Set a Specific Keyword |
Neustar Domain Names

Set a Specific Keyword


I think it is important for domain name owners who park their domain names to be sure they are not infringing on another company’s trademarks with their pay per click advertising links. I like to set specific keywords (using the Specific Keyword checkbox) at Uniregistry to avoid infringing on other marks.

One of the great things about dictionary .com domain names is that they are  generic enough that they can be used by a variety of businesses. A brand like Apple is used as a technology company, but of course there are many brands with “Apple” in them that are related to the fruit. If I owned a domain name with the word “apple” in it, I would park my domain name with a specific keyword to avoid infringing on the technology company’s trademarks.

I do almost all of my domain parking at Uniregistry these days. As you likely know, the company no longer shows imagery on the landing pages when visitors arrive on a desktop browser. Using my “apple” example, in the past (or with some other parking companies that use images), the lander could have pictures of the fruit or fruit trees to illustrate that the page isn’t targeting the technology company. If there was one rogue link for watches or something, the domain owner could argue that the imagery shows the intent wasn’t to infringe on technology marks. Without this imagery, it would be more difficult to at least show there was no intention of infringement.

When I park a domain name that another company could theoretically claim is part of their trademark(s), I visit the landing page and check the keyword. Parking company algorithms are built to generate the most revenue for the domain owner, and I don’t think they pay much attention to the sometimes grey area of intellectual property. The onus is on the domain owner to make sure their parked names are not infringing on another company’s IP.

Setting specific keywords is important in keeping valuable domain name assets safe. I would hate to be challenged on a five figure domain name because it was monetized in a way that made a couple extra dollars in parking revenue a year.

About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of 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 Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.

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Comments (9)

    John Berryhill

    This is a frequently overlooked aspect of the “is it better to park or not” discussion.

    It’s important to know what your domain names are doing. If you have a domain name like “dogfood.tld” and the untargeted parking results are all related to, say, clothing, that’s an indirect sign that there might be a problem. One of the reasons for that type of situation is that there could be an advertiser who is using “dogfood” as a brand of clothing, and the PPC relevance engine is picking up the brand relationship between “dogfood” and a clothing brand, instead of the generic relationship between “dogfood” and dog food.

    Since UDRP panelists, in general, have absolutely no idea how these systems operate, then it can be very hard to explain why your “dogfood.tld” domain name is coming up with clothing advertisements. That is the essence of the “parking is bad” argument.

    The flipside is that if the name is properly targeted to subjects such as pet supplies, etc., then you have a much stronger position in the context of a dispute with the “dogfood” brand of clothing, as opposed to having a “for sale” page.

    The third alternative is something of a hybrid approach, in which your “for sale” page also includes an explanation of why the domain name is valuable. For example, instead of having dogfood.tld resolve to a bare “domain for sale” page, it can be useful to include a sales pitch specific to the domain name and why it would be a valuable asset for selling dog food.

    July 13th, 2017 at 12:07 pm

      Mark Hershiser

      I have a domain I reg’d in 2001, it was parked and for sale, I was recently looking through traffic stats and noticed in the last year or so parking income had gone up from almost nothing over the years to about $30 a month, I liked that this was happening but figured I should look into why. It’s a 2 word product + shop, sale, store, etc .com. I found out that somebody had reg’d TheProduct + shop, sale, store, etc in 2011 and had a pretty big site up now. So they used the term I had and added The and started a company and website.

      I am pretty sure they had made an offer for the domain back in 2011 (and perhaps a few more times over the years) but we never made a deal. The parking page listed them as an advertiser and I am sure all the traffic and revenue was due to people looking for their site and not typing in the “The”. I could have had them removed from the parking page as an advertiser but it seemed obvious to me that all the traffic was looking for them and I didn’t feel comfortable with that, so I just set up a for sale only page, no parking ads, no $30 a month income, no biggie on that. I understand that they chose to not buy my domain and brand on a not as good version of it, they chose to have a traffic leak to my name. Their custom logo does not include the word “The” so their logo is my domain, and they have not Trademarked the term.

