Several mainstream websites recently wrote about how many domain names the Trump Organization owns, including BusinessInsider.com that said the Trump Organization owns 3,153 domain names.
boingboing, weighted in with a story entitled “Donald Trump owns vast numbers of web addresses”.
Suntimes.com, published a story entitled “Donald Trump probably already owns your anti-Trump domain name”
Probably is right!
One domain name that was not mentioned in any of these stories is the domain name that got away, Trump.org, which the Trump Organization does not own.
Trump.org was purchased by domain investor Chris Puchowicz, in an expired public domain name auction on August 17, 2012 for $1,272.
So how did Chris manage to get and keep this domain name away from Trump who is no stranger to UDRP’s having filed 53 of them, winning 51, including 5 this year alone?
When you go to Trump.org, you will not see a parked page, nor will you see any advertising whatsoever.
The headline on Trump.org says:
“This site is not owned by nor affiliated with Donald Trump or any of the trademark holder(s) of the Trump name.”
The one page website then goes on to chat about Donald Trump changing position on many political issues over the years including Gay marriage.
The one page website then concluded with this:
“”When you have someone who have significantly flipped their stance on key topics how much credibility does that person have with whatever stance they present to you today? And do you believe that the stance you are sold on today will be the same one that person has tomorrow?”
However just because the domain name Trump undoubtedly seems to be used for fair criticism which has long been recognized as fair use by UDRP panels, it does mean that Donald Trump did not try to get the domain name.
We reached out to Chris for the story behind Trump.org and the Trump Organization attempt to threaten Chris to give up the domain name.
Chris stated: ” I won the domain Trump.org on August 17th through a public auction and I had an overnight express letter from the Trump Organization delivered to me less than a week later dated August 23rd. The letter made claims such as I illegally registered the domain and my use of the domain was unauthorized and also stated that my liability to Mr. Trump is up to $100,000 per ACPA as a result of registering this domain. None of these bully scare tactics were true and it is sad that the Trump Organization’s lawyers try to use these strong-arm tactics when they have no validity. Someone who does not understand their rights or who is intimidated by lawyers would have folded even though they may not be in the wrong.“.
Chris continued: “The letter also says that “Mr Trump considers this a serious matter and has authorized our legal team to take all necessary and appropriate actions…”. One of these actions is that they wanted me to turn over the domain name to them. Since the legal team was acting at the bequest of Mr. Trump I believe it is reasonable to say that Mr. Trump (through his legal team) was trying to take my asset for free by threatening me with false claims. I did not appreciate this one bit and it only reinforced my beliefs (and the intent I had in registering the domain in the first place) to put a gripe site up on Trump.org against Mr. Trump. The site went up in August 2012 and has remained unchanged to this day and warns people against Donald Trump if he ever runs for public office. ”
Knowing his rights prior to spending the $1,272 for the domain name, Chris fought back against the Trump Organizations legal threat over the ownership of his domain name Trump.org, with domain name attorney John Berryhill. Chris also stated that after the letter was sent by John Berryhill to the Trump Organization, “that was essentially it, never heard from them again and the same page has been up on Trump.org since then.”
The BusinessInsider.com article had several quotes from Eric Trump that are interesting:
Trump’s son Eric, who is executive vice president of development and acquisitions at the Trump Organization, said the company acquired “thousands” of domains each year. Eric Trump described the practice as “business as usual” for the company. He said the more than 3,000 domains registered through the general counsel’s email address were just a fraction of the “tens of thousands” of URLs owned by the company.
“It’s just another part of doing business around the world with a famous brand and some famous figureheads at the top of the company,” Eric Trump told Business Insider.
Eric Trump said the Trump Organization did not privately register these domains, because it was “proud” of its various holdings. He described the practice as “a very forward-looking domain strategy” and said many other major companies had similar policies.
“We acquire thousands a year, and it’s smart,” Eric Trump said of the web addresses. “It’s just a smart thing to do, and it’s a great way to protect yourself.”
He said the Trump Organization was able to take domain names from squatters and other people who might take addresses with the company’s trademarks through the UDRP process set up by ICANN, the nonprofit that regulates the internet’s domain-name system. UDRP allows trademark owners to seize domains taken for “abusive” purposes through court proceedings or an arbitrator. Eric Trump, however, said dealing with a UDRP could be a “waste of time” compared with preemptively acquiring domains.
“Sometimes it’s just easier to be incredibly proactive about domain strategy so, quite frankly, you don’t have to do that,” he said.
Many of the addresses registered by the Trump Organization contain negative statements about Trump and his businesses. These include URLs describing the Trump Network, a controversial vitamin-selling business Trump bought in 2009 and later sold, as a “pyramid scheme” and a “fraud.”
According to Eric Trump, the company acquired these addresses to guard against “predatory people.”
“For a company like ours, it’s incredibly important to protect ourselves, and it’s incredibly important to own our intellectual property,” he said.
As we stated earlier, UDRP filings by the Trump Organization are pretty common. I counted 53 on UDRPSearch.com that were filed under Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump and Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts, Inc., Melania Trump and Trump Entertainment Resorts, Inc. . Of those 53 filings ranging from 2001 to 2015, all had a status of Transferred, Terminated or Withdrawn, accept Two. PornTrumps.com was denied, as was TrumpFurniture.com was denied. There have been 5 UDRP filings by Donald J. Trump in 2015 to date according to UDRPSearch.com.
One thing we can not track are the amount of cease and desist letters sent out by the Trump Organization legal team directly to domain name holders, like the one Chris Puchowicz received or this one, which the domain name happens to be owned by The Trump Organization now according to whois records.
Here is the C&D letter that Chris received:
TheDomains has obtained the bidding history of the domain name auction for Trump.org and it is not clear if the Trump Organization was a bidder in the auction, but it is clear that they were not the highest bidder and its also clear they have not made an offer to purchase the domain which is less than “”A smart thing to do, and a great way to protect yourself.”