CitizenHawk founder created competing firm for typosquatting recovery.
This morning I was reading a couple articles about FreeCreditReport.com’s win of over 1,000 domains in a single UDRP. (See DNW’s story here.)
I was going to write a post about how so many blogs get information wrong, spreading falsities. These aren’t willful, but still hurt companies. In this case, I was reading an article at one of AOL’s blogs that said the company behind the cybersquatting, NetCorp, owned Moniker. That’s not true. Neither is the headline, which called the case a lawsuit.
But then I followed the story through Slashdot over to a company called Alias Encore. Alias Encore had written about the win and noted that CitizenHawk represented FreeCreditReport.com in the case:
Interestingly, FreeCreditReport.com was represented in the case by a company called CitizenHawk, Inc., which is not a law firm as would be typical. CitizenHawk and other similar firms such as Alias Encore, Inc. specialize in the automated creation of UDRP complaints using proprietary software, enabling brand holders to enforce their trademark rights at an otherwise infeasible scale.
“The exhibits for this UDRP would have been thousands of pages long, making the case nearly impossible to construct manually,â€ said Graham MacRobie, CEO of Alias Encore. “Companies have been playing a losing game of Whac-A-Mole with cybersquatters for years, and this case serves as an excellent demonstration of the role automation can play in leveling the playing field by going after huge chunks of infringing names at once.â€
It wasn’t what CitzenHawk and Alias Encore do that caught me off guard. People have known about their automated C&D and UDRP filing for a while. What caught my attention was the name Graham MacRobie. He instantly stood out to me as the founder of…CitizenHawk.
I interviewed MacRobie back in 2007 when he founded CitizenHawk. He raised some cash from outside investors, but apparently split and started competitor Alias Encore in 2008.
This certainly was a tenuous situation. Indeed, Alias Encore released a press release in September noting that the two firms had “buried the hatchet”.
Alias Encore files UDRP cases on a pay-for-performance basis. After recovering a domain name, it points it to the client’s web site and collects a sales commission on any resulting converted traffic for a specified period of time.
This business model may be in luck, as new lower “fast track”/”easy case” pricing from WIPO and Czech Arbitration Court will make it more cost effective for them to file automated UDRPs in the future.