Kate Middleton Domain Name Bought for Under $2,500

Report: Kate Middleton .com Domain Name Bought for Under $2,500

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I read a report on TheProvince.com (a Canada-based website), this afternoon that said KateMiddleton.com was acquired by a Canadian couple for just $2,350. The domain name was originally registered in 2003, and the new owners have already launched a website on the site.

This has to be one of the better deals I’ve seen in a while, although generating revenue from it may prove to be difficult from a legal standpoint. Based on the content on the website, it seems that the couple is obviously targeting Kate Middleton, who is marrying Prince William in the “Royal Wedding” this Friday. Some day, it’s very likely that Kate Middleton will be Queen of England. There is no doubt that she is a famous person.

While many people have successfully defended owning domain names of famous people, there have been many that have lost. Generating revenue seems to be one of the ways a domain owner can risk losing a domain name via UDRP since it’s making money off of another person’s famous name. IP attorney Enrico Schaefer discussed this issue on his website a while back.

I am not a lawyer nor do I have any legal expertise, but it would seem to me that it’s a risky proposition to have Google Adsense or other revenue generating links on this website (which it currently has). I know that making money is tempting, but to me, it doesn’t seem to be worth the risk, should the British government (or Kate Middleton) lay claim to this domain name. Not only is it a UDRP risk, but it may also be a financial risk as well.

Kate Middleton has been in the news for the last several months, and her name will continue to make news as she becomes a Princess. I think KateMiddleton.com is a great domain name, but monetizing it is a pretty big risk in my opinion.


About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.


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Comments (19)

    Domain Lords

    Waste of 2350.00

    A. it’s a TM issue if the chick in UK wants it
    B. it has ZERO cpc potential

    It’s a 100 buck vanity domain IMO

    Not an investment

    A throw away of 2350 bucks

    IMO

    April 26th, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Joe

    I wouldn’t buy this for reg fee. I agree with comment above: waste of precious money.

    April 26th, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Elliot Silver

    I agree that this is a big TM risk, and development would be difficult to justify when it could be UDRP’d, or worse, have a lawsuit filed.

    Interestingly, it looks like Carnival owns QueenElizabeth.com but the website does not resolve.

    April 26th, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Enrico Schaefer

    I agree with Domain Lords. While the domain might find a legitimate non-infringing use, there is a high risk is using the domain to target the fame of someday queen Kate Middleton. Under the UDRP, there are many examples of transfer orders in cases involving famous people.
    Check out these results…

    http://domainfight.net/get_search.php?full_text=celebrity%20name

    The good news is that I don’t see that they are showing ads on the site thus far. I don’t see where the site is making money (at least yet). So they may have a defense which can sometimes work. Informational web sites with no commercial activity sometimes pass the smell test. Currently, it is unclear what revenue model the registrant may be contemplating.

    Under the Anti-Cybersquatting provisions of the Lanham Act, specifically 15 U.S.C. §§ 1125 (d) and 1129(1)(A). First, Plaintiff sought relief under, 15 U.S.C. § 1129, which states that:

    Any person who registers a domain name that consists of the name of another living person, or a name substantially and confusingly similar thereto, without that person’s consent, with the specific intent to profit from such name by selling the domain name for financial gain to that person or any third party, shall be liable in a civil action by such person.

    So avoid a finding of intent to profit and perhaps the domain can live as an informational site about Kate. Do not offer to sell the domain for profit. Do not place ads or sponsorship, direct or indirect.

    April 26th, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Domain Lords

    when the stolen honeymoon video surfaces
    then you can sell access to the stolen sex video
    that’s the only way that dog of a name will ever show ROI
    LOL
    Queen El
    well a queen isn’t a minor chick like kate
    way more ROI potential on that one
    plus history had a ton of Queen Elizabeths
    so fair game on that one, more than one famous QE
    plus a tribute to the old boat too
    but the new chick
    not worth messing with it
    but the QE, yeah that could make some dough and no way they win a TM on that one
    historic use justifies that one

    April 26th, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Joe

    This kind of domains is the worst among those with TM issues, because, while you can always justify a domain name containing ‘apple’ with proper development (website for a greengrocery), you will have a very hard time proving your good faith in KateMiddleton.com, let alone QueenElizabeth.com

    April 26th, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Josh

    For me I imagine there will be little to no natural traffic any way once married. I mean, who searches dianaspecer.com? oh ya, no one.

    It was likely a good name for a time, that time is nearly up, late buy = bad buy imo.

    April 26th, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Aaron

    I mentioned this on Saturday when the story was originally published in the Edmonton Journal:

    “While the buzz of the wedding will fade, and Kate’s name will change, the buyers of KateMiddleton.com have already received PR worth more than $2.5k for themselves and their other businesses of software design, blogging and photography.”

    Since then, the story has been published in other places, including TheProvince that you mentioned and the SF Chronicle.

    April 26th, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    BullS

    This is what happens when amateurs do not read this elliotsblog for more info abt domaining.

    She might change her last name but who know,she will get divorce.

