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GoDaddy did not cybersquat the Oscars, court finds

Kevin Murphy, September 16, 2015, Domain Registrars

In a landmark decision, a US court has ruled that GoDaddy’s practice of parking unused domains with Google advertising does not count as cybersquatting.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which runs the annual Oscars awards, sued the registrar five years ago after seeing that GoDaddy had parked hundreds of names containing its mark.

Under UDRP, registrar parking is controversially often taken as a sign of the registrants bad faith by panelists.

But the California court ruled that GoDaddy’s actions did not amount to trademark infringement due to the unique circumstances of the case.

GoDaddy did not select the advertisements — Google’s algorithms did — nor did it manually review which domains were being parked.

Domain Name Wire has a pretty good breakdown of the key points in the 129-page ruling.

What’s going to be interesting is whether UDRP panelists — which sometimes take their cues from US legal precedent — will start to adjust to view registrar parking in a more benign way when judging registrant bad faith.

GoDaddy getting out of NASCAR, whatever that is

Kevin Murphy, April 30, 2015, Domain Registrars

GoDaddy is dropping its sponsorship of a NASCAR racing car, largely because Johnny Foreigner doesn’t have a clue what NASCAR is.

The company has been sponsoring Stewart-Haas Racing and driver Danica Patrick since 2007; Patrick is a spokesperson appearing in many commercials.

But now GoDaddy says it is dropping the deal at the end of the 2015 season in order to diversify its marketing in growth markets overseas.

It is currently negotiating to keep on Patrick as a spokesperson separately.

NASCAR is a pretty US-centric pass-time, with little recognition overseas. I recall seeing Patrick’s face on a London Underground billboard a few years ago and wondering what on Earth Go Daddy was thinking.

GoDaddy chief marketing officer Phil Bienert said in a press release yesterday:

NASCAR has been a tremendous domestic platform to help us achieve an 81 percent aided brand awareness domestically, but at this stage, we need a range of marketing assets that reach a more globally-diverse set of customers.

GoDaddy said it has presence in 37 countries in 17 languages and “is positioning to fortify its presence in Asia by the end of this year.”

From 2010 to 2012, the company had an Asia-based celebrity spokesperson in actress/singer/model DI.

In related news, I’ve just noticed that GoDaddy no longer uses a space between Go and Daddy in its brand, so DI’s house style will be adjusted accordingly.

Go Daddy applying for three new gTLDs

Go Daddy reportedly plans to apply for three new generic top-level domains, including the dot-brand .godaddy.

CEO Warren Adelman confirmed the bids to CNet’s Paul Sloan today.

The other two strings were not revealed, presumably because they could still be contested.

Yesterday, Demand Media, owner of Go Daddy’s primary registrar competitor eNom, revealed an $18 million investment in the new gTLD program, suggesting it has more ambitious plans.

Like Demand, Go Daddy subsidiaries have a history of adverse UDRP decisions, which could complicate the background checks ICANN plans to conduct on all applicants.

Big claims from small registrar

Kevin Murphy, March 16, 2010, Domain Registrars

You’ve got to admire the cojones on Domainmonster, an upstart registrar from the UK.

In a delightfully hyperbolic press release out today, the company reveals it is “the world’s largest new domain name supplier” and compares itself to Go Daddy.

Because I think it’s funny, I’ll post the meat of the press release before de-constructing it. (continue reading)