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Winning Back Your (Domain) Name

We've always advised candidates that the best possible domain name for a website is, well, just their name.

But what do you do if someone's already got that domain name reserved? If it's being used for a legitimate purpose, you're out of luck. But if it's being used in bad faith (for porn, spam, or a generic placeholder) then you may have a case.

Earlier this month, the National Arbitration Foundation ruled that HillaryClinton.com was being used in bad faith - and should be transferred to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. Legal-ese from the decision:

Respondent is using the hillaryclinton.com domain name in an attempt to purposely attract Internet users seeking Complainant online to Respondent’s website. Internet users interested in Complainant’s products and services are likely to type in Complainant’s mark followed by the common gTLD “.com.” Additionally, Respondent presumably derives commercial benefit by receiving click-through fees for redirecting Internet users to other commercial websites. The Panel concludes that Respondent’s attempts to divert Internet users for commercial gain by attracting these users to Respondent’s website through a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s mark is evidence of bad faith registration and use

Of course, going down this road is going to require some serious financial, legal, and intestinal fortitude. Besides the hard expenses in legal bills, some of these domain squatters are connected to some pretty nefarious blackhats. Expect your existing websites to get hacked, spammed, and otherwise mistreated.

Then again, if you're considering running for president, maybe it's worth it.

Posted on March 30, 2005 in
legal stuff.