Nominet is the registry for the .co.uk, ccTLD.
Nominet has its own procedures to arbitrate disputes between domain holders and trademark holders.
In a 22 page decision today, Nominet awarded a domain name used primarily as a gripe site against Ryan Air, a huge carrier in Eurpoe.
Robert Tyler, A disgruntled passenger set up a website called IHateRyanair.co.uk “to share travel “horror stories” was ordered to hand over the domain name to the low-cost airline he hates.
On the website Mr. Tyler called Ryan Air the “world’s most hated airline” and “a bunch of filthy thieving bastards”.
The case according to the ruling “quite literally turned” on the fact that Tyler had made £322 from commercial links on the site.
The Panel wrote:
“Criticism websites are essential in a democratic society”, and performed a useful service.
“The domain name made it “abundantly clear” the site was not connected to Ryanair and left internet users in no doubt what to expect.”
However that when a domain “draws in internet users by using a domain name containing a company’s brand, then they must be wholly devoted to honest criticism and open discussion and not potentially tainted by commercial concerns.”
After the ruling it seems that Mr. Tyler took all the content from ihateryanair.co.uk and moved it to iHateRyanAir.org, A domain he registered in May of this year.
The .Org site now states:
“””Ryanair, the World’s most hated airline, have recently taken us to a Nominet domain name tribunal over the usage of the domain name for this website.”
“Unfortunately, Lyingair won the dispute on a small technicality concerning £322 generated through affiliate deals, but never fear, we have already moved the site to it’s new home on www.ihateryanair.org and will continue to provide you with all the latest on how this pathetic excuse for an airline will attempt to extract cash from you through sneaky hidden charges, fly you to places that are not where you actually want to go and leave you stranded when the crap hits the fan.
“This is apparently worthy of the “top story” position on the Daily Mail website. Oooh, how exciting. We’re off to spend the £322 on booze to celebrate!”
“We are yet to decide on whether or not to appeal the decision, it costs around £3000 to do so, which could be used instead to buy 16,000,000 Ryanair flights (not including booking fees, credit card fees, baggage fees, bus from the airport in the middle of nowhere etc).”
“If you think we should appeal against these bullies, let us know. Better still, donate some cash to help us pay for it!””
Of course now that the site rests on a .Org rather than a .co.uk domain name, Nominet has no power to rule on any dispute that might be filed on the .Org domain.
Ryan Air would have to go the UDRP route next time, however Mr. Tyler has seemed to take the ruling to heart as the .Org site doesn’t contain any advertising.
Let’s hope the contribution paypal button is not used to take the domain away.
Its pretty amazing that a company as huge as Ryan Air, already subjected to a gripe site didn’t lock up all major extensions with the exact domain they filed a complaint over with Nominet.