Large wireless company sues in effort to get Cricket.com domain name.
Cricket Communications filed a lawsuit on Friday in U.S. District Court – Southern District of California in an effort to get the domain name Cricket.com (pdf).
Cricket uses MyCricket.com as its primary domain name.
Cricket Communications filed a UDRP case against domain name owner Global Cricket Ventures in December. Cricket Communications decided to file the lawsuit after Global Cricket Ventures responded defiantly to the UDRP.
Cricket.com has an interesting history.
It was a crown jewel domain name owned by Communicate.com (now Live Current Media). The company monetized the domain name as a parked page. In 2007 it was the company’s top earning parked page, earning in excess of $5,000 a month. The company purportedly turned down a $6 million offer for the domain.
With a good Cricket sports domain in hand, the company went down a disastrous path inking a deal to run a cricket site for Indian Premier League (IPL). The deal didn’t involve Cricket.com, but the CEO at the time said owning the domain got the attention of IPL.
After losing lots of money in the deal, Live Current Media ended up selling the domain name along with certain rights under its cricket deal to Global Cricket Ventures (GCV). GCV raised $10 million in funding in 2009.
These days Cricket.com is a fairly bare site offering information about the sport of cricket. It also has a fantasy cricket league.
But according to Cricket Communications this is all a ruse in an effort to earn click-through and referral fees on wireless ads. The contextual ads on the site are all related to mobile devices (at least what I’m seeing in the U.S.).
And perhaps more damning, Cricket Communications alleges that the company placed a Cricket Communications logo directly above one of the skyscraper banner ads on the site. This made it look like the logo was part of the ad. But in a screenshot captured by the company, it appears the logo (that no longer appears) was a separate graphic. Also, the “cricket” news feed for the site includes a number of stories related to Cricket Communications.
Cricket Communications claims GCV included content related to Cricket Wireless to get better search rankings from the term, and turn visitors into ad revenue.
A Bungled Opportunity
Without knowing all the facts I don’t want to pass judgment. But I will say this — if Global Cricket Ventures wanted to get value out of this domain name as a sports destination, then it wasn’t a great steward of the domain. Between contextual ads and a (now removed) affiliate ad for wireless services, it handed a war chest of evidence to Cricket Communications.
Including its history of under usage at Live Current and the current mess, I’d say Cricket.com is a bungled opportunity for one of the web’s most valuable domain names.