark, announcing a charity auction the company will be running in December. Full details about the auction can be found on the WhyPark Auction page.

At this point, they’re looking for high-quality domain submissions to be auctioned.  All domains will be donated for the auction with the proceeds going to the charity chosen by the highest single bidder. So, if you support a certain charity, it’s a good incentive to bid a little higher on a domain to be able to choose the recipient of the full auction proceeds.  WhyPark will  verify that it’s a socially-responsible charity.

This is a 5-day domain auction set to begin on December 7th and end December 11th. Approximately 50 domains will be chosen for the charity auction, and all domains will start with no reserve. At the close of the auction, the single highest bid from all auctions will be able to choose the charityto receive all net proceeds.


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