I been reviewing the lawsuit that John Zuccarini filed this week against NameJet.com, NetworkSolutions, Enom.com and VeriSign. (pdf)
Here is some quick background.
There were 14 domains that were owned by Zuccarini, but held by a Receiver which managed the domains on behalf of a creditor of Zuccarini, which were auctioned off by NameJet.com for a total of $80K, when the receiver appearently did not pay the renewal fees on the domains.
Zuccarini then filed along with the creditor, a motion for temporary injunctive relief to prevent the sale and transfer of the domains that sold on NameJet.com. At a hearing held on June 15, 2010 the court denied the motion.
Now to the suit.
Zuccarini alleges in the suit that the 14 domains auctioned off by NameJet.com, including GovermentGrants.com are part of total group of 90 domain names which he owned which were generating $5,800 a month in income.
Zuccarini claims the 90 domain names subject to the suit generated, $70K a year in revenue.
Almost all of the domains are typo’s
Here is the group of domains that were auctioned off at Namejet.com for $80K:
Here are the remaining 76 domains that are the subject of the lawsuit:
Of course almost all the 90 domains are typo’s.
At least 2 of the domain seem to be a typo of a trademark term, both instant-messenger.com & instantmessager.com arguably infringe on the term “instant messenger” which has at least 2 active trademarks in the US alone.
Another one of the 76 domains, cosmopoliton.com, seems to be a typo for cosmopolitan.com another heavily trademarked term.
Not only is the term cosmopolitan trademarked, but cosmopolitan.com is itself trademarked.
The original creditor whom was getting the benefit of the traffic from these domains was OfficeDepot.
To the extent revenue was generated by this typo traffic, Office Depot was the beneficiary.
Typo Squatting if you will.
Now you may ask how did Office Depot get a hold of these domains from Zuccarini in the 1st place?
Office Depot, obtained a judgment against Zuccarini all the way back in 2000 for $100,000 in damages and $5,600 for attorney’s fees.
Do you know what the judgment was for?
Office Depot obtained a judgment against Zuccarini under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) based on Zucarrini’s registration of one domain, offic-depot.com.
The judgment was obtained by Office Depot for Typo Squatting and the judgment is being paid off with the proceeds of Typo Squatting.
Office Depot transferred the judgment to another company DS Holdings I assume they got paid. It would be interesting to know how much Office Depot got paid for the judgment and whether that amount was calculated based on some mulitple of revenue of the portfolio of largely typo domains
A few more interesting points;
The remaining 76 domains subject to the suit have now been transferred to the ownership of the receiver personally.
These 76 domain’s whois shows the following:
MICHAEL BLACKSBURG, ATTORNEY AT LAW
315 NOE STREET
SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94114
The one party that was not named in the suit filed this week, was the “Receiver” who allegedly was put in charge of managing the assets of Zuccarini for the benefits of his creditor, the same Mr. Blacksburg.
Normally when someone files suit seeking damages for being wronged they will typical sue everyone in the “food chain”, that is anyone who had any relationship to the events that caused the alleged damages and then then asks the court to assign the blame among the parties and divide up who is responsible for damages and to what extent.
So it seems especially strange to me that Zuccarini elected not to sue the receiver, the person who arguably number 1 on the food chain.
After all if what Zuccarini alleges is true then it was the receiver that had the obligation to make the annual registration fees payments on the domains, which wound up being auctioned off after the domains expired for non-payment of the renewal fees.
Yet inexplicably the Receiver who failed to make the renewal payments is not named in the suit.
Zuccarini instead sued Namejet.com who auctioned off the domains, NetworkSolutions.com who was the registrar of the domains, Enom which was sued as best as I can tell for being a part owner of NameJet.com, & Verisign was sued for simply being the .com registry.
The suit alleges that “its only a matter of time “that the 76 domains still owned or in possession of Mr. Blacksburg will be “auctioned off”.
Doing a whois search on the remaining 76 domains, none expire before December 201o and some not until 2016 with most set to expire sometime in 2011.
So its not clear why Zuccarini believes all of these domain even the ones expiring in 2016 will be auctioned off in similar fashion on NameJet, however its also strikes me quite strange that the “receiver” didn’t go ahead and renew all of the domains to the 10 year maximum especially after some of the domains we lost for non-payment of renewal fees.
