While Thousands Of Sites Blackout To Fight SOPA, Marchex Owned Pirate.com Tries To Monetize Piracy

Today is of course the day that a lot of thousands of sites have blacked themselves out in protect of the SOPA bill, including mainstream sites like Wikipedia.org, WordPress.org, and some inside the domain industry like Tucows.com and NameCheap.com .

However one site that looks alive and well is Pirate.com owned by Marchex.

Not only is the site live, but its full of keywords to exactly the type of sites the SOPA bill and its supporters are trying to outlaw.

Keywords on the parked page are all about free download sites for music, movies, games, torrent sites, and even to arguably the number one target of the law, The Pirate Bay, are displayed all over the PPC page.

Not the smartest use of the domain, especially with SOPA, PIPA and opposition to them in the news everyday.

No Bueno




  1. John Berryhill says

    Starz.com is a piracy site?

    K… that’s news.

    The results I’m seeing are predominately the studios’ own movie promotion sites. Where are you seeing a link to Pirate Bay?

    (I haven’t looked at everything, so I’m genuinely curious)

  2. Bull says

    Bullshit. The page promotes nothing illegal at all. In fact one of the categories displayed says
    “MUSIC DOWNLOADS LEGAL” so no one is promoting illegal activity at all on the site. If you want to single out illigitimate domain useage you best upgrade your hosting account as there is no shortage of “bad” stuff to share but unfortunately for this article pirate is not one of them. I am sure they appreciate the bump tho…including the link to their PARKING page!

  3. Alan says

    How do you know the parked page wasn’t auto-optimized by there system and is displaying Google generated ads based on keywords in the domain?

  4. Point says

    @ Alan
    In general terms it does not matter who optimized the domain name. Whether the results are auto optimized or personally optimized the owner of the domain name is responsible for insuring that the results that appear on the page are noninfringing etc so your point is somewhat moot.

    There are tons of udrp decisions that favoured complainants in instances in which the respondent claimed that “Google did it”. Having said that I personally don’t see anything wrong, morally or legally with the results currently being displayed here.

  5. John Berryhill says


    Please identify the unlawful content to which the page links.

    I’ll wait.

    MHB’s suggestion to the effect that there is a link to Pirate Bay there is untrue.

  6. FX says

    Mike, you would do the same thing with this domain if you owned it.
    How else would you monetize piratebay typo traffic ?

    I’m with berryhill, calling out mchx for this is uncalled for.

  7. John Berryhill says

    “How else would you monetize piratebay typo traffic ?”

    Exqueeze me?

    Yun registered the name in 1997. Piratebay.com didn’t exist until 2002. If anyone is riding off of a pre-existing domain name, it is the other way around.

    I’m just surprised that Mike would make a false and damaging statement so cavalierly.

  8. Say What says

    First we have the name linking to apparently invisible illegal download sites and now pirate is a typo name. Unreal. Now I know that Google uses geo targeting to tailor the adds they display but had no idea that they were actually changing the contents of people blog posts. That must be whats happening here cause a bunch of you are reading stuff on this page that I am not seeing here.
    @Berryhill – who cares when Ye registered the name. I dont care if it was 1997 or 7 minutes ago, the name is not a typo of piratebay, nor could it ever be.

  9. All Good says

    If calling out Marchex includes links to thier pay per click pages they are probably cool with it. Keep the clicks coming.

    MDNH sales: “Sure we can provide traffic stats. That page had 10,000 uniques today alone!”

  10. FX says

    John, we call it typo traffic, split over traffic.. doesnt matter what we call it.
    The fact remains majority of users that end up on pirate.com were looking for piratebay as evidenced by PPC links. I’m not saying its a cybersquating situation, not at all.
    But there is no doubt its spill over typo traffic.

  11. Netizen says


    The ppc links found on pirate as much an indication of the kind of result that the owner of the domain wants users to see, or of the kind of result that the owner believes that users want to see as the are evidence of the kind of result that users truly wish to see.

  12. John Berryhill says


    I get that part. Years ago, Yun used to pick up domains that were used to spread malware, cracked software and spam, and he would send visitors to anti-virus and anti-spam resources, top of which were always things like Macafee and so forth. A lot of these were domains that had been spamvertised by all sorts of internet scum.

    We’d get complaints from people who were investigating two month old spam, and they would wreak havoc with Yun’s service providers with abuse complaints and so on. It was a recurring headache that resulted from his turning illicit traffic into something more socially productive, and probably useful to the people who were turning up there.

    The thing is… we know where the paid ads come from and how they get populated. If Google is carrying a paid ad for a site that is actually providing illegal downloads, I’d be surprised. And, I’d be really surprised if that lasted more than a momentary blip, since the first way the advertiser would get hammered wouldn’t be from a parking page, but from a Google sponsored result for the search in the first place.

