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.
Interesting post about 3 letter domain names and the “criminals” wanting to steal them legally from their owners.
Steve M says
Though less important, this is good advice for LLLL’s as well; particularly where SE searches turn up a number of different companies using those letters and/or where there are one or more active/ valid trademarks.
The first thing to do is to point them all to generic landers if you’re using PPC.
If you let your names auto optimize you are asking for trouble.
Does any one have the link to the ‘All.com’ proceeding? I can’t find it.
Also, 2 letter domains are not immune: LH.com is currently pending.
@ GQ- proceedings aren’t published until the decision is made. I sometimes have a way of getting my hands of the evidence/pleadings ahead of time, though 🙂
Ahem, ALL LTD of Florida…you know my email address 🙂
Here’s a case for LV.com which fortunately was found in favor of the domain owner.
John Berryhill says
There was a rash of three-letter domain name hi-jackings, and as noted on the list above, some of these disputes may be attempts by the legitimate registrants of the domain names to get them back via the UDRP. This can be done successfully if the complainant had indeed established TM rights in the term at issue prior to the hi-jacking.
@ John, thanks for your comments. That’s what I can tell about UCP.com. If I read it correctly, it appears they may have lost control of the domain twice. It must be painful to wait for a UDRP decision when your domain has been hijacked.
This points to another big problem…how to fix the ease of stealing domains…
Patrick McDermott says
“It must be painful to wait for a UDRP decision when your domain has been hijacked.”
And where exactly are the Registrars hiding when this happens?
kpn.info and pao.com were denied.
Thanks DVDrip…I’ll take a look at the cases
Thanks for the all these great tips.. I own a 3 character domain