Energy drink maker Red Bull has filed a UDRP complaint over the domain name red-bull.com, which until recently it actually owned.
It’s moderately embarrassing, but not unheard of, for companies to turn to the UDRP after domains they allow to expire are then snapped up by squatters.
What makes the complaint unusual is that the domain red-bull.com is not an obscure fringe case – it’s virtually identical to the company’s trademark and to its primary domain, redbull.com.
Also, according to Whois records, Red Bull also appears to use MarkMonitor, the brand-protection registrar, for its domain name needs.
Whois history shows that Red Bull acquired the domain in about 2005, but allowed it to expire in September 2010, after which it was quickly acquired by a third party.
Did Red Bull deliberately allow it to expire? There’s a case to be made for rationalizing defensive registration portfolios to reduce costs, but this domain would seem (to me) to be a definite keeper.
MarkMonitor has a policy of declining to comment on clients, which it chose to exercise when I inquired.
The domain red-bull.com currently resolves to what can only be described as a splog. It shows up on page two of Google for the search [red bull], which may go some way to explaining the UDRP.
Red Bull acquired red-bull.net, red-bull.cc and red-bull.tv via UDRP proceedings between 2001 and 2004, but has since allowed all three, as well as the .org, which it also owned, to expire.
The .tv and .net versions are currently parked, meaning they don’t rank so well in search engines.
It’s not the first odd UDRP Red Bull has filed. Last year, it lost a UDRP complaint despite winning a court case over the same domain name, as I reported in June.