Own a three character domain? You need to play defense.
Three letter domain names are valuable. But owning them carries risk: since so many companies have three character acronyms, they often feel they are entitled to your domain.
The number of pending and recently settled claims on three character domains is staggering. Here are just a handful I found today:
Rcu.net (claim denied)
Ucp.com (transferred, domain may have been stolen)
It’s the .com challenges that are most troubling because of the value of the domain names. If you own a three character domain, here are some tips to avoid losing them in arbitration:
1. Don’t park them. It’s possible that a company with the same acronym will point to ads on the parked page as infringing their trademark. You need to control the content, and parked pages frequently optimize with ads that can be used against you.
2. Create a site. Even a small site is fine. Your goal here is to make sure no one can claim you have no legitimate use and rights for the domain name. I recently talked with a domainer who owns several three letter domains. He creates an affiliate site for each one.
3. File for a trademark once #2 is done.
Of course, doing this doesn’t prevent you from receiving a UDRP letter. Consider the case of Ace.com and Ace.us. The best I can tell, this domain has been used for a legitimate business for many years. The owner of the sites, WebMagic Ventures, even has a trademark for the term “Ace”.
So who’s challenging the owner of Ace.com and Ace.us? There are a number of companies holding trademarks for the term “Ace”, and I can’t see a reason why any of them should be entitled to this domain. This could be a clear cut case of reverse domain name hijacking, but we’ll have to wait to see. I’m anxiously awaiting a decision.