Domain company Marchex is testing a domain parking service for non-Marchex owned domains and it appears they are monetizing trademark typos and adult names.
Domain company Marchex (NASDAQ: MCHX), famous for buying a $160M domain portfolio, is beta testing a domain parking program for non-Marchex domains. But the company isn’t doing a good job keeping trademark typos and adult names out of its beta, writes David Kesmodel. (David is an ex-WSJ.com writer who also contributes to Domain Name Wire.)
It’s no secret that domain parking companies monetize a number of trademark typos. But Marchex is a publicly traded company, which means it needs to be more concerned about infringing on trademarks. Kesmodel discovered that Marchex currently monetizes americannairlines.com and adobeacrobet.com, two obvious trademark domains of American Airlines and Adobe. Kesmodel contacted Marchex about the domains and was told that the company would look into it, but as of Monday morning the domains still resolved to Marchex parking pages.
Marchex general counsel Ethan Caldwell told David that “None of the parking services are deploying an army of trademark attorneys or manually previewing domains prior to entering them.” This isn’t a very good excuse, and it certainly isn’t true. Dotzup manually reviews all domains prior to including them in their results. But Caldwell is correct that most parking services don’t do a good job of screening for trademark typos. And even though Dotzup screens domains, it sometimes is overzealous and screens out domains that aren’t trademarks.
The issue of typo trademarks is gaining more momentum lately as large companies bypass UDRP arbitration proceedings and are suing domain owners.
Who’s responsibility is it to filter out trademarks? Is it the domain parking companies or the advertising services including Yahoo! and Google? Expect this topic to be a focus of attention as the domain industry becomes more mainstream in the coming years.