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Domainers get love, but no refunds for .co cybersquatters

Kevin Murphy, August 10, 2010, 14:40:22 (UTC), Domain Registries

.CO Internet has ramped up its anti-cybersquatter messaging, promising no refunds for trademark-infringing .co registrants, no matter how much they paid for their domains.

An “Open Letter to .co Domain Registrants”, published by the company yesterday, also contains a shout-out to domainers, which I think may be a first from a domain registry.

The letter points out, as I have previously, that .co is subject to the UDRP on the same terms as other TLDs including .com.

The outcome of a UDRP proceeding is binding, and no refunds will be given under any circumstances — regardless of how much money you may have paid to secure the domain; whether the domain was acquired directly via a domain registrar or through a domain auction venue; and whether you were unaware that you had infringed on someone else’s rights.

There’s similar text on the front page of COauctions.com, where the registry is currently auctioning off contested landrush applications.

Is this just a matter of legal ass-covering? Or are there some gray-area domains in the landrush auction?

Despite all the promotional work the registry performed in the run-up to general availability, there are still plenty of people who seemed to believe .co represented new, lawless territory.

The letter ends with the statement that “.CO Internet is committed to protecting the rights of brand owners, domain investors, and end users.”

Domainers getting some love in the same breath as brand owners is not something you hear every day, particularly from registries.

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Comments (7)

  1. Francesco says:

    Well… I remember one or two idiots paying big cash at the .ME auctions for domains like toyota.me – See for example http://www.thedomains.com/2008/08/10/toyotame-sell-for-90k-why-shouldnt-a-registry-be-liable-for-trademark-infringing-domains/

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      Good point. I wonder what came of that case.

      edit — looks like it’s registered to a Brazilian chap, but non-resolving.

  2. Yes, it is indeed refreshing to see domain investors mentioned in the same sentence and on equal footing with brand owners and end-users.

  3. Jim Fleming says:

    The .CO Registry (or the DNS) will now be able to produce that elusive “LIST” of “Global Marks”.

    Will that list be the brands that have BOTH .COM and .CO ?…can DNS be used to auto-check that?

    As .CO erodes the ICANN/Verisign .COM dominance will “they” return to their approach of seeking U.S. Government protection? Will .CO be banned by .LAW?

    http://www.icann.org/correspondence/dengate-thrush-to-dryden-05aug10-en.pdf

  4. Kevin,
    Legitimate domain investors do get love! Our message is intended for cybersquatters (both the career variety and the newbie squatter who simply doesn’t know better). The .CO Registry does not equate all domain investors with cybersquatters… Some are for sure, but we believe strongly that most true investors value the steps we are taking to protect the space because it increases the value of their investment over the long term. Kevin, given your insight into the industry, I’d love to get your thoughts/comments on where the line is between cybersquatting and legitimate domain investing. I would love to see the day when the world doesn’t necessarily lump these two things together! I wonder if that day will ever come. Lori Anne

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      I would say that deliberately and maliciously registering somebody else’s trademark as a domain name in order to extort money from them is a pretty clearly unethical act.

      Everything else is a gray area, which is why it’s so much fun to write about 🙂

  5. […] Domainers get love, but no refunds for .co cybersquatters […]

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