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Using Go Daddy equals “bad faith” registration

Kevin Murphy, July 26, 2010, 15:41:47 (UTC), Domain Registrars

Registered a domain name with Go Daddy recently? Unless you’ve updated your name server settings, you’ve automatically committed a “bad faith” registration.
At least, that’s the conclusion I’m drawing from a couple of recent clueless UDRP decisions.
The most recent example is the case of Churchill Insurance, which just won, following a proceeding with the National Arbitration Forum.
The registrant claimed he planned to use the domain, which he registered just six months ago, to sell cigars. Seems reasonable. Other sites sell cigars using the name “Churchill”.
But the NAF panelist, Flip Petillion, wasn’t buying it:

Respondent uses the domain name to resolve to a directory website that displays links to third-party websites, some of which provide insurance products and services that compete with Complainant’s business.

it is shown on a balance of probability that Respondent uses the disputed domain name to operate a directory website and, thus, profits from this use through the receipt of “click-through” fees. Accordingly, the Panel finds that this use constitutes bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy

as the disputed domain name was registered after the registration of Complainant’s established trademark rights and given the fact that Respondent’s website employs insurance themed links that resolve to websites of Complainant’s competitors, Respondent could not have registered and used the disputed domain name without actual or constructive knowledge of Complainant and its rights in the CHURCHILL mark.

What Petillion clearly failed to realize – or decided to conveniently ignore – is that everything he ascribes to the registrant was actually caused by default Go Daddy behavior.
Churchill sells car insurance in the UK. The registrant is an American, from Georgia. There’s a very slim chance he’d ever heard of the company before they slapped him with the UDRP.
But Petillion decided that the fact that insurance-themed links were present on the site shows that the registrant must have known about the company. Like he put the links there himself.
He concludes the registrant had “bad faith” because Go Daddy’s parking algorithm (I believe it’s operated by Google) knows to show insurance-related ads when people search for “churchill”.
In addition, is the default parking page that Go Daddy throws up whenever a domain name is newly registered.
The registrant didn’t need to do anything other than register the name and, according to this bogus ruling, he’s automatically committed a bad faith registration.
Where does NAF find these people?
I’m sure I’m not the first to notice this kind of behavior, and I’m sure Go Daddy’s not the only registrar this affects.

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Comments (4)

  1. I think that a similar Bad Faith approach was used on some domains that were parked on a while back. The decisions focused on the fact that the parking text mentioned that the domain may be for sale by the owner.

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      Good point. But at least in the case of Sedoparking, the registrant actually *did* something with his domain. In this case, all the registrant did was register the domain.

  2. Jack says:

    The NAF has shown nothing but a corrupt system run by those panelists which vote in favor of Complainants in order to keep more complaints coming and more fees as well.
    I can’t wait until the NAF, the National Arbitration Forum, is sued for their outrageous and underhanded tactics, just like they were for credit cards, to regular folks of an unbiased decision.
    The day they get sued I will donate big to the cause. I have xx,xxx waiting to contribute to take down the NAF and their ponzi scheme of stealing domains from rightful owners.

  3. […] is common practice nowadays. It’s been used to prove a registrant’s bad faith during many recent UDRP proceedings and one registrar is even being sued by Verizon for doing […]

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