All of the 76 remaining domains are being parked by Dotzup with the exception of cheatcodecentral.com, which looks like its being forwarded to another cheat codes site, cheatcc.com which has several ads for the domain registrar, Dotser.com
Zuccarini is representing himself in the lawsuit, per se, without the use of an attorney.
Of the domain names that were auctioned off, the highest priced domain, GovermentGrants.com which was responsible for $53K of the $80 in auction proceeds, the whois is still showing the domain being in pending delete status:
Pending Renewal or Deletion
13861 Sunrise Valley Drive
Herndon, VA 20171
Domain Name: GOVERMENTGRANTS.COM”””
Yet the domain is not going to a NetworkSolutions.com placeholder page which typically says “the domain is expired and pending deletion”, but is instead is going to a Parked.com PPC page and has Parked.com servers.
So its being monetized, but by whom.
If the domain sold on Namejet 2 months ago, why hasn’t the whois updated?
Why does the whois still show this domain in pending delete status when it is clearly not and who bought and owns this domain?
Nice find, Michael.
Very interesting, indeed.
In your research for this article did you happen to find out how much monthly traffic those 90 names represented? Just curious…
Sounds like Zuccarinis’ beef should be with the receiver who didn’t properly renew the domains though. Wouldn’t surprise me to see some of these domains expire when they come up for renewal. They’ll sue each other over them but then some schmuck will forget to renew again or change email addresses or go to a different company…and SnapName, NameJet or whoever will just auction them off again.
The representation regarding income came from the complaint.
I did not see any representation on traffic but you have the list and you can run it through Alexa and Compete to get some idea I guess
The first domain on the list is actually a typo of the typo domain since it shows the correct spelling for “government”. 🙂
governmentgrants.com is listed
instead of the correct
All the other times the domain is mentioned the correct typo version is used.
Interesting, I first heard about Zuccarini about four years ago when I sent him an email trying to try and buy ASTROLGY.COM which was’nt parked at the time and had an OVT of 128 with ext, I think he may have been still in jail then?, a couple of years later I noticed the domain was now under the name of MICHAEL BLACKSBURG.
If anyone is responsible for the loss of domains it has to be the person put in charge of holding them. It does’nt make any sense to not go after him.
If you check Govermentgrants on http://registrar.verisign-grs.com/whois/ it shows the status: clientTransferProhibited. I think the likes of whois.sc is’nt always accurate and up to date. (cheers Kate from NP :))
Domain Name: GOVERMENTGRANTS.COM
Registrar: NETWORK SOLUTIONS, LLC.
Whois Server: whois.networksolutions.com
Referral URL: http://www.networksolutions.com
Name Server: NS1.PARKED.COM
Name Server: NS2.PARKED.COM
Status: clientTransferProhibited <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
Updated Date: 29-jun-2010
Creation Date: 15-apr-1999
Expiration Date: 15-apr-2011
@ MHB thanx for interesting articles – keep them coming! 🙂
If the domain expired, the creation date should start fresh. Registrars have some insider power to backdate the creation date to the on domains they own or auction, thereby increasing the value, instead of resettting the creation date.
Now I get why on WhosIs, when the Updated date is six months from the creation date, it means the Registrar took over that domain instead of allowing it to drop, because six months, or four months or three months is outside the grace period.
Louise? backdate domains?? huh??
There are a lot more domains than are shown on that list…. there are a boatload of adult names as well, most of those are typos too.
Those earnings were probably before PPC tanked 40-70%.
The suit was filed this week therefore the representations would have to be current based on recent stats not on 2 year old stats
I just checked another netsol registered name (not one of his) on whois.sc (domaintools) – It shows the name expired in 2006 but checking at verisign it actually expires in 2010
On netsols own whois it still shows as expiring in 2006
WTH, no wonder it gets confusing ! Strange indeed!
Lets be clear here.
John is alleging that the 90 domains in question, the 14 that were sold by namejet.com and the 76 other domains listed in the complaint,accounted for $5,800 a month in revenue.