      But it also brings up another issue, it is a generic term but now they seem to be dominating the market for these keywords, will another end user want to brand on my Product + Word .com when this company is TheProduct + Word .com? It seems my only hope is that they will purchase it from me someday, I still have it priced at what I was quoting back in 2011, the price they didn’t want to pay (I am confidently assuming it was them).

      Any thoughts on this situation?

      In reply to John Berryhill | July 13th, 2017 at 1:23 pm


      Mark Hershiser? Wow, a blast from the past is back. Hope you start blogging again soon. 🙂

      In reply to Mark Hershiser | July 13th, 2017 at 3:19 pm


      Double the asking price every 18 months.

      In reply to Mark Hershiser | July 13th, 2017 at 4:59 pm

      John Berryhill

      “Any thoughts on this situation?”

      Yes. Trademark questions tend to be what is called “fact intensive” because, among other things, not all trademarks are of the same scope or strength.

      If there was some way to make money answering questions like this one, I wonder if it would be possible to make as much as $30 a month. For example, if someone came up with an occupation in which it was possible to confidentially obtain answers to questions involving specific facts that a person did not want to post in public. It’s probably a silly idea, though.

      In reply to Mark Hershiser | July 14th, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Tom T

    Valuable advice, thank you very much.

    John what are your feelings toward parking pages that display only a search box that the user can search ads by typing any keyword into the search bar?

    In your opinion is this a safe or unsafe approach to parking a domain? I ask because it is what I currently do with any domain that may have a trademark.

    July 13th, 2017 at 12:41 pm

      John Berryhill

      “John what are your feelings…”

      Early on in my career, I had drafted a letter for a partner in which I began a sentence with “We feel…”. I was called into his office and informed “We’re lawyers. We don’t ‘feel’.”

      I know there are folks who direct to a bare search bar, and have done okay with it. There are also people who drive home drunk and make it – probably most of the time. I mean, there are a lot more drunks on the road than car accidents, so it’s a statistics game, right? The way I look at life, if a cigarette takes two minutes off your lifespan, but it takes five minutes to smoke one, then you’re coming out three minutes ahead.

      Here’s what’s going to happen to you. One of my many, many douchebag colleagues in the legal profession is going to have a slow month, so she will look through all of her clients’ trademarks, do some lazy keyword matching, and find one of your domain names – let’s say ILoveKittens.tld. Her client runs an auto repair shop in a remote village in Mongolia with ten customers, but they have a Mongolian trademark registration for “KITTENS” for auto repair.

      So, she’ll go to your page, punch in “auto repair in Mongolia”, print out those search results and convince her client to cut a check to file a UDRP using those search results as evidence of bad faith. Because, clearly, you’ve spent the last ten years of your life trying to figure out how to get one over on an auto repair shop in Mongolian village, you sneaky bastard.

      But what’s your defense? “I was using it for…” what?

      Consider the alternatives I mentioned above – either a sale page saying “this is a great name for anyone who loves kittens” or a PPC page with links about kittens. In either of those situations, the value proposition of the domain name is manifestly evident in what the domain name is doing.

      It’s bad enough that I see this kind of thing in UDRP’s with targeted names at least three or four times a year. At least in those situations, the fake evidence can be explained in a way that makes sense relative to the generic/descriptive original targeting of the name. So, and it’s just my personal opinion, the “blank search bar page” is just leaving yourself open to this kind of tactic.

      In reply to Tom T | July 14th, 2017 at 9:20 am

    Random Domainer

    I don’t park anything. I’ve been at this for too long to know that parking is for circus elephants. Because what you’re working for is peanuts.

    Go big young man. Go west. I was walking the Venice Beach Boardwalk the other day and noticed that Snapchat is buying up everything here. Tech money is running rampant.

    The story is as old as time. Go where the money is.

    July 13th, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    Eric Lyon

    Yet more reasons for one to secure their own domain landing pages, providing them with full control. It’s more work and not the quickest solution, but it helps avoid a lot of the red tape and risks.

    July 13th, 2017 at 7:09 pm

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