    And, to be clear, I do UDRP responses for Marchex. I do not do their general legal work, and they have access to plenty of fresh young associates tied to the partner’s rowboat and overbilling to make their minimums to do other things.

    What is irritating is that you’d be surprised how often threads from here and other domain forums and blog sites show up as “evidence” in UDRP proceedings.

    So, as long as this one will show up in Marchex’s umpteenth UDRP complaint as proof – no matter how many times they prove their bona fides – that they are up to something horrible, then at least I want to point out that Mike does not appear to have looked at the links that actually come up when the canned search terms are run through a PPC feed. People throw all kinds of hearsay crap into UDRP complaints to try to make the Respondent look like Jack The Ripper, and I’m sure I’ll be seeing some idiot in the next couple of months saying, “They were widely reported to be providing illegal copies of movies” or some such nitwittitude along those lines.

  13. John Berryhill says

    Okay, I found a link to something horrible:

    “Classic Films To New Releases In HD & Uncut. Order Sony Movie Channel.

    The Sony Movie Channel.

    Aha! The scoundrels!

    They are one of the largest moneybags to folks like the MPAA who are behind crap like SOPA.

    Its a double-reverse conspiracy. While the rest of the internet shuts down, Marchex is sending traffic to copyright owners and licensed content distributors.

    The FIRST link on most of the categories is a download link for Google Chrome so you can watch all that bootleg stuff from, uh, Netflix.

    (and I know some folks are sarcasm impaired. If you are one of those folks, you’ll never figure out half of what I say.)

  14. Superior System says

    @ Berryhill: “no matter how many times they prove their bona fides”

    Seems not everyone is quite as convinced as you as to their bona fides John.

    “Respondent’s mischaracterization of the controlling legal principles”

    “Aware of the problem that this registration poses to its ownership of the disputed domain name, Respondent attempts to narrow the temporal scope of the registration”

    “by parking on the Internet and posting advertisements or links to Complainant’s competitors has demonstrated bad faith registration of the domain name.”

    “Respondent does not assert that it was unaware of Complainant’s claim of rights in its SUPERIOR PLAY SYSTEMS mark at the time Respondent acquired the domain names.”

    ( Wow! Was this a proceedural mistake or a silent acknowledgement of the respondents awareness of the mark they were infringing upon)

    Respondent argues that such a use is a legitimate commercial use of the disputed domain name which leads to the conclusion that Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name is a bona fide offering of goods or services under Policy ¶4(c)(i).

    in conducting its business Respondent was and is using the trademark of another. Numerous Panels have held that the use of another’s trademark in one’s domain name defeats the required bona fide character of goods and services offered in connection with such domain name and thereby renders paragraph 4(c)I inapplicable where, as here, the Respondent is using the domain name to advertise competing products or services or profit via pay per click links. See Expedia, Inc. v. Compaid, FA 520654 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 30, 2005) (finding that the respondent’s use of the domain name to redirect Internet users to a website featuring links to travel services that competed with the complainant was not a bona fide offering of goods or services

    Respondent takes no steps to avoid holding or using trademarked domain names

    disingenuous for Respondent to claim it acquires domains because of the target domain name’s descriptive value. And even if Respondent’s motivation is as stated, the fact that Respondent cares not that it also is acquiring trademarked names is troubling and further calls into question the bona fide nature of Respondent’s endeavors.

    It seems highly unlikely that Respondent or its predecessor in interest did not know of Complainant’s mark when it choose a three word domain name identical to Complainant’s three word trademark.

  15. John Berryhill says


    You win some, you lose some. That’s the way it goes.

    A man convicted of violating ethics rules and fined $300,000 is gaining a narrow lead in an upcoming primary for president.

    Your mileage may vary.

    However, having lost a case does not make any unrelated accusation true, either.

    You should look harder. I believe Marchex has two UDRP losses.

  16. imo says

    no one is innocent.

    because they all have knowledge of what is going on.

    is carpathia hosting in virginia innocent when they host megaupload content? and tweak their system specifically for one customer to accomodate the massive bandwidth she requires?

    maybe the only parties who don’t fully understand exactly what is going on are the ones doing the legistalive drafting and industry-directed prosecution. or maybe they do. not sure how they could sleep easily if they did, though.

  17. says

    Given that you can’t tell where the links go until you click them I’m sure someone is happy at everyone clicking on all the links.

    Then again? Maybe it will get identified as click fraud. A minor success.

  18. No Way Jose says

    @Berryhill “having lost a case does not make any unrelated accusation true”

    Only as true as the fact that having won a case does not prove their bona fides in each of their other registrations.

Comment Policy:

TheDomains.com welcomes reader comments. Please follow these simple rules:

  • Stay on topic
  • Refrain from personal attacks
  • Avoid profanity
  • Links should be related to the topic of the post
  • No spamming. Listing domains, products, or services will get the comment deleted

We reserve the right to remove comments if we deem it necessary.

Join the Discussion