We have discussed on numerous occasions, TDNAM (Godaddy) is allowing the sale of trademarked domains on its site.
However today they have gone further.
They have hit a new low.
Not only are they allowing the auction of cnnnews.tv though the TDNAM platform but they have actually issued a “Certified Domain Appraisal” for the domain.
They can no longer claim ignorance or simply state that they can’t be expected to review each domain submitted for auction to see if there is a trademark violation.
Here the domain was basically thrown in their face when an appraisal was ordered.
Godaddy gave the domain owner a range of what they determined the domain was worth, in their certified opinion, as the world’s largest registrar.
What should they have done?
The right thing.
Just what you or I would have done if someone came to us with the domain, tell them square and true, hey buddy this domain violates a federally registered trademark, its worthless and we are not going to help you sell it or have any involvement in it and here’s your $15 back.
Instead Godaddy took the $15 for the certified appraisal, the domain owner with Godaddy’s blessing and opinion that the domain has value, put it up for sale on TDNAM where is now has 2 bids with over 2 days to go.
Moreover its not just one of the listing on TDNAM, but because it has the certified appraisal the domain is in bold print and has the appraisal symbol by it.
This week Andrew from DomainNameWire.com had a post on “How the Domain Industry Can Clean Itself Up”
While raising a great discussion about the issue, no specifics we given.
We are going to give them.
If we have any hopes of avoid legislation we must clean up our own mess first and quick.
Remember the congressional hearings on baseball. Congress basically told Professional Baseball clean up your mess with steroids or we will do it for you and you won’t like what we do.
Baseball reacted quickly and passed sweeping rules where there were none.
They had no choice.
Well folks it the top of the 9th and the ball is in our court.
We have the TRAFFIC New York show to hash this out, but when congress comes back in January a bill like the Snowe bill, or worse will be introduced.
You will not like it.
So let’s take this little bit of time we have to solve this problem.
Here’s what needs to happen:
A. Parking companies must refuse to park any domain that infringes on a trademark. If parking companies need to hire a full time person to police this, then that’s the cost of doing business. If trademark domain holders (I will not call these people domainers) can’t make money on parking trademarked domains, the incentive for registering and holding them is gone.
B. Google and Yahoo have to block trademark domains from their system. Not all domains go through parking companies. Many go to Google directly through ad sense pages. Neither Google nor Yahoo can make money on trademark domains anymore. Game over.
C. Auction companies must not allow trademark domains to be sold on their platform. If a trademark domain holder cannot sell their domains on any of the auction platforms, then their incentive to register and hold such domains is greatly diminished.
D. Domain registrars have to peel off domains that violate trademarks and not allow them to be dropped and auctioned off. Registrars now regularly peel off the best expired domains for their own benefit, so they can remove the trademark domains at the same time for the benefit of the industry.
E. Registries upon releasing a new extension must allow all trademark holders to apply for their trademark domains for free (see out post of last week) and in any event not allow trademarked domains to be auctioned off. We all see what an embarrassment the industry suffered that the highest selling .me domain was a trademark infringing domain. This cannot be allowed to continue or be repeated when new extensions are released.
This is just a start. It won’t solve the problem altogether but will indicate to lawmakers that we are taking steps to solve the problem and may take the heat off them to take action.
The question is now how does it happen? Who spearheads this effort? Who enforces the rules?
We all have to make it happen. We have to insist on it.
Parking companies, we are their customers, without domainers they have no business. Same for auction houses and registrars. Same for new registries.
In all cases it’s our money that drives the business and we need to insist that these companies do the right thing.
It’s not only the right thing for domainers but for them as well, although they seem to be too greedy to realize it.
The first of these companies that stand up and make a statement and do the right thing will be remembered for saving the industry.
The companies who refuse to do so will be remembered for killing it.