This may be 100% true or 100% false I have no no way of knowing.
Also this is not to say that John does not own additional domains making additional money.
Those domain are not part of the suit and therefore the money those domains not part of the suit were making should not be part of the representation.
“John is alleging that the 90 domains in question, the 14 that were sold by namejet.com and the 76 other domains listed in the complaint,accounted for $5,800 a month in revenue.
This may be 100% true or 100% false I have no no way of knowing”
I pulled the complaint up on Pacer, I do believe that there was an Exhibit showing that yes, the claim is 100% true. The breakdown that I saw, was either in the suit Zuccarini filed in FL or showing the CA case.
I had wondered the same thing… Nevertheless, the claim of that amount, having been filed in the Court, with a breakdown showing the income off of each domain; I would have to assume that it is true.
I find it highly unlikely that Zuccarini would lie in a suit about the amount of money, when the reciever has just submitted the information in the court.
Mike, the only reason I mentioned the additional names is because the same receiver has them, if I recall correctly… that might explain why the receiver is not being taken to task on this…
“John is alleging that the 90 domains in question, the 14 that were sold by namejet.com and the 76 other domains listed in the complaint,accounted for $5,800 a month in revenue.”
From the records that I have seen and like I said earlier, that was in either the CA case or FL case as shown on Pacer website, the $5800 monthly DID NOT include “the 14 that were sold by namejet.com”, the breakdown of what the domains made did not list anywhere the 14 that were sold. I would imagine that Zuccarini will be trying to get that information for the FL case…
John Berryhill says
“On entry 29 you were granted, and on entry 30 you were revoked. No hearings or anything else in between.”
That is not true, Funplace.
I have no opinion on anything else in these comments. However, docket entries do not always reflect the date order of events.
By selectively citing to those events in the docket, you are factually incorrect by omission, since later entries reflect a hearing held on December 1:
12/04/2000 32 Minute entry: Hearing on 12/1/00, re: Argued sur: Deft’s motion to set aside final judgment, C.A.V. Mr. Neu’s admission pro hac vice is – revoked. Plff shall file findings of fact. (kw) (Entered: 12/05/2000)
12/13/2000 33 Transcript of hearing held on 12/1/00. (kw) (Entered: 12/13/2000)
The transcript of that hearing is not available on PACER, but may be available from the court. Since there is a transcript, then there is no reason to rely on anyone’s recollection or theories about what happened there.
Coffee Break says
Most of the ‘arguments’ above are over the head of us non-lawyers.
And, it sounds like funplace has a vendetta with Howard.
I consider Howard an ethical attorney.
So, vague accusations is not going to change my mind about Howard’s
Shouldn’t the thread stay on target rather than stooping to character attacks?
@Coffeebreak: “Shouldn’t the thread stay on target rather than stooping to character attacks?”
The conversation changed tune and got way too personal for me as well…
domain guy says
oh oh the dirt comes out…this is why domainers need to represent themselves and not use lawyers.@funplace you need to include all the revelant info and use links to verify your claim.
it is interesting that these domains netted 70K yr what should have happened is the trademarked domains be removed from the portfolio the reciever be responsible for the portfolio and the judgement paid off
from the portfolio revenue.a portfolo netting 70k a yr and domains lost under the receivers possession there is liability on the receivers part.in less than 2 yrs this 100k claim should have been paid off unless only 25% of the portfolio revenue was required for the judgement.what could be learned here is that non trademark typos can earn a signficant amount of money annually.
@ domain guy: “this is why domainers need to represent themselves and not use lawyers”
I can’t say that I agree either way. Some attorneys are very intelligent, but few are totally honest. (Just an observation/opinion from attorneys we have dealt with here in GA, no cut intended to any attorneys commenting on this site).
You do make several legitimate suggestions, but alas, I am totally lost… Have we decided that funplace is in fact Zuccarini, or just another fruit cake spouting off?
The other thing that has made me curious is whether or not you have entered into the arena (Courts) unrepresented by legal counsel. They make it extremely hard on pro se litigants. I can tell you that from first-hand experience. Everyone hates you, the Court, the Judge, opposing counsel. Pro Se litigation is extremely trying and come back and kick you in the ass.
