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  • Cricket Mobile Phone Company Sues to Get Cricket.com Domain Name

    1. BY - Feb 23, 2011
    2. Uncategorized
    3. 46 Comments

    Large wireless company sues in effort to get Cricket.com domain name.

    CricketWireless.comCricket 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.

    History

    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.

    Today

    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.

46 Comments
  • Yet another wasteful “development” of a generic, on the footsteps of Cowboys.com

  • Who’da thunk cricket had such a big following ? Everybody knows “Jai Lai” is the real “sport of kings”.

  • Cricket Communications, Inc. just got added to my boycott for life list.

    Thanks for the post. It will be interesting to see what the final outcome is.

  • @ David

    Why would you boycott Cricket Communications ? I assume you are believing they are engaged in Reverse Hi-jacking, or otherwise claim that Cricket Communications has no rights to a generic domain.

    Global Cricket Ventures has an obligation not to trade off the reputation of the Complaintant. Clearly, the word “cricket” is inherently distinct to the goods of cell phones. Respondnet has PPC advertisemennts for cellphones on the website.

    They deserve to lose the domain.

  • Years ago the when it was owned by communicate there used to be mobile phones related ads on it as well.

  • I can’t believe they don’t use it to develop a great cricket (the sport…) site.

    Cricket is big money nowadays. The average player in the IPL makes almost $4 million a year. Not a bad salary in India…

  • It would be such a shame to lose a generic domain like that, but if they were showing ads and a logo related to Cricket Communications business, well ….

  • You can’t control PPC ads for the love of god. Google serves ads based on location, so if you are in the US taking a screenshot of the site, you won’t see any sports companies bidding on “cricket” because nobody gives a crap about it here. The Cricket Wireless logo is certainly damning though.

    I bet it gets taken away. I was wondering when they would try to nab it, they’re too big to not own Cricket.com. Shame they didn’t pony up the dough though.

  • If Cricket.com placed a Cricket Communications logo on their web page then they deserve a lawsuit, not confiscation of their personal property. If a brick and mortar business engaged in a similar action, that would open them up to a lawsuit, not confiscation of their shop or warehouse.

    I can’t stand companies like Cricket Communications. In a just world they would have zero rights over the domain name.

  • This is in federal court, not in stupid udrp pleading. No way a judge will give them the name based on a link or two. And as far as ads, mycricket will be asked, why didn’t you block cricket.com from google?

    • @ Private – I agree that the remedy could be many things. I should note that in addition to asking for the domain, the suit asks that the defendants pay damages, be barred from infringing Cricket’s mark, etc. So a verdict/settlement might not include handing the domain over.

  • generic names in the hand of useless developers

  • I will keep my opinion to myself at the moment. But I am very interested in how this turns out. So they were not happy with the UDRP so they took it to court.

    Will be interesting to see how this one turns out. I would be much happier if I was in court fighting over one of my names then a UDRP.

  • The UDRP is an EXCELLENT tool for a Plaintiff to go thru discovery w/o having to follow the Federal Rules. They have had the opportunity to pin down the Respondents position, before even filing a Complaint. It is a VERY smart way to go about things.

  • Never heard of any entity called “cricket communications”. I can recollect more than 10 US wireless company names but cricket is not one of them.

    I say this is a clear case of reverse-domain-hijacking. Where it matters, i.e. in the Indian subcontinent, if I browsed to cricket.com, I (and at least 2 billion other Internet users) would expect content about the sport of cricket. If something else was there, we would boot the site from the browser and the memory.

    Point to be noted is that India is the hottest market for cellphones/wireless etc. So, this is much likely a ploy of this nondescript wireless company trying to ride piggyback on the popularity of cricket sport and hatching a market plan to push their wireless products in India.

  • If cricket wireless gets it then they should do a geosplitting and monetize the international traffic based off the sport cricket and the local traffic for wireless. Better targetting and nobody will send them a udrp.

    I do hope the allegations are wrong and gcv gets to keep it.

  • [QUOTE]“Cricket Communications claims GCV included content related to Cricket Wireless to get better search rankings from the term”[UNQUOTE]

    How would GCV benefit from that? Rankings in USA would be of no use since cricket sport is not popular in USA. Ranking in India for cricket wireless is also of no use, since that wireless product doesn’t exist in India.