    April 26th, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Domain Lords

    hardly the type of PR you want

    oh look a web design firm cyber squatting on a future royal’s name

    while 2500 isn’t much to blow on PR

    I don’t see them getting relevant traffic for web design off it

    IMO

    now a ‘traffic’ guy, yeah maybe

    but I doubt they’d get 2500 of ‘traffic’ off it

    will the press converts to web design jobs?

    doubt it

    but there’s a saying

    no press is bad press

    but I think there’s more efficient ways to find 2500 worth of ads or domains relevant to web design IF you want that type of work

    kinda of like a manufacturer that sells bullet proof vests, shooting someone to sell their stuff IMO

    not a good way to promote ‘web design’ or internet marketing

    IMO

    but I can see the argument tho if that’s the big Y buy it so late in the game

    April 26th, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Names are free to register

    You jackasses. This is a good deal. Names are free to register….even famous people’s names. When you think of Kate Middleton, you do not think of any product or commerce.

    Crawl back under your uneducated rocks and get a clue. This is a good name and well worth the money. There are likely plenty of Kate Middleton’s in the world, too. Why should it be that because one Kate Middleton has a little fame that is should preclude all others from acquiring the name.

    Time to get a life and stop the pathetic analysis.

    April 26th, 2011 at 7:37 pm

      Elliot Silver

      “There are likely plenty of Kate Middleton’s in the world, too. “

      @ Names

      That might be an intelligent argument if the website wasn’t clearly about the Kate Middleton who is marrying Prince William.

      “Crawl back under your uneducated rocks and get a clue.”

      Do you realize Enrico is an IP attorney, and a successful one at that?

      Judging by all of your comments on my blog in the past (based on your IP address) you are a failure and a bitter person. Get a life and troll elsewhere.

      April 26th, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Domain Lords

    it’s names like this that get you

    a. C&D letters
    b. served with TM suits
    c. 100K+ judgments per name under the new anti cyber squatting protection act

    black hole to pay lawyers IMO

    and yeah, I’ve seen C&D letters and even TM suits

    so if you don’t have MONEY you can face a 100K judgment per name if you can’t lawyer up

    April 26th, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    LindaM

    The Windsors and Wales’s in particular are no strangers to court and legal process. They’ve seen it all – murders, robbery, divorce, tax dispute, land trouble and yes even unauthorised tm abuse involving things like companies using their coats of arms etc .
    For a noob registering this would be understandable but a web design outfit? I couldnt imagine a worse thing they could do if they wanted to appear professional or respectful. I doubt the soon to be newest Princess will care much but the establishment will obviously require the name to be handed over in due course.
    To be honest, its a bad idea to screw with that family, bad things happen…

    April 26th, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    Elliot Silver

    @ LindaM

    IMO, there’s little reason they can’t own it as a fan site, but monetizing it is where they’d likely run into issues.

    @ Enrico

    When I looked at it as I was writing this article, I am fairly sure there was a Google Adsense block on the right hand side of the page. I double checked as I was writing because I was surprised.

    In fact, here’s a screenshot of a cached version of the site, and as you can see, the Storm hosting banner is Adsense:

    http://www.domaininvesting.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Picture-11.png

    I imagine they either realized the error or consulted with someone that has legal experience.

    April 26th, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    Bret Moore

    Hey, it’s worth pointing out, they probably CAN put up ads on the site and use it as a fan site, so long as generating revenue is “ancillary or incidental” to the ownership/use of the site. At least, they’d have a plausible good faith argument to make in a UDRP proceeding. See http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/search/overview2.0/#25.

    Of course, as everyone has pointed out, it’s a risk that your $2,350 will go poof. I’m not sure that they would get sued in court unless they had some assets worth going after… don’t know that US law would apply, either, aren’t these Canadians who bought it? Just saying.

    April 27th, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Elliot Silver

    @ Bret

    True… likely would fall under British / Canadian law.

    April 27th, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Bret Moore

    Well, they might be able to avail themselves of US law if they wanted to; since it’s a .com, I think they could file suit in E.D. Va., since that’s where the originating gTLD registry is, right? But from what I understand, that’s a pretty rare tactic. Seems like most people just go for a UDRP, it’s cheaper and much, much faster. Only reason to go to court like this would be to make a point or slaughter someone in a very public fashion (I guess that’s essentially the same reason).

    April 27th, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Enrico Schaefer

    Bret: You are correct. Jurisdiction is a separate issue. If they are engaged in systematic commercial activity in any US state, then they could get dragged in to US court and have US law applied. Of course, Plaintiff has to be here as well, except under the in rem provisions of the ACPA. Under in rem, plaintiff is the domain name. The domain name is considered to exist where Verisgn is located in Virginia. Defendant has to be outside the US. We have successfully brought in rem proceedings on behalf of UK clients.

    While there is no ACPA in UK, 1994 trade marks act1 and other fraud laws covering “passing off” have been used with some success (it’s worth noting that a trade mark doesn’t have to be registered to be considered a trade mark). Even being Canadian, it is possible they could get dragged into a UK Court since my guess is that is where most of their traffic is coming from and they clearly targeted a UK ‘trademark’.

    April 27th, 2011 at 3:00 pm