Verisign wins objection against .ecom top level domain name

Panelist says .ecom may rise to the level of being “deceptive” compared to .com.

Verisign has killed off eCommerce Inc.’s application for the .ecom top level domain name by winning a string similarity objection.

Verisign, which acts as the registry for .com domain names, said it was probable that internet users would be confused by web addresses ending in .com and .ecom. It also said it is worried that registrants of .ecom domains might be confused, thinking they are actually registering a .com domain name.

Panelist Urs Laeuchli said that eCommerce Inc. did not effectively refute Verisign’s expert testimony. Laeuchlie writes:

The likelihood that the one letter could be overlooked (missed) is great, and the potential of mix-ups appears remarkable. This is even more so the cased because the differing letter “e” stands for “electronic” in the user’s mind and with this, it’s about as generic as anything one may do on the internet. While it is relatively easy to spot the “e” under “lab” conditions, for an average communicator who may be multi-tasking, using a foreign language, or in a hurry, it is less so.”

The panelist also said that the eCommerce Inc. “should not be allowed to slow Internet users down, forcing them to scrutinize each and every domain name ending in “com” as to whether there is an additional “e” after the dot or not.”

Laeuchli determined that the effects of typos would be significant, resulting in disproportionate benefits to .ecom domain operators. (I suspect he means confusion when viewing a .ecom address, not typing it in, as .ecom would not generally be considered a “typo” of .com.) He said that the strings are so close that this practice would “border on a deceptive practice”.

This panelist is the same panelist who found in favor of Verisign in its case against Demand Media for the .cam TLD. Another panelist found .cam was not too similar to .com. It’s also the same panelist that rules that .pets is similar to .pet. This goes to show that luck of the draw on panelists is more important than the merits of the cases.

In a separate decision, Verisign lost a string confusion objection against Donuts’ application for .company.

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