A good clean conversation, well worthy of responses…
>Another one of the 76 domains, cosmopoliton.com, seems to be a typo for cosmopolitan.com another heavily
Which also happens to be a dictionary word.
Unless you can prove that 100% of the people typing in cosmopoliton.com are expecting to arrive at a location related to the TM holder (and to do that you would have to prove that every single internet user on the planet had prior knowledge of the TM) I think blanket statements about TM typos should be avoided.
If the TM owner is upset about that they should have come up with an original term rather than buggering the English dictionary.
As long as that “typo” domain is going to something other than stuff regarding the TM, I don’t see a problem. Of course when Registrars hijack DNS and send it to automated PPC pages, those problems tend to surface to the detriment of the original owner.
Ya know… I noticed something strange.
The other night, pretty late, when I was here, I read a post that stated Mr. Neu had been the trustee over the estate of a disabled child, and that Mr. Neu had stolen assets from the trust to satisfy a tax liability that he owed.
Then, the very next day, that post was gone. Where did it go?
Another person that I know, emailed me and asked me if I had read that post as well.
So, there are at least two people remembering a post that had been here, and now gone. Is there some kind of reason that certain posts are getting deleted? If this is the case, would someone please explain why> At least that way, we know what is out-of-bounds….
Yup working on such a post.
It seemed to be only common sense to me that one would only comment on the subject of the post.
So If I write a post about Google then you guys can comment on Google. However if you want to talk about President Clinton sex life as a comment to a post about Google, well that would not be on point, relevant or applicable.
Yet I guess that has to be explained to everyone for some reason, so that’s coming tomorrow.
Now explain to me if you want to read about Howard Neu why you don’t read his blog?
Or if you want to ask Howard Neu questions you don’t do so on his blog?
If you want to accuse Howard Neu of something then do so on his blog.
coffee break says
The post disappeared because I brought it to Michael’s attention and asked him to delete it.
I’m sure others did too.
It was presented in the typical cross examination style –
“are you still hitting your wife?”
It was an unsubstantiated allegation from an anonymous person (funplace?).
(Yes, I’m also anonymous. But, I’m not accussing someone of fraud.)
Michael’s blog does not need to be involved in libelous character assassin.
I’m sure Michael would tell everyone – “take it someplace else”.
coffee break says
Michael and I must have been typing at the same time.
“”Michael’s blog does not need to be involved in libelous character assassin.
I’m sure Michael would tell everyone – “take it someplace else”.”””
Well for one the post wasn’t about Howard
Second Howard has his own blog where if you have something you want to say to him I guess you could say it
Here basically stay on point if you want to comment, if you just want to bitch, question or criticize someone in general, then I would be the only guy you should be chatting about
I was contacted by someone else, they asked me if I had also seen the post, and I said yes. Then, I came back here and looked, it was gone. I figured for all of our benefit, that maybe it should be brought up…
As you can see from several of my posts, I was not pleased to see these people brow beating each other. The conversations got way too personal for me, and I believe that others may have felt that way as well.
Curious though, that one would be deleted and not all of them. I personally don’t blame you if you delete all of the ones where people get off subject and brow beat each other. I think we are all adults here, and should be expected to act accordingly.
I check things out before I speak when I can. That is why I cite that I got the information from Pacer, when I did. Unsubstantiated BS is exactly that. And brow beating one another has no place here. Maybe from time to time, it is a good idea to delete posts or to direct people that they will be deleted if they continue with the personal attacks on one another.
If I have to play comment police, I will do what Frank did and close the comment section down completely.
We will have a bunch of new rules coming which is unfortunately seems to be needed now all of sudden after 22,500 comments.
The posts your referring to as “brow beating” were between two people who have a history together, and involved the subject of the post.
The comment taken down was not between these people nor was it pertinent to the post, rather as Coffeebreak states was “It was an unsubstantiated allegation from an anonymous person.”
I also deleted about 10 posts where people were opening advertising their 3d domains for sale
Domo Sapiens says
A class act to the end.
At the parties request I have now removed all comments by Howard and John On this blog post.
We will have a blog post over the weekend to layout some rules on commenting on this blog