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Three reasons why iPadDownloads.com is not worth $1 million

Kevin Murphy, March 23, 2010, 15:46:04 (UTC), Domain Sales

The mainstream media has been carrying a few stories today about the guy who is trying to eBay iPadDownloads.com, iPadDownload.com and iPadDownloads.net for $1 million apiece.

“This is probably the first very smart thing I have ever done in my life,” the registrant, record producer Nik Tyler, told Fortune magazine.

I don’t know the guy. It’s quite possible that his entire life to date has been a constant stream of dumb moves. Here are three reasons why iPadDownloads.com is another:

1. It’s blatant trademark infringement

True, he registered the names on April 29, 2009 and Apple didn’t officially announce the iPad branding until January 27, 2010.

Fortune reports that Tyler’s lawyer “has advised him that because he registered the names a year ago, he should be in the clear”.

Wrong. Under UDRP precedent, it’s quite possible to lose your domain even if you registered it before the trademark application was filed.

According to WIPO:

In certain situations, when the respondent is clearly aware of the complainant, and it is clear that the aim of the registration was to take advantage of the confusion between the domain name and any potential complainant rights, bad faith can be found.

This often occurs after a merger between two companies, before the new trademark rights can arise, or when the respondent is aware of the complainant’s potential rights, and registers the domain name to take advantage of any rights that may arise from the complainant’s enterprises.

Of course, it would be quite easy to plead ignorance in such cases.

Unless you had already, you know, put your bad faith intent on the record in an interview with an international business magazine.

In addition, Fujitsu reportedly owned the rights to the iPad mark as it relates to mobile computers for the best part of the last decade. So even if Apple doesn’t have a claim, Fujitsu might.

2. It’s impossible to monetise

Apple is a closed shop. If you want to put software or content on your iPad, you have to buy it directly from the App Store.

So to monetise iPadDownloads.com effectively you’re going to have to try to sign up as an Apple affiliate – good luck with that – or sell links to competing services.

Hey, it worked for iTunesDownloads.com, didn’t it? No.

3. Two-word domains don’t fetch seven figures

The only two-word .com sales I can think of that sold for seven figure sums were CreditCards.com and WallStreet.com. Big generics representing industries worth trillions.

Is iPadDownloads.com really in the same league?

Without the trademark issues, one can just about imagine a six-figure sum, just. But $1 million? Not a chance.

Tyler’s auctions close tomorrow. If you think I’m talking rubbish and you have a million bucks burning a hole in your pocket, go for it.

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