TechCrunch.com covered the story today over the what seems to be an upcoming battle between PinWheel.com and Pinweel.com
What makes this story really interesting is that the co-founder of the correctly spelled PinWheel.com, Caterina Fake was the co-founder of the incorrectly spelled Web 2.0 type of domain, Flickr.com (missing the “e”).
According to reports Flickr.com tried to buy Flicker.com, but at the time the owner wouldn’t sell, so they went with Flickr.com instead.
After Yahoo bought Flickr.com we questioned why Yahoo didn’t go ahead and just buy Flicker.com which at the time was getting a lot of traffic.
Now as TechCrunch.com wrote today, the owner of the incorrectly spelled version of PinWheel, PinHeel.com is threatening to sue the owner of the correctly spelled PinWheel.com for Trademark infringement.
Pinweel.com told TechCrunch:
“The intended use of the name “Pinwheel” by Caterina Fake’s new company would be a clear infringement of our prior established rights in the trademark “Pinweel”.
“We’ve sent notification of this fact to Ms. Fake and asked that she cease any further or intended use of the name “Pinwheel” in order to avoid further enforcement measures on our part.”
“Pinweel elaborated, “We didn’t think it was necessary for us to spend a lot of money to purchase Pinwheel.com because we were really confident that we could successfully establish ‘Pinweel’, without the ‘h’, as a memorable brand that’s known for being the best way to share photos.”
Of course as the Flickr.com found out in their case the “e” was worth more than the $600K they offered for Flicker.com which the owner of Flicker.com turned down.
Yahoo finally wound up acquiring the domain name Flicker for an undisclosed sum.
Ironically Flickr.com wound up chasing and suing the correctly spelled version and now its Co-founder maybe on the receiving end of a suit now against the owner of the Typo of another photo sharing site.
Ron Sheridan says
oh brother… color me nervous
Fake is a techie who shouldn’t be making names. Neither of those names are meaningful to the targets. Nor express a differentiation from iPhoto which is the defacto standard in almost a billion devices.
Ironically, see below. she prefers the “fake” name to the real ones. Probably why you couldn’t tell me what any of those companies she invested with make or do. Of course if the goal is to build a balance sheet and be acquired by Google, this is something she doesn’t think much about. Hope they all get acquired before SIRI plays her hand.
But if you are reading this Caterina, call me. I just registered by hand a better alternative. Mistakes are costly. But a short consolation with an expert who has a track record the polar opposite of yours can help you avoid them.
As to the speculation about Flicker, “fire in a bottle.”
Caterina Fake added a position as Founder at 2bkco.
Posted 6/20/11 at 12:41pm
Caterina Fake added a position as Board Member at Creative Commons.
Posted 12/21/09 at 7:37pm
Caterina Fake added a position as Board of Directors at Etsy.
Posted 12/21/09 at 2:02pm
Caterina Fake added a position as Chief Product Officer, Co-Founder, board of directors at Hunch.
Posted 7/30/08 at 10:00pm
Caterina Fake added a position as Founder at Flickr.
Posted 8/28/07 at 7:53am
Caterina Fake invested in Chloe + Isabel. (1/1/11)
Posted 2/5/12 at 12:24pm via xconomy.com
Caterina Fake invested in Typekit. (6/24/09)
Posted 6/13/11 at 10:44am via typekit.com
Caterina Fake invested in Kickstarter. (3/18/11)
Posted 3/18/11 at 3:04am via allthingsd.com
Caterina Fake invested in 1000memories. (2/16/11)
Posted 2/16/11 at 6:56pm via techcrunch.com
Caterina Fake invested in Etsy. (11/1/06)
Posted 12/22/07 at 12:40am via techconfidential.com
Caterina Fake invested in Stack Exchange. (5/4/10)
Posted 5/4/10 at 2:30pm via readwriteweb.com
Caterina Fake invested in Cloudera. (3/16/09)
Posted 3/16/09 at 7:30am via paidcontent.org
Caterina Fake invested in 20×200. (10/1/09)
Posted 10/21/09 at 11:43pm via techcrunch.com
Caterina Fake invested in Maya’s Mom. (10/27/06)
Posted 8/28/07 at 7:59am via techcrunch.com
Caterina Fake invested in DailyBooth. (10/19/09)
Posted 10/19/09 at 3:05am via techcrunch.com
Caterina Fake invested in Flowgram. (1/31/08)
Posted 7/2/08 at 12:49pm via silicontap.com
The Father says
I’m about to establish my brand, vinsuranceQuots.com, then demand the owner of InsuranceQuotes.com hand it over, due to the inherent uniqueness of our brand and their clearly infringing on it with the correctly spelled domain name.
LOL. What a bunch of retards.
Retards for building a ‘brand’ on a fuck-off spelling of something, then even more retarded yet to assert rights over the proper spelling on the basis of your contorted spelling.
Please post your alternate so we can all learn your genius.
owen frager says
Adam I’ll give you a hint- you of all people should know that spending $500k for logo.com is one of the best examples of addressing your brand for success. Logos any questions?
If you go t0 these two sites, the words that would be to them what logo is to you are right there screaming off the page.
Back in the real World says
Is it Photo Sharing??
A fictionalized hipster conversation of the future:
Why don’t you put your pics up on that photo sharing site?
No. Photo Sharing.
Yeah, you mean pinweel?
No. Photo Sharing.
It is fucker. Or do you mean Flickr?
No. I mean Photo Sharing.
Huh? What Photo Sharing site?
It worked for Google – building on a fuck-off spelling of something, then even more retarded yet to [to probably want to] assert rights over the proper spelling on the basis of [their] contorted spelling, that is.
Back in the real World says
The funny thing is that this has been going on for over a century, the dropping of the letter.
I would love to see someone try and build a soft drinks brand on:
Also if Pinwheel is engaged in the same business as Pinweel there really cant be an argument which is different to someone starting a business on Photosharin and moaning about photosharing.com as the descripitive nature points to the domains usage.
It’s just too sad, that with all her brains and money, that she had to resort to copying the name and logo.
Kristin Hurley says
Well, it is said that even bad publicity is GOOD publicity. Kudos on your launch, and for making it into the limelight, Team Pinweel!!!
and there’s a typo in this blog post: “pinheel”
the simple fact is that very few people know how to touch type. and most people cannot type fast without making errors.
the person that registers “typos” is not the problem. the problem is people cannot type without making errors.
and without enforcing rules on what strings people can register as domain names, e.g. only words from the Oxford English Dictionary, there’s no way a computer can predict what is an “error” and what is not.
“autocomplete” will not work. we have to settle for “autosuggest”.