Disney & Marvel Make Domain Mistakes | DomainInvesting.com

Disney & Marvel Make Domain Mistakes

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Dear Disney,

I grew up watching your movies and television shows and appreciate all you do for kids everywhere. Since you’re based in Burbank, California, I also did quite a bit of research on your company for my website, Burbank.com. However, some of your recent domain registrations are a disservice to children who will inevitably type them in incorrectly, and they will quite possibly end up seeing unrelated advertising offers at best, or pornography at worst.

Let me remind you about an incident involving typo domain names and children. Have a look at the Wikipedia page for John Zuccarini. There are people out there who will register typo domain names intentionally, and when they do, they can control what the visitor sees. Whether it’s pay per click advertising or porn, it will cost your company a fair amount of money to get those domain names back via the legal channel, when you can simply register the typos now.

I noticed that some of your new registrations contain not only one – but sometimes even two hyphens. By using these domain names, you are just asking for trouble. In addition, some of them are tough to spell and some have additional words that are more descriptive than actually necessary. For example, if you need to add “movie” to the domain name, do you really need “themovie”?  This is especially silly when both versions were available to register – and you only took one!

I know that good domain names are tough to find. However, if you settle on a long tail domain name that has hyphens, at least buy the same domain name without the hyphen – especially when it’s available to register for the same price.

Ordinarily, I would register one or more of the typo domain names to give to you at cost, but I don’t want to deal with your legal team who might think I have devious intentions. If you care about protecting children from viewing inappropriate material, and you’d like to know which domain names I am referencing, contact me.

Regards,

**

Update:

I spoke with someone in the Marvel Legal Department, and hopefully they will register the most concerning domain name ASAP.


About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and professional domain investor. Elliot is President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a domain investing company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Elliot is the publisher of DomainInvesting.com.

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Comments (10)

    steve c

    Most domainers wonder if they will ever get it. No problem, we will have all the names and they can come to us. We will help them understand then. And charge for it.

    March 4th, 2010 at 9:30 am

    steve c

    And NO, I did not mean trademarks.

    March 4th, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Randomo

    @ Elliot – I’m glad your email opened up communications with Marvel (and, I hope, with Disney). But TBH, I read it three times and doubt that they would be clear on what they should have done / shouldn’t have done / should do.

    “By using these domain names, you are just asking for trouble.”

    Because … ? And the remedy is … ?

    “In addition, some of them are tough to spell and some have additional words that are more descriptive than actually necessary. For example, if you need to add “movie” to the domain name, do you really need “themovie”? This is especially silly when both versions were available to register – and you only took one!”

    The first two sentences makes it sound like you’re saying they _don’t_ need both varieties of that domain … and the second sentence makes it clear you think they _do_ need both.

    “…if you settle on a long tail domain name…”

    Who besides domainers uses the term “long tail” this way?

    Not trying to be critical. Just think of this as encouragement to keep messages simple and to the point.

    Regards,
    A former magazine editor ;-)

    March 4th, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Elliot

    @ Randomo

    I remember you from NYC

    You told the Candy.com guys all the grammar errors on their website and T&C page :) LOL

    Yeah – I may have been more clear, but I didn’t email them directly. However, I was very clear with Marvel. They actually owned a few of the typos already, but one of the more obvious ones was still available.

    March 4th, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Andrew Rosener

    Elliot,

    It is actually mind blowing how much the legal department at Disney is slacking on this front.

    Many years ago when I first started in this business, I saw a Disney domain expire and I registered it. If I told you what the domain was, you wouldn’t believe me.

    Long story short, I went through significant troubles several years later, when I woke up to the protections of trade mark law, to contact Disney and simply hand over the domain name to them.

    I spoke to several executives and one lawyer and not a single person could take any action. I told them “Look, I’m not looking to sell this to you, I just want to turn it over…how do we do that?”. Nothing. No one could assist me.

    So I had a lawyer draft me a certified letter and sent it to their legal department stating that we have made every reasonable effort to turn over this domain to them, to which they have not responded or taken action.

    We gave them a deadline and told them that upon expiration of this deadline they were forfeiting their right to this domain name by clearly showing no intention of their interest in such name.

    Still nothing…

    3 years later now and the name is still sending over 500 visitors per day to one of my developed sites!

    I just don’t get it…

    Disney if you’re out there, come and get it…

    March 4th, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    s c

    But there is always the chance the sleeping giant will wake up.

    It sounds like you are one of the lucky ones who did everything they could and is now free to monetize the name.

    Good going!

    steve

    March 4th, 2010 at 1:11 pm

      Elliot

      @ sc

      I am not a lawyer, but I don’t think Andrew would necessarily be “free to monetize the name.” Just because Disney didn’t respond to Andrew’s deadline doesn’t mean they lose rights to their trademarks. Perhaps the letter was sent to the wrong legal department at Disney or something else.

      Whatever the case, I would be cautious, but that’s from the opinion of a domain investor not a legal professional.

      March 4th, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Andrew Rosener

    What I’m doing with the name is not anything related to Disney (although they are involved in everything, so it’s hard to avoid).

    Elliot is correct. They still have the right to their trademark. They could not do anything against me for owning the name at this point, but they could find a way to show I am some how in violation of their trademark I’m sure.

    In the end, the traffic isn’t worth much because the people are not looking for my site or its content, they are looking for Disney.

    At this point, it is just a funny story to tell, but if Disney comes knocking, they are more than welcome to have the name free of charge. I’ll even pay an extra years registration fee for good measure.

    All I want in exchange is an explanation of why their organization is so paralyzed by inaction.

    One individual that I had originally spoken with at the company was at that time the V.P. of Marketing for their online media division. He probably had the ability to sign off on a marketing budget of HUNDREDS of thousands of dollars. But he couldn’t pull the trigger to say “ok, please transfer the domain to XYZ account at this registrar.”

    Everyone was afraid to take action for fear of legal repercussions. Even the lawyers.

    March 4th, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    sc

    No attorneys here.
    I never meant to imply your defensive action gained you ownership. I just meant they could not say you did not try.
    Just do not misuse it and you might be OK until or if they wake up.
    The corp world is full of horizontal and vertical relationships. Their marketing people do not either understand or want the name. Legal has told them they can’t call you and work together. Same for domainers. The rules are set up so you can’t call them UNLESS, like you were trying to give them the name.
    Otherwise domainers would be working with them. But they simply are not getting educated on domaining. But they are getting bombarded with the term ‘cybersquatter’ by the branding community of which marketers are closely bonded to.

    March 4th, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Andrew Rosener

    Well put.

    But I can assure you that marketing would be interested in this name. Disney was the original owner of this name.

    Some how it expired on them.

    March 4th, 2010 at 2:04 pm

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