    [QUOTE]“and turn visitors into ad revenue.”[UNQUOTE]

    Similar logic applies here. If cricket wireless ads were served in the USA, people clicking on them would go to cricket wireless site, won’t they? If that ad was served in India, no one would click that.

    But, for all things said and done, I would say GCV is a sucker to be putting up PPC ad blocks on such a premium website. Bungled opportunity, like you say.

  • $5K a month parked in 2007. Sigh. That’s pretty sweet. Really is sad though, to see that nothing more than the pathetic little sight that exists today on such a stellar domain. Although, if it were my little pathetic sight I’d be laughing all the way to the bank when I win this UDRP and Cricket Communications has to pony up a real offer.

  • You can’t control PPC ads for the love of god.

    Didn’t some PPC providers give users the ability to screen out ads or so? Depends on the provider?

  • I plan to start a Company called Boxing and in few years will file a lawsuit to grab Boxing.com

    Ditto with Baseball , Hockey , Football.

    Smart me !!!

  • @Dave Bhatia

    You don’t have to wait to get your company dated (grow old). Here’s a game plan:
    Scout the shops & registrations records and companies records in India or similar data in the USA. You are bound to turn up some dead company that has boxing in the name and then you acquire it for peanuts (don’t ask me how).

    You might even be able to prove that your boxing company existed even before Internet came up ;) It would be a cakewalk for you then…LOL

    Refer the tata case for guidance – they claimed the name tata predates the word tata as in the popular form of saying goodbye.

  • You domainers are all alike. Begrudging legitimate disputes under the mistaken belief that the holder of a domain has no obligation to manage their properties.

  • @Mel Bergdorf

    I’m a domainer but I completely agree with your statement- most domainers think they can just ignore Intellectual Property law. Pretty pathetic in my opinion. All the complaining in the world, on forums or at the bottom of blogs, won’t alter an entire field of law that is now well-developed and followed by every company. Just consider it entertainment.

    If this guy actually put a Cricket Communications logo on his site, he is a fool. Sorry.

  • John Berryhill says:

    February 25, 2011 at 11:31 am

    “The UDRP is an EXCELLENT tool for a Plaintiff to go thru discovery w/o having to follow the Federal Rules. They have had the opportunity to pin down the Respondents position, before even filing a Complaint.”

    Surprisingly, so many UDRP complaints are poorly or casually written to the extent that the TM claimants often make statements that, if taken to litigation, they would regret having made.

    “You domainers are all alike. Begrudging legitimate disputes under the mistaken belief that the holder of a domain has no obligation to manage their properties.”

    I see, and if I own an apartment building and one of my tenants, without my knowledge, is dealing drugs, then I am a drug dealer?

    The relevant federal law addresses “bad faith intent” more clearly than the UDRP, by at least making the word “intent” explicit. In the UDRP a sort of medieval strict liability standard is applied by some panelists, as the abbreviated nature of the proceeding does not permit the kind of explorations of intent or credibility that a court proceeding is designed to provide.

    Put more simply, if there was a UDRP for murder, then some would take the view that “you had a gun, someone was shot and killed by it, therefore it was murder”. But as you know, murder is about a lot more than whether you shot someone with a gun, and is all about intent. There are many circumstances in which shooting someone with a gun is not murder. It could have been accident, mistake, defense, and so on.

    That is the reason why we have things such as grades or degrees of homicide. Simply going by result – i.e. a gun was fired and someone died – does not inform the question of whether it was murder, or some form of negligent homicide (manslaughter, etc. in various jurisdictions). So in the “I registered a dictionary word and some unfortunate links came through the PPC feed”, a court is better situated to get to the question of whether that is some sort of intentional bad faith, recklessness, negligence, or some other of the various categories of intent which, in the UDRP context, is treated as a binary proposition.

  • @ John

    I am not certain that your analogy regarding landlords/tenants is a fair comparison as related to my original comment. My comment was aimed at domain owners that infringe upon the trademarks of others. It does not matter that the word “cricket” is generic. Nor does it matter that the domain holder was merely reckless and sloppy. That cell phone ads appear on the cricket.com domain WITH the VERY logo of the trademark holder should be sufficient evidence of an intent to infringe upon the reputation of the Complaintant.

    Now I recognize that an ACPA action does not require a conjunctive registration and bad faith use test as UDRP does. So I would think that Complainant will have a much easier time getting to the intentions behind the Respondents actions than via a UDRP proceeding. Is it a slam dunk ? Absolutely not. Its a tough case that can go either way. But I would not feel bad if the case is decided against Respondent.

    Not sure if I missed the point of your landlord/tenant analogy unless you think I was over generalizing in my comment regarding “ALL” domainers being alike, which I freely admit I did over generalize. I took poetic license with my comment when I should have said “MOST” domainers are alike, instead of “ALL”.

  • @ Acro
    “Yet another wasteful “development” of a generic, on the footsteps of Cowboys.com”

    It’s so sad you can’t let the Cowboys deal go. Most of the people there are well heeled internet knowlegeable long term investors. When the proposal & timing is right something will be done. Or maybe it’ll sell first. Who knows!

    If you think you know so much about it put a proposal in front of us.

    Or shut up about it.

  • So what do you guys reckon, how long would it take for the verdict to be out? and GCV is a big company so will it be that easy for Communications to take it over?

  • Why could they not have put a notice on the home page to the effect that “we are not cricket communications, click here if you were looking for a cell phone”? and yes they should have been allowed to use an affiliate link for that, but to link from a logo, it made it look like they were sponsoring the site.

  • Andrew – with so many “developers” owning cowboys.com why not just develop it? The Dallas cowboys must still think of it as a 275.00 domain name, so you can’t sell it to them for what you have in it, so make a damn cowboy site out of it!

  • As we know too much greed is not good. CRICKET.com used to be a ad free site but once the GCV took over, they just wanted to profit from it rather than improving the site. The day since they took over, they didn’t introduce a single thing for the members other than adding those ads. But then again they bought the site from LCM, so I won’t completely blame them for everything.
    And companies like Cricket Communication should just stop filing cases against all the domains that have the word “cricket” in them. They don’t have any rights over the word “cricket”. You go out on the streets, ask a person doesn’t matter where you live this question “What’s cricket?”…I bet you anything 95% of the people will say it’s a sport not a company. We don’t play cricket here in US but if asked about cricket, our first opinion towards it will be a sport.
    GCV should be able to win this case because they are a well known company and also they have a lot of funding for that site. But hopefully they start working on the site if they win the case.

  • >>You go out on the streets, ask a person doesn’t matter where you live this question “What’s cricket?”…I bet you anything 95% of the people will say it’s a sport not a company. <<

    I would have replied its an insect that makes chirping soinds at night in the summer – but thats just me

  • @Mel Bergdorf

    Ah, there you are! That’s the remaining 5% people’s answer ;)

  • Usually how long does it take for cases like this?

  • Jujuba Jujubi says:

    March 2, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    “You domainers are all alike. Begrudging legitimate disputes under the mistaken belief that the holder of a domain has no obligation to manage their properties.”

    Hmm

  • How is that US Trade mark office granted Cricket trademark to a mobile phone company? Tomorrow someone may start a mobile phone company called Soccer, Football etc. and then fight for ownership of soccer.com.

    Cricket.com should belong to cricket and not cell phones. Cricket Communications trademark itself is illegal and deceptive. They are making money using the sports name.

  • Chippy Chip says:

    March 11, 2011 at 6:58 am

    Had a look at cricket.com today and it seems all of the Adsense banners have been removed.

    They’ve been replaced with advertising for Willow TV, seems a bit to do that now.

  • Jonathan Lutherford says:

    March 13, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    It doesn’t make sense, why such a delay?

  • I thought modifying a site was not possible when “frozen” because of a pending UDRP

    • @ Mel – you can do whatever you want with the site other than transfer it. Otherwise I could filed a baseless UDRP against CNN.com and they wouldn’t be able to post news for a month.

  • @Andrew Allemann- Then why is the site not functioning? Owners could have kept the site going?

  • @Andrew Allemann

    I mean they have not updated the site since the UDRP was filed. And is there any update? Usually how long does it take for Big Cases like this to resolve.

  • Chippy chip says:

    March 19, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Apart from changing the banners the content hasn’t been updated for months, most of the cricket news on there is from late last year I think.

    The scorecards were added the day after the urdp was served while the fantasy game hasn’t worked since late 2010.

    Not sure how long these thing take to get sorted but it will be interesting to see the outcome.

    Think putting the cricket logo on the site might tip the balance in favour of cricket